The author admits a harsh exterior as a defense mechanism but at her core is a caring and witty doctor who has a very tough job to do. There was a time during the reading of this book where I almost gave up in disgust of her attitude but I am glad I continued reading because I witnessed her maturity evolving during the nine years of working weekends as a shrink at Bellevue. The self awareness and addressing of her issues were vast and impressive to me and made me realize that our mindsets are subject to change and we are all going through painful lessons and learning through life experience. Plus I lived vicariously through Julie as she shared her cases and how she dealt with them and how it altered her. Amazing transformation and recommended for all emergency service workers dealing with psychiatry.
This is a shameful and unrepresentative depiction of mental health professionals. The author is hostile, callous, and belittling toward her patients. As someone who has worked in the industry (both outpatient and inpatient settings), I was really excited about this book. Instead of being a series of insights into people struggling with mental illness in a major urban hospital, the book was more revealing of the author's profoundly disrespectful attitude toward her patients, and people with mental illness more generally. She herself admits to being rude, antagonistic, and flippant toward them. She even seeks her own mental health treatment to address this attitude. I expected that over the course of the book, she would make some sort of attitudinal and behavioral change, so I kept reading. It never happens. She treats people seeking help as "them," separate from the "us" that ostensibly includes herself, the staff, and most of her friends (and implies the reader is also among this group). Given that 25% of the country's population will experience major depression alone in their lifetime, she clearly needs to rethink this.
Further, she approaches her patients as malingerers and proudly turns them away from the emergency room. Her attitude is hostile and celebrates demeaning people at their most vulnerable. Again, she admits all this and pays lip service to the need to get help, but her tone never changes.
She should not work in the industry, let alone write a book about it. I was disgusted by the author's attitude and humor at the patients' expense. I can't imagine how her staff must have felt working under her. The only way in which this book is brave and honest is in its unintentional reflection of the author's profound lack of empathy and unfitness for her profession. She should have been a police officer or detective, instead, where her suspicious nature would have worked in her benefit. I hope directors of psychiatric training will read this book and work to root out this kind of attitude in their trainees before they're allowed to interact with patients.
Really interesting book. Insightful look into the Bellevue psych ward.
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