It all started with a little television show called The X-Files. I was obsessed. Of course aliens are real and have been visiting our planet for decades! Of course the American government covered up the events in Roswell, New Mexico. Now, before my fellow physician colleagues out there call for a psych consult, let me be clear that I don’t really believe any of that. Sure, sometimes it’s nice to think that we, humans, are not alone in this vast universe, but I certainly don’t believe that we are being visited on a regular basis by other intelligent creatures from far away galaxies. Nor are select individuals being abducted from their homes and experimented on in spaceships. (Though, as an aside, have you ever been in an MRI machine? The bangs and clicks those machines make are startling similar to the sounds that abductees often describe. I’m just saying.) The concept of “We are not alone” is an intriguing one. One pervasive human trait is our fear of being alone. I think we pair bond for that reason (and of course to reproduce, but really I think, to avoid being alone). How can we be the only intelligent life in the universe? What makes us special? Was it happenstance? Divine intervention? A fluke?
Speaking of mish mash. On a trip to Montreal about 8 years ago, husband did some research on where to eat and what to do in the city. He found a little greasy spoon outside the city that had a wonderful reputation for something called the mish mash. Apparently this was the place to go to for a hangover breakfast. And that’s exactly what we did. The restaurant was called Cosmos. Run by a Greek family, the house specialty was the mish mash – fried mashed potatoes, bacon, sausage, eggs and anything else you wanted, all mashed up together. Seriously, it was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had.
Shockingly, we found out a few years ago that Tony (top) was killed in his home, his son a suspect in the murder. So sad and tragic.
I started this blog in September, 2011. I was a month away from starting back to work after my second maternity leave. I felt like I had learned so much from experiencing pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum depression that I realized how much it helped make me a better doctor and wanted to share some of that experience. Little did I know that three and a half years later, I’d still be writing and would have close to 350 followers! It’s been fun being able to see where all my visitors are from. Some of you are thousands of miles away, others are just hop, skip and a jump from my back door, and some are from cities I’ve never heard of! Some of you are active contributors, others merely quiet observers.
Do you know yourself? Do you think you know yourself but really you have no f*#&g clue?
I know who I am. I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am flawed. I own those mistakes and imperfections. They make me who I am. I am vulnerable.
I know who I am. I am confident but I know my limitations. I am far more confident than some might give me credit for; but they don’t know the real me. They don’t know how much I sacrificed and for how long to be the person I am today.
I know who I am. I am not confrontational; I avoid it like the plague. I will hold disappointment inside for years because it’s just easier to deal with than openly revealing a lie.
I deal with mental illness on a daily basis in my family practice. Having been treated myself for depression and post-partum depression I am well aware of the stigma that still exists. Mental illness is real.
I am not okay.
My life is good.
I have no reason to be depressed.
I feel so alone.
No one understands me.
The voices are so loud.
I think I need help.
Today, let’s talk about mental illness. It’s closer than you think.
You never realize what a good memory you have until you try to forget something.
-Franklin P. Jones
Husband and I started watching a new British series on Netflix the other night. It’s called Black Mirror. We’ve already finished two seasons, though in all fairness there are only 3 episodes per season. The show is brilliant. It is a frightening look at the potential dark side of technology and most of the stories are set in the near future.
One episode in particular really struck a chord with me. In it everyone has an implant behind their left ear that records everything they do. It’s basically a video camera in the eye and it records your entire life. You can rewind that interview you had and analyze the future employer’s remarks; you can re-live the one night stand you had ten years ago; you can replay a fight you had with your wife. And not only can you replay it for yourself, you can project the images onto your television and have anyone you want to watch it. Imagine the argument one has with his wife about the one night stand he had in college. It was a brief fling and never meant anything, but the wife isn’t so sure so she asks him to replay the night only to discover that he dated this girl for six months. In the future you can’t lie; you can’t reinvent your past; you can’t remember an event happening differently to suit your own conscience. It’s all there digitally stored forever. Unless, that is, you decided to erase the memory. Erasing the memory is possible but then you are left with a blank screen for that duration. You can’t really erase it then can you?
In this episode the protagonist comes to realize that his life with his wife has been a lie and he removes the device from behind his ear. Suddenly the screen goes black. End credits roll.
By removing the implant has he erased his memories. Is he now a tabula rasa?
If you could erase a memory from your life, would you?
I’ve asked myself this question a lot over the past few days. I haven’t experienced anything truly terrible in my life, thank goodness (and knock on wood!) but there are some things I wonder if I would be better off forgetting I went through. If you could erase the memory of a relationship or the presence of a person from your memory, would you? Would it change the person you were now if you didn’t have the memory of it? Or are we forever changed because we experienced it? Are we better off remodeling our memories to suit our own conscience or is having a digital record better?
Conference centers are like mazes only with poorly designed signage. Seriously this place is so confusing and watching a group of doctors all thinking they know where they are going only to find find out they were supposed to turn left at the fork then right at the double doors then right again is kind of funny.
The morning sessions were pretty good. I got a refresher on the difference between episcleritis and scleritis and learned its never a good idea to prescribe steroid drops for the eye. I also learned that the adolescent brain is very vulnerable to substance use and their neurobiology doesn’t full mature until well into the mid-20s.
I had a very educational 3 hour workshop/course this afternoon. I learned some key tools that I think will go a long way in helping me with some of the more challenging patients I encounter.
Overall it was a great day aside from the ongoing gastro and bronchitis I am still plagued by.
Now to pretend to care about dinner. Honestly, this lack of appetite is getting old.