Real immersion versus digital -- plus fishing, Twitter, digital overload, and PTSD

Forgive my recent blogopause. i was fishing, and then traveling, and then writing rather head-down intensely -- all activities I have trouble mixing with blogging and social media such as Twitter, which I've also left idle these last days.

So what gives with all that? I often find it awkward to switch between blogging or twittering and engaging deeply immersive physical activities. This hiatus, for instance, started when I went fishing last Tuesday on Lake Champlain for salmon -- a piscatorial retreat before a highly engaging work trip to NY, DC, and environs to talk to scientists and see my bro. That outing was a lovely, brilliant day, not so great for actually catching salmon -- the clear light gives them caution, and besides that the water was still in the 40s -- but a great day to be on the water.

On my drive to the lake I thought to myself, "I should twitter this!" But once on the water, with the boat quietly rumpling the ripples, and the cork-handled fly rod in one hand and the tiller in the other and my attention keenly on current and every pulse and tremble the cork brought me ... the idea of thumbing a touchscreen seemed ludicrous. Two days later, I spent several hours talking with scientists about social relations among monkeys -- and the whole twitter business, though I find it useful and at times interesting, seemed a rather odd way to build, manage, maintain, and work really meaningful social relations.

I mean to write more about this later. For now, let me just say that when compared to the close solitary engagement that is fishing or me physically rich gossip of monkeys (as well as the deep immersion in reading and writing I indulged in on return), twitter seems a sin and unnuanced form of gossip and, God forbid, much more promotion than conversation.

I'd better give you something more than that before I go fishing again. Here are a few links I have found useful -- in which I might write up if I were not getting ready to go do a bit of field survey of the striped bass on Joppa Flats.

Vaughn beats up the Times and a couple of other places for what he calls data-free whacks at digital overload.

Somehow, post traumatic bitterness disorder -- I am not making this up -- has escaped either my attention or my memory until now. But apparently it was described in a 2003 paper by one Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist. I am distressed to see it treated rather matter-of-factly in this blog post by GrrlScientist, who usually shows better instincts. I will get to this one later, I hope. In the meantime, let me just say it brings to mind a story a friend reason he told me about a friend of hers who received a diagnosis of posttraumatic stress disorder because she was struggling... with what to do with her time now that she has retired. That would presumably be a subtype of PTSD: posttraumatic postretirement stress disorder.

In a more sober look at the subject, a new British Journal of psychiatry paper examines delayed-onset PTSD and concludes that "only limited compared all data support the existence of" a delayed onset form of PTSD. As claims for such delayed-onset cases rise at the VA -- and seem weirdly limited primarily to war veterans -- this is a subject of some import. It adds to data (as described in my Scientific American story) suggesting that many other problems, ailments, troubles, and phenomena in aging vets are being attributed falsely to PTSD.

I'll be back next week. Till then it's all clousers, deceivers, stripers, beach, and sun.

Don't get me all wrong here. It's not all fishing and monkeys. Right now, for instance, I have to go to the dentist for a filling.

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