Psychiatrists Agree Perspective Is Key to Mental Health

February 5, 2014 Alistair McHarg

I hope you'll stop me if you've heard this story before. It might be true, then again it might not be. I am, as you are almost certainly aware, in the habit of making things up.

Like so many people who are creative for a livelihood, there comes a point when I am no longer able to distinguish between what I have made up, what I am claiming to have made up but in fact have not, what I don't know if I’ve made up or not, and what I absolutely know to be true, to the extent it is ever possible to be certain something is true, which it isn't. But enough about my methods.

What perspective do you have when you see a mental illness? What is your perspective on your own mental health? A story on the blog Funny in the Head.

Once upon a time there were two psychiatrists who worked in a tall office building nestled inside a big city populated in large part by individuals with interesting mental illnesses. As luck would have it, these citizens had extremely good health coverage and personal wealth so there was never a shortage of patients to occupy the men whose names were Dr. Throckmorton and Dr. Entwhistle.

By happy accident, their offices were directly across from one another and there, on the 23rd floor, they’d dispensed sanity for 17 and 19 years respectively. Being psychiatrists, they exhibited an appropriate degree of self-control and professionalism, which is to say, theirs was a cool reserve reminiscent of Edwardian butlers.

Over the years the two had encountered one another many times in the elevator and when they did so, as the ride was rather long, they would chat amiably, for them, about the events of their lives. One morning they crossed the lobby and entered the elevator simultaneously. The doors closed like steel curtains and they began their ascent.

Their journey was interrupted at the third floor when a gentleman entered in full clown regalia. His outfit included, but was not limited to, orange hair, white make-up, a painted smile, a bulbous nose, a polka dot silk costume with wide ruffled collar, and enormous red shoes. He was carrying a seltzer bottle.

The doctors looked at one another quietly. The clown, also silent, pressed the button for the 11th floor.

In between floors 7 and 8 the clown, completely unprovoked, unloaded his seltzer bottle on Dr. Entwhistle, soaking him head to toe. At the 11th floor he took his leave without comment. The doors closed and the elevator continued to rise.

A Psychiatrist Agreement on Mental Health Perspectives

“Dr. Entwhistle,” said Dr. Throckmorton, with studied reserve, “I feel compelled to complement you. That hideous man behaved outrageously and now you must towel off and find some dry clothes. It’s a disgrace! But throughout this ignominious assault you never once lost your composure! You’re an inspiration, not just to me, but to psychiatrists everywhere. Bravo!”

“Well, that's very generous of you,” said Dr. Entwhistle modestly, “but after all, he's the one with the problem.”

APA Reference
McHarg, A. (2014, February 5). Psychiatrists Agree Perspective Is Key to Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Author: Alistair McHarg

Der Clown
February, 15 2014 at 6:21 am

I can assure you that you did not in fact make that story up. For you see- I was that clown.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 15 2014 at 6:36 am

Thank you for the REST of the Story - Gd-day!

James Mann
February, 10 2014 at 12:43 pm

Life really is all about how we deal with what is handed to us. The catch is whether we are thinking clearly.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 10 2014 at 2:03 pm

Nicely said, James, indeed it is.

February, 10 2014 at 9:34 am

I Love this.Come on Mary, you have to laugh !!! :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 10 2014 at 9:39 am

Thank you Jacqueline! The irony here is that I've been doing this column every week for 3 years and this is probably the least offensive one!

Ramon Apodaca
February, 10 2014 at 8:59 am

Yes we run into people that have problems but I think that's not a proper way to vent. I also think that the psychiatrist is A great man

mary worzel
February, 10 2014 at 5:31 am

Sorry but I did not see any thing very humorous about someone who has a problem and not know how to express his frustrations appropriately.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 10 2014 at 6:11 am

Thanks for writing, Mary - alas, humor is very subjective. My philosophy is simple: when you look at life you can laugh or cry, I prefer to laugh.

Gary Ledbetter
February, 8 2014 at 3:21 am

Very funny and reminds me of a person who once told me if people had a problem with you but don't tell you it's their problem not yours. Obviously not the case with the clown!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 8 2014 at 3:46 am

Hi Gary - Thanks for reading, and writing!

February, 6 2014 at 10:50 am

Dr.Entwhistle is right, the clown is the one with the problem, but I do understand the clown's urge to douse someone with seltzer. Right about now, there are a few people I'd like to do that to too, maybe even a pie for good measure. Perhaps a coconut cream pie would do the trick! Have a great week. :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Alistair McHarg
February, 7 2014 at 12:58 am

Clowns are scary.

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