I love my life and I love myself. I am happy within my own skin and I know very few people who can say this without either flinching or avoiding the question. In my line of work I see so many patients who really are quite disturbed by their actual self and cannot function without negativity in almost every sentence they say. There’s the anxiety of becoming old and losing the full functionality of their body as well as their minds. Then there’s the chronic fear of loneliness, abandonment and isolation from friends and family who either live further afield or have passed away due to ill-health. The loss importance is another theme that often arises in conversation. Many of my old dear patients feel so unimportant despite their knowledge and vast life experience. They couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, a large part of my life has been built on the foundations of having acquaintance with people who are often 20-30 years older than me at least. However, society really does not have any space for them or any useful and meaningful role which they can continue to play and live a more fulfilling and satisfying quality of life. It’s a sad situation and a real loss for society despite the abundance of this resource of knowledge and experience.
It’s not just the elderly that feel this way, its younger adults too. I witnessed something today which is not only rare but also dangerous. A senior member of staff and a psychiatrist argued like children to the point where the entire situation became toxic. It ended with the psychiatrist storming out in tears accusing the other member of staff of assault. Did the assault occur? I honestly don’t know and my view was blocked therefore I couldn’t see. Personally however, I really don’t believe my colleague was or even is capable of assaulting anyone. The psychiatrist really felt threatened by the behaviour and attitude of senior member of staff. This threat I believe was fuelled by her underlying issues, her vulnerability rather than the behaviour of the senior member of staff actually behaving in a threatening manner. She screams and leaves the office. Emotions were really running very high and my head was spinning from all the negativity in the room. I went after the psychiatrist who was now more vulnerable than I had ever seen since her arrival to the team almost three weeks ago. I followed her because no one ran after me when I felt threatened or vulnerable. She wears a happy-go-lucky attitude, a smile plastered on her face almost too easily, laughing and joking with the team. Her work ethic is strong, she oozes knowledge and expertise and completing clinical practice diligently with patient care at the centre of her practice. Yet this is an individual who is extremely vulnerable. The positive suit she wears is fake, behind which she carries a great deal of pain, hurt and damage. A heartbreaking observation to see her pathetic attempts at trying to win the acceptance of her colleagues and the only means by which she feels she can achieve this is put across a front which is so transparent. The psychiatrists position does not reflect her inner state of mind, one which is of chaos and confusion. She returned to the office composing herself.
Everyone is fighting their own battle, in one way of another yet we are just unable to see it because we are so engrossed in our own battles. This self-consuming disease of distress and pain has driven us to become ignorant of those around us. We have financial issues, family issues, personal identity issues to name but a few. We become so engrossed in the struggle to get something me we want to have become complacent. No one wishes to maintain an acceptable level of control over their emotions and fight their own battles privately perhaps due to a lack of knowledge on how to or the mere fact that the emotions are overwhelming.
As humans, if we are all carrying such negativity and stress around with us then what would make it easier for us? What is the one thing that would change the way you feel at one particular moment. The psychiatrist said to me she was grateful that I had come after her to encourage her to come back into the office. Another has said thank you for just being there while she just swears and screams. Another just wanting a hand while she has a panic attack. There was no judgment, there was no back biting and no break of trust. I was just there and such incidents don’t come up again in conversation, particularly from my side. I have come to realise that allowing someone to just vent their feelings at one particular point is so important and so vital to the individuals mental well-being.
Why are we so afraid of our emotions? We know how they feel when we feel them, so why do we ignore them when others around us feel the same?