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New Yorker article on patients who deny the diagnosis of mental illness

August 1, 2011

This article was in the New Yorker in May of this year. I only read it recently and it is really good. it tells the story of a woman who suffered from mental illness, but couldn’t agree with the diagnosis she was offered by the multiple professionals who tended to her. As a story of the suffering caused by mental illness it is harrowing, as an example of how some people slip through the cracks it is very sobering.

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October 3, 2007, Linda Bishop was released from New Hampshire Hospital, in Concord. She had been admitted to the hospital in late October, 2006, after having been found incompetent to stand trial for a series of offenses. She refused all psychiatric medication, because she believed her diagnosis (bipolar disorder with psychosis) was a mistake. Each time she met a new psychiatrist, she declared her lack of respect for the profession. Her medical records consistently note the same traits: “extremely bright,” “very pleasant,” “denies completely that she has an illness.” In the weeks leading up to her discharge, her doctors urged her to make arrangements for housing and follow-up care, but Linda refused, saying, “God will provide.”


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