Why does someone become a doctor?
There are much easier ways to make money that don’t require an investment of more money than most people make in five years, along with 8 to 12 years of your life after college. And not just the time and money, but the full dedication of everything you have and everything you are. Your full attention, your mind, your sleep, your free time, your life- EVERYTHING else comes second to the job. You become your work. You ARE your profession. So why does anyone become a doctor knowing that?
We want to be someone special. We want to be that person that makes the difference between life and death. To literally hold someone’s life in your hands, it’s the most powerful feeling in the world. You feel important. You matter. You make a difference.
You put up with years of living in poverty, years of dedication and hard work, years of such extreme physical and emotional stress that you feel like you might literally explode or melt or both, for that day when you’re finally in charge. The day where people finally look up to you and (sometimes) appreciate you; make you feel important. When people actually value your opinion and are willing to put their life in your hands. The day you become really good at something that really matters. Yes of course it’s to help other people, but it’s also to create value in your life. You want people to look up to you. You want to matter in this world.
Now more than ever, we need doctors. We need people to help us when we need it most- to bring us back from the brink when we’re barely holding on. We need someone who knows their shit and can make important, quick decisions. Someone who can problem solve and critically analyze. Someone to save us and our loved ones. A modern day hero.
Now someone please explain to me why doctors have one of the highest suicide rates of any profession, and even more importantly, why we aren’t doing anything about it.
They expect us to be superhuman. To be able to make lifesaving decisions, problem solve, critically analyze, and think on your feet, with little to no sleep, food, or time for self care. If you make a mistake, someone dies. Everyone loves to point out your mistakes and things you should be doing better, but appreciation and praise is few and far between. You begin to lose site of why you’re doing this at all. The negative is overwhelming, and the people are getting sicker and sicker. You become the punching bag for every mistake, but rarely the recipient of thanks. Even your “free time” is consumed with thoughts about work or friends asking you for medical advice. You’re the only employee in the entire hospital that doesn’t get a sanctioned lunch break, or any break at all. If you spend a couple extra seconds in the bathroom just to take a breather, someone is banging on your door.
You become this “doctor personae” and you’re not allowed to be anything else. People look down on you if you actually take a moment to yourself to try to enjoy your life. You’re watched under a microscope, and the stress is overwhelming.
The worst part of it all is that if you ask for help, people just question your ability to do your job. If you say you’re too tired, hungry, or not in the best mental head space, you’re told “this is what you signed up for” – an actual direct quote I once received after only sleeping 6 hours in 4 days. You actually get punished for asking for help. You don’t get sick days. You’re not allowed to be sick. You’re not allowed to be human. You spend your life taking care of others, but no one is there to take care of you
The purpose of this blog is to tell my story, and hopefully help others in the process.
It’s time we stand up for ourselves. We deserve to be treated with the respect we deserve. We devote our lives to taking care of other people, but it’s time we take care of ourselves. You ARE important. And you are more than your job.