medical state of mind

night 1:
the moon was full tonight 
and so was my mind. 
it was racing with all these thoughts
and it was easier to turn off my phone off than these ideas. 
i wish sleep would come easier. 
ill just stare at the moon.

day 1:
i saw the sun for the first time in forever. 
but i peered at it from the safety of my sheets and pillows. 
the therapist said the medication would help my mental state of mind. 
i don’t know what that means but i know it isn’t working. 
the plate of food from yesterday was left untouched,
the lettuce wilting and caving in like my heart. 
i know i should go outside but i don’t want to. 
i don’t want to see the sun.

night 2:
the moon was back, but dimmed by clouds. 
i cried again. 
the numbing sensation isn’t as strong and i hate it. 
i want it to be stronger
i want it to be stronger than my will to live. 
and i know it already is. 
i wouldn’t wish for death as much if all i ever had
was that damn moon. 
no sun, no happiness, no brightness 
just the moon, and my everlasting thoughts.

day 2:
school didn’t wait for me to come back. 
my assignments pile up on the chair by my bed
but they are left untouched. 
the sun was out again today, brighter than ever. 
i despise the sun
i don’t want to see the light of day,
but to see the light of the moon cascading 
through my window and dancing across the walls. 
i refuse to go outside. 
i would wish death on me than to go near sunlight.

night 3:
i am weak
food has not touched my stomach in 4 days now
for i can’t even choke it down without wanting to dig it out of me.
the therapist thinks i am ill, the flu perhaps. 
i am ill, but no, no. 
it’s not the flu
the flu doesn’t last 7 months and randomly flares up
or calms down. 
that’s the depression talking. 
the moon was out tonight again 
which i guess i can say that good
at least i know i can rely on something to always be there. 
i never want the sun to come up. 
just the damn moon.

—  sun vs moon (via aloseshermind )

“Look, Nobby, when all’s said and done they ain’t the right color, and there’s an end to it.”
“Good job you found out, Fred!” said Nobby, so cheerfully that Sergeant Colon was almost sure he meant it.
“Well, it’s obvious,” he conceded.
“Er… what is the right color?” said Nobby.
“White, of course!”
“Not brick-red, then? ‘Cos you–”
“Are you winding me up, Corporal Nobbs?”
“‘Course not, sarge. So… what color am I?”
That caused Sergeant Colon to think. You could have found, somewhere on Corporal Nobbs, a shade appropriate to every climate on the disc and a few found only in specialist medical books.
“White’s… white’s a state of, you know… mind,” he said. “It’s like… doing an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, that sort of thing. And washing regular.”
“Not lazing around, sort of thing.”
“Right.”
“Or… like… working all hours like Goriff does.”
“Nobby–”
“And you never see those kids of his with dirty clo–”
“Nobby, you’re just trying to get me going, right? You know we’re better’n Klatchians. Otherwise, what’s the point?”

– what’s the point | Terry Pratchett, Jingo

Cherokee Medicine

“Didanawisgi is the Cherokee word for medicine man. A common thread woven through all Native American remedies is the idea of “wellness” a term recently picked up by some in the modern medical professions. A state of “wellness” is described as “harmony between the mind, body and spirit.” The Cherokee word “tohi” - health - is the same as the word for peace. You’re in good health when your body is at peace. The “medicine circle” has no beginning and no end and therefore represents a concept of “harmonious unity.”

Cherokee medicine is a prevention-based system that incorporates the whole person, rather than the cure-based system that is used by most modern doctors of medicine today, which focuses on the disease. It is the belief among American Indian “doctors” that to achieve wellness we must have a strong connection to all things natural and both create and receive harmony not only within ourselves, but also in all our relationships. Once harmony is restored, illness and other health distortions simply disappear. To some, this would be a “cure.” In the Cherokee tradition, this is just good health - the way it should be.

Here the goal is to first help the patient recover - to cure the sickness rather than treat the symptoms- to help the patient find his or her balance - the harmony of our living. The ceremony performed is as important as the potion or salve made from the plants or herbs. This is what is now known as holistic healing - a healing of the complete person.

The United States Pharmacopoeia, which is the modern doctor’s drug Bible, (companion to the Physician’s Desk Reference or PDR -the one that lists all the known side effects of every drug used by modern doctors), first appeared in 1820, and listed over two hundred drugs used by american Indians and aquired from natural plants. Those 200 cures represented 90% of what was listed in that first Pharmacopoeia. Since then, 1000s of new drugs have been chemically created in labs which try to replicate and alter the active ingredients in plants already perfected by nature.

There is a legend among the Cherokee that tells of the origin of medicine. It tells how the animals and birds met in council to decide what to do about the encroachment of man upon their world and how carelessly he was treating them. One by one they listed ailments and maladies that would afflict the humans. Had they succeeded, humans would surely have disappeared by now. But nearby, listening to the council were the plants and herbs and, not being troubled by the humans, they agreed to supply a remedy for each and every one of the diseases the animals wanted to thrust upon humankind.

Cherokee Medicine Men

Cherokee medicine people can be male or female. They believe there are evil medicine people and good ones. In fact, there are many kinds of medicine people in the Cherokee culture. Just as many modern doctors specialize in one area of expertise, so do most natural healers. Most medicine people are really good at curing some things, and don’t even try to cure others. And like modern medicine practitioners, there are still a few general practitioners who will try to treat most things, but will refer you to someone else if it’s something beyond their personal knowledge.

When something happens outside their realm of understanding, that cannot be explained by the rules of their culture, Cherokee people will say someone has been practicing bad medicine.

The Cherokee believe in witchcraft, but not in the context witches are thought of in anglo cultures. There are two kinds of witches in cherokee culture: ordinary witches and killer witches. Ordinary witches are considered more dangerous since a person can never be sure he is dealing with one, and they are more difficult to detect and counteract. They may deceive a medicine person, and cause them to prescribe the wrong cure if not guarded against. One killer witch who is still spoken of often today, and is mentioned in many Cherokee legends of the Cherokee Nation is the Raven Mocker.

Cherokee medicine men and women study for many years, and learn specific treatments from a written Cherokee syllabary given to them by their mentors. It is forbidden for anyone to look at this book if it isn’t theirs, and it is often written in code, or parts are passed on verbally to keep the whole from falling into the wrong hands. Medicine ceremonies which are incomplete or performed out of context can do more harm than good and in the hands of the untrained can be downright dangerous.

