Mental health is coming into the limelight as a major threat to overall wellbeing for many people. When a celebrity is lost to suicide, it is easy to detach oneself from it. But when it affects someone close to you, it takes the shape of a more vivid reality.
It results in a rollercoaster of emotions. You feel sad about losing them, you feel helpless for not being able to help them.. you may even feel guilty in the terrible case that you may have contributed to their trauma.
Being a young doctor in Nigeria of today is an existence that is tough. The system is not suited to latest standards of care, your career prospects may look bleak, you grapple with exams, and you see your friends moving ahead in life. The mirages of good pay and prestige fritter away before your eyes as you run for cover (in both literal and figurative ways).
In all of this, it is important to have a good support system of both colleagues and mentors who can help navigate the treacherous waters and work together with you to find your way.
A colleague who is an epitome of excellence in her work, studies, leadership, friendship and helping others wrote this message on a forum for colleagues. In the hopes of reaching more people with this lifeline, I asked to share it here. Now, it was directed at a group of young doctors but it’s words can apply to anyone feeling like they are underachieving.
“Hi guys, good afternoon. This is random but I thought I should put it out here. I know it might seem like everyone is out on a path, figuring their lives out, getting married, getting fantastic jobs, writing and acing exams and stuff.
I just want to leave a word of encouragement to folks who feel their life is a mess or they have no idea what to do, say post housejob or post NYSC. Somehow, the government planned our lives from primary school to NYSC level and there might be someone here confused about what next.
Please guys, there are always folks around to help. We are a family here and I really like what Leo did some weeks back about appreciating everyone. Perhaps you’ve written IELTS again and again and keep failing, say Writing tasks, or you’re studying for USMLE and you keep forgetting what you’ve read or you lowkey did Primaries and didn’t pass.
Don’t worry, keep pushing, try again and again and again. Weird but I have this belief that if anyone who can pass 300Level Pharmac exam can pass any exam in the world. Perhaps you’re the one person that your whole family looks up to, you hardly saved anything during housejob because of responsibilities here and there and you don’t even have money for exams right now, always remember God’s got you and there’s a time for everything.
I honestly don’t know why this came to my mind this afternoon but please guys, SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION.
Have a nice day, fam.”
– Dr. Akudo Umeh
I really hope this helps someone at least to trust their journey and believe they will surmount all obstacles.