If you were able to write a letter you your younger self, what would be the contents of that letter? Source: Florian Klauer/UnSplash A Letter to my 10-year-old self from an individual in long term recovery Throughout my life, I have often wondered if I had made all the correct choices in my lifetime. I was once asked by someone as to what advice I would give to my 10-year-old self. Growing up can be challenging, and there are so many obstacles we face. If you could write a letter to your childhood self, would it be a handbook of survival, a missive of near misses? Or a soul-lifting celebration of triumph over adversity? As an individual who is in long term recovery, I think that this is more relevant than ever before. The following letter is what I came up with. Dear Michael, I know that this will be the strangest letter that you will ever read in your life. The reason that I say this is that I am the future version of you. I felt compelled to write this to you as a … [Read more...] about A letter to my 10-year-old self from a person in recovery
Celebrity granted most make a wish
Source: Matthew Baxter My father passed away unexpectedly in September last year. My loss is still raw and painful, but I take some comfort in the fact that my father appears in my dreams and in my thoughts. I was reminded recently that he also appears in my language. One morning I was driving when I heard yet another unidentifiable “clunking” sound in my vehicle. “As Dad would say, this car’s got more rattles than a millionaire’s baby,” I remarked to my husband. Australian English is unique. It features a distinct dialect and accents, and it is characterized by creative idioms and slang. ( Here are just a few examples.) Australian English has a fondness for informality, which is especially evident in its diminutives . These are abbreviations for words that are then given a vowel-sound ending, such as sunnies for “sunglasses,” arvo for “afternoon,” and footy for “football.” The origins of this variety of English are fascinating, and that is a topic we can … [Read more...] about When We Lose Friends and Family Members
Source: herbert haseneder/flickr Rusty Schweikhart was a member of the Apollo 9 space mission in March 1969, which carried out tests for the moon landings that took place later that year. Like many astronauts, he found the experience transformational. One of his tests was to do a spacewalk around his lunar module, in which he floated 160 miles above the earth. As he gazed at the planet circling below him, he experienced a profound shift in perspective. Like all of us, he had been brought up to think in terms of different countries with borders between them. But now he lost his identity as an American astronaut, and felt "part of everyone and everything sweeping past me below." As he described it: When you go around the Earth in an hour and half, you begin to recognize that your identity is with the whole thing…You look down there and you can’t imagine how many borders and boundaries you cross, again and again and again, and you don’t even see them…[F]rom where you see it, … [Read more...] about The Psychology of Nationalism
I’ve been a practicing physician for 20 years. In this series, I share some of the best practices and helpful phrases I’ve learned for talking about bad news and end-of-life issues with patients. This time, I’m reflecting on death and dying, and the lessons patients and families have taught me. Some bonus reflections, after seeing and managing too many deaths: Always thank them I didn’t figure this out immediately. It took me a while. Definitely, no one taught me this secret. For over a decade, I saw doctors treat dedicated family members as some kind of taken-for-granted and inexhaustible resource. They’d just interrogate them for information on hospital admission, and assign them tasks prior to discharge. Never a kind word, it seemed. This is a shame . We recognize the sacrificial work of parenting all the time, and we should. It’s crucial, society building, difficult work to raise a kid. It’s also awesome watching them develop and learn. Giving up your own life … [Read more...] about The Magic Words: On Beating Cancer and More
They judge me before they even know me. That’s why I’m better off alone. —Shrek A patient sent me this meme from the movie Shrek . He said that this pretty much describes the logic behind his social anxiety and social withdrawal. When I asked for objective proof that he’s being judged, he said, “I can always tell when people are judging me, even if they try to hide it.” New research indicates that he may not be entirely wrong. In fact, he’s likely to be perceiving certain aspects of other’s reactions more accurately than people without social anxiety disorder can. A research project recently published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science attempts to ascertain the relationship between social anxiety, social anxiety disorder, social exclusion, and empathic accuracy . The first study compared 136 participants, half sub-clinical socially anxious individuals with matched “non-anxious” counterparts. The second study compared 126 participants, half with Social … [Read more...] about Is Social Anxiety Really an Empathy-Based Superpower?