Physician, heal thyself

This post deals with depression in physicians (and no, it has nothing to do with me). An estimated 300 physicians die by suicide in the U.S. per year. Physicians who took their lives were less likely to be receiving mental health treatment compared with
non- physicians who took their lives even though depression was found to be a significant risk factor at approximately the same rate in both groups.

I had never thought I would live to recount

This story, I was convinced I could not surmount

The veil of depression that had me shrouded

In abject despondency my life had been clouded

I was losing my purpose as a physician

Helplessly battling what I knew was clinical depression

Unable to seek help-the stakes were too high

The stigma was strong- and ashamed was I

The never ending demands in professional life

Infiltrating into personal space, causing strife

At home- had driven me to my wit’s end

That I was normal, I could no longer pretend…

*

In a flood of depression somehow I had made up my mind

To end my life – no peace I could find

I stood on the bridge, saying my last prayer

What happened next, I’m not quite aware

A gentle tap on my shoulder woke me from my trance

Someone exclaimed- “there’s the doctor who gave me a second chance”

I turned to find what can best be described

As a smile that was as genuine as it was wide

Belonging to a patient who had been treated by me

Several years ago- from death’s door to an astounding recovery

I had spent days and nights by her bedside

Her remarkable recovery had been to me a source of pride

*

Being worldly-wise, I suspect she did comprehend

That my life I was contemplating to end

Because very quietly she took my hand in hers

Looked me in the eye, and with all the experience of her years

In a soothing voice she reminded me

That if I could fight for her, I could fight definitely

For myself- she made me recall

Why I was a physician, why after my fall

I needed to get up, not wither away

I might have saved her once, she saved me that day…

*

I turned, went back home in gratitude

Forced myself to adopt a proactive attitude

I sought professional help to manage my depression

Found myself again, found enthusiasm for my profession

*

Someone was watching out for me that day

My work is not done- I still need to stay…

 

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