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Life of the mind: our own worst critics

Many people have wall charts in mind on which they get a gold star for concealing distress

By Anna Blundy  

“On Friday I went out, got drunk and embarrassed myself.” No, not me (or, at least, that’s not relevant here). My patient wept, telling me about The Shame of the morning after as though alone in having this experience, or because she felt so alone. She described scrolling through excruciating texts she didn’t remember sending, the concerned phone calls she received the next day. She was surprised that anybody could express concern over behaviour she had already judged to be abhorrent.

Desperate to know what, exactly, she had done, I listened to five more minutes of hangover remorse…

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