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TOPIC: psychology


Of Earthquakes And Men

"Oh, to sleep as soundly as a man," marvels our Naples-based psychiatrist.

I can feel the earthquake. Or at least, I think I can, because the ceiling lamp isn’t moving. I run upstairs in a frenzy to check on my son. He is sound asleep.

My husband is asleep, too. He hasn’t felt the earthquake, but he has heard me move about. Of course he has.

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No Smoking When The Dottoré Is In

Our Naples-based Dottoré puts out an argument with patients during a night shift at a psychiatric ward.

There is a seemingly obvious and trivial rule that patients in a psychiatric ward have to enforce, for everyone's safety: no smoking at night.

But making sure that people understand and accept it is perhaps one of the most difficult things in our job, especially if the night is busy.

Imagine, then, an agitated patient being admitted at 2 a.m.: ambulances, hubbub, voices of people chasing each other — eventually everybody is awake, and after a while, despite things having quieted down around 3 a.m., no one can fall back to sleep. And that's when the procession starts: patient after patient knocking on my door asking for a cigarette, and a lighter.

And the night goes on, with "no" after "no" seemingly falling on deaf ears.

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Yeah, Whatever: In Defense Of The Passive Aggressive

Passive aggression gets a bad rap. It was once even classified as a personality disorder. But in today's world, it can serve a distinct purpose.

BERLIN — Passive aggression is the disease of our times — even if it hasn't been listed as a personality disorder for quite some time. You can recognize passive aggressive behavior from patterns, ways of speaking, gestures and even emojis. But a mild case is no cause for concern. In fact, quite the opposite.

It’s one of those debates that seem to break out every so often on social media. A user on the platform Reddit said that he found it passive-aggressive when someone used a thumbs-up emoji in a text conversation. He received a flood of responses agreeing with him, saying it was a habit among older people who simply didn’t understand that, for millennials, a thumbs-up could be just as hurtful as a condescending “yeah whatever”.

Many media outlets immediately seized on this as proof of a lack of resilience among the younger generation. Journalists are always ready to comment on this kind of situation, especially when it allows them to write articles that pit the generations against each other while pretending to be objective.

Great — thumbs up.

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Take It As A Neapolitan Compliment

One woman’s Neapolitan insult is another woman’s compliment.

Neapolitan is a complex language — not so much for lexical reasons as for the intonation, facial expressions and gestures that necessarily accompany the words and make their real meaning clear.

For example, the other day I witnessed an argument between two people, in which, at one point, he turns to her and says: "Shut up! You’re like a Neapolitanbucchina*."

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Viola Di Grado

My AI Image Experiment In Dream Analysis

We've always expressed our nightmares through images. So one Italian writer fed her dreams to AI-powered Midjourney platform, producing images of her own consciousness.

TURIN — I have been writing down my nightmares for as long as I can remember: they are the starting point for my writing, and doing so is essential for my relationship to myself.

I am certainly not the only one writing these down: the transcription of dreams is one of the oldest literary genres. The first meticulous dream collection by the Englishwoman Anna Kingsford, a hardened animalist, dates back to the 19th century. I wonder if this is a coincidence. Or are those who pay attention to the subtle language of dreams also lovers of the animal kingdom?

The earliest nightmare ever transcribed, however, dates back as far as the third millennium B.C., and is found in the Sumerian poem The Descent of Inanna into the Underworld. It's the story of a descent into hell that strips the ancient goddess of love and war Inanna of one garment at a time until she is left naked in the presence of her monstrous sister Ereshkigal.

During this journey, which in itself already resembles a dream (the theme of nudity/insecurity has no doubt appear into many people’s dream world at one time or another), there is a nightmare in which the demons of the Underworld pursue Dumuzi — the god of shepherds, and fertility and consort of Inanna — and finally succeed in capturing him.

This is followed by the interpretation of her sister, a true professional dream interpreter: with the icy detachment of a true psychoanalyst, she confirms that the dream hides premonitions of death. Finally, an illustration: a series of seals representing the motifs of the dream.

