“Crazy” author Pete Earley tells “his story” about dealing with mental illness

Uploaded by on May 15, 2011

There’s a good chance that you — or someone you know — will experience emotional or behavioral challenges at some point.  After all, some form of mental illness affects one out of every five American families each year. It is an equal-opportunity disease that can happen to anyone at any time.  Whether you have anxiety, stress, depression, drug or alcohol addiction, or bipolar disorder — or any other mental health challenge — it doesn’t have to take over your life or your loved ones’ lives. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is there to help.  Author/journalist Pete Earley came to town to talk about his personal involvement with mental health issues in his family.


I remember buying a copy of Donald Trump’s first book, The Art of the Deal, inside the Kansas City airport to read on a flight home. The book was a bestseller and I wanted my book to be one too when it was published. I wanted to see how Trump had done it.

This was at the very start of Trump’s rise in fame — before he became a “business magnate, socialite, author and television personality,” which is how Wikipedia describes him now.
As I read his book, I remember thinking that some of the traits that Trump saw as virtues were only a hair different from the claims that many criminals were making to me in Leavenworth. The inmates talked about how they were the ultimate risk-takers, were not bound by society’s rules, were willing to bully people to get what they wanted, were at “war” with their opponents, and  respected power over mercy.
I wasn’t impressed with the book or many of Trump’s teachings.
So you can imagine the smile that broke across my face recently when I came across this report on the Internet.
“ In 2005, psychologists Belinda Board and Katarina Fritzon at the University of Surrey, UK, interviewed and gave personality tests to high-level British executives and compared their profiles with those of criminal psychiatric patients at Broadmoor Hospital in the UK. They found that three out of eleven personality disorders were actually more common in executives than in the disturbed criminals. They were:
1.  Histrionic personality disorder, including superficial charm, insincerity, egocentricity and manipulation.
2. Narcissistic personality disorder: including grandiosity, self-focused lack of empathy for others, exploitativeness  and independence.
3. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: including perfectionism, excessive devotion to work, rigidity, stubbornness and dictatorial tendencies.
The authors described the business people as successful psychopaths and the criminals as unsuccessful psychopaths.”
Don’t misunderstand. I admire many business executives, especially those with a social conscience. I also wonder if you can’t find these same disorders among journalists whose single-mindedness helped them get to the top.
Just the same, I had to chuckle. ~ Pete Earley

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