It has been a long time since I last posted anything here and it only seemed right to come back as I near the start of my PhD. There are a few topics which I would like to give more consideration to (perhaps in their own posts or articles elsewhere) but I want to discuss the swirling thoughts in my head in something a little most concrete than scraps of paper sprawled around my room. This post may read in a stream of consciousness manner which I try to reserve for those ‘scraps of paper’ but I feel its a good way to get back into writing again.
The first thing I want to mention is that I have recently finished Oliver Sacks’ recent autobiography, ‘On the Move’ and was struck by the excitement and compassion which ran through this book. If any of you are familiar with his earlier works, this should come as a massive understatement but I can’t recommend this beautiful exploration of a highly talented man’s life more vigorously. His ability to go beyond the obvious and see a patient as a human being with a story to tell sets him apart from his contemporaries, and sheds light on why he was so beloved by the patients he cared for.
Alongside this, the role of twitter and social media in general in supporting the individual’s life has also caught my attention. We are well aware of the dangers facing unfettered usage of social media and how they may be taken advantage of by terrorist organisations, groomers, bullies or sexual deviants. However, considerably less attention is paid to the positive impact of being connected to large groups of individuals. I’ve already considered this briefly in an admittedly keyboard warrior sounding article I wrote for The Bubble (here), but it certainly goes further than simple outrage at a stigmatising depiction of mental illness. Case in point are the numerous groups which exist on Facebook which enables individuals suffering from a plethora of disabilities or chronic illnesses to chat and discuss worries / achievements with one another. An example personal to myself is Crohns and Colitis UK, whose Facebook group boasts an impressive 13, 850 (and growing) member base. CCUK’s social media forums provide an outlet for individuals suffering from debilitating illnesses to draw strength from one another and exchange wisdom.
Finally, the picture at the top of this post is the product of a very interesting project which is definitely worth checking out for anyone interesting in how the brain recognises the world around us (and who just like slightly trippy pictures).
That’s all for now! Watch this space for more (hopefully work relevant) posts to come.