Some Cherokee people see only Cherokee medicine people for mental or physical illnesses. Others prefer a combination of treatment from a medicine man and conventional modern medicine. Some Cherokees no longer believe in the powers of traditional medicine people.
The Cherokee Medicine Apprentice (tsila)

Cherokee medicine (nvwoti) is an ancient system of medical/spiritual knowledge and practices that developed over the last 3,000-4,000 years.Training in Cherokee medicine takes 15-20 years and the apprentice (tsila) needs to master seven interconnected areas of knowledge:

1. Herbal Medicine - an in-depth knowledge of 400-600 plants, their medicinal and ceremonial uses as well as the plants “personality”. Many apprentices/medicine people today only know 100-200 of these plants and their uses.

2. Physical Medicine - including the unique Cherokee massage (hiskoliya) using persimmon woodstampers, moxabustion, minor surgery, and midwifery.

3. Dreamwork - not only how to interpret dreams, but how to use them for personal growth, healing, and to gain knowledge.

4. Language/Myths/Laws - Cherokee is a language of amazing subtlety and power. The tsila learns not only the subtleties of every day spoken Cherokee, but a separate “medicine” language. Stories, myths, and laws give meaning to the world and help us to understand our place in the Great Life.

5. Ceremonies - the Cherokee traditionally had 7 major ceremonies, 6 of which marked the important yearly cycles, such as the first new moon of Spring, green corn harvest, mature corn harvest, falling leaves festival, and the beginning of winter/exulting ceremony. Many of these ceremonies are still done today and are as meaningful now, if not more so, than in times past.

Ceremonial practice also includes various types of personal, family, community, and national ceremonies that help maintain balance within the individual, the family, the community, and the nation.

6. The laws of nature - keen observers, the Cherokee have for thousands of years paid attention to the world around them. This collected body of knowledge is extensive and it explains why things act as they do and the cause and effect of their interrelationship - why animals behave certain ways,how the sun and moon interrelate, how men and women interact, the nature of water, the fire, the earth (ela), and so on.

7. Conjuring - although there is no really good word in English to describe this, various words -conjuring, magic, manipulation, partially explain this practice. This is the ability to enlist the aid of spirits and elemental powers to change things, to heal or doctor, to “change one’s mind”, to bring luck and to protect the sick or weak from negative influences. In some Christian churches, this is called faith healing.

When the world was still young, the Cherokee (ani yvwiya) received much of their traditional medicine and ceremony from two sources. Stone Clad (nvyunuwi), an ancient wizard (ada'wehi), showed the people the dual nature of life. First he preyed on the Cherokee, then later when they killed him he gave them many of their songs, ceremonies and formulas.

To the Cherokee, the use of herbs is only one tool of many necessary for regaining one’s health. Traditionally it was (and still is) believed that it is crucial to not only heal one’s body, mind and spirit, but to re-integrate the ill person with the family, the community and the Earth. This is a holistic perspective beyond our culture’s limited understanding. None of us can truly be well unless we recognize our connection to the rest of the Great Life.

Cherokee medicinal plant chart

Black Cohosh (Cimcifuga racemosa_ - rheumatism, andodyne, emmenagogue,backache.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) - coughs, fungal infections, antiseptic.

Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides) - nervine, parturient, andodyne, rheumatism.

Butternut bark (Juglans cineria) - laxative, liver tonic.

Collinsonia (Collinsonia canadensis) - swollen breasts, sore throat.

Ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) - adaptogen, bitter tonic, nervous problems.

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) - stomachic, bitter tonic, antiseptic.

Lobelia (Lobelia) - inflataemetic, antispasmodic-palsy, expectorant.

Mayapple (Podophyllin peltatum) - laxative, cathartic.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) - liver pain, earache, nervine.

Pink Root (Spigelia marilandica) - vermifuge.

Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa) -expectorant, heart trouble, bronchitis, pleurisy.

Poke Root (Phytolacca americana) - rheumatism, skin conditions, as poultice for swollen breasts.

Prickly Ash (Xanthoxyllum spp.) - arthritis, joint pain.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) - skin problems, rheumatism, eyewash,carminative, gout.

Slippery Elm (Ulmus fulva) - bulk laxative, diarrhea, sore throat, heartburn.

Tobacco (Nicotiana rustica) - antiseptic, expectorant, emetic, antispasmodic,tetanus, snake bite.

Wild Indigo (Baptisia tinctora) -emetic, purgative, as poultice for inflammation and gangrene.

Wild Yam (Dioscorea villosa) - heart pain, intestinal pain, menstrual pain.

Witch Hazel (Hammamelis virginiana) - sore throat, bath sores, bruises, rheumatism,tuberculosis.

Cherokee pharmacopoeia of medicinal plants and herbal remedies

The botanical diversity in Western North Carolina is extensive; it is estimated that in times past the average ani yvwiya would have been familiar with 100-200 plants and a medicine priest (didahnewisgi) might know as many as 600 useful plants. From this tremendous quantity of available plants, many commonly used Cherokee medicines made their way into American medical practice.

We can thank the Cherokee and othe rEastern native peoples for introducing many of our most popular botanical remedies. While many useful plants became widely used by herbalists and physicians, others were underutilized or totally neglected. Today, many herbalists limit their materia medica to a small variety of herbs. This over-reliance on a few plants has contributed to the decimation of many wild plant populations. (i.e. Ginseng,Ladies Slipper, Goldenseal, Bethroot, and more recently Echinacea angustifolia, Lomatium, and Helonias).

Are we using these plants with respect? The Cherokee use a great variety of medicines not only to prevent overutilization of species, but also because they believe that every plant has its specific use in relationship to human ailments.

Contributions Towards a Cherokee Pharmacopoeia

Each plant in this obviously partial listing is an effective medicine and, equally important, is abundant throughout large areas of the U. S. or is easy to cultivate.

BALMONY (Chelone glabra)
Taste: bitter
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: herb
Dosage: Herb tea: 1 tsp. dried herb to 8 oz. of water, steep 1 hour. Drink 4 oz. before meals.
Dosage: Extract: 30-40 drops, 3 times per day.
Western classification: aperient, anthelmintic, bitter tonic, cholagogue.

Balmony or Turtlehead is a beautiful herb with either white or pink flowers (C. lyoni). It grows in damp deciduous woods and is frequently found along side of small branches (creeks). Balmony is an effective digestive bitter: stimulating saliva, gastric, liver and gall bladder secretions. It is especially useful for people with poor fat metabolism, usually accompanied by gas, nausea, belching and a chronically sluggish bowel.

Associated skin problems ( psoriasis, eczema or acne) and non-hepatitis jaundice respond to its effects as well. Mixed with other anthelmintics (Elecampane, Garlic, Wormseed, Quassia) it is useful in treating pinworms andgiardia.

