mental health

0

My husband will drive me a bit to go see a patient, closer to his home. I may nod off briefly, although I have had enough sleep.  Only to wake up again briskly when he slams on the brakes, which he will a few times, at least. I continue to be shocked by the total lack of empathy drivers have for each other.

Read more on Another Day Of Spreading Kindness…

Filed under Family, Mental Illness, News by on . Comment#

“Bureaucracy” is a word that comes from the French, which I suppose means that moi has a greater understanding of it than most folks who have never lived in France. Literally, “bureau” means “desk.”  So “bureaucracy” is “rule by desk” in the same way that “democracy” is supposed to be “rule by the people” since “demos” in Greek is “people.” Problems already. There is considerable debate possible about how much representative government can even be a democracy.  I mean, do so-called “Public Servants” vote for what their constituencies want, or for what they really believe? Desks have no soul.  Here, we are on a little firmer ground, for bureacracies have not much in the way of souls, either. The word “bureau” itself originally meant the cheap green cloth used to cover the tops of desks.  More like the felt of blotters, the coarsely woven green dyed stuff is used to cover gaming tables and such.

The Brits use the word for this sort of cloth as a metaphor for “snooker” (the billiard table game with all of those confusing balls and rules). Read more on Bureaucracy, What It Is And Why I hate It…

Filed under Government, News by on #

0

Maybe if it’s “all in your head,” it’s in your brain chemistry

We women have spent so long and worked so hard for equality in rights, in education, and at work, that it may actually be hard to talk about how we are different.

The World Health Organization has been working on this, and knows a lot about what is going on.  Illnesses of the mind, problems with thinking and feeling and living, are only identified by doctors less than half the time. Three out of five people who have this kind of problem wait less than a year before seeing a doctor. This is true of both sexes. Read more on Mental Health In Women…

Filed under Brain, Mental Illness, News by on . Comment#

0

Freedom is healthy.

I have always believed this, and still do.  My perspective comes from many places — my upbringing, when I was bombarded since an early age by my Russian-immigrant grandmother how wonderful it is to be in the United States, where we are free, unlike the oppressed and subjugated multitudes left behind in the “Mother Country.”

Whether in philosophy or neurology, neuroscience or the applied study of behavior, having more options, more “degrees of freedom,” as well as — one would hope — the intelligence to make decisions among such options, is so basic a descriptor of humanity that it is part of any imaginable statement about the nature of human beings.

Some of the most heart -wrenching patients I have ever cared for are those who have been captured or subjugated in some way, and lost, to some extent at least, their ability to use their bodies or minds as they wish. Read more on Freedom And Mental Health…

Filed under News by on . Comment#

0
Some of my friends like to watch cop shows — the ones called “Police Procedurals.”  They think it is exciting to see how crimes are solved and how police interact with puzzling situations. I’ve had my encounters with the police, too.  Sometimes they are very supportive when dealing with mental patients.  Sometimes they make things worse.  I’m pleased to say that many communities now have special personnel trained in handling mental health calls, and they coordinate with caregivers well — and treat the patients with understanding and a sincere desire to help. I was called in by a therapist when a patient was chronically suicidal. The therapist had to commit the patient to a mental institution and called the police to assist. I am thankful that she also called me to try to get the patient to go along involuntarily.  When confronted by a uniformed police officer, and looking at an ambulance or police car, a patient sometimes panics. Here is what I said: Read more on The Speech That Made a Cop Cry, And A Therapist Stand by Speechless…

Filed under End Of Life, News by on . Comment#

0

I enjoy having friends, like just about everyone does. But that’s not why I’m in this business. When a patient needs help, I will do my best for them every single time.  And if a few colleagues get bruised egos along the way, so be it.

She was a 53-year-old woman, but I don’t think she even would have liked to hear me to refer to her as a woman.  We’re talking about someone who was short and stout and wore the kind of cap one would expect to see on a newsboy during World War I.  She wore a very male looking zipper jacket, and told me she had the name of the other woman to whom she had dedicated her life tattooed on the back of her neck.

