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Sometimes, life’s lessons appear unexpectedly.
In late March 2020, the United States was in full panic mode. What I observed compelled me to write about death terror, the absurd, and whether there were any reasons for optimism or perhaps some positive growth opportunities.1 It was my hope that we might tap into our creativity to manage the overwhelming death fears, regression, and unhelpful acting out. I wished for our “better angels” to shine forth, leading us away from despair and irrationality and toward hope and gratitude.
Sometimes, life’s lessons appear unexpectedly. Several weeks ago, a forensic psychiatry fellow who graduated from my program—now a friend and colleague—called to tell me that he had almost died from COVID-19. He explained that he now had a completely altered view of life. Of course, I was awestruck and grateful that he reached out to share his story with me. I suggested that Psychiatric Times® readers might find his story inspirational and asked if he would feel comfortable sharing it. Consistent with his reenergized sense of humanity and gratitude, he agreed and penned the essay here: what I found to be a beautiful, moving, and inspirational story. Thank you, Dr Tirado: This is medicine we all desperately need at this point in time.
Dr Knoll is director of forensic psychiatry and professor of psychiatry at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY. He is editor in chief emeritus of Psychiatric Times® (2010 to 2014).
1. Knoll JL IV. Panic and pandemics: the return of the absurd. Psychiatric Times®. March 30, 2020. Accessed July 30, 2020. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/coronavirus/panic-and-pandemics-return-absurd ❒