DOGWOOD (Cornus florida)
Taste: bitter
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: bark, flower, berries
Cherokee Name: kanvsita
Western Classification: anodyne, antiperiodic, antispasmodic, astringent, bittertonic.
Dosage: Bark tea: ½ tsp. dried bark to 8 oz. of water. Decoct 15 minutes, steep ½ hour.Drink 4 oz. 3 - 4 times per day.

The Dogwood is a small shrubby tree, with lovely early spring flowers. The white flowers (they areactually sepals) have been used as a substitute for Chamomile for colds, colic and flu. The bark was once used similarly to quinine for malaria and other periodic fevers. It is still useful for many chronic fevers, especially if accompanied by diarrhea or muscle aches (Dengue fever). Lower back pain, prolapsed uterus and musclespasms (legs and feet) all respond to regular use of the tea. Mixed with Butternut Bark, Dogwood is effective for pinworms in children. Externally the bark poultice can be used as a wash for bed sores and ulcers.

DWARF GINSENG (Panax trifolium)
Taste: sweet, bitter
Energy: cool, moist
Part Used: root, leaf
Cherokee Name: yunwi usdi
Western Classification: adaptogen, carminative, nutritive.
Dosage: Leaf tea: 1 tsp. dried leaf to 8 oz. of water, steep 1 hour. Drink 2-3 cups per day.

The small, delicate Dwarf Ginseng is a common spring ground cover in Eastern deciduous woods. The small bulbs are edible (rather bland and starchy) and can be cooked in winter stews to strengthen the lungs and resistance to colds. The leaves (which contain Ginsenosides) are added to almost any traditional herb formula to increase its effectiveness and activity. The Dwarf Ginseng, like its larger relative, is used for fatigue, nervous exhaustion, allergies, anorexia and depleted conditions such as chronic fatigue, TB and mononucleosis.

RABBIT TOBACCO (Gnaphalium obtusifolium)
Taste: sweet, bitter
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: herb
Cherokee Name: katsuta equa
Western Classification: astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant,nervine.
Dosage: Herb tea: 1-2 tsp. dried herb to 8 oz. of water, steep 40 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups per day.

Common in fields and clearings, Rabbit Tobacco is frequently found in Cherokee homes as a remedy. The tea is used for colds, flu, coughs, diarrhea, strep throat and children’s fevers. Mixed with other medicines it is also used for colitis (with Wild Yam and Catnip), asthma (with Lobelia, Wild Cherry Bark and Sweet Cicily) and vaginal candidiasis (with Yellow Root). Externally the tea is applied to cuts, sore muscles and bruises.The leaves are chewed by some people in preference to Tobacco, others mix the two to moderate Tobacco'semetic qualities.

SOURWOOD (Oxydendron arborum)
Taste: sour
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: leaf
Cherokee Name: udoqueya
Western Classification: antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, nervine.
Dosage: Leaf tea: 2 tsp. dried leaf to 8 oz. of water, steep 40 minutes. Drink 2-3 cups per day.

Sourwood with its racemes of white bell-like flowers is a favorite pollen source for mountain bees. The honey from this source is famous for its unique taste and fragrance. In contrast to the honey’s sweetness, the leaves are tart and drying. The leaf tea is an effective urinary tract antiseptic primarily due to its arbutin content. Chronic UTIs with burning urine respond well to its soothing action; it is also beneficial for BPH. The tea is also frequently used for apthous stomatata, thrush, edema, chronic prostatitis, diarrhea, nervous stomach and frazzled nerves (a nice hot cup of the tea with a generous dollop of sourwood honey works wonders!).

SPICEBUSH (Lindera benzoin)
Taste: pungent, sweet
Energy: warm, dry
Part Used: bark, leaf, fruit
Cherokee Name: nodatsi
Western Classification: antiseptic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue,expectorant.
Dosage: Bark/Herb tea: 1 tsp. dried herb to 8 oz. of water, steep 1 hour (covered).Drink 2 -3 cups per day.

Spicebush is one of the most common understory shrubs throughout second or third growth Eastern forests. Early in the spring it is covered with small yellow flowers which perfume the air. Every part of Spicebush (aka Spicewood) is medicinal; the tea of this herb is used extensively for colds, flu, coughs, nausea,indigestion, croup, flatulence and amenorrhea. The inhaled steam is used to clear clogged sinuses and the decoction of the twigs makes a soothing bath for arthritic pain (some of the tea is also taken internally). Spicebush is also commonly used as a beverage tea and the fruits can be used as a spice in baking.

SUMACH (Rhus glabra, R. copallina, R. typhina)
Taste: sour
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: berry, bark
Cherokee Name: qualagu
Western Classification: alterative (bark), antiseptic, astringent, diuretic.
Dosage: Berry tea: 1 tsp. dried fruit to 8 oz. of water, steep 30 minutes. Drink 2 - 4 cups per day.Bark tea: ½ tsp. dried bark to 8 oz. of water. Decoct 15 minutes, steep 1 hour. Drink 4 oz., 3 times per day.

Sumachs are small shrubby trees that have highly visible clusters of bright red berries each autumn. Its toxic relative Poison Sumach (R. vernix) has white fruit and prefers swampy areas instead of the dry open environment where other sumachs are found. Sumach berry tea is highly effective for urinary tract infections (itacidifies the urine), thrush, apthous stomatata, ulcerated mucous membranes, gingivitis and some cases of bedwetting (irritated bladder). The fruit tea can be taken hot or chilled as a refreshing beverage similar in taste to Hibiscus or Rose Hips. The bark is a strong astringent (used for diarrhea, menorrhagia) and it has an effect onthe female hormonal system. Traditional the bark is used for alleviating menopausal discomfort (hot flashes,sweating) and as a galactogogue. Externally the berry or bark tea has been used as a wash for blisters, burns and oozing sores. In middle eastern countries, the dried fruit is ground into a powder and used much as Americans use paprika in daily cooking.

SWEET CICILY (Osmorhiza claytoni)
Taste: sweet
Energy: warm, moist
Part Used: root
Western Classification: carminative, demulcent, expectorant, immune tonic, nutritive.
Dosage: Root tea: 1 tsp. dried root to 8 oz. of water. Steep 2 hours (cooking 3-4 hours is evenbetter). Drink 2-3 cups per day.

Sweet Cicily is a small herbaceous member of the Apiaceae family. Growing in moist woodlands, it is easy to overlook until you sample its sweet anise-tasting root. Cherokee have long considered this root to bean important medicine for increasing strength, weight and resistance to disease. The tea can be used for colds, sore throats, dry coughs, flu and digestive disturbances (gastritis, nausea, gas). Sweet Cicily strengthens what the Chinese call the “wei qi”, making it useful for preventing colds and other external pernicious influences.The root can be used as a substitute for licorice or astragalus with many similar applications.

