A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness

Author: Nassir Ghaemi
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by hrh   2021-07-19
I'd imagine a lot of people are like this, and I'd imagine HN is overrepresented by this, but I just really feel emotions. When I'm on and am really into something I get hyperfocus and feel like the world is my oyster, but inevitably that high is going to end and if I'm not careful with certain emotional situations I put myself in (romantic relationships), I can reach that low of lows where I honestly just don't want to be here. I mean I guess we all feel this at times, I don't want to imagine it is special, but there are just times in those lows where every doorframe and every rope looks like an out. I absolutely am not interested in it and I know that if I stick it out, that time is going to pass, but I absolutely feel it deep in my stomach and I understand when people who are in that state exacerbate it (if it's alcohol, don't drink alcohol) and we get these tragedies.

For me, personally, this is the first time in 15 years that I've felt normal, which is to say my entire adult life. Some of that is just growing up, but it took a few tries with psychologists (the second much more successful than the first), being cognizant of what issues put me in a funk and avoiding them, getting the appropriate medication (for depression this is invaluable - the main thing it does for me is make sure those valleys aren't so low) and then within the last year realizing that I might also be adhd (all this shit is comorbid) and seeing a pyschiatrist and getting on the proper meds for that. I know we've got our Scientologists and resident HNers that think the healthcare industry is just a joke, but my counselours have always been my friends, it's as much me guiding and us learning about what works and doesn't work as them, and you know, it's been life-changing. This last part is in response to your "we don't know" comment. We have no fucking clue on the brain works, which is why I'm even saying this. I see people that are ashamed to take medication or admit they have.

But the depression is never going to completely go away. Two books that have given me a lot of hope, taught me a lot are:

> https://www.amazon.com/Lincolns-Melancholy-Depression-Challe...

> https://www.amazon.com/First-Rate-Madness-Uncovering-Between...

I'm sure someone's going to say that here's popsci, but I dunno, was good stuff for me. Great insights into mental disorders and how they can be worked around, even embraced. This is all feeling way too male...I guess a final thing that's been vital for me (and again, just getting older) is the power of empathy. I think there are a few shows like Mad Men or HaCF which really show a variety of people working through issues like this.

by dmos62   2018-09-22
This book A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi [0] is about that. He looks at various historical leaders and how one half of them make good wartime leaders, but bad peacetime leaders, and the other half -- the opposite. Some of his case studies are, as far as I can remember (couldn't find a summary online): generals in US civil war (Lee and the scortched-earth-guy), Chamberlaine, Churchill, Hitler, JFK, Lincoln, Napoleon, Nixon, Bush. US centric, but still pertaining to anyone.

[0] https://www.amazon.com/First-Rate-Madness-Uncovering-Between...