Food for thought

Thought-provoking reads, ideas & quotes.

My luminaries.


The Man in the Arena

-Theodore Roosevelt

December 2020

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


On spontaneity

-Erich Froom

January 2021

"The inability to act spontaneously, to express what one genuinely feels and thinks, and the resulting necessity to present a pseudo-self to oneself and others, are the roots of the feelings and inferiority and weakness. Whether or not we are aware of it, there is nothing of which we are more ashamed than of not being ourselves, and there is nothing that gives us greater pride and happiness than to think, to feel, and to say what is ours."


The Primal Scream 

-NYT Parenting

February 2021

Jessica Grose from NYT Parenting has done an excellent job capturing the struggle and literal scream of working American mothers. I was a working mother in America during the pandemic and the struggle is brutal. This piece depicts the exact feelings I experienced: hopelessness, anger, and desperation. A must-read for everyone who wants to understand how parents are seemingly keeping it all together. 

"You can also see the problem in numbers: Almost 1 million mothers have left the workforce — with Black mothers, Hispanic mothers, and single mothers among the hardest hit. Almost one in four children experienced food insecurity in 2020, which is intimately related to the loss of maternal income. And more than three-quarters of parents with children ages 8 to 12 say the uncertainty around the current school year is causing them stress.

Despite these alarm bells clanging, signaling a financial and emotional disaster among America’s mothers, who are doing most of the increased amount of child care and domestic work during this pandemic, the cultural and policy response enacted at this point has been nearly nonexistent."

Read the full article here: America’s Mothers Are in Crisis - Is anyone listening to them?


Gercek Ozgurluk, Gelistiren Anne Bana, Mis gibi Yasamlar

-Dogan Cuceloglu

February 16, 2021

Dogan Cuceloglu was a pioneer in Turkish psychology and personal development. His books on finding one's purpose and meaning in life, parenting, and relationships have been both educational and inspirational to me from a young age.

His books gave me hope for a better world. He made me believe that change is possible, and it has to be purposefully pursued. He made me aware that loving a child is the most important task of a parent. Through reading his work, I imagined that becoming one's true self and creating a family culture where acceptance and growth are at the center, are possible. He has been an exceptional thinker, writer but first of all, a beautiful human being. He passed away on February 16,2021. May he rest in peace. 

“Birey olmayı istemek çok büyük bir suç! Bunu unutma. Bu suçun önemini sana ögretmediler mi? Türkiye'deki ana babalar çocuklarına birey olmamayı çok erken yasta ögretmek için büyük çaba harcarlar. Içimizdeki çocuk utanca bogulup kendi kendimize söz verip bir birey olmama yemini ettigimiz zaman ana babamız, dedemiz, ninemiz, konu komsu, herkes bizi çok sever. Sürünün yeni üyesi olarak sevilirsiniz. (...) Birey olmaya kalkanları ana baba sevmez, ögretmen sevmez, yönetici sevmez, devlet sevmez ve her biri gücü yettigi kadar seni utandırmaya ve cezalandırmaya çalısır.”
Dogan Cüceloglu, 'Mıs Gibi' Yasamlar


Stop untitling and uncredentialing professional women.

-An article on BBC - Why we use women’s professional titles less than men’s

February 2021

"Titles can be especially important to demonstrate the expertise of women who might appear youthful. “I have had students in the past address me as ‘Miss Porras’, and in those cases, I point out that women are less likely to be referred as ‘Dr’ after finishing their degrees than men,” explains the 33-year-old Porras. “Right after I graduated and started my current postdoctoral position, I would introduce myself and people would react to say, ‘You have a Ph.D.? You are a doctor? You look so young!’ But I never heard people say similar things to my colleagues who are white men.”

“Untitling and uncredentialing are forms of devaluation, where women are taken less seriously or treated as less important than men,” comments Diehl, a gender equity researcher, and the chief information officer at Wilson College in the US. But these concepts apply to marginalized groups more generally, including people of color and from poorer backgrounds."

"Many scientists have chosen to include ‘Dr’ in their Twitter handle or profile as a clear stamp of authority. Porras recently added ‘Dra’ to hers as a nod to her native language, Spanish. “I decided to incorporate it after seeing many rounds on Twitter of people diminishing the accomplishments of women who have PhDs,” she explains. The last straw was “Joseph Epstein’s opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal belittling Dr. Jill Biden for correctly using her title”."