Regardless of all this, her face was red and she was crying. She told me she was chronically suicidal and never thought about anything else.  Despite being medicated, her depression seemed to have gotten worse. Read more on What is there to Treat?…

0

All right — I am married to a man I love and I dearly love my profession.  So how could a “boy she has it all” woman like me possibly get depressed?

Mine didn’t look exactly like the criteria laid out in the DSM-IV.  I mean, I am not going to sit around for two weeks feeling this way just so I can meet criteria.  But other than the two-week bit — I was depressed.  I did not want to do much of anything except cry.  I could not believe the negative thoughts creeping into my consciousness and I was having a hell of a time pushing them out.  I felt sleepy, listless, the whole nine yards.

I did not prescribe myself an antidepressant.  I do not think that anybody really believes at this point that a congenital lack of antidepressant has made anybody depressed — ever. Read more on Things to Consider Before Reaching for Antidepressants…

Filed under depression by on . Comment#

0

I have gone with my beloved husband in the last couple of weeks to a few venues so clearly classified as “dive bars” that I have searched in vain for a depth gauge on the wall. The treasure we seek – karaoke. These establishments are not the province of the landed gentry, and we are generally as out-of-place as a fish in a cloud.  The treasures we find unperformed songs in the depth of confused directories whose organization defies even an amateur cryptologist (me). Read more on Karaoke As A Mental Health Program…

Filed under Psychology by on . Comment#

0

Although I had been offered some academic scholarships after a pretty distinguished high school career, my parents had a great ritual. After formally declining them, I had to save and overlap (and trim) all of the letters and put them in a frame for the living room wall.

The idea of actually accepting one of them — they were all pretty far from the greater Boston area where we lived — never even came up.  As a precocious over-achiever, I had skipped a couple of grades and was only 15. They  told me I was too young to even think about such fantasies as going to a university.

I’m glad that I had parents that loved me so much and worried about my well-being.  But gee whiz – I don’t think Doogie Houser had over-protective parents.

Anyway, it was two against one, and I was still a minor and financially dependent upon them. There was a non-negligible scholarship, a work study program, and numerous considerations from one of Boston’s fine local universities.  My mother dropped me off at classes and picked me up, since student parking was both expensive and difficult to get.

Of course I never really “felt” like a freshman. I managed, with some difficulty, to convince my mother to either drop me off early or pick me up late.  I needed to meet colleagues.   All I really cared about academically were the necessary prerequisites for medical school, in terms of courses or grades, but I knew I was in the middle of a rich, seething subculture of the youthful.

There were some activities I would never be a part of, like dating the football team or being a member of a sorority.  Types like me did not do those things.  But I was so fascinated by large number of people whose age was somewhere near mine.  I walked up to them and shook hands and said “hello,” whether they sat on the stoop in front of the chemistry building or in the television lounge at the Student Union. Read more on Student Stresses Are Mental As Well As Financial…

Filed under Stress by on . Comment#

0

I was commissioned a captain in the United States Army in a northern Midwest city.  The physician who examined me before I took the oath was senior and experienced and as avuncular as they come.

He said the most interesting people (and far and away the smartest) he got to meet in his life were commissioned women.  The one he had seen before me was a woman who had been a professional musician, a clarinetist I think, and was going straight to Wahington, D.C. to play in a dance band at the White House.  He told me about women rocket scientists and others. Me, I figured I was only a doctor, a half-trained neurosurgeon.  As a generalist he felt somehow he needed to show me enough respect. He really didn’t want to do a physical, so he did a cursory and discrete one, and I asked him about being a civilian physician attached to the military.  In particular, I asked him about neurological and psychiatric screening. Although he told me he knew how to do a pretty detailed neurological examination, he said he never had to do one.  Anyone with that kind of illness would, he thought, be likely to be screened out long before. After all, these were generally healthy young men.  Basically, the most important part of the examination was checking them for hernias. Read more on Military Mental Health — A Contradiction?…

Filed under News by on . Comment#