Psychiatry Psychology | Hektoen International

No laughing matter

Shafiqah Samarasam Subang Jaya, Malaysia (Winter 2018)   Portrait of Robin Williams. Creative Commons. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” These were the words of Robin Williams, the man whose own laughter was enough to make us laugh. In a world where tragedy occurs every day, his words helped […]

The York Retreat

Beninio McDonough-Tranza London, United Kingdom (Winter 2018)   Painting of the York Retreat by George Isaac Sidebottom, a patient at the retreat in the 1890s and early 1900s. Image from the retreat archives (RET/2/1/7/5), courtesy of the Welcome Collection On 15 March 1790 Hannah Mills, a recently widowed young woman suffering from “melancholy,” was admitted to York […]

The journey into the blue

Annette Tuffs Heidelberg, Germany (Winter 2018)   Alfred Doblin, Copyright S. Fischer Verlag “And when I came back – I did not return. You are never the same person you were, when you left.” Thus wrote Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) in 1946, in the newspaper Badische Zeitung in Freiburg,1 a few months after ending his forced […]

The Legacy of Mercy Street Seekers

Ananya Mahapatra New Delhi, India   The Sexton Family during happier times.  Anne Sexton, her husband Alfred Muller Sexton II, and daughters Linda & Joy “In my dream, drilling into the marrow of my entire bone, my real dream, I’m walking up and down Beacon Hill searching for a street sign – namely MERCY STREET. […]

Six years and counting

Libanos Redda Seattle, Washington, USA (Winter 2018) The unnerving level of vigilance that anxiety patients maintain For the past six years, I have not been myself. Then again, the memory of my former self has grown a bit foggy over the years. Perhaps things were always this bad. Perhaps I have not changed much at […]

Mental Health in Michel Foucault’s The Birth of the Clinic and the limits of Medical Positivism

Taylor Tso St. Louis, Missouri, United States (Winter 2018)    “The Madhouse (Casa de locos). Francisco de Goya. In The Birth of the Clinic, Michel Foucault traces the history of our present-day understanding of disease. One of the most significant and more recent problems this understanding had to confront was the pre-nineteenth century outlook that […]

Geza Csath, in defense of interconnectedness

Gerda Kovacs Aalborg, Denmark (Winter 2018)   Enrique Simonet, La autopsia, Oil on canvas. Height: 177 cm (69.7 in.). Width: 291 cm (114.6 in). Museo de Málaga, Málaga, Andalusia, Spain “I would like to explode, flow, crumble into dust, and my disintegration would be my masterpiece.” – Emil Cioran, On the Heights of Despair   Geza […]

She changed her mind

Marlene Oscar Berman Boston, Massachusetts (Winter 2018)   The Extended Reward and Oversight System (EROS). Image A shows the major brain regions in EROS. Images B, C, and D show different views of a main fiber tract, the medial forebrain bundle (chartreuse), connecting the regions in EROS.7,9 Neuroscience is demonstrating that torment can be eliminated by altering […]

Emptiness Melancholia: depression sweet depression

Camila de Jesus Aquino Machado Minas Gerais, Brazil (Winter 2018)   The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality.i – Andrew Solomon   Ophelia, 1851 John Everett Millais. Oil on Canvas. Tate Britain, London, United Kingdom Vitality had seemed to seep away from me through the years, stopping me from feeling  joy, sadness, affection, and […]

Complexity and understanding

Travis Kirkwood Ontario, Canada (Winter 2018)   Do humans understand each other? There are profound and important facts to consider in any honest attempt to answer this question. The question is broad, but worth asking repeatedly. Modern writers and thinkers fail to fully appreciate the merit in marrying science and philosophy, which the great psychotherapists […]