TULIP TREE (Liriodendron tulipifera)
Taste: bitter
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: bark
Cherokee Name: tsiyu
Western Classification: anodyne, astringent, bitter tonic, febrifuge.
Dosage: Bark tea: 1-2 tsp. dried bark to 8 oz. of water. Decoct 20 minutes, steep 1 hour.Drink 4 oz. 3 times per day.

Tulip Tree or Tulip Poplar is a large, straight growing member of the Magnolia family. Its yellow, green and orange flowers are large and showy and they mature into a densely packed cone of winged seeds. The smooth young bark harvested in the spring makes a wonderful basket perfect for gathering herbs or berries. This same bark is used as a medicine for periodic fevers, diarrhea, pinworms, as a digestive aid and for rheumatic pain. The decoction is used as a bath for fractures, sprains, hemorrhoids and is applied to snakebites received in dreams (if left untreated, traumatic arthritis will often develop in the area bitten).

YELLOW ROOT (Xanthorhiza simplicissima)
Taste: bitter
Energy: cool, dry
Part Used: root

Cherokee Name: dalanei

Western Classification: antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, bitter tonic,cholagogue.

Dosage: Root tea: 1-2 tsp. dried root to 8 oz. of water. Decoct 10 minutes, steep 1 hour.Drink 2 cups per day. Extract: 20-40 drops, 2-3 times per day.
Yellow root is a shrubby berberine containing plant that is found growing along branches and springs.It is abundant throughout the southeast and is regularly substituted for the increasingly scarce Golden Seal. Xanthorhiza is milder than Hydrastis but is more appropriate for long term use. It is especially effective as a digestion/liver bitter for people with sluggish bowels, a tendency towards hemorrhoids and faulty fat digestion. Mixed with fresh Black Walnut hull extract and Spilanthes, Yellow Root is an effective treatment for local thrush,(vaginal candidiasis) and systemic candidiasis. The tea makes a soothing gargle for strep throat,apthous stomatata, ulcerated mucus membranes, herpes and pyorrhea. Externally it is useful for conjunctivitis, bedsores, bleeding hemorrhoids, ringworm and athletes foot.”

I’ve been staying out of The Discourse so far because I only have so many precious years on this earth left, but I read something just now that makes me want to finally say something.

A widely-beloved and accomplished YA novelist recently made a post about a character who she had decided to portray as asexual. She used the phrasing, “asexual so far”, or something to that effect.

Immediately someone replied, very angry, that it was inappropriate to use “so far” to refer to an asexual character.

Now, If tumblr had existed back when I was a young teenager, I would have seized onto the “asexual” identity like a drowning person seizing onto a life preserver. As it turned out, I didn’t learn that asexuality was A Thing until I was twenty years old, and when I did, I was like, yes oh wow this is me! Awesome! A word! It was super cool to realize that I wasn’t alone. This is why, first of all, I think that asexuality is a useful and valuable label.

What asexuality is not, however, is an immutable identity. In the years since I first discovered the word “asexual” and what it means to the people who identify with it, including myself, I’ve thought a lot about this distinction. 

The thing is, there are so many things throughout a person’s life, especially when they’re young, that affect their libido and their sexual feelings: your hormone levels, medications, medical conditions, states of mind, self-confidence, mental health… and even just getting older. Your sexual urges, or lack thereof, naturally change throughout your life. They’re supposed to. Someone who identifies as asexual one year may well find their feelings changing the next. And that’s fine

This is why I believe “asexual” might even be kind of unhealthy to treat as one’s permanent identity. If, later on in life, you do start to feel sexual attraction, and guilt and inner conflict over “losing” your identity make you try to push those feelings aside, that’s harmful and unfair to yourself.

If the label “asexual” makes you feel feel good and comforted, use it. That’s how it’s made me feel. But it’s important to keep it flexible. Keep yourself flexible. If your asexuality winds up being “for now”, there’s nothing wrong with that— just relax, and roll with whatever your body decides it wants. You’re still you.

And for god’s sake cut well-meaning beloved YA authors trying to incorporate diverse identities into their works a little slack. Come on, guys.

night 1:
the moon was full tonight
and so was my mind.
it was racing with all these thoughts
and it was easier to turn off my phone off than these ideas.
i wish sleep would come easier.
ill just stare at the moon.

day 1:
i saw the sun for the first time in forever.
but i peered at it from the safety of my sheets and pillows.
the therapist said the medication would help my mental state of mind.
i don’t know what that means but i know it isn’t working.
the plate of food from yesterday was left untouched,
the lettuce wilting and caving in like my heart.
i know i should go outside but i don’t want to.
i don’t want to see the sun.

night 2:
the moon was back, but dimmed by clouds.
i cried again.
the numbing sensation isn’t as strong and i hate it.
i want it to be stronger
i want it to be stronger than my will to live.
and i know it already is.
i wouldn’t wish for death as much if all i ever had
was that damn moon.
no sun, no happiness, no brightness
just the moon, and my everlasting thoughts.

day 2:
school didn’t wait for me to come back.
my assignments pile up on the chair by my bed
but they are left untouched.
the sun was out again today, brighter than ever.
i despise the sun
i don’t want to see the light of day,
but to see the light of the moon cascading
through my window and dancing across the walls.
i refuse to go outside.
i would wish death on me than to go near sunlight.

night 3:
i am weak
food has not touched my stomach in 4 days now
for i can’t even choke it down without wanting to dig it out of me.
the therapist thinks i am ill, the flu perhaps.
i am ill, but no, no.
it’s not the flu
the flu doesn’t last 7 months and randomly flares up
or calms down.
that’s the depression talking.
the moon was out tonight again
which i guess i can say that good
at least i know i can rely on something to always be there.
i never want the sun to come up.
just the damn moon.

—  sun vs moon
"Christmas Tube Socks" by Sufjan Stevens

Christmas was a time of terrible expectation, during which, for one week prior to the fateful day, our family was confined to the claustrophobia of our winterized home, forced to “spend time together”. For a family who mixed like vinegar and baking soda, this was a cosmic blooper. My siblings and I were out of school for two weeks, but, unlike summer vacation, (with the various distractions of summer camp and summer jobs), during Christmas break, we were snowed in on all sides, cooped up in small, poorly insulated rooms, and forced, by our father, into the manual labor of household chores: hauling wood, sweeping the stairs, picking fleas from our dog Sarah. This was his version of Family Time.

