Trust Your Journey

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

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I really hope this helps someone at least to trust their journey and believe they will surmount all obstacles.

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OumissaInspire

060518

Lagos, Nigeria

First Do No Harm – by Dr Lawal Abisoye

In work environment bedevilled with heightened stress and sometimes difficult conditions, it is imperative to remind doctors to pay attention to their physical and mental well-being. Dr Lawal Abisoye wrote a piece doing just that below.

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Good morning colleagues, a quick reminder.

We have a noble call, which is the servitude of mankind. Alleviation of sufferings and restoration of health is what we do. This takes a lot from us, physically, mentally, emotionally, morally and even spiritually.

I want to remind us that we are humans, however “super”. Our bodies, spirits and souls need to be looked after.

Eat adequately; have your breakfast, take adequate water, let your kidneys rejoice, take fruits in any and every form, even smoothies, exercise, pace yourself. Don’t stay on a liquid diet, don’t console yourself overtly with junk.

Take time off to rest, our activities call for sacrifices and stretching, not at the expense of your good health; recognize and embrace your limits; after all, you are also human.

We make a lot of withdrawals from our emotional bank. We aren’t numb to the sufferings of our patients, every death takes a piece of us. Give yourself time to grief, talk about it at least to colleagues that understand. Get a psychologist if need be; there’s a limit to bottling up, we all need sanity. Cry if you must, weep in your closet if you have to, you’ve earned it.

Don’t let anyone guilt-trip you into doing beyond what you can; you owe yourself a responsibility to be healthy. The funny thing is that you owe this responsibility to your patients as well.

Have a connection with God our Maker and in whatever belief you ascribe to if you don’t believe there’s a God. Spiritual health is as important and physical.

First do no harm.
Do not run yourself down.
Have a wonderful day and week ahead.

Ecstacy

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Visit Dr Lawal’s Twitter thread