Mental Illness and Feeling Like A Case Study

March 29, 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

So, what is a case study? Let's refer to Wikipedia--Wikipedia knows everything, right? It can even define feelings!

Defining Medical Jargon Within the Realm of Mental Health

A case study is:

"Case studies are analyses of persons, events, decisions... studied by one or more methods...A case study is an intensive analysis of an individual..."

Yes, this can be confusing but in the heavily saturated territory of mental illness, a 'case study' is a fancy term that means we will spend a heck of a lot of time being analyzed by psychiatrists, family and friends and, above all else, ourselves.

Examples of a 'Case Study' in Psychiatry

Picture a hamster in a small cage: he cannot seem to find his way out. He waits for you to open the little hatch and pick him up, to feed him and make sure he is healthy. Now picture this: You are sitting in your psychiatrists office, you have sat here many times, you might have memorized the grain of the carpet--if you're like me--even a little--you are pissed off the clock faces your psychiatrist and not you. You might feel like you are being analyzed; you try to make direct eye contact (well, I do) to express the fact that You Are Just Fine.

You mentally count down the minutes until you can stand up, smile or grimace, and say thanks I'll see you next week (or next month). It is, I believe, important to try to be cordial.

As much as attending these appointments is crucial for our mental health, it can be equally frustrating sometimes!

Please, Keep Reading...

I have a point!

Where am I going here? Why am I throwing around terms like 'case study' and feeling 'analyzed'? We feel as if our entire lives, our personality, our basic human desires and instincts are being dissected. This is disconcerting, to say the least. We might not feel human anymore.

I'm pretty sure most people are not asked how much they sleep, if they take vitamins, if they had their recent blood test. Further to this--the answers are not scribble down in books. In medical jargon.

The Books, well, they describe us, our illness, this is where the term 'case study' comes in---within those books we are human, yes, but also analyzed. Analyzed in order to become well--With good intention. But the feelings surrounding being consistently analyzed, specifically when we are new in our diagnosis, might piss us off. After all, prediagnosis, our lives did not involve offices and notes and psychiatrists. The list goes on and on and on...

Moving Past feeling Analyzed and Embracing Recovery

So, here is the reality: In order to recover from mental illness, in its many forms, we need to adapt to being feeling analyzed--being a 'case study'. Yes, it is uncomfortable and yes it can make you feel less than human, but the questions you are asked by your mental health team, the notes that are taken are all part of the recovery process.

Sometimes, you need to push your pride aside, and sit in your psychiatrists respective office and answer the tiresome questions, because at the end of the day your mental health depends on it! And despite the copious notes and questions, your mental health team views you as a person, a person they work to make stable--medical jargon and all.

APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2012, March 29). Mental Illness and Feeling Like A Case Study, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 25 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

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