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…

 

Hyphenated Identity

This piece reflects the dilemma of all the immigrants who have a hyphenated tag to their identity- reflecting their ethnicity and the country they (or their ancestors) immigrated to- eg. Indian-American

Have a unique identity, I am told

Be your true self, be authentic, be bold

But what am I supposed to do

When my hyphenated identity is confusing to you?

*

I am expected to switch constantly

Between the two sides of my hyphenated identity

Depending on the need of the situation

I am expected to change colors like a chameleon

*

Sometimes I’m confused, which side to display

Leaning towards one or the other can sway

My experience of the moment from positive to negative

This is a constant conundrum through which I live

*

Halves of me I try to project as whole

Sometimes it feels like impersonation to my soul

I struggle with being authentic, being true to my form

My hybrid hyphenated identity does not with expectations conform

*

The two sides of the hyphen represent

An amalgamation of two cultures, two languages, two accents

I am that hybrid, that amalgam, you see

Let me stay true to this identity

The Equality Manifesto in a Patriarchal Society

When we talk of patriarchy it’s almost implied

It has only affected women worldwide

The really short end of the stick they’ve received

While men do as they please, so is perceived

Now let me frame this in a different way

It might be controversial, what I have to say

I think men are victims, equally

At the hands of a patriarchal society

Taught to behave a certain way from an early age

Bottling up emotions that turns into rage

Buried under the weight of societal expectations

Trying to project strength during stressful situations….

Toxic masculinity results when patriarchy prevails

Oppression of women increases, the social structure fails

To preserve the balance it was supposed to maintain

Neither women nor men unaffected remain..

No one benefits from gender hegemony

Imbalance of power is the worst enemy

Equality, not feminism, is the need of the hour

Equal recognition, equal expectations, equal power…

Judging

After driving through the rush hour traffic, I am proud

I have managed to make it tonight, to be part of this crowd

Until I look around and see that all around me

Are mothers well-dressed in all their finery

I touch my messy bun from which strands of my hair

Have escaped haphazardly, revealing how little I care

About my appearance- I am the only one here at parents’ night

In my uniform – hospital scrubs, I just don’t look right

Suddenly I feel very self-conscious, I want to leave

Other women are certainly judging me, I believe

They probably think I’m quite disorganized

That this was an event to dress for, I had not realized

*

The best-dressed of them all catches my eye

She makes me jealous with her elegance, I won’t lie

Then I guess in an effort to soothe my insecurity

I tell myself that all she does is probably just look pretty

While I work hard day and night saving lives

I don’t need to compare myself to trophy wives

Who have the luxury of spending their husbands’ money

On grooming, expensive outfits and jewelry

*

Of course I have not realized that in my fear

Of being judged, I am the one judging here

The woman in question strikes a conversation with me

When I mention my busy schedule, to my surprise she

Recounts how as the top executive at a multinational company

She had a late meeting and had to run just like me

Her perfect outfit that exemplifies elegance

Was for her important meeting, to project confidence

*

How mistaken was my assumption, I then realize

And look at all the other women with a new set of eyes

Unlikely I’m being judged and I certainly have no right

To judge others by their appearance tonight..

*

Don’t judge a book by its cover, they say

Don’t judge at all is the lesson I’ve learnt today!

Define me

Let me ask you this question, please do not mind

How would you feel if you were defined

By what you lack, not what you possess

I suspect that might cause you some distress

You may have your struggles but you can do so much

So many lives you can positively touch

Besides, a blow to your self-esteem it might be

If you were called out by your deficient quality

That could a downward spiral create

Of negativity, poor motivation and self hate

*

I hope this never happens to you, but you see

That as a human being with a disability

My disability is often used to qualify

My entire person, and I wonder why

Yes there are some things that I cannot do

Yes that is a body part I lack, that’s true

I have willed myself to get past this

And I know when you see me it is hard to miss

My obvious disability, but that is just a small part of me

I am so much more than my disability

Yet when you call me a paraplegic or an amputee

You label me by what is the worst part of me

*

When that happens over and over again

It discourages me, causes me more pain

I have been trying my hardest to be productive

And as much as possible, a normal life to live

Such a label just takes my motivation away

When said repeatedly, it makes me want to stay

In my role as an invalid, and object of pity

Which was certainly not what I wanted to be

*

So here is my humble request to all of you

If you are able-bodied, just think it through

Before calling someone by their disability

Words have power more profound than you see

So I could be a person with a limb amputated

Instead of an “amputee” as otherwise stated

People with disability need recognition

By what they can do, not by their condition.

The Amazon is burning

Environment, Guaranta do Norte, Brazil - 20 Aug 2019

The Amazon is burning, the story is great

For headlines sensational, the actual state

Of the rainforest concerns but few

So many forest fires these days- what is new?

 

The Amazon is burning- at the hands

Of human greed, those forested lands

Being useless for business, needed to be cleared

And fires are common anyway- so what is the fear?

 

The Amazon is burning- but the rainforest should be

Resilient to withstand such adversity

Fires occur every year, don’t forests regenerate?

All we need to do is watch and wait…

 

Some people cry out that our human pursuits

Are destroying our planet- that smoke and soot

Blotting out the sun is made out to be 

More dramatic than it is really…

***

The Amazon is burning, we will have to care

The domino effect may spread everywhere

Climate change is no longer a concept nebulous

Natural disasters affect each one of us

In the fight against nature, unlikely we are

Even if we win battles, to win the war. 

(Image source: https://people.com/human-interest/humans-started-amazon-rainforest-fires/)

 

 

 

 

 

Trapped by stuff

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Traps are not easy to identify….

Once I earned enough money to buy

A house, shiny car, some quality stuff

I thought that would be enough

That counted as success, and being perceived

As successful in life was important, I believed

It felt good to be able to afford things nice

Satisfaction seemed to have a relationship with price…

**

Deeper pockets seemed to quench my desires

So more and more stuff I began to acquire

It was liberating to not have to care

About spending money almost anywhere

Every new (costly) purchase felt like a treasure

My acquisitions did give me (short-lived) pleasure

**

Leisure time dwindled, responsibilities grew

I continued to acquire objects new

Sometimes not realizing it was a duplicate

The original lost in the chaotic state

Of my beautiful house that had more vacant space

Than I could use, but I was not yet ready to face

The truth- my  possessions had me trapped

Maintaining them left my energy sapped…

**

Over time I have come to realize

That spending money wisely implies

Spending it on experiences that stay 

On as memories to be savored another day

Acquiring objects was just weighing me down

Until the concept of minimalism I found

I now have less stuff, but I have the luxury

Of time- owning less has set me free!