Dear Dr. Archer,
I read your book, 'Better Than Normal' and it helped me to understand more about the disorders I have developed over the years. I've had psychotherapy for years, and am now in group therapy.
I've learned much from your book, but it disappointed me in a way that many such books have in the past. I've read many self help books by psychologists and psychiatrists who do an excellent job of describing mental health conditions, the problems associated with them and deficiencies of mental health practitioners, but fall short in describing practical solutions to the most common problems.
After rating the described experiences in your surveys regarding the eight disorders, I found that my rating on five of them was 7.0 or higher, and 6.8 on another, with the highest ratings for Adventurous (8.7), Dramatic (8.0) and Perfectionist (ranging between 5.3 and 8.0 depending on circumstances).
You suggest that when a person rating high as Adventurous is searching for a romantic companion he should seek out a woman rating high on the Shy scale. This is the only suggestion you make. Does this mean no woman rating high in other categories would be suitable?
If this person pursues an occupation, you suggest that a career as an explorer, entertainer, pilot, entrepreneur, dancer or professional athlete might be good fits. Are there other fields that would be appropriate? How does one go about developing one of these careers, when all of their experience lies outside these fields?
You state that people who run companies often do not welcome an employee who pursues unusual strategies in completing tasks assigned, but you don't suggest how an adventurous employee should handle such an employer. I have experienced this many times.
Also, I don't recall that you made suggestions for a person with a combination personality, such as Adventurous/Dramatic/Perfection/Hyper-Alert/Self-focused Personality. This would describe me. Would you like to venture a few suggestions for someone like me?
I want to say I appreciate your approach to these conditions as broad spectrum conditions on a continuum. I got tired of being told I suffered from Attention Deficit DISORDER and Obsessive Compulsive DISORDER.
For a professional to tell his patient that he has a DISORDER sounds like the patient has a birth defect, or that his brain is disorganized and defective or there's something very wrong with him.
I have no objection to psychiatrists discussing these conditions as disorders when talking to other psychiatrists or psychologists if it's useful to do so, but I do not think it's constructive to refer to the condition in these terms when talking to a patient who displays the condition.
They should find a more positive way to describe it. Maybe ADHD could be described as a Focus Control Condition, or some other term that sounds more hopeful.
I also applaud you for trying to have people with these conditions look at the strengths that one of these conditions afford him, and to make the most of them, to the extent that he is able.
In general, I liked your book. I just feel you should have gone further with your thesis. I welcome your response.
Thus the answers to your specific combo of traits will require work on your part -- I’m not here to tell you how to make your traits work for you or anyone else -- rather I am giving you the framework to do so.
I also think that words are very powerful, and unfortunately the psychiatric diagnoses all have negative connotations. That is why I gave two names to each trait.
1) Adventurous ADHD
2) Perfectionist OCD
3) Shy Social Anxiety Disorder
4) Hyper-Alert Generalized Anxiety Disorder
5) Dramatic Histrionic
6) Self-Focused Narcissistic
7) High Energy Bipolar
8) Magical Schizophrenia
Please understand that it would be impossible for me to give advice related to work, family, friends, life for every trait and every trait combination.
There are as many of those as there are people in the world. It's what makes us unique. Therefore, take the knowledge you've learned from the book and apply it within your own life.
Thank you for taking the time to write. All the best,