Thursday, September 22, 2022

On My Mind

On My Mind: Pronouns, gender identity, and our community

Editor’s note: This is a discussion put together by aspiring psychology student Truda Silberstein and edited by Truda Silberstein, Charles Silberstein, and Laura Roosevelt.  Identity Charles (he/him) My name is Charles Silberstein. A part of me recoils...

On My Mind: The psychology of violence

At 86, psychiatrist and part-time Vineyarder James Gilligan just published his eighth book, “Holding a Mirror Up to Nature: Shame, Guilt, and Violence in Shakespeare.” For more than 50 years, Dr. Gilligan has studied...

On My Mind: A safe harbor in a storm

Imagine a young Islander whom I will call Becca. She was stationed in Afghanistan, saw her buddies killed, one right next to her. On returning to the Vineyard, she struggled with nightmares and flashbacks....

On My Mind: A newfound awareness of death

“Charlie, you have had several near-death experiences. When that happens, you come back reborn. You are a different person. You need to re-establish your roots, and that takes nurturance and time. Go easy on...

On my mind: Being a hospital patient

Last month, I had a middle-of-the-night dream that turned out to be prophetic: there was an intruder in my house, and he wanted to do me harm. When I woke the next morning at...

On My Mind: Friendship

Most people think of loneliness as a painful state of mind. They may not realize that it is also bad for one’s health. Loneliness puts people at increased risk of depression, dementia, and alcoholism....

On my mind: Secrets

Though she kept it a secret from her mother and grandparents, on a typical night, a 17-year-old Martha’s Vineyard High School student was a blackout drinker. She was filled with shame about “sneaking around...

On My Mind: Children of alcoholics and dysfunctional families

Tolstoy famously wrote that “all happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” No doubt each troubled family is different, and has its own stories and pain, but approximately...

On My Mind: Why I have changed my byline

My wife approached me as I was dressing for work, and told me that she thought it was time that she give up the job of editing my essays. “What? Why?” I asked. I...

On my mind: A bible of alternative treatments in psychiatry

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If fortunate, we find teachers in our lives who enhance the way we work and how we see the world. During my training in psychiatry, I found one such teacher, a psychiatrist named Richard...

On My Mind: A public health campaign for the Vineyard

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The Island Wide Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Coalition is an association of concerned citizens and health and social service organizations. A public health committee (of which I am a member) has been meeting every...

On My Mind: Room for love and loss at Windemere

In “Being Mortal,” Atul Gawande says that a good geriatrician “always looks at the person’s feet.” We would add that a good geriatrician always looks at a person’s room. At Windemere and perhaps everywhere...

On my mind: How and why we detach from reality

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In psychology, the term for detaching from reality is “dissociation.” There is a spectrum on which we all detach. Right now, as I write, I lose awareness of the dog snoring, my cold feet,...

On My Mind: Sugar and mental health

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Few people leave my office without the advice to rigorously reduce their sugar and starch intake and to eat more fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish. I give this advice mostly because time after time,...

On My Mind: The season of envy

For many Islanders, the coming of the summer season can be painful, not just because of the increased work burden, the crowded roads, and the longer lines at the Post Office and the supermarket,...

On my mind: What to do if you have a mentally ill family member?

Here are two facts: First, when there is family involvement in the care of people with serious mental illnesses, everyone does better. Second, family involvement in mental health care does not occur in the...

On My Mind: Are you a highly sensitive person?

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Fifteen to twenty percent of people are born with a temperament that makes them especially sensitive to a wide range of sensory and emotional stimuli. Interestingly, so are 15 - 20 percent of at...

On My Mind: ‘Why don’t you take my insurance?

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Buying good health insurance is an expensive proposition, and it seems only right that it should cover good mental health care. Yet a large portion of mental health practitioners do not deal directly with...

On My Mind: Is there more than one of you?

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I am losing my hearing faster than most people. My grandparents and my parents wore hearing aids, and one grandfather was quite deaf. Although my hearing aids currently work very well for me, a...

On My Mind: The power of mindfulness

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People are happiest, most at peace and unbothered by life’s problems, when they are too engaged in something to be thinking about themselves. Years ago, the psychologist Mihaly Csíkszentmihályi coined the term flow activity,...