“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.”
― Anne Frank, The Diary of a Young Girl

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She was a friend.  Other people sometimes live their entire lives in one place and keep friends for life, but she was more distant, clinging to me loosely, trying to live off free advice.  Like almost all the friends I have in one particular region, she was a therapist. Not a bad thing to be, and I believe her to be a competent therapist. But she had the same problem most people in my age group have.  She wanted help fighting it.

I suppose the name for it these days is “cognitive loss for age.”  Not Alzheimer’s, that “presenile”  (the earliest cases described by Kraepelin himself was in mid-fifties) dementia, but getting older.

Mainstream medicine comes up with names and categories and prescriptions, that may or may not offer significant clinical improvement. The human spirit comes up with, well, at least a little good anger. If there is one piece of poetry I quote more than any other, it is Dylan Thomas “Do not go gentle into that good night/Rage, rage, against the dying of the light.” Of course this brilliant Welsh poet, the way I heard it, died of alcohol poisoning in New York; not exactly how I plan to rage against the dying of my light. Oh, how many people who have tried to feed me alcohol I have told I cannot afford to lose any brain cells by that method.  I need everything I have to continue to live by my wits. Read more on Advice From A Poet About Memory Loss…

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I saw him at a public clinic back in the days when I usually just took care of renewing people’s prescriptions.  He seemed rather average for someone in his forties who lived on the streets and looked like he did. But he seemed to want me to know that he was “special,” that there was more for him than just coming in for a prescription refill.

LyingHe told me that he was related to a well-known television star currently starring in a popular series.  This was Southern California, after all, and I have been involved in more than one case where these relations were real.  Sometimes I even get phone calls from celebrities to confirm relations, although more often, I get to see signed pictures.  This patient did not have any.  I admitted that I had never heard of either the star or the series, which caused this patient a bit of distress.

He started telling me about horrible things his dentist had done to him.  Given the state of his dentition, it was likely that he had never had so much as a check-up or teeth-cleaning in his life. Read more on A Biological Cause For Lying?…

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