My father survived the holidays through work, taking on multiple jobs, double shifts, or implementing odd, complicated, time-consuming chores around the house, such as shoveling two-lane walkways in the snow in the yard, and an escape route to the creek out back, in case of an emergency. He joined civic clubs, became a volunteer fireman, attended multiple self-help groups, anything to keep his mind away from the notion that his family was, in fact, a messy, fussy, dysfunctional menagerie of misfits. As for his children, confined inside, breathing recycled air – we fought all day. My sisters, having more prep time in the bathroom in the mornings, hissed and yelled over hair gels and curing irons. “Did you eat my lipstick?” “Did you break my nail file?” My older brother and I would find ourselves writhing, biting, and wrestling under the Christmas tree, overturning bookcases, TV stands and sofa chairs. My father would jump in, separate us, give us a slap on the face and ask: “What are you fighting about?” We could never remember.

Each year, our mother carried the impossible burden of making Christmas “spectacular”, and this often threw her into a psychological state of mind one could describe, in medical terms, as temporary insanity. She spent money she didn’t have, lots of money, imaginary money, money based on speculation, future jobs, hopes and dreams, the kind of money promised by lottery tickets and Amway. Her motives, perhaps, were good: who could blame a mother’s desire to make Christmas perfect for an otherwise imperfect family. But the results, over time, were incriminating. Credit cards engorged and then ignored, bounced checks, money borrowed from distant relatives, great grandfathers, next-door neighbors, train sets and suit coats and wool vests from J. C. Penney put on lay-away, sometimes for years. She brought home elaborate Christmas wreaths, scented candle sets, music boxes, decorative Christmas plates with Elvis, Gene Kelly, and Winona Ryder, designer snow suits, a family toboggan, a Saint Bernard, a Jeep Cherokee. Each item brought home, whether big or small, ignited, between our parents, complicated, colossal disputes as epic as the battles of the Odyssey or the Iliad, Often resulting in egg salad smeared all over the bay window or pots and pans thrown about the kitchen with the pageantry of a Texas high school marching band. In the most heated of arguments, our mother would run to the tree, grab an inconsequential gift (breath mints, a paper kite, a gift certificate), and throw it in the wood stove – an impulsive, spiteful, and (most likely) cathartic gesture. She would stand over the flames like a high priest making a sacrifice, counting down backwards, from ten to one, breathing deeply between each number, ruminating on the incineration of an unopened present. It must have been metaphor for something deeper. But what?

And this is where I began to really hate Christmas. One year, when it snowed 72 inches in two days, and my sister started her period, and my mother brought home sixteen pounds of discount jumbo shrimp from Wal-Mart, and my father reminded her that he was allergic to shellfish and his face would swell up, and our dog chewed up the Encyclopedia Britannica, and our cousin called and said that Aunt Josie had died in her sleep and my mother started to cry and declared Christmas was cancelled. Then she stomped over to the tree, grabbed the first gift she could find and threw it in the wood stove with a quick flick of her wrist, like swatting a fly.

“There, it’s done,” she said. “I feel much better.” But the gift she chose happened to be a six-pack of ordinary tube socks, wrapped in plastic. Which I had bought as a peace offering for my brother. (The week before, I’d cut the toes to all of his socks – using my mother’s good sewing scissors – after he’d told all my friends at school that I still sucked my thumb and slept with a Care Bear.)

“I paid good money for those!” I told her.

“Oh dear,” my mother said, stepping back from the stove. But it was too late. They were cheap, acrylic, dollar-store tube socks, manufactured in China, spun out of pliable man-made materials, synthetic fibers, which, when burned, began to melt, ooze, liquefy, and bubble over, triggered, perhaps, by some extraordinary and complicated chemical reaction. The smell was harrowing – a dense, bold, toxic aroma, the Smell of Death (as we later called it) which, when metabolized in the gloomy atmosphere of our home, spread from room to room in a noxious smoky haze, lilting under doorways and air vents with the speed and agility of hot lava. We were being suffocated in our own house. My mother ran out the front door; I found the nearest window.

“What is that smell?” My sister screamed from her bedroom. “The Smell of Death!”

It forced everyone else in the house to immediately abandon his or her particular private tasks (for my sister, it was nail polish remover, for my brother, a home-made fire bomb he’d been building under his bed) and seek immediate egress outdoors. We met in the winter maze of the driveway, feet stamping, shoulders shuddering, tsk tsking each other, inhaling the icy air of a blizzard, watching our father leap around inside, leveraging windows, propping doors, fanning the smoke and fumes with a folded newspaper.

“Good going!” my sister rolled her eyes.

“Next time, buy cotton,” my mother suggested.

“Why is this my fault?” I wondered.

“Because you’re a cheap-o,” my brother said, jabbing my collarbone. I kicked snow in his face and he punched my ear and my sister screamed because she lost an earring and my mother started counting backwards from ten to one, mumbling prayers under her breath.

It took forty-five minutes for the air to clear, and even then, after we’d returned to the chilly reaches of our rooms, there was the faint smell of burnt tube socks lurking between the walls, behind doors, nestled in the window curtains and in the bath towels and in the hair on our heads. It stuck around for weeks, months, years; perhaps it never left us. Even today, whether I’m at home in Brooklyn or in some distant East Asian country, Christmas still leaves a plastic taste in my mouth, a toxic residue that reminds me of tube socks.

Is it any wonder then, that after years of enduring the Stevens Family Christmas Crisis, I grew to despise the Holidays with the kind of deep antipathy one usually reserves for things like racism and terrorism and corporate fraud? The sight of Santa Claus at shopping malls, the scent of candy canes, the insipid singing of carols – these things roused in me a silent, sardonic, patronizing judgment against all of Western Civilization. At some point, perhaps my second year in college, Philosophy 101, I decided that Christmas was a social construct, along with dating, fast food, and the Super Bowl. I made a point of not coming home for the Holidays. I would have Christmas on my own, entrenched in my reading: Rumi poems, Descartes, the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Ayn Rand. My first Christmas alone was in a dorm room. My second Christmas alone was at a Holiday Inn. My third Christmas alone was spent in a dirty little apartment in Bloomfield, New Jersey, a turkey pot pie in the microwave, Jeopardy re-runs on TV, Simon and Garfunkel on the stereo. I am a Rock. I am an Island.

My sister called to say, “Why aren’t you coming home anymore?”

