I awoke from my restful slumber at 10 a.m. The first thing I did upon awakening was pull out my laptop and finish up Blogmas Day 7/8, which was actually due last night. This past weekend has been pretty draining, with Christmas parties and family outings and such. I had a great time, though, and am ready to get back to regular Blogmas posts.
Finishing up Blogmas Days 7 and 8 took me all the way until 12:30 p.m. If you guys haven’t seen it yet, please check it out! Although, fair warning: this post is a doozy.
After writing, I did my morning routine and headed downstairs. I had originally planned on going to San José to meet with my friend from UCLA, Ivy, who happens to be in NorCal this week. However, I didn’t know my parents had made plans to take us out for lunch! So I had to reschedule with Ivy. It’s okay, though– we have the next four years to bond!
For lunch, it was between Japanese, Pho noodles, dim sum, or ABC café, which serves a whole variety of Hong Kong-nese style dishes. We ended up settling on ABC. I ordered a beef/tomato sauce over white rice. Dad had a similar thing, except his rice was covered with two different sauces. Mom and Chris had wonton soup noodles. Austin was not present– he went running with some friends. I was in good spirits throughout the meal. I had good food and a great family. What more could I ask for?
After lunch, we headed to the Marina to do some grocery shopping. I never like going to the back of the store, where the fish market is, because it wreaks of raw seafood. When I grimaced at the smell, my mom told me I had to get used to it, as I’d be doing this someday. I told her that I did not care for fish, and thus would never find myself in this section of the market. She replied that I still had to cook fish for my family. It’s like, seriously?! Why must I do that?! Anyway, after leaving the grocery store, my mom, Chris and I walked to a nearby bakery, where we bought a Black Forrest cake and coconut bread.
We got home at almost 4:00 p.m. By then, with our lunches sufficiently digested in our tummies, Chris, Dad, Austin and I decided to go to the gym! Chris and Austin took one car, while Dad and I took another. I drove us there and back. It was a smooth sail both ways, although I had a little trouble parking the car. Dad and I worked out until 5:30 p.m. I warmed up on the elliptical, and focused my workout on abs exercises. Lately, I’ve been incorporating a lot more machines into my workout than I’d used to. I struggled with using the device that resembles a single wheel with two handles on the side. You know which one I’m talking about? You go on your knees and, holding the device, roll out as far as you can go while keeping your core tight, and then roll back in. I can’t go out very far, lest I want to fall flat on my belly. I took the device over to my dad and asked him if I was using it correctly. While he was assessing my performance, a kind man walked up to us and suggested I put a slightly elevated cushioning underneath my knees, which should help me go out further. And it did!
At 5:30 p.m., my dad and I called it a day. Austin and Chris, who were still in the middle of weight training, said they’d come home at around 6:00 p.m.
I got home to the sound of my mother cooking on the brand new stove top. My grandma is usually the one who cooks dinner, but since she’s a bit under the weather, my mom took over. She was a making sautéed veggies, clams, greens, and abalone. As she cooked, I helped do the laundry (something I couldn’t do before college) and set the dinner table.
After my chores were completed, I plopped on my bed and read an excerpt from Dr. Pamela Wible’s book, Physician Suicide Letters Answered. The book discusses the huge problem of mental health illness among medical students and practicing physicians, and how many of these health care professionals suffer in silence with depression and suicidal thoughts. There was one story about a 3rd year medical student, Kaitlyn, who suffered from depression her entire life, unbeknownst to her parents. On paper, she was incredibly accomplished. In addition to being a stellar student, Kaitlyn was an artist, poet, writer and dedicated marathon runner. To her parents, she was always happy. But inside, Kaitlyn suffered. And so, she decided that the only logical way out was not to seek help, for doing so may harm her medical career, but to kill herself. And so, she took her own life. This seemingly happy, highly-accomplished young woman with a promising future as a physician, ended her life at the ripe age of 23. Her mother, so grief-stricken that she had failed to notice her daughter’s signs of depression, just couldn’t cope with the ensuing guilt, and ended her own life.
This tragic story definitely illustrates the mental health crisis faced by nurses, doctors, and aspiring doctors. It’s a field where mental health stigma runs the deepest. Doctors are obligated to report any mental health illness they may have. Many doctors worry that should knowledge of their mental health struggles become public information, they may have their medical licenses revoked. And so, many choose to suffer in silence. It’s ironic, isn’t it? The suicidal doctor. The one who heals and vows to do no harm, yet wanting to end his/her own life. Makes me question whether or not I, as an individual with a history of mental health problems, am well-suited for this particularly demanding profession.
It’s about 8:15 p.m. right now, and I really want to watch some Harry Potter before I go to bed. My favorite of the series is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, because the triwizard tournament is thrilling to watch.
- Having my father in my life, who, despite facing physician’s burnout, is still powering through each day and staying strong.
- Having a family and community of friends so understanding and compassionate about my issues with mental health. Never have I felt the urge to hide it or treat it as something to be ashamed of.
- My warm bed
Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you guys tomorrow!