Wednesday 15 June 2011

It's all going to be alright

After a glum few days (as evidenced by the cheery nature of previous posts), I woke up this morning feeling a bit more rested. I made some yumtastic porridge for me and the girl to celebrate.

Every few months I have a meeting with a doctor who is the pastoral support person for the med school. I go in full of thing to ask / cry / complain about, and I come out 20 minutes later knowing that it's all going to be alright. I remain in a zen state for anywhere between an hour and a month, because Dr A* has a gift.

She listens. How simple does that sound? But I mean really, actively, openly listens. I have never felt judged in that room, I have never felt doubted, I have never felt lazy, or incompetent or weak, or any of the other things that doctors regularly make me feel. I have only ever felt valued, and cared for. It is a space that I can celebrate successes without worrying that they make me seem less unwell. I think I cry and laugh in equal measure. She knows my fiancee's name, knows that I'm vegan, knows where I go to church, knows that I love to cook and sing and travel.

Today we were talking about me working less than fulltime. She accepted my decision, knowing that I would have thought it through. I told her that I was most worried about being resented by my colleagues and feeling like I wasn't properly part of the time, and she said "You know, and I know, that you aren't choosing an easy option. Your training will probably be as hard for you as it is for your fulltime colleagues, and it will be protracted." It made me feel better. I hate people thinking that I'm lazy, it's something that I really don't deal with very well.

The gift of being listened to, even when there's very little pratical she can do for me within the structure of the course, is unbelievable. I'm pretty sure that without Dr A I would have left the course a long time ago, when I was struggling with my mental health.

I hope that I can learn from her how to listen, to my patients, and to my family and friends. To truly listen, not to try and jump in with easy solutions, or to shy away from hearing difficult things because there's nothing I can do to change them. If I can one day do for someone what Dr A has done for me, I will be a happy woman.

*as she shall be known (yes, A stands for awesome...)

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