Would time pass more slowly if one had less activities, or in the opposite case that one managed to do more? Less activities might create the impression that there has been a lot of time; may be that would feel like time passing slowly. More activities, on the other hand, might be a source of more memories, which might create the feeling of having lived a longer period of time. (Unless they created the feeling of all being in endless chaos…)

At least pushing snow again really made me think that time is passing too quickly. Last snow of last winter only disappeared a blink ago, and ta-da: here it is again. I try hard to make myself believe that pushing snow is healthy exercise. And even free of charge!

Our Department of Adolescent Psychiatry moved to central hospital three years ago, and these three years have really disappeared in a blink, too, may be because they have been all exceptional times and crises. First there was the effort of joining the rhythm of the central hospital and aligning our activities with all the other departments. There were both excessive desires regarding what we should do, and excessive fears regarding what our patients might do. Then the pandemic, with all related cutting down, re-opening and adjusting the services. Next, adjusting services back and forth because of extensive strikes followed by shortage of staff, and now finally facing the huge health care reform Finland has been planning for who knows how long. “Normal times” seem gone for good.

But then, may be “normal time” is only an illusion. Everything is changing anyway, only sometimes more slowly.

On the other hand, in waiting to obtain register linkage data for two long-term follow-up studies, the same time has felt enormously long for me. Finland has comprehensive register information that are an invaluable source for health research. However, getting appropriate permissions for using register data has in recent years been made very complicated in names of data security, and the costs of the data itself and analysing it in the required secure environments have become enormously expensive. At the same time, research funding is all declining. I think this is really a disgrace. Why use taxpayers’ money for maintaining those registers if all effort is made to prevent their use for research that aims to benefiting people’s health? Not being allowed to transfer Finnish data in international research projects’ pooled data is also huge drawback for research.

However, when I was offered an opportunity to co-create a Swedish-Finnish research project on involuntary treatment of minors, based on register-linkage data, I of course agreed even if the process of applying started again. It seems to me that time is also making spirals. Things re-emerge, like now the problematic of involuntary treatment. I wrote my academic dissertation on patients’ experiences of involuntary treatment, and over next decade or so I published quite a lot on involuntary psychiatric care and coercion in psychiatry. Then my research moved on to other topics, but as chief psychiatrist, I face the challenges of involuntary treatment on weekly basis in the clinic. Now involuntary treatment research is coming back to me. In addition to working on this Swedish-Finnish project, I acted recently as an opponent for a dissertation related to geographical variation in involuntary treatment in Oslo Public Defence: Tore Hofstad – Institute of Health and Society (uio.no) , it was time to update my chapter on involuntary treatment in Springer’s Encyclopedia of Adolescence Encyclopedia of Adolescence | SpringerLink, a handful of undergraduate diploma projects were started on topics related to involuntary treatment and coercion in psychiatry, and we are also developing new approaches to reducing coercion and restrictions with help of digital techniques of relaxation in our adolescent forensic unit. This makes me think that time is not linear but circular, or perhaps proceeding in spirals. Hopefully it spirals upwards and re-emerging ideas mature!