Because, I told her, our mother is a Christmas Pirate and our father puts duct tape on his slippers, and the Siamese cat throwing up pine needles all over Grandma’s gingerbread house is not my idea of a family tradition. Because if I have to carry another load of wood up those stairs I will file a child labor lawsuit. Because Christmas is for sentimental psychopaths and if we continue celebrating it we will all spend our golden years in a mental hospital eating canned peas with a spork.

My sister told me I was irrational and deluded, but very imaginative and perhaps I should write a novel. That was a good idea, I told her. So I tried. And failed. And tried and failed. “Revenge of the Christmas Pirate,” by Sufjan Stevens. “That Was the Worst Christmas Ever,” by Sufjan Stevens. I read some of it out loud to my sister, over the phone.
“I like the part about the dead squirrel wrapped in tissue paper that Dad gave as a stocking stuffer,” she said. “But you know that never actually happened.”
“Yes it did,” I insisted. “Everything’s one-hundred percent accurate.”
“You need therapy,” my sister said. “Or a girlfriend.”

But what I really needed was time – the slow, immeasurable convalescence that comes with getting older, wiser, more mature, and to withstand the intellectual conditioning of college and graduate, the automation of office jobs, numerous cubicles, desk-top publishing, the morning commute, failed romantic relationships, a nervous breakdown, a death in the family, a root canal, unemployment, a recurring cold sore, weekends slouched over the classifieds, wondering how I would pay off my credit card debt. Over time, in the midst of everyday life, I completely forgot all about Christmas and how I hated it.

And this is how I came to love Christmas. Through the regular household task of making pancakes. It was a time in my life in which all extraordinary privileges had been rigorously swept away, leaving behind nothing more than the naked underlay of loneliness. I was unemployed, unshaven, living in a closet in a friend’s apartment in Brooklyn, delinquent on my student loans, eating day-old potato bread, Ramen noodles, and on this particularly apathetic morning in dearly December, I was ruminating on the dietary constituents of Aunt Jemima pancakes – the cheapest of morning breakfasts (you just add water!). I had accidentally left a spatula on the stove with the burner on high, and, within seconds, the whole thing went up in flames with a dripping, oozing, pungent, chemical eruption like a bad high school science project. I hustled to the rescue, dousing the flames with a nearby glass of milk, suffocating what was left of the spatula with a dirty dishrag (oh the trials of bachelorhood). But the residual smell (a plastic, toxic, peppery aftertaste) was irrefutable and all too familiar – the smell of burnt tube socks. And, for some odd reason, this singular smell sent me into a tragic-comic-sentimental shock that was simultaneously mundane and supernatural. I was having an epiphany.

I did not jump up in with ecstatic salutations, shout “Eureka!” or levitate like a phantom ghost. But I was overcome with what I can only describe as That Creepy Christmas Feeling. This pertains to that prolonged, numbing, out-of-body experience you often encounter after weeks consuming egg nog, mild chocolate candies, fruit salad, cranberry sauce, entertaining family and friends, attending Christmas mass, trailblazing superstores for discount appliances, regurgitating small talk to second cousins, deconstructing the rhyme schemes on holiday greeting cards, cutting out coupons, watching animated Christmas cartoons on TV, having an allergic reaction to pine cones, breaking out in hives, and spending New Years Day in the emergency room with everyone too hung over to visit you. The muddy plastic malodor from a melted spatula (prompting that consequential memory of tube socks) induced all of this at once – like a drug overdose. They say that smells persuade memory more vividly than pictures or sound, that our olfactory system carries with it a catalog of sensory data that can, when stimulated, call to mind entire memories, histories, events, all kinds of valuable information once thought forgotten. What came over me was not just the inconsequential stench of footwear thrown in the fire, but a complete recollection of important events in my life, the good and the bad, the blessings and misfortunes, and inventory of calamities and a register of lucky breaks, fist fights, bear hugs, overturned Advent candles, digital wrist watches, chimney fires, ruby earrings, blue jeans, tennis shoes, mistletoe, my first kiss. And with all these things I came to comprehend the formation of genealogies, family histories, a genetic superstructure that could be used describe – in microcosmic terms – the order of the universe.

And at the very center of the universe I saw the Christ Child, an infant baby, helplessly crying, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger, trembling and suckling and cooing and burping and crying and laughing and giggling and spitting up breast milk all over the place. This was the mysterious incarnation of God, who came to Planet Earth not as a Divine Warrior or a Supernatural Sorcerer or an Army of Alien Androids, but as a helpless newborn baby, probably not much bigger than a six pack of acrylic tube socks. Or maybe a twelve pack.

Chapter Close

It has been a long time since I have been on Tumblr and a lot has changed. My long absence came without much explanation and for that I owe everyone an apology.

The past few months have seen a paradigm shift in the work that I do. No longer am I a resident or a student bound to the obligations of a rotation, a team, or a superior. I now have the exciting but scary prospect of being the captain of my own ship. When it comes to decision making, I answer only to myself and my patients without a third party, and now must do right by both parties. It has been a lot of responsibility to shoulder.

In that adjustment period, I have travelled across the province and locumed for a number of clinics and physicians and gained confidence in my skills. It has also exposed some of my inadequacies and shown me areas to improve in the coming years.

The entire time the focus has been on righting this ship and plotting a course forward. The tides have eased and the winds steadied. And thus it was time to direct my attention elsewhere, to here.

I have had some time to reflect about this blog and my experience here. It is an encapsulation of six years of my life, a chapter forged in medicine, in humanity, in relationships. It has involved both on the page and off, successes and failures of my life. Lives saved and lives lost.

I honestly do not believe I would be the same person without having this outlet for myself.

Yet as I continue onward, I am not sure what to do with this part of my life. Can it continue to be an outlet where I can express myself honestly about my work and my life? Or would it encroach upon what is professionally acceptable?

I have always tried to be honest and true to myself while walking that fine line, seeking balance in what I say and what I portray on the Medical State of Mind. As a staff, this task could become more difficult.

I would very much value your opinion on this matter. I appreciate all of the love and support you all have given me all of these years.

I have not yet made up my mind about this blog’s future. It may continue to exist in some for or another or I may start anew with a fresh face or under a new name. But one way or another this chapter has come to a close.

Thank you again for your continued readership and support through thick and thin. Here or there, I will see you when I see you.

Sincerely,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind

Five Years of Medical State of Mind.

Yesterday was the five year anniversary for the start of this blog. What initially began as a small hobby on the side has become an integral part of my growth as a medical student and as a resident. It has been the sounding board for many significant moments in my training and my personal life.

Five years sees a lot of change and a lot of exciting developments. Thus, I am very excited to announce that as a resident only a year away from practice, that I was offered my first job yesterday. The fruits of my labour are in sight!