In short, along with being the first transcribed dream in history, it's also the first transcription through images. It is as if the overwhelming power of the dream requires multiple languages.

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Mariateresa Fichele

They Grow Up So Fast

Our Neapolitan psychiatrist on Italy’s eternal “mammoni” ...

One day, Marco walked up to his parents with a serious look on his face, looked them in the eye and said: “Dear Mamma and Papà, it’s been years now that every day, you drop me off and come pick me up. That’s enough now. I’ve grown up!”

The parents were very proud, but at the same time, also a little worried. Holding back a tear, they replied that yes, it was okay, and that from the next day, Marco could go on his own.

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Mariateresa Fichele

All Insurance Scam Roads Lead To Turin

Of financial hardship, staged accidents — and calcio rivalry.

“Dottoré, I’m having a horrible time. As soon as I get enough money for a ticket, I’m going to Turin to throw myself under a car.”

“Can you explain this to me? You’re telling me that not only you want to kill yourself, but that to do so, you have to go all the way to Turin?”

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Gerlinde Felix

How Trauma Causes Premature Aging — With Fresh Evidence From Ukraine

The war in Ukraine has been going on for a year. Many have died, fled or been traumatized — day after day and night after night. Such harrowing experiences leave deep wounds. But there are ways to overcome traumatic experiences.

BERLIN — For Nathalia, New Year’s Eve was never good. The loud bangs of the fireworks shocked her so much that she ran as fast and as far as she could. She ran as if in a trance, not even realizing that she had left behind her husband, who was older and had a heart condition.

Nathalia — her name has been changed in this article — is almost 50 years old. About six months ago, her and her husband ran as fast as their feet could carry them, with just a few belongings they had quickly gathered. Away from the border with Russia, to Donbas, in the direction of Kyiv. Behind them, the sounds of Russian artillery bombardment, and bombs that seemed so close.

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They arrived in Poland on an overcrowded train from Kyiv, surrounded by exhausted people with fearful, desperate faces. In Poland, relatives waited to take them to Germany, and safety. But for their children, there was no escape from their fear.

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Mariateresa Fichele

The Problem With Easter

Not all holidays are celebrated equal. Why’s that? wonders our Neapolitan psychiatrist.

This morning I was thinking about holidays and wondering why Easter isn’t celebrated as much as Christmas. Because this is the holiday that marks something truly extraordinary: Jesus dies and three days later, he is resurrected, fresh as a rose. He says goodbye to his friends, takes his leave and goes. But not to an ordinary destination. He goes up to heaven and sits to the right of the Father.

Christmas, on the other hand, celebrates a birth. Although it is true that it is the birth of Jesus, at the end of the day, the event itself is not extraordinary.

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Mariateresa Fichele

The Sea Beyond, The Sea Within

"Everything has a cost, and even rights have to be paid for — and I'm tired of that."

Dottoré, do you watch The Sea Beyond on Netflix?”

“No Antonio, sorry.”

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Mariateresa Fichele

Don't Look Back In Depression

"I did it all because basically, I’m an idiot."

Dottoré, when I look back at my life, I see only mistakes.

My job, my marriage, the children — even getting a dog ... I did it all because basically, I’m an idiot.

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Mariateresa Fichele

A Woman’s Work Is Never Done

... unless she's a famous influencer?

“In the morning I get up at 5:30 a.m. I clean the house, then I wake up the children at 7. I get them ready, make them breakfast, then at 7:30, we leave for school. At 8:30, I start work. I clean two offices, then at 11, I go to a lady's house to clean until 3.30 p.m.

At 4 p.m. I pick up the children. I take them home and help them with their homework. Three days a week, I take my youngest to a physiotherapist at 5.30 p.m. The other days, there’s my daughter's catechism classes and my other daughter’s gym lessons. By 7:30 p.m. it's dinner time, because at 8 p.m. I have to go clean offices when they close. Then by 10 p.m. I come back and put them to bed.

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