Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: anxiety

  • Mental health issues in medical students: The prejudice and the injury

    Amairani Gómez RodríguezPuebla, Mexico   The Scream by Edvard Munch, 1893. National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway. I had my first panic attack at seventeen. Biochemistry was a total headache; no matter how hard I studied, it was never enough to pass. As a school overachiever, I had never experienced failure. I…

  • Interpreting René Magritte’s The Rape

    Mirjana Stojkovic-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia 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 lips, has breasts, a navel, and pubic hair. Such was typical of the work of this great in…

  • The Barbie doll syndrome

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “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 a doll in the US that was not modeled on a baby or small child, but rather on a young adult. The…

  • Herbert William Page and the railway spine controversy

    Jonathan DavidsonDurham, North Carolina, United States 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, it was clear that this revolutionary advance in transportation also caused many injuries that resulted in…

  • 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-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia 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 style and original ideas make him one of the…

  • “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 PearceHull, England, United Kingdom 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.— Alexander Pope The changing use and meaning of words are the daily bread of dictionary compilers. Long ago…

  • The doctor behind the labcoat

    Varun Raj PassiBangalore, India 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 sleep he would get, and in turn…