February 2021

Today was week 4 of the Living Life to the full program (LLTTF) from the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Family Centre of Peel and it was about the concept: good enough. 


It is so hard to function from a place of worthiness & self-compassion if we were raised in critical, judgemental, and “perfect” households. It is possible that may have internalized our caregiver's judgments and beating ourselves up as adults. We can change this internal dialogue. This course, based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is exactly teaching how to do that, step-wise.

The heart of self-care in my opinion is not about looking outwards. It truly lies inside us— giving ourselves what we should have received as a child but didn't. Reparenting ourselves in a way with real compassionate self-talk, saying that we are good enough, worthy of love and joy. Our self-talk matters and makes a huge difference.


When I combine what I know about self-care and what I am learning in this class inspired me to make this illustration.  Do you ever slow down and listened to your self-talk, especially when you are feeling insecure, anxious, or upset? next time, try to listen to it, and be gentle with yourself. You are doing great. You are already good enough.


March 2021

March 1-7 is #SocialWorkWeek2021!


During my immigrant journey in the US, I felt lost and confused at the beginning. Many times. I was lucky enough to come across a #socialworker who became my therapist. It was probably one of the best things that happened to me in the US.


Every step of the way, she was there for me and made sure I was not feeling alone. Our tough work together made me grow, heal and become my bolder self. I am forever grateful to her and what I was able to create as a result of this work. I am thankful to her and all social workers out there who put their heart and soul into their work, to help people.


My journey deeply inspired me to leave my career behind and become a #socialworker myself,to help other people become their bolder selves,to help others to find their unique way in life,to help them feel less alone.I am not sure if I will be able to follow this path (immigration limbo is real! and life is full of surprises...) but I will never miss a chance to THANK a social worker as they create REAL change, every single day.

Image by Steven Kamenar

everyone has such a profound story to tell

if they are willing to go to the deepest corners of their soul.

When you are brave enough to go through the pain,

there comes your freedom from the past.


March 2021

“We’ve seen a total shift in the baseline of mental health across our community,” Helen Fishburn said. “People are just overwhelmed. … That is the new normal that we’re dealing with.”

"As of Tuesday, there are 3,520 people waiting to access services through CMHA WW alone – a number Fishburn said has been “rising steadily” throughout the pandemic. Wait times vary depending on the service needed, she added, but can stretch into several years.""Since the start of the pandemic – which reaches the one-year mark on Thursday – CMHA WW has seen a 30 percent increase in calls to its mental health crisis hotline known as Here 24/7. Daily calls have jumped from 150-160 to between 225 and 275."


March 2021

I was asked what do I think about preventative measures concerning mental health, whether we should our mental health checked from time to time to avoid present/future problems. Here are my thoughts;

In the US, there are annual physical exams (at no cost, covered by insurance) as well as dental checkups every 6 months. This is a great way to catch "problems" at the early stage and address them. Approaching mental health care with the same perspective would be absolutely beneficial in my opinion. Imagine everyone going for an annual mental health checkup free of charge. To make this come true, I see two obstacles, first of all, the availability and accessibility of mental health providers are limited. My perspective is skewed towards North American countries as that is what I experienced. Although there are many mental health services or providers available, it is not easily accessible or affordable. Even if there would be a mental health checkup, I wonder if people would be able to easily afford the continued care due to costs associated with it. (see note below) I truly believe mental health care should not be a privilege but a right.

The second point is the stigma attached to mental health. Usually, people would be okay to visit the dentist every six months, because they admit it is important and necessary. However it could be a hurdle to facilitate/realize mental health check-ups as first we need to make sure people understand that mental health is health, too and it is OKAY to visit a mental health practitioner even if you are not "suffering". Basically, people need to understand and agree that if they proactively protect their mental health and nourish it, it will beneficial for them. I mean mental health awareness & education. We need to challenge this belief that if you need mental health care you are weak or broken. That is absolutely wrong. Everyone can need help from time to time and there is nothing wrong to look for help. If we can address these two issues above, I think one day we may realize this great idea: the preventive care system for mental health, too.

Note: In the US there is a co-pay for each therapy session even if you have great insurance. In Canada, which has universal health care - mental health care is NOT covered. Private insurance coverage has a limit (around 1000CAD per year)


An article on Science - Amid the pandemic, I learned to reflect on what really matters to me in a career

March 2021

"If you had asked me at the beginning of my Ph.D. what I wanted to do after graduating, I would have said that I wanted to hide away at a fume hood and do research. If the pandemic hadn’t hit I probably would have blithely remained on that track, carried along by the momentum of my expectations for myself and my future. The cheers of labmates and colleagues when I published that paper would have spurred me forward.