I would like to thank everyone again for their continued readership and support over the years. It has been tremendous. I look forward to another year of writing. See you when I see you.

Sincerely,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind

On this day in history, the 24th March 1603, Queen Elizabeth I, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, died at Richmond Palace, aged 69 bringing the rule of the Tudor dynasty to an end. Elizabeth I had reigned for 44 years and 127 days and her reign was known as “The Golden Age”. She was the longest reigning Tudor monarch.

It is said that the execution of her former favourite, Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, on the 25th February 1601 had a huge impact on Elizabeth. She had already lost her great love Robert Dudley in 1588, her good friend Blanche Parry in 1590 and her friend and adviser William Cecil, Lord Burghley, in 1598. It seemed that all those she loved and depended on were dying and leaving her. Her grief, combined with a belief that she was losing her grip on her court and country, led to her becoming severely depressed.

Tracy Borman, in her book “Elizabeth’s Women”, writes of how Elizabeth decided to move to Richmond Palace in January 1603 because it was the place to which she felt that she could “best trust her sickly old age”. She was obviously feeling low and ill and just wanted to be somewhere where she felt at home. Borman also writes of how it was in the last couple of months of her life that Elizabeth decided that she did not want her young ladies around her, instead she wanted older ladies who had served her for years, friends who she trusted.

G J Meyer writes that the doctors probably had no idea of why Elizabeth was dying and that it could have been any of the following:

-A bronchial infection that turned into pneumonia

-Streptococcus

-The failure of some vital organ

-Poisoning from ceruse – the white lead and vinegar mixture that Elizabeth used as make-up.

But G J Meyer writes that whatever the actual medical condition it does appear that it was aggravated by Elizabeth’s state of mind, her depression.

Elizabeth was then buried at Westminster Abbey in the vault of her grandfather, Henry VII, until she was moved in 1606 to her present resting place, a tomb in the Lady Chapel of Westminster Abbey which she shares with her half-sister Mary I. King James I spent over £11,000 on Elizabeth I’s lavish funeral and he also arranged for this white marble monument to be built. The tomb is inscribed with the words:-

“Consorts both in throne and grave, here we rest two sisters, Elizabeth and Mary, in hope of our resurrection.”

Broken

The other day I found myself extremely irritable. For every lab result that I had to follow up, every patient I had to see, I felt a growing sense of frustration. While I could keep up appearances, I felt that delicate facade cracking by day’s end.

My demeanour and attitude were compromised. 

Even the other residents wondered if I needed some time alone. “Are you alright?” they would ask. “You seem different.”

It was true. I was different.

I was burned out.

I wish I knew exactly how I came to be in my broken state. The source of my burn out remain elusive. I cannot fully identify it, which is in itself its own frustration. In retrospect however, I can describe that I have felt unsettled since the very beginning. Perhaps what precipitated this burn out was always there, but I have always ignored the signs. 

But now it has whittled me down, and I feel like my empathic well has run dry. I am forced to confront it.

It is a scary place to be, especially in this line of work.

I have taken the last two nights slowly, hoping to recuperate emotionally and mentally. However, I feel like it may take a bit of time before I can feel like myself again. 

Having said that, only time will tell. I need to think, to reflect, and to find the emotional sparks to allow me connect with my patients once again.

I thank you all for your patience. 

Tom of the Medical State of Mind

Victimology is a thorough study of all available victim information. This includes items such as sex, age, height, weight, family, friends, acquaintances, education, employment, residence, and neighbourhood. This also includes background information on the history and lifestyle of the victim such as overall personal habits, hobbies, criminal history, and medical histories. Establishing victimology is a necessary part of determining the context of some crimes. Furthermore, it is generally accepted that the deceased’s social, medical, and mental health history can provide insight into the behavior/state of mind of an individual, focus further investigation, and produce clues that will aid in establishing the cause, manner, and circumstances of death.

Newlywed.

Tammy and I were married yesterday in the company in family, friends, and colleagues. We could not have asked for a more perfect day. The weather was gorgeously sunny, everything pretty much went off without a hitch, and Tammy was of course stunning in her dress. 

The next few days will be spent winding down as we spend time with friends and family who have travelled from far and wide to be here with us.

We look forward to updating all of you more regularly once again with medical posts soon.

Thanks again for all of your patience.

External image

Sincerely,
Mr and Mrs Medical State of Mind

I honestly think Wren is Charles

I have been on the “Wren is A” wagon for years!

Wren has no verifiable family

Wren wasn’t a part of anyone’s lives prior to Melissa dating him in 2010.

If Wren is supposedly a doctor, he got his M.D. at a very young age (24 or 25). Most people who graduate high school at 18 and go to college for a pre-Med degree finish that at age 22, then finish their M.D. at age 26. Then it’s 3 years of internship and residency. Essentially, Wren at best is a resident physician and must work under another physician. However, we often see him working alone which leads me to believe he’s impersonating a doctor named Wren Kingston. (Check it out, Wren’s last name in the pilot was Kim. Probably doesn’t mean anything, but…?)

I believe Wren is Charles. He was sent away as a child and essentially disowned by his family. I believe he faked his death and snuck out of Radley. Jessica knew about this and helped fabricate his death, and Bethany also knew because she was his “sister” in Radley. Jessica was buddy buddy with Bethany because she needed her to keep quiet about it. That’s why she gave her presents.

Wren received lots of money from his aunt when she died. That’s where he has money from. That’s how he was able to build his dollhouse. From a young age, he was obsessed with dolls and wanted Ali to be his real doll. He wasn’t trying to drown her, he just wanted to give her a bath. He liked that his real doll screamed and reacted, which is why he had a crazy look on his face when his dad walked in on him filling the tub with Ali in it.

He snuck Bethany out of Radley because she agreed to help lure Ali to Charles. She was keeping an eye on the liars when Charles spotted Alison. He wanted to knock her out, but he hit her so hard that Jessica though he had killed her. So Jessica buried Alison in order to cover up what he had done. Later, Bethany never returned to Charles so he assumed she ran away. Charles/Wren believed that Alison was really dead and Bethany was gone, so he kidnapped Sara Harvey to replace Alison and Bethany.

He still wanted to know more about his family and Alison especially, so he intentionally dated Melissa in order to snoop around the Dilaurentis house (it was supposed to be abandoned)

He started to fall for both spencer and Hanna because they knew Ali so well. That’s what he wanted all along… His Ali doll.

After Mona was locked up in Radley, he went there to find a way to get access to her lair so he could find out more about Alison. Instead, she spilled that Alison was still alive in her heavily medicated state of mind. He immediately realized that Bethany must have been the body that was found and Mona switched the records of Alison with Bethany long ago.

