The Benefits of Mental Health (or, the Upside of Being a Little Nuts)

Surprise: Certain disorders, and milder so-called subclinical symptoms, are often linked to qualities we value as a society.

The Benefits of Mental Health (or, the Upside of Being a Little Nuts)Hemera/Thinkstock
Psychiatrists tell us that all behavior occurs on a spectrum. For instance, some of us are nagged by occasional worries, while others suffer crippling anxiety attacks. But you may be surprised to learn that certain disorders — as well as milder so-called subclinical symptoms — are often linked to qualities we value as a society. So if you exhibit signs of:


You’re more likely to be: hardworking and diligent.

People with OCD tend to excel at jobs with strict rules or guidelines that require a high level of conscientiousness. “I have a lot of OCD patients who do well in accounting and business management,” says Soroya Bacchus, a psychiatrist in Los Angeles.


You’re more likely to be: compassionate.

Highly anxious people are known for their sensitivity and attentiveness to others. They also tend to be hypervigilant, so they make good surgeons, doctors, dentists, and bankers.


You’re more likely to be: creative.

Many people prone to mood swings are writers, artists, musicians, and performers. “They’ve got mad flavor,” says Dr. Bacchus. “When they’re manic, they’ve got an exuberance that’s really great, and they can think outside the box.”


You’re more likely to be: a problem solver.

Although people with this condition are socially awkward, their intensity of focus steers them toward technology, science, and engineering. “Numbers and concrete science really make sense to them,” Dr. Bacchus says.


You’re more likely to be: insightful.

Depressives tend to be more in touch with the deeper truths about themselves, life, and the human experience, experts say.


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