Archives for posts with tag: Medicine

Hi all:

Yes, I keep on writing, and as promised, I’ve been having a look at old posts. And this time I decided to go back to the very beginning.

My first post was on the 16th of October 2012 and I called it ‘Trying to Blog’. Bless!

Here I repost it, with some clarifications and a bit of embellishment (I don’t think I had worked out the use of bold in the blog). I also decided to add a picture…because it’s pretty.

Here it goes, traveling back in time to 16th October 2012 (Ah, don’t miss a special invitation at the very end):

Hi all:

I’m Olga and although I’ve been writing (and reading) since I was a child, I’ve never focused on it. There have always been other things, like studying Medicine, then Psychiatry, then working…Every so often I take one of those life-changing decisions. I’m never quite sure if they’re due to tiredness or desperation, or a mixture of the two. Do you know that strong feeling that you should be doing something else or that there must be more to life? I came to the UK after trying unsuccessfully to find a job as a doctor back home (Barcelona). I’m not very patient and I tend to give myself time-limits. ‘If such and such hasn’t happened in…a month, a year, 3 years…it’s time to move on. In the case of the job (or an exam to get a job) 3 years was my limit. And after some years training and working in psychiatry one good day I reflected that there were many other things that I really enjoyed (literature in particular). I always thought I might go back to university after retiring and study, but that particular day I thought: ‘what am I waiting for?    What if I could make a living out of teaching at university or found some other job related to it? Let’s try it now.’ I loved the degree (American Literature at Sussex University), including the year abroad (Mount Holyoke) to the point that I stayed a further 3 years and completed a PhD (the Films of David Mamet). No jobs came my way, and tired of working as a locum psychiatrist after over a year I decided to find a full time permanent job (yes, I know, not many of them these days) in psychiatry. Because I had worked in forensic psychiatry before and I found the dealings with the criminal justice system particularly interested those are the jobs I’ve done since. (Since publishing this post I had another one of those moments and I left my job in March this year. Now I’m writing, translating and exploring other avenues. Read this post for more details.)

Wonderful creations by Lietta Cavalli exhibited at the Museum of Costumes in Florence's Palazzo Pitti. I love the owls!

Wonderful creations by Lietta Cavalli exhibited at the Museum of Costumes in Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. I love the owls!

After a health scare this year (thankfully only a scare, now three years back and no further developments) I again came to one of those turning points on the road when you realise all those things you’re saving to do some time in the future might be left undone. Carpe diem! Let’s try to see if my writing can come to anything.

I’ve been reading a lot about self-publishing and realise that although technically pretty easy, just getting your book out there isn’t enough and you have to convince somebody to read it (and not only your Mum. By the way, although my mother doesn’t understand the technical aspects of it, she’s very enthusiastic. She’s always been of the opinion that anything that makes me happy must be good. If only…). So social networking and social media are the word. And there we are…trying. I have  webpage (another attempt…it will change I hope), a facebook page (not quite used to the concept) a Twitter account (I quite like twitter although it is difficult to strike the balance of spending enough time there but not letting it take over your whole life. Maybe it will get better with time), and now…I was missing the blog.

I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about but if I find anything that I find interesting or useful, I’ll bring it here. I also intend to post how my adventure on self-publishing is going.

Several people have suggested that I might be able to advice on psychiatric matters (I don’t mean treating people or giving consultations, but rather on a creative capacity). Do ask if you want to run ideas by me. I’ll try and answer if I have a useful answer (or can signpost).

And I’ll try and not talk about the weather.

I intend to also blog in Spanish, so that is still to come.

Thanks and feel free to contact me via Facebook or Twitter also.

Good luck and be good!

And more of her dresses!

And more of her dresses!

And as promised, the invitation. Sally Ember is interviewing me live tomorrow at 10 am Eastern US Time. I know not everybody might be able to catch it live, but she’s also kindly posting the interview in You Tube, so you might be able to listen to it at a more convenient time and date.

Here I leave you the Promo Post that has all the information:

Welcome to Episode 13 of *CHANGES* G+ HOA with another intriguing author, Olga Nuñez Miret, Ph.D., who also blogs and reviews bilingually in English and Spanish.  Join us LIVE on Wednesday, November 19, 10 – 11 EST USA , or catch our conversation any time on YouTube

Explore Olga’s website at


Thank  you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and if you can, listen to the interview. Ah, and I’ve won NaNoWriMo (although I can’t claim it officially yet). I’m over 50000 words! 



As you know I work as a psychiatrist and my job involves seeing people, assessing them, coming up with diagnoses and looking after them (as I work in a hospital) and prescribing medication. Psychiatrists study Medicine and like in any other specialties in Medicine we then go on to study and work more in depth on our subject.

Although all doctors should be able to communicate well, that’s of the outmost importance in Psychiatry. You need to try and be a good listener, non-judgemental and try not to be too directive. After years of listening and observing people I can’t sometimes help offering some general advice and try to apply it to myself.

Here I leave you some of my “pearls of wisdom”.

First, be kind to yourself. Many of us tend to judge ourselves very harshly and punish ourselves for being less than perfect. I always advise people (and that’s very difficult to do in the heat of the moment) to try and think what advice they would give to somebody else (a friend, and acquaintance) if they were telling them about the same issues, problems, they are going through. Think about it. Would you tell them they were horrible? Would you punish them? Then, grant yourself the kindness you’d give others. Yes, learn from your mistakes, accept responsibility, but then move on and try and not make the same mistake again.

Second and very related to the first, try and gain perspective. Things that appear huge at the time are not so from a distance. It’s not easy, but if you can learn to try and step out of the situation and get a more balanced view, you’ll realise what the really important things are and which are your priorities. Don’t sweat the small stuff. (A caveat of this would be, don’t take everything personally. Yes, sometimes people might make nasty comments about you, but sometimes we might personalise pretty anodyne or neutral comments and imbue them with a meaning they don’t have.)

