I joined Facebook because my medical school class had a webpage with announcements before class started two years ago, and it was the main way we were distributing information. I am generally a fan of Facebook, believe it or not. One complaint I have is that there are plenty of time wasters on there, and even if I don’t choose to participate in them, my “news feed” is full of the goings on of my “friends”. I try to ignore the thousands of applications and quizzes, which are usually more annoying than offensive.
Well, some of my “friends”, including one from medical school, are taking the “What mental disorder do you suffer from?” quiz. One fellow medical student, who is by all my observations very neurotypical, got the result “autistic”. Here is the summary that is visible on my main page, which is all I can read without joining the stupid application:
“Austism (sic) is a pervasive development disorder. You will suffer from poor communication, a lack of relationships and joy, and repetitive motor mannerisms that will generally piss people off, such as tapping your pencil or flapping your arms…”
Not only is this a very negative, not necessarily accurate description of autism, but it is being used by a neurotypical to joke around about how ironic it is to compare him, a successful medical student who was the president of a major student organization and has a girlfriend to some caricature of a mockable arm flapping joyless person who will never have a good relationship with others.
To make it worse, he is a medical student. I was annoyed when my first “friend” who took it, a former high school classmate, was diagnosed with virtual sorta obsessive compulsive disorder. How amusing! *snort* She must be tidy. How easy to compare that to someone with a possibly disabling mental disorder!
But, I hold future medical professionals to a higher standard than the average shmo on Facebook. I was disappointed by the snickering in our behavioral science / psychiatry system when some of the mental disorders were described. I was disappointed when one of my classmates sent out a ranting email with derogatory comments towards classmates with “lazy eyes” (huh?) and ADHD.
Medical professionals should not use medical diagnoses as insults or jokes. Medical students should not add to the stigma of mental illness. Medical students should not perpetuate incorrect stereotypes of mental illness or developmental disorders.
That is all. I am done with my rant, and I need to study for &^%$#@ boards.