Thanking The First Responders

Redhead female doctor holding red stethoscope

In Harm’s Way On A Daily

It’s easy to forget about the people who wake up early every day and arrive to work to help others in need while putting their lives at risk. It’s easy to forget because most of us check out and disconnect from those who aren’t in our immediate vicinity; it’s called human nature at play. But as I previously said, sometimes human nature needs to be changed in order to better yourself.

The first responders don’t have to do this; no one forces them to go to work and expose themselves to the coronavirus. They do it because it’s their nature; that’s why they got into their field in the first place, to help people in need! Most first responders are heroes by nature and heroes do not back away from a challenge very easily; instead, the view it as an opportunity to better themselves.

When first responders improve their character, they put themselves in a better position to help people in the future. Without improving your skills, you can only be of help to a certain extent; humanity requires those who go beyond the call of duty because of their drive to exceed in their field. Humanity requires those who are not afraid of a little pain.

I would like to thank the police officers, firefighters, paramedics, nurses, social workers and doctors who are on the front lines every single day. You guys are the ones who are truly keeping this country running; it’s easy for the suits in Washington to meet in their safe havens and pass stimulus packages while the federal reserve uses a printing press that goes “brrr.”

You guys are the ones who are juggling multiple jobs, studying and raising families all while exposing yourselves to COVID-19. Your courage is outmatched by anyone else in society because you are fearless, determined and hungry to save human lives; you do not shy away from a virus that has killed over 100,000 people worldwide. Through your performance others can hopefully learn from and be inspired to step up to the plate for future generations to come.

Thank you!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychiatric Patients Are Unpredictable

Expect Anything

If you don’t have patience talking and listening all day, then the field of psychiatry is not for you. Not anyone can become a psychiatrist and be good at it; it requires patience, determination, excellent listening skills and lots of empathy. Lots and lots of empathy! As any psychiatrist knows very well, the unpredictability of patients is something that they must be prepared for on a daily basis, even when you think that patients are doing well.

In the field of psychiatry, you must expect anything; anything less and you are in for a surprise. What many people don’t understand is that it’s not necessarily the patients’ fault when they become agitated, disruptive or physically assaultive; unless sociopathy is at play, mental illness is often the driver behind their madness. When mental illness takes control of you, you almost become a passenger wrestling to take back control of the wheel that the drunk driver is joyfully playing with.

But how do you help such patients when most of the time they cannot even help themselves? Patience and lots of it. And believe it or not, psychotropic medications work very well on mental pathologies; they just require the right dose and length of time in the patient’s system. Psychiatric medications aren’t something that you take for a month and discard with the hope of being “fixed.”

The stigma of psychiatric medications is still prevalent, but thankfully it’s decreasing. People are starting to realize that these medications work; they can fix your anxiety, depression and psychosis! People are also realizing that there should be no shame in taking them; there is nothing wrong with having a mental illness.

Sure it doesn’t feel good having one and no one enjoys suffering from depression or hallucinations, but the more that we normalize mental illness, the easier it will become for the world to be treated. People will no longer have to remain in hiding because they are too ashamed to get treated by a doctor.

As physicians, all we can do is continue treating our patients with empathy, professionalism and dignity. And as human beings, all we can do is continue to spread acceptance, love and hope into the world.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Improving Mental Health

Passion, Care And Trust

Our patients come first. Our ego comes last. As soon as the medical community adopts this mindset, mental health care will start to improve. Even among the medical community, there is too much selfishness, pride, competition and ego, that we forget what we signed up for: to help other human beings live happier and healthier lives.

Where is the passion? Many physicians see patients as an obligatory task, like checking off a to-do list. They forget to smile, be empathetic, listen well and compliment. It’s as if burnout has overtaken passion, resulting in empty interactions that lack any meaning or purpose. Passion is a must in order for the mental health of humanity to consistently improve.

Where is the care? I am not referring to prescribing medications or talking to patients. Where is the concern and interest for our patients today? Some physicians crack jokes, laugh and even make inappropriate comments; we cannot expect patients to play along when mental health care is not a playing matter.

Where is the trust? Many physicians say this and that and do not deliver. “I will talk to you later today”, “I will see you in ten minutes”, “I will follow up with you later”, only to do the opposite. Some physicians also sell out to pharmaceutical companies, replacing patient care with money as their number one objective.

Improving mental health is not only about doing genetics and neuroscience research or coming out with more effective medications; that is 25% of the battle. The rest relies on delivering authentic, reliable, passionate and trustworthy care on a daily basis. Our patients rely on us; they view us as healers in times of need.

On the first day of medical school, we put on our white coats and took a vow, to deliver honest and ethical care to our patients for the rest of our careers. Many physicians are unconsciously throwing in the towel and breaking the vow before their careers have even ended; they forget their past.

Let us come together and restore the prestige of medicine and psychiatry!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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