But publishing in isolation, with no celebrations, gave me a chance to reflect on what I truly find rewarding. The paper gave me little sense of personal or professional accomplishment. I realized I don’t find satisfaction just from the act of research."


I totally relate to this. Last year & the pandemic process made me realize my priorities and values better than ever before and I took the plunge finally to leave academia.

I agree that everyone must do this introspective work and ask themselves:
— Why am I doing this work?
— Is this really what I want to do?
— What are my values and priorities?

It should sadly not take a pandemic to ask these questions to ourselves, but as the author says — it is better to be late than never.

Sometimes, the biggest #success is to know when to quit something.


April 2021

It was such a shock to learn that mental health services are not covered under the Universal Health Care system of Canada.(OHIP in Ontario)

In my experience, even the private & supplemental insurances, the allowances for mental health care are ridiculously low (up to 1000$ max, where a session is somewhere between 150-250$.) I believe the accesibility to mental health service are low, due to associated costs. This should not be the case.

And yes, there are free programs, CBT based courses like LLTF, BounceBack and settlement agency based free counseling services — but sadly, those are not the same thing and do not replace the long term psychotherapy effects. (And I am speaking from personal experience)

As a future social worker, I agree, Mental Health care is not a privilege. It is a basic right. So let’s treat it that way.

If you agree, please consider signing the petition below.


An article on NYT -  Could the Pandemic Prompt an ‘Epidemic of Loss’ of Women in the Sciences?

"Even before the pandemic, many female scientists felt unsupported in their fields. Now, some are hitting a breaking point."

April 2021

A brand new article showing the widespread effects of a pandemic on women in science, how they are leaving STEM in the masses. I am posting this to show that this is not an isolated incident and it does not need to be justified. This is very clear to me — and it should be clear to anyone who wants to listen & understand the facts.


Women are leaving STEM & academia. Pandemic only made things worse. It is a Systemic Problem that has to be addressed.

"Several studies have found that women have published fewer papers, led fewer clinical trials, and received less recognition for their expertise during the pandemic.

Add to that the emotional upheaval and stress of the pandemic, the protests over structural racism, worry about children’s mental health and education, and the lack of time to think or work, and an already unsustainable situation becomes unbearable."


Decolonizing Therapy: Why an Apolitical Mental Health System Doesn’t Work

Undoing the narrative that 'just talking about your feelings is enough.'

June 2021

Excellent article on how the mental health system needs to focus more on systems, rather than just individuals.

The structural issues and societal context can not be separated from the mental health system.

Individuals function within systems (society, family, a particular culture) and we need to understand the complex nature of these systems, to understand the functioning, reasoning, and affective states of people as well as barriers and oppressions that they face and the generational trauma in order to understand them fully and help them.

“Research has shown that trauma can leave a chemical mark on people's genes. But there's good news: these epigenetic changes can be reversed with trauma-focused therapy. This stops the vicious cycle of passing down generational wounds.

To make that happen, therapists need to be significantly more equipped to manage long-term historical and complex intergenerational ancestral trauma. “

#mentalhealth #research #trauma #wellness #psychology #socialwork


When joy becomes terrifying
-Foreboding Joy by Brene Brown

July 2021

Brene Brown talks about how joy can become terrifying when we lose our capacity for vulnerability during her interview with Oprah at SuperSoul Sunday.


She talks about this concept of "dress rehearsal tragedy" where we prepare for the disasters or bad things mentally, which may or may not happen.


Foreboding joy can look something like: looking into your child who is happy, healthy and in split-second thinking about something terrible happening to them and getting scared about that, rather than feeling joyous, calm or happy. It is waiting for "the next shoe to drop" and it indicates that we are afraid of feeling joy and trying to "beat vulnerability in the crutch"


Brown suggest that we can practice gratitude intentionally such as by keeping a gratitude journal or telling someone we love how much we appreciate them and this way we can become more present, grateful and hopefully more vulnerable and keep our hearts open to embrace a full range of emotions without feeling afraid.

Image by Jeremy Bishop

If only I was able to speak as fluent as I muse,

If only I was able to write as fast

as I think,

and if only I had the time to see through all in my head delivered to the world...