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September 2019


DownloadI came across the term "bibliotherapy" for the first time this week. Not surprisingly, it refers to the use of literature for mental healing. Therapy through reading. 

The concept is not new - Psychology Today reports that Egyptian King Rames II had a special chamber for books, with the words "House of Healing for the Soul" over the door. Evidently Sigmund Freud also used literature in psychoanalysis, and other doctors have "prescribed" books for their patients. Apparently now it's a thing, and some psychologists train in it.

To me, bibliotherapy seems like another one of those intuitive and obvious things that has now been turned into an industry. It reminds me of Forest Bathing, an entire science devoted to the shocking notion that spending time outside is good for you. Download-1

To be clear, bibliotherapy does not refer to self-help books. We're talking about novels which portray the human condition.

As soon as I learned to read, I stayed up late at night, under the covers with a flashlight, spending hours on adventures with Doctor Doolittle, devouring stories about families and orphans  - The Little Princess was big for me - and on and on. As my reading abilities and sophistication increased, so did the depth of my book choices. Books have always served as both an escape and a way of understanding the world. 

It makes sense that being a good reader helps develop empathy in a person, but apparently it can help with depression, anxiety and other human conditions. Who knew? Most readers. 


The "Medicine Cabinet"

Download-3Until three years ago, I took no prescription medication. But now all medical hell has broken loose, and the pill boxes are piling up. (Don't ask - it's a mess of issues.) 

As in many homes, my bathroom has medicine cabinets. The mirrors over the sink open to lovely glass shelves, many of which are now jammed with prescription bottles. On top of that, I have resorted to those little plastic Monday-Sunday pill organizers, which also live with the bottles.

That all seemed fine, though humiliating, until I realized that every medicine I take says "do not store in bathroom."  According to pharmacists, medicines degrade in light, humidity and moisture. Well sheez. Why are they called "medicine cabinets" and where am I supposed to put all these bottles instead?

I don't want them in the kitchen, which I might add also has moisture and heat. Besides, medications are private - you don't want people coming upon them. I guess I have to stick them somewhere in a drawer in the bedroom, but that begs another question. How will I remember they are there and that I need to take them? 

Getting older sucks.