Tag Archives: depression

Christian Sibelius: Finland’s first professor of psychiatry

Jonathan Davidson Durham, North Carolina, United States   Photo of Christian Sibelius taken c. 1915–1920 by Atelier Nyblin. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. When the name Sibelius is mentioned, most people will think of the famous Finnish composer, Jean. Outside of Scandinavia, few will know that Jean’s younger brother, Christian, achieved distinction in a very different […]

Clausewitz’s death: Cholera and melancholy

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Carl von Clausewitz. Via Wikimedia. “Sollte mich ein früher Tod in dieser Arbeit unterbrechen” (“If an early death should terminate my work”) — Carl von Clausewitz, Vom Kriege   Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz (1780–1831) was a Prussian general and military theorist who stressed the psychological and political aspects […]

Paruresis: “Shy bladder” syndrome

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Keep calm and carry on.” – British motivational poster, 1939   Sensor operated urinals, which offer very little privacy. Photo by Julo (Steve Mann) on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0. Paruresis is the fear of being unable to urinate without privacy. It is more than simple shyness or embarrassment, but is […]

Andersonville, Georgia and Elmira, New York: When Hell was on Earth

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here” — Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy   Andersonville Prison, Georgia. South end view of the stockade, showing the sentry stands in the distance. Photographed by A.J. Riddle, August 17, 1864. Library of Congress Liljenquist Family Collection. No known restrictions on publication. Elmira Prison, Elmira, […]

The mystique of psychiatry: a closer look

Lawrence Climo Lincoln, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by Larry Ayalo on Unsplash As a retired psychiatrist, I have been thinking about the mystique that surrounds our profession. Psychiatrists seem to trigger three provocative associations that set them apart from other physicians. The first, sometimes interpreted as a wish, is that psychiatrists read minds and therefore […]

Furniture of bones

D. Brendan Johnson Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States   Selvportrett i helvete [Self Portrait in Hell]. Edvard Munch. 1903. Munchmuseet. Via Wikimedia. “Would you like the new patient?” My senior resident offered me the next admission, a patient being stabilized in the emergency department after a suicide attempt. As a fresh medical student in the beginning […]

Remembrance of things past

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Photo by Anita Jankovic on Unsplash In these troubled times imposed by Covid-19, much attention has been paid to depression, stress, and complaints of enforced isolation and of longing for the old days—the “normal times.” In this and in other contexts, nostalgia is regarded as a normal sentiment […]

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 […]

Was Moses an alchemist?

S.E.S. Medina Benbrook, Texas, United States   Worshiping the golden calf, as in Exodus 32:1-35. Illustration from a Bible card published 1901 by the Providence Lithograph Company. Via Wikimedia. “And he took the (golden) calf which they had made, and burnt it in the fire, and ground it to powder, and scattered it upon the […]