My wake up call came last February. I woke up in the middle of the night with my mind spinning in panic and impending doom. I may have been in the throes of the annual seasonal depression that many Midwesterners succumb to after months with little sunlight. Perhaps there were other forces at work that we currently don’t understand; nevertheless, the depression was debilitating. My husband and four beautiful healthy daughters were fast asleep in our perfectly cliché large suburban home that was way beyond our means. I looked in the mirror to find, staring back at me a puffy eyed, spiritless, sagging façade. Beauty, intelligence, professional success, marriage, kids and health weren’t enough to make me sincerely happy. What was wrong with me? Was I psychotic, schizophrenic, or insane? There seemed to be no point in living. All the things I had aspired to be were just delusions.
Looking back now, I see the next few months served my “Dark Times” or my “dark night of the soul” as the 16th-century Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross referred to times like this. A pattern of self destruction ensued luring me to hide from everyone that I thought loved me in my unconscious fear that they would realize that I was an absolute train wreck. My epiphany came while seeking refuge from life and hiding at a local Starbucks, “I was scared to be myself”. I was scared if I didn’t portray myself as the perfect person I was expected to be, people might not love me. I didn’t even love me. I’m not perfect at all! I was miserably digging a path to my grave before I was dead.
I vowed to change. I ran off to counseling seeking a quick fix which yielded no explanations, rules or outlines on how to love myself and be happy. I was simply going to have to let go of the person I thought I was supposed to be, and slowly work at being who I really was. And you know it’s been hard, because I’m still afraid that they won’t love me. But this blog is a start. Come on the journey with me.
Warning! This blog is about being real and honest. You may read things that you don’t want to hear and never wanted to know. This is one middle aged mother of four, wife, and physician’s attempt at “accepting the things I cannot change and having the courage to change the things I can.” I want to make a difference in patient’s lives and what I have been doing isn’t working. My concept is preventing disease. Every year my patients come in for their annual exams and I hear myself sounding like a broken record. “Work on diet and exercise.” The next year they come back just as unhealthy as the year before. What can I do to walk them through the process of owning the responsibility for their own health? I can hold their hands and communicate regularly. I can also be honest about how hard it is to change yourself and the trouble that I have doing it. This blog is for all of us, all who seek change in whatever area, and trying to figure out the best way to tackle our demons head on.
We can work together to figure out why we expect doctors to “treat and cure” us of the diseases we self inflict. The best way to change the world is to change ourselves. This is my chaotic and humble attempt to contribute to that process