Tag Archives: anxiety

Interpreting René Magritte’s The Rape

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   The Rape. Oil painting by René Magritte, 1934. Menil Collection, Houston, TX, via Wikiart. Fair use. When exhibited by René Magritte in Brussels in 1930, The Rape was covered with a curtain so as not to cause a scandal. It depicts a woman’s face which, instead of eyes, nose, and […]

The Barbie doll syndrome

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   1959 first edition Barbie doll. Barbie copyright held by Mattel. Barbieologin on Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0. Fair use. “In all the years I’ve been a therapist, I’ve yet to meet a girl who likes her body.”1 – Mary Pipher, PhD, clinical psychologist   In 1959, the Mattel toy company introduced […]

Herbert William Page and the railway spine controversy

Jonathan Davidson Durham, North Carolina, United States   Figure 1. Herbert William Page. Archives of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. The first passenger railway journey resulted in the death of a prominent British politician.1 During the 1830s and 1840s,2 railway travel became a popular means of transport in Victorian Britain. By the 1850s, […]

Dancing with spiders: tarantellas and tarantism

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “There are always hysterical people undergoing extraordinary cures.” – Robertson Davies, The Cunning Man Etching of people dancing the tarantella and playing music as an antidote to a tarantula bite. Wellcome Collection. Public domain.   The industrial city of Taranto is in the “heel” of boot-shaped Italy. The Romans called […]

Robert James Graves MD FRS

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   He fed fevers Robert Graves Fig 1. Clinical Lectures on the Practice of Medicine   In Paris in 1828 there was a remarkable epidemic of acute sensori-motor polyneuropathy known as épidémie de Paris. Described by Auguste-Francois Chomel, the cause was a mystery.1 As a neurologist, my interest in […]

Traumatic experience and creativity: René Magritte

Mirjana Stojkovic-Ivkovic Belgrade, Serbia   The Lovers. René Magritte, 1928. Fair use. A painter’s creativity often results from artistic inspiration, but it can also be a manifestation of fear, pain, and suffering. René Magritte (1898–1967), a Belgian painter and great figure in modern art, expressed his thoughts and his feelings on the canvas. His unique […]

“It would be like I never existed”: two minutes with manic psychosis, 1978

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Foreword Photo by Isai Ramos on Unsplash Mental illness is often marginalized by non-psychiatric clinicians, yet it causes as much suffering, if not more, than physical illness. I was a medical student completing a rotation in psychiatry when I observed the encounter described here. The patient had […]

Hypochondria

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1: Cover of Hypochondriasis. A practical treatise by John Hill. Source. In words, as fashions, the same rule will hold; Alike fantastic, if too new, or old: Be not the first by whom the new are tried, Nor yet the last to lay the old aside. — […]

The doctor behind the labcoat

Varun Raj Passi Bangalore, India   “Sanjeev’s Phantasms” by Chetna VM. Sanjeev knew he was not asleep, and the very fact that he was conscious enough to know this made him worry. The relentless clicking of the wall-clock above his bedstead amplified his anxiety. He knew that the more clicks he registered now, the less […]

Past, present, and future of psychedelic medicine

Jennifer Keehn Baja California, Mexico   Photo by Merlin Lightpainting from Pexels While there are now more clinical trials than ever before on the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, the medicinal use of such substances is not new. Indigenous cultures worldwide have used plants, roots, vines, and fungi that produce altered states of consciousness in healing rituals […]