Keris Myrick is one of the few people diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder who will talk about it because “it’s just embarrassing,” as the psychosis director at UCLA told the NYTimes.
Luckily for us (because it’s fascinating), she did, with the New York Times. The interesting thing about schizo-affective disorder is, even though it’s similar to schizophrenia, a debilitating disease, the high-profiled exec in your office could have it and not only perform their job well, they could excel in their job.
In fact, excelling at their job is part of their treatment for dealing with the disease. Ms. Myrick, for example, “learned that she needed a high-profile position, not a low-key one, to face down her spells of paranoia and despair,” according to the NYTimes –
“Her mind runs on high and without fuel — without work — it seems to want to feed on itself.”
The main part of her treatment (she only takes medication “when she needs it,” according to the article) is a “heavy work schedule.”
Of course, part of the reason that she works so hard might be the other part of her mental disease diagnosis: obsessive compulsive disorder, and not just schizo-affective disorder.
Myrick’s symptoms show up in the office environment thusly, according to the Times:
- Sometimes, she hears voices, so “[She]’ll just say, ‘Excuse me, but is anyone hearing what I’m hearing?’ And if the answer is no — OK, it’s no.”
- You might never see her. “She travels a lot to conferences.”
- “She keeps her schedule as busy as possible.”
- You might catch her grab her elbows, after which she’ll play number games in her head. “Her elbows usually tingle when [her mind wants to feed on itself] and she will often play number games in her head.”
Myrick works at a non-profit, but hints of mental problems have shown up in one of the most high-powered careers, Wall Street, too.
A recent book about mental disease in the Wall Street offices, “Street Freak,” details what happens when it shows up on the trading floor. We’re trying to upload a video interview with the author right now (technical difficulties. Stay tuned.).
And even when they aren’t actually mentally ill, Wall Street folks often display some odd behaviour.
A Morgan Stanley employee was diagnosed with vertigo in the early 2000s.
And Lloyd Blankfein famously said, “It is important to be a bit institutionally paranoid, especially when things are going well.” (Not that he was referring to an actual disease.)