There can be no doubt that the job I do is really hard. By that I mean it’s really stressful and it can be really, really emotionally draining. I’ve seen lots of truly horrific things in the last few months and after trying my best to deal with each situation, I have to try and pick myself up again and try not to let it “get to me.” The emotional side is compounded, I think, by the very long hours that I have to work, the fact that I can’t choose to work near my family (thank-you MMC), that I’m having to spend all my spare time studying and the fact that there is a rather macho “just get on with it” attitude among doctors where nobody really talks about the horrible things on any sort of emotional level.
I’m really lucky though because I have a family who love me, a group of really good friends from uni who I know I can always call and a really lovely girlfriend to give me a hug when I need one.
A lot of doctors don’t have the support of a caring network of friends and family and I really see why some doctors struggle. It’s really easy to start to believe that you’re all alone, that every bad thing that happens is your fault and I can see why the rates of drug abuse, alcoholism, depression and suicide are disproportionately high among medics as compared to other professions.
I’m writing this because I made the journey to see my family at the weekend. I was chatting to my father about this and that and he stops and says to me; “You know Michael, I know it’s not often that I say this but me and your mother are really proud of you. Of the things you do and what you’ve achieved. We know you work really hard and you have a really tough job and I do pray for you.”
It’s amazing how just a few words can have such a big effect on me. I had a lump in my throat and just managed a quiet “Thank-you” to my dear father. But the point of this post is just to say that knowing that you have your family by your side no matter what makes shitty times like these MUCH easier to cope with.