Third. When you’re feeling low it might feel as if you’re in a deep hole and there’s no way out. Sometimes it’s not evident but there is a way out and we can’t see it because we keep digging further down rather than looking up. However far up and difficult there are always alternatives. Not everybody is helpful but there are people who can help. You don’t have to do it all alone.


And now I leave you with a video Emmy award winner Alan Cooke (a.k.a Wild Irish Poet) has created talking about my writing and works. There’s some (?) use of poetic license but he’s such a wonderful narrator and has such a great voice that…

Well, I know you’re curious. Check it out!.

It’s also available in my Amazon author page:úñez-Miret/e/B009UC58G0

If you want to check Alan’s work, go here:

Or  check his webpage:

This is my post where I included a review of his book ‘Naked in New York’ and some other great books.


Thanks for reading.

English: Image for mental health stubs, uses t...

English: Image for mental health stubs, uses two psych images – psychiatry (medicine) and psychology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


After weeks of talking about my book (and yes, there will be links at the end of the post, of course) I decided to try something different. I’ve just noticed that when people read my profile, in Twitter or Facebook, they are always interested in the forensic psychiatrist thing. I must explain. Forensic in this context does not have much to do with crime labs, CSI and all those thing. It is a subspecialty of psychiatry that deals with people who in their majority have a forensic (criminal history) and are felt to be too dangerous or risky for standard psychiatric services. So forensic psychiatric hospitals normally have more security measures than a standard psychiatric hospital (alarms, fences, locks…), staff numbers tend to be higher, staff members are trained in how to deal with certain risky behaviours and there is an emphasis placed on producing good risk assessments and plans to manage difficult situations.


There appears to be some confusion between psychiatrists and psychologists. To become a psychiatrist you have to study Medicine first, so we are doctors who then train to become psychiatrists. All doctors will study Psychiatry as one of the subjects during their degree, but like with any other specialties you will need further training if  you want to work in psychiatry (in the same way that a surgeon or a cardiologist needs to train on their branch of Medicine). Psychology is a completely different career and although we work closely together with clinical psychologists (and sometimes Forensic psychologists in my line of work) our training is different. Psychologists can work in a variety of fields, not only related to clinical matters, and I’m sure that all of you who have children are aware of psychologists attached to schools, working to assess children’s needs and help with any difficulties. They also work in recruitment for big companies, in sports…They do assessments (like IQ assessments, assessments of risk of violence, assessment of cognitive difficulties with somebody who has suffered a stroke, for instance), and also therapy and treatment, depending on their specific training. They do not prescribe medication (unless they have had other training and qualifications) and deal with how the mind works, but not from an organic point of view.


I work in the UK, and here people suffering from a mental disorder who come in contact with criminal justice system are subject to a different subsection of the Mental Health Act (1983 but amended in 2007). I’m not familiar with the Mental Health Law in many other countries (not even in Spain, where I come from, as I haven’t worked there for years and have no contacts with psychiatrists in the country) and can’t comment on exact details but here somebody can be detained if they are deemed to be mentally unwell and be risky to themselves or others. They can be taken to hospital and treated against their will. Issues of Human Rights come into play, but such matters are accepted, not without debate.


How is the work? It is not really that different from standard psychiatry. I work in a public hospital, and don’t focus on talking therapies, so I’m nothing like the psychiatrist in the Sopranos or Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting (that I love). Luckily it isn’t like in Someone Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest or Quills. Yes, ECT (what people used to call electroshock, now electroconvulsive therapy) is still in use, and works very well in extreme cases, with people very depressed and with risk to their lives due to not eating and drinking. Of course it is not like used to be now, and people are asleep. In summary we see people, listen to them, talk to them and prescribe them medication if they need it. We also have to prepare reports for the courts to give them our opinion about somebody’s mental health state and how their crimes might be related (or not) to their mental health. As I explained in forensic psychiatric hospitals the security measures are greater, and although sometimes we have to deal with people who are very unwell in general it does not result in the job being personally more risky than many others.


I work in a hospital and that means we work in a team with many other professionals who do a great job in trying to return people back to independent life in the community. We have nurses who are always by the side of the patients, occupational therapist who try to encourage them to engage in activities, look at college, work, practical skills for everyday life, psychologists who help assess specific problems and offer counselling and therapy for particular difficulties (anxiety, substance misuse, psychotic symptoms…). And housekeeping staff, administrative staff, and gardeners, maintenance…Patients have a lot of people around them, and sometimes that is a big part of the change and therapy, as unfortunately many have lived isolated lives in the community.


There are many sad stories, some entertaining ones, a few success stories, some less successful Who is to judge though? Now people are talking less about ‘cure’, quite difficult in some mental illnesses that are chronic and can be managed but not eradicated, and more about recovery. Recovery is about trying to bring people to their ideal level of functioning and well-being. And who could aspire to more than that?




And now, as promised, the links to my book. And TWO ANNOUNCEMENTS. This Friday, the 23rd of November, author Simon Jenner, will be talking to us about his writing and his new book, first on the series of Ethan Justice. I’ve read it and can truthfully say I can wholeheartedly recommend it!


Second announcement is that I’m going to feature in my friend and very successful author (The Undeparted Series) Deborah Palumbo’s blog on the 24th of November. I’ll remind  you, but I’m giving you the link now. She always has fantastic guests and her own posts are fascinating. Have a look:




The link to The Man Who Never Was is:


You can access the book trailer for The Man in my author’s page in Amazon, or directly in U-tube but if you wish to use links, please use the one above:


Thanks so much!





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