That’s when he went full fledge on his revenge against the girls. He thinks they killed Bethany and knew where Alison was. He’s been in the background adding to his dollhouse and tormenting the girls.

anonymous asked:

Am I the only one that think that A7X sounds like these cold cunts who had a lawyer write a statement for them about suicide? This message sounds fake and I think the band should do what others do and speak openly about it themselves.

Oh wow! Let me see where to start…

I have to correct your choice of words and what you said a bit anon!

Suicide is a very delicate matter and you have to be very careful when you are on either side of the fence. Whether you are the one depressed or the one helping someone in need, you must always reach out. And if someone is reaching out to you, YOU MUST encourage them to find someone who can help them asses the intensity of their feelings. You have to be cautious what kind of advice you give. You are not a medical professional, neither you can evaluate a person’s state of mind. The only help you can provide is to let them know that you are willing to listen, and that you are willing to help them, and if necessary, get medical help.

Often public figures speak out about what they believe in about a subject. The band expressed that in the message very clearly. I think the message was handled with love and care. They are not health care professionals. They are just people, like us, who were touched by this news.

If Avenged Sevenfold was to address it in a different manner, then thousands of teens/young adults would believe that they are their only salvation. Salvation is not found in another person, or in our idols. The strength comes from you, and the support comes from those around you. What bands, music, doctors and actors do is inspire us to be strong. This band has already inspired us all somehow. There are thousands out there who have been touched by songs like “Fiction”, and “So Far Away”. Thousands that have been positively influenced by the music… Thousands have been influenced by the bravery in moving on after the passing of the Rev.

I was just saying to a friend today that music should not be analyzed or decrypted. It shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Music is meant to be felt. Its unexplainable. It’s right up there with love, and when you put a meaning on love it ceases to be true.

Millions of people feel depressed, alone and hopeless. There are thousands more who are socially awkward and bullied into thinking the entire world is doomed. If you are wondering how can you make a difference, you can start by listening. Look around your friends. Look at the people you say you don’t like, or can’t stand. That one person in your class who no one talks to. You can start by becoming a little bit more human to them. You don’t need to be rich or make rallies. You don’t need to raise awareness, you need to become the awareness!

Find the good in people. Find the good in what this band did, caring enough to take a moment out of their busy lives to think about all of you, and to re-think how they are influencing people. Find the positive in the circumstance, that a persons tragic end brought us all together, and made us all take a look at how we treat each other, and how we can help .

Be nicer to people. Kinder to people. It doesn’t have to be a big change. Start with you, and stop hate from spreading.

Four years of writing.

I have been so busy recently that I had frankly forgotten that this blog is officially four years old. 

With that said, a heartfelt thank you to everyone for your continued support and readership over these past four years. I still have many leagues ahead of me on this journey and though I now find myself with less time to sit down and reflect, I hope to continue writing for as long as I can. As you have given me the inspiration to continue writing, I hope I can in some ways return the favour. 

Thank you all sincerely,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind

An Encounter with a Stranger

There was a time when I did not hide behind a veil of anonymity on this blog. It was many years ago now. But since reaching that conclusion, I have always tried to keep my two identities separate. Having said that, how to separate two sides of the same coin?

The majority of my readers have yet to meet me in person but a few have. Some of my initial readers were within my close circle of friends and acquaintances. It would come as a surprise on a few occasions since, that I have met people whom I have been acquainted with that also read this blog. Some of these people discovered it by accident, never fully realizing it was I who penned these posts. Others heard from a friend of a friend, as these things tend to go.

But recently, I met a complete stranger who recognized me at a bus stop. It was a chance encounter, based on the memory of who I was before I became the anonymous Tom of the Medical State of Mind.

“This may seem crazy, but I think I follow your blog.”

“I beg your pardon?” I was taken aback.

“Do you keep a blog? I think I might be following it.”

“What blog is it that you follow?” I decided I would neither deny or admit to anything.

“The Medical State of Mind.”

I paused. The gig as they say, was up. I gave a smile in acknowledgment. It was a strange feeling to be recognized this way in public. I knew nothing about this person yet they knew everything about my medical schooling experience for the last four years. While everything I share publicly online I curate heavily and have no regrets, for a brief moment, I felt naked and exposed.

We spoke a bit about my blog, about school, about where my training would take me before this person thanked me as we boarded our separate buses.

A digital identity in today’s world is an extension of who we are in reality. It is an inseparable presence that we must all be conscientious of. Everything I write is heavily curated, fictionalized, and anonymized to protect those mentioned in the experiences I have had in these last four years. But the one thing I hold constant and true on this blog is myself. It was this honesty that led to this chance encounter with a stranger.

I have always been comfortable with who I am and what I write. However, out of respect to my faculty and my governing college, I have explored a different path to allay their concerns. The encounter left me not with a feeling of anxiety or fear but of relief and acknowledgment. While there are risks with social media in any situation, when used appropriately I am confident it can make a difference, as it seemed to for this individual. 

At least one thing is certain though.

We live in a small world.

Happy Holidays.

On behalf of my fiancée and I, we would like to extend our warmest holiday wishes to all of the readers who have continued to show their support for this blog. We hope you have a great winter holiday with your family and friends!

Cheers,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind

anonymous asked:

Hi. You seem to be a nice person so I'm here for an advice. Here's this situation. I'm lazy, I've never paid too much attention to shool and I don't know a thing about chemistry. Yet, I figured, why not become a doctor. Sounds pathetic, I know. The problem is, I'm taking exams next year that decide what I'll study. There's a big possibility I won't score enough to get into med school.(1 year to make up for 3?!). What if I'm not suited to be a doctor? I'm not smart/hard-working/determined enough.

Firstly, my apologies for answering this so late.

The decision to pursue medicine is not one that should be made lightly. It requires a lot of commitment and hard work. It is a profession that asks a lot of ourselves both physically and emotionally. We owe it to ourselves and to our patients to deliver the best care we can and safely. And that takes dedication, patience, and care.

I honestly feel that you do not have to be smartest person to be a doctor. Compassion and care is equally, if not more important than just being book smart. 

Having said that, I feel that if you are honestly serious about pursuing this career, then your work ethic will need to change at least to some degree. The rest can always come with practice and studying.

If you are serious about medicine, then being delayed a year or two while you get your studies in order will be a small sacrifice on the road to a career of life long learning. 

Whatever path you choose, I wish you best of luck in your endeavours and find the focus and inspiration to pursue your passion.

Sincerely,
Tom of the Medical State of Mind