Things I’ve read… lately

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these posts, but my Instapaper queue has been overflowing lately so I can read on the subway. I love the app (even though I broke its Safari bookmark somehow, and haven’t bothered to fix it), and I’ve read some great things.

Walking Scar(r)ed by Natasha Gardner for 5280

I have a mostly typical collection of scars. There’s one on my forehead from the obligatory coffee table run-in as a toddler. A long one runs from the back of my knee to my ankle, a souvenir of my tangle with a barbed wire fence. Another has lined the side of my foot ever since I stepped on a rusty metal shard in a creek bed. And, as the MRI revealed, I have four more scars buried deep inside my brain.

I have a loved one with MS, and I try to keep knowledgeable about the illness (and progress toward a cure) and about the experiences of those who have it.

What Michael Did by by Amy Dempsey for The Toronto Star

Imagine emerging from a psychotic breakdown and realizing you’ve killed your mother, or your child, or your spouse. Dr. John Bradford says the greatest challenge in treating people who have harmed or killed loved ones while psychotic is the debilitating guilt they feel afterward.

I read a lot of stuff about how mental illness affects a family – schizophrenia in particular. The Stewarts’ story is heartbreaking but ends with some closure and hope.

Witness to an Execution by Stephen Lich for Texas Monthly

Watching it made it very, very real; made the end very real. It didn’t traumatize me. It wasn’t overly unpleasant to watch him die. It was reassuring to have it right in front of me. I thought, “I’m satisfied with this. Done. The end.”

I guess I’ve had some pretty heavy stuff in the queue lately. Lich writes eloquently about a personal experience that we see made political so often. And while I think the political conversation is necessary, reading about this experience was illuminating, saddening, and intriguing.

The Trouble with Shaken Baby Syndrome by James Ross Gardner for Seattle Met

In the wake of overturned verdicts and dropped charges, proponents of the SBS hypothesis have begun to run from the term. Abusive head trauma is often used by even those organizations, such as the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome, with the old nomenclature in their names.

Before reading this, I had no idea of the clinical explanation for Shaken Baby Syndrome, nor the debate surrounding it.

20 minutes at Rucker Park by Flinder Boyd for SB Nation

But for TJ, this trip wasn’t his Kerouac novel, and didn’t emerge from Steinbeck’s “virus of restlessness.” It wasn’t a modern-day vagabond’s romantic jaunt around the country seeking to understand the ills of America. This trip came from a deeper place. It was his calling, he had to travel 3,000 miles from home on his own. He had to believe in himself and that this life-long fantasy to be a basketball star was, in fact, his reality. No one else would. To him, this was all there was.

I love a good kid-with-a-ball-and-a-dream story. This one is more complex and less Disneyfied than most, which I appreciate. I’d like to know what TJ is doing now.

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