Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Orientated in time, place...person?

I am struggling with psychiatry. I would so far as to say I hate it.

I am not comfortable around the floridly psychotic (my own prejudices I know, but I seem to be lacking the effort to needed to get round them) and most of our in-patients have such incredibly sad life stories, that I can completely understand why they have a psychiatric disorder. But it is so hard to help them, because for most, the social situation causing/attributing to their disorder can’t be taken away by an SSRI. Or even clozapine. And I find that hard.

So it’s not you, psych, it’s me. I don’t fit, and I don’t want to fit. Psychiatry would destroy me, as I do not have the emotional or mental strength. In every specialty, I find the social factors of illness the hardest to deal with. I found elderly care very hard in that respect. I want to be a magical healer – people come into hospital, we make them ‘better’, then they go away and live a perfect live, happy and whole. But life isn’t like that. And I struggle with that.

I’ve noticed myself developing certain coping mechanisms. They are not pretty. Joking about madness, joking about sucide, joking about patient stories. Nor pretty, not fair. But necessary?

Is medicine turning me into an insensitive machine? Or are these mechanisms the only way to get through intact?

I am constantly trying to balance the two sides. The side that is the ‘doctor’ part – able to detach, black humoured, removed from patient sensibilities and feeling. My friends and family spot this side. Other med students see it as normal. And the other side of myself, the side that feels and empathises, that is floundering. Has been for a long time. It is still spotted though – in my block, I am quite well known as the ‘fluffy’ one. Because I like people, not just diagnoses.

So anyway, I am finding this block hard. Maybe I will find a good place to balance psych from, and I will be able to go back to my happy little place of pottering along. I don’t like being stretched, having to engage my brain into finding out what I am and why I am here.

If you want to read someone much more eloquent than me on the subject of what becoming a doctor means losing of yourself, go read Garbage’s blog. He’s just qualified as a doc and is threatening to delete the lot. So read it now, before it’s gone. I promise it will make you think...

Currently eating: those damn shrimp and banana sweeties again. Yup, that's how bad it is.