Today is Veterans Day, a holiday that is too often only superficially acknowledged through nationalistic brouhaha. What get overlooked are the lived experiences of actual veterans, many of whom return home with intense post-traumatic stress disorder and few resources for treatment. In “The Agony and the Ecstasy: The Quiet Mission to Fight PTSD with MDMA,” Motherboard writer Brian Anderson details the efforts doctors Annie and Michael Mithoefer are taking to treat PTSD among veterans using small amounts of ecstasy in safe, controlled environments. Although the piece is from 2011, Motherboard has reposted it because — unfortunately — the urgent need for PTSD-treatment in the veteran community is huge.
In more health beat news: at ELLE, Michelle Ruiz details why she decided to drink while pregnant. More than a mere defense of the practice, the piece illustrates why doctors are reluctant to share the growing mound of proof that a couple of drinks a week aren’t detrimental to a developing fetus. “Pregnant women who drink lightly in 2014 don’t necessarily feel like rebels who are tempting fate. They simply believe that there is a secret code among them — that an occasional drink really is OK, but it’s just too risky for many American doctors to share that with most of their patients,” she writes. It’s a complicated subject, fraught with combative opinions, emotions, and unwarranted advice, as are most things involving pregnant women. But Ruiz stands by her decision. “I believe I did benefit, mentally and physically, from maintaining as much of my normal life as possible during pregnancy.” Cheers to that.
Everyone loves a good list, and no one does those better than BuzzFeed. Their “20 Under 40 Debut Writers You Need To Be Reading” includes such spectacular young writers like Roxane Gay, Catherine Lacey, Teju Cole, and Celeste Ng. Not sure what book next you should pick up? This is the list to consult.
You’ve probably at least heard of Serial, the new podcast from the producers of This American Life. Serial follows journalist Sarah Koenig as she attempts to unravel the mystery that is Adnan Syed, who’s currently in prison for the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend Hae Min Lee in the suburbs of Baltimore. It’s a tragic story, depicting the aching desire to find actual justice for Hae Min Lee when evidence that Syed murdered her is so weak. Read E.J. Dickson‘s guide to theories on who killed Hae (FYI: contains spoilers), and Rachel Syme‘s interview with Sarah Koenig at Vulture. It’s from October, but it provides a detailed background if you’re only just listening to the podcast now. If you’re not, you really should be.