Why am I ornery? I get that alot. When I’m not writing this blog I’m in a pretty-good mood. This blog was very popular up until about 2013 when it was featured in a NYT story. My dad passed away about 2 weeks before that story came out and for whatever reason I stopped contributing. I started up again after my ‘summer of illness‘, and I can feel the writing stirring up that old familiar anger.

I’d like to think that I am angry over what I perceive to be injustice, especially impacting my patients. But I know enough about how the mind works to know that things are more complicated. It is way too convenient to blame anger on benevolence toward others.

Dr. J's ornery face
A Little Ornery

I’m sure some of my protectiveness about bias against my patients stems from our shared backgrounds. I’ve written many times over the years about my own treatment for opioid use disorder in 2001. My hope is to live in the truth, including the truth about how I judge myself. But I don’t know if there is one or multiple truths when applied to one’s past, and I have a hard time telling whether I judge myself to kindly or too harshly in those areas.

Like most psychiatrists I’ve asked myself whether I’m too impulsive, too emotionally fragile, or whether I have a personality disorder. My parents probably would meet criteria as ‘parents of someone with a personality disorder’, if there were such criteria. So there’s always some question in my mind!

I think much of my anger was conditioned from growing up on the outside. I was one of the guys picked near last in gym class. Do they still do that horrible exercise? With all of the social justice these days one would think that choosing team members for softball would be the first to go.

I think my dad also raised me to question everything, especially anything that everyone else believes in. Frankly, that advice has been pretty accurate over the years. But saying ‘oh yeah??’ at dinner parties can be ostracizing.

Why am I ornery? Who knows. I guess those who don’t like it can read something else. There he goes again….

Categories: Science

1 Comment

Anonymous · December 17, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Thanks for your insights

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