Natasha Kampusch: Empathic Survivor.

It is a freezing late-August afternoon in a not particularly Mozartian part of Vienna. Natascha Kampusch stands before me in her agent’s office, shaking my hand. To her left is her agent, Wolfgang Brunner, to her right her translator, Jill Kreuer. Her mouth is very firmly shut, her lips squeezed hard together. I notice a small, discoloured patch of skin on her hand, a wound from a beating that will never completely heal. “Thank you for meeting me,” I say. She nods, still keeping her mouth tightly closed. Twelve years ago, when Natascha was 10, she was walking to school (it was … Continue reading Natasha Kampusch: Empathic Survivor.

Longing for War. "Fear of Missing Out" can affect veterans, too.

Last week, when the news broke regarding the 82nd Airborne Division rapidly deploying to the Middle East, I was with two active-duty officers, both of whom formerly served in the 82nd Airborne. As the news alerts chimed on their phones, and text messages rolled in from friends still in their old units, an avalanche of feelings began to spill out of them. Sadness. Fear. Love. Anger. Frustration. Regret. Perhaps I should clarify, those two officers are my little brother and my husband, both married and fathers of two young children. We were all together on vacation, and yet part of them … Continue reading Longing for War. "Fear of Missing Out" can affect veterans, too.

Why Soldiers Crave a 'Hero's Journey'.

Understanding the desire for ‘baptism by fire.’ “How many times did someone have to run in front of a machine gun before it became an act of cowardice?” –Michael Herr, Dispatches The notion that war is individually transformative is rooted in mythology, literature, and Hollywood war movies.  Transformation in these mediums typically follows a similar pattern frequently referred to as the “hero’s journey.”  A departure, initiation, and return sequence is made manifest as an individual undertakes a journey or a rite of passage, experiences a defining moment rooted in crisis, emerges victorious, and then returns home positively transformed by the … Continue reading Why Soldiers Crave a 'Hero's Journey'.

How Social Isolation Is Killing Us.

By Dhruv Khullar My patient and I both knew he was dying. Not the long kind of dying that stretches on for months or years. He would die today. Maybe tomorrow. And if not tomorrow, the next day. Was there someone I should call? Someone he wanted to see? Not a one, he told me. No immediate family. No close friends. He had a niece down South, maybe, but they hadn’t spoken in years. For me, the sadness of his death was surpassed only by the sadness of his solitude. I wondered whether his isolation was a driving force of … Continue reading How Social Isolation Is Killing Us.

Albert Camus and The Plague. Nobel 1947.

The task of writing… The fascist ‘plague’ that inspired the novel may have gone, but 55 years after his death, many other varieties of pestilence keep this book urgently relevant. Few writers kept their work as close to the subject of death as did Albert Camus, one of the greatest novelists and essayists of the 20th century, who met his own end in a road accident 55 years ago this week, on the Lyon-Paris Route Nationale 6. Of all Camus’ novels, none described man’s confrontation – and cohabitation – with death so vividly and on such an epic scale as … Continue reading Albert Camus and The Plague. Nobel 1947.