Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm writing, I really am

via Distractify

Just when I thought there was really nothing, nothing going on today other than to patiently wait for The Teenagers to arise from their boudoirs at noon, I stumbled upon both the website where the photo above appeared and Medscape, who emailed me Rare and Unusual Psychiatric Syndromes. Distractify is totally terrific, chock-full of amazing black and white photos of both celebrities and ordinary people doing ordinary and extraordinary things. You should check it out if, like me, you're dilly-dallying with your writing, waiting for your own teenagers to arise from their slumbers and go out into the wide world to make something of themselves, or waiting for the district school bus to bring your daughter home from her extended school year program.

If one of those teenagers does wake up, you can quickly switch over to MedScape, the interminably boring academic medical site where those of us who have children born before the Golden Age of  Easy Information (basically, Huffpost users) used to slog through -- usually in vain -- trying to figure out what might help our kids by reading abstracts about neurologic conditions, pharmaceutical studies and rare diseases. Today, Medscape sent a tantalizing abstract entitled Rare and Unusual Psychiatric Syndromes. It's a smorgasbord of a slideshow detailing the strangest psychiatric conditions known to man and womankind, including many that I've heard of (Stendhal Syndrome! Love it!) and many that I haven't. My favorites today were Paris Syndrome, an unusual state exclusive to Japanese nationals who experience a mental breakdown while visiting the famous French capital, Foreign Accent Syndrome, whereby someone speaks their native language as if they had a foreign accent and Alien Hand Syndrome, the misattribution and belief that one's hand does not belong to one's self but that has its own life.

Wow. How can anyone be bored with stuff like this to read and wonder about? If The Teenagers even speak of boredom or ask me what they can doooooooooo, mom? I might fake Capgras Syndrome, characterized by a person's delusional belief that an acquaintance, usually a spouse or other close family member, has been replaced by an identical looking impostor or several doubles.

I don't know who you are! I'll say to the strange yet incredibly good-looking teenagers that ask me to drive them somewhere. Then I'll watch as my hand, as if alien, places itself on the steering wheel and drives the imposters to lacrosse practice in some godforsaken place in the deep, dark Valley.


  1. lmao!

    (do incredibly good looking teens still say that?)

  2. I think Capgras syndrome must be
    effing terrifying, actually.
    Somewhere in one of the vertical stacks I have all over the house in lieu of bookshelves there's a book about it that I never got around to reading. Maybe I'll go look for it.

  3. I wonder what constitutes a "psychiatric syndrome"? Because some of those sound pretty dubious, frankly. Are Japanese tourists any more disposed to mental breakdown than ANY tourist who tries to see everything in Paris?!

  4. Please read 'Atmospheric disturbances' by Rivka Galchen. It's about a psychiatrist who suffers from Capgrass Syndrom. It's fiction, it's beautiful, I loved it all the way through.

  5. This cracks me up. When my daughters were kids, I'd start every summer by saying, "There are two things I don't want to hear this summer: 1. There's nothing to do; 2. There's nothing to eat." Not that it made much difference, but we have to try.

    Thanks for the laugh - and the referrals to those two sites. I love the photos and other pix you post.

  6. LOL I got the same Medscape message. Fascinating stuff!

  7. Hey, doesn't Madonna have Foreign Accent Syndrome? She went from sounding like she was from the Bronx (early, 1980 Madonna) to sounding British.

    I've heard of Alien Hand Syndrome (usually as part of a Psychotic Disorder, but none of the others... guess all that schooin' in psychology didn't cover the rest. Totally bizarro!

  8. Oh my god, how did I miss this post. You've made me laugh hysterically and it's only a little after 7:00. Thank you.



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