Mount Misery: It’s not always easy to tell the patients from the doctors

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I love revisiting my novel, Mount Misery. Here are a few of the insane laws for the psychiatrists who treat the mentally unbalanced (who says irony is dead?):

1.Your colleagues will hurt you more than your patients.

On rounds at Mount Misery, it’s not always easy for Basch to tell the patients from the doctors: Errol Cabot, the drug cowboy whose practice provides him with guinea pigs for his imaginative prescription cocktails, Blair Heiler, the world expert on borderlines (a diagnosis that applies to just about everybody), A. K. Lowell, née Aliyah K. Lowenschteiner, whose Freudian analytic technique is so razor sharp it prohibits her from actually speaking to patients. And Schlomo Dove, the loony, outlandish shrink accused of having sex with a beautiful, well-to-do female patient.

2.Psychiatrists specialize in their defects.

For Basch the practice of psychiatry soon becomes a nightmare in which psychiatrists compete with one another to find the best ways to reduce human beings to blubbering drug-addled pods, or incite them to an extreme where excessive rage is the only rational response, or tie them up in Freudian knots. And all the while, the doctors seem less interested in their patients’ mental health than in a host of other things *managed care insurance money, drug company research grants and kickbacks, and their own professional advancement.

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