Mantra

I have a false belief that I should be able to handle all of my mental and physical ailments without any assistance; no therapy or medications.

This false belief comes from the mantras of stoic ancestors echoed by my parents that I am fine simply because they say I am fine

In fact, I am pretty fucking far from fine, and have hovered over the abyss of suicidality most of my life

When I made the mistake of mentioning my thoughts to end my life to a friend at age 13, I was not met with concern but consternation and reprimandation from my mother, who was called by the school guidance counselor

She yelled at me ‘only crazy people go to psychiatrists’, naturally implying that I was not allowed to be crazy, because to be crazy would mean to be less than perfect, less than what she desired, which was forbidden

She pronounced the word ‘crazy’ with disgust and disdain, with smug judgement, as if it were an abhorrent personal defect, an unforgivable sin

I learned to ignore my feelings, emit the illusion of perfection at the cost of stunting my personal growth

To be myself was inconvenient for others, and to be an inconvenience was to be unlovable

Though I remain chained by fear, I am ready to break the shackles of false beliefs that have held me back and kept me from receiving essential help for too long

One mantra rang true: I am strong

New Mantra

I’ve had many mantras during my life

I am

Om shanti

So hum

In, out

Breathe, relax

Be Peace

Gentle flow

Here and now

I am safe

I am loved

Let go

Just be

Enough

Unclench

Amor y paz

Etc etc

The latest, born of caregiver burnout:

Stop giving me things to do

I want to take care of me and not you

Though I still stack up requests like a pile of dirty dishes

And wash each one because I grant wishes

I’m beginning to learn that my deepest magic

Lies in my ability to fulfill my own dreams

Replenishing myself with source

Giving to sustain and nurture myself

My outward giving grows infinitely

Workaholic

I went into medicine partly due to heartbreak

The exhaustive training of medical school and residency was a welcome albeit ineffective distraction from my sorrow and loneliness
24-hour shifts are a convenient justification for not keeping in touch with loved ones
Even though the real excuse is my social anxiety and sense of inadequacy
Living within hospital walls, I suspect that I am not the only physician who became a medical doctor to try to forget unrequited love, to escape the world of human relationships
My older colleagues work far more than they need to to make ends meet, far more than any reasonable person would work in a week
Who needs friends or feelings when you have patients and science?
Our skin grows pale under fluorescent lights
Our vision becomes shortsighted as the screens stare unblinkingly
Our hearts forget how to feel carefree
Our muscles atrophy as our brains hypertrophy
Our minds become boxed in with facts, our mental filing cabinets overflow
I am a recovering workaholic working alongside workaholics who do not appear to be in recovery
Perhaps they suspect the same of me
Heads down in the trenches, none of us can know another’s heart
We can only know our own heart, if we listen
We carefully administer medications, surgeries and therapies
We measure progress in numerical metrics of lab values, calculated scores and vital signs
We arrive early and stay late
We work day and night without a break
We always have too much on our plates
We deprive ourselves of sleep, fresh air and food
We know why we have irritable moods
Practicing medicine is an unhealthy, imbalanced lifestyle and we know it
We can only ever heal ourselves
I’m ready to show it
I am finally healing my broken heart
I found that I had to begin at the start
Childhood wounds tangle and bloom
Trauma begets trauma until we change our thoughts, words and actions
Breaking old patterns even as we hold traction
I am love itself, I am the source of what I sought
My cup overflows, it was not all for naught