Reflections in Times of Crisis

July 16, 2020

It is important that health care workers find ways of managing their anxiety and stress, which can otherwise become overwhelming. Dr Awais Aftab shares his own experience during the pandemic.

It is important that health care workers find ways of managing their anxiety and stress, which can otherwise become overwhelming. Dr Awais Aftab shares his own experience during the pandemic. He says he responds to difficult times with humility and love for our fellow humans. He is reminded of the importance of social circumstances and economic inequalities, and he hopes we can translate some of the political consciousness that we have in social action.

Times of crisis offer an opportunity to reflect, for us to take a step back and assess our lives in the grand scheme of things. We think about what sort of future are we trying to create for ourselves and to what extent this future have intrinsic value. Says Dr Aftab, "The following have been my allies in this pandemic and I hope they can be allies for some of you as well:"

  • Try to stay informed but don't follow the news 24-7.
  • Reach out frequently to friends and family
  • Talk to colleagues. It's a great comfort to realize that you're not alone.
  • Humor helps deflate some of the tension.
  • Practice gratitude.

Dr Aftab is a psychiatrist in Cleveland, Ohio, and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Case Western Reserve University. He is a member of the executive council of Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry and has been actively involved in initiatives to educate psychiatrists and trainees on the intersection of philosophy and psychiatry. He is also a member of the Psychiatric TimesTM Advisory Board. He can be reached at awaisaftab@gmail.com or on Twitter @awaisaftab. Dr Aftab started Conversations in Critical Psychiatry for Psychiatric Times,TM an interview series that explores critical and philosophical perspectives in psychiatry and engages with prominent commentators within and outside the profession who have made meaningful criticisms of the status quo.

Relentless Warrior for Mental Health: Allen Frances, MD

The Structure of Psychiatric Revolutions: Anne Harrington, DPhil

Skepticism of the Gentle Variety: Derek Bolton, PhD

Explanatory Methods in Psychiatry: The Importance of Perspectives: Paul R. McHugh, MD

Chaos Theory with a Human Face: Dr Niall McLaren

The Rise and Fall of Pragmatism in Psychiatry: S. Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH

Integrating Academic Inquiry and Reformist Activism in Psychiatry: Sandra Steingard, MD, and G. Scott Waterman, MD

Social Constructionism Meets Aging and Dementia: Peter Whitehouse, MD, PhD

50 Shades of Misdiagnosis: Susannah Cahalan

Institutional Corruption and Social Justice in Psychiatry: Lisa Cosgrove, PhD