My patients come to me and say, ‘Doc, I have pain’
All of life is pain and comfort, my powers are few in the face of this universal truth
We try all manner of pills, topical treatments, injections and various therapies, yet the pain persists
Soul pain lies beyond the reach of western medicine
My patients come to me and say, ‘Doc, I cannot sleep’
All of life is fear and relief, effort and rest, I’ll do my best
I send multiple prescriptions, adjust doses, fill out piles of disability paperwork
I work extremely hard so that my patients don’t have to work at all
Although we share the same afflictions; anxiety with panic attacks, depression, insomnia, PTSD, nightmares
Perhaps my patients are doing more for themselves than I will ever do for myself
They are allowing themselves to be helped, although nothing we’ve tried so far seems to help much
No cure in sight, just a lifetime of refills
I’ve yet to outwardly acknowledge the inner storm that rages below my placid surface
My family conditioned me not to feel my feelings, trained me to exist only in service of others, to live for their benefit
The few times during childhood that I made the mistake of showing that I was human, that I was hurting, I received swift and searing backlash
Perhaps my patients are healing me by showing me what it looks like to be vulnerable, by saying ‘I can’t do this’
Yet I fear that I am keeping them unwell, allowing them to accept the sick role without hope of cure by signing their disability forms, by saying ‘you don’t have to do anything’
How will they ever heal themselves if they don’t have to?
How will they gain meaning from their experiences if their feelings are dulled by the drugs I prescribe, if I enable them to spend their life alone and inside?
I show myself how strong I am by forcing myself to function full-throttle in the world despite my invisible disabilities
How will my patients know how strong they are if their strength is not tested?
Am I secretly as callous as my parents, though I act with compassion?
Should I be more like my patients; take it easy and ask for help, or should my patients be more like me and tow their own weight, accept the normalcy of adverse human experiences, work even though they haven’t slept in days, like I do?
I have PTSD, nightmares, insomnia, panic, crippling anxiety and depression, but I carry on because I have to, or so I believe
Maybe I don’t have to do this anymore
Even though I work like a dog and pay my own way through life, even as the taxes I pay in part to support my patients’ disability benefits bleed me dry, I prefer the freedom to create my own life to dependence on a system that provides too little too late to survivors of child abuse
I want to stop asking my patients what is wrong and start asking them what is strong
We are all warriors
May I be a warrior of peace
May I heal myself in order to light the way for others on their healing journey