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From me to you

Updated: Sep 16, 2022

For my colleagues at home and around the world who are struggling.


Hello you,


I hope this finds you well. I hope you're anchored and safe.


BUT ... if this finds you unanchored, then... this is Especially for you. These words flowed out of me in response to a colleague who was in distress. She is now in a much better space and is receiving the care that she needs.


What struck me though....and still does....was that it turns out these were also the words that I too, needed to hear. If it wasn't for her, I'm not sure I'd I've written these down. They have become the words I use for me when I'm not okay. I'm grateful for her courage.


I'm gifting them forwards...to YOU dear friend.


Why? Because we have to look after each other. If we don't then who will???


 

Let me start with this, I'm sending you a MASSIVE virtual hug.


I know it's scary to hold a mirror to yourself sometimes. Perhaps, it's because you're too tired to do it... Or you have forgotten how to. Holding this mirror to yourself can be both daunting and painful. THIS IS THE HARDEST BIT. That's ok. Don't worry about it. I'm going to say it for you.

‘I’m not okay’. ‘This is not okay’.

One day soon, you'll find you're able to say it aloud To yourself...For yourself. Perhaps, you'll be in the shower... or in your bed...or having a cup of tea... or running .... or sat with a colleague...you'll be able to say them aloud. Until then, I'll say it for you ~ I'm not ok. This is not okay.


Lean in because I've got a secret for you. Ready? Here goes....


You’re are not alone.

I’m going to say this again because it’s important and I want you wherever you are to hear me - you're not alone. A couple of years into the madness called Covid-19.... it's fair to say there is a lot of us out here who are not well - More so for our healthcare workers.


As a doctor, I can safely say it's worse in medicine because we are soooo good at FAKING IT. We’re trained to fake it. We wear a mask all the time. Sometimes the only time the mask comes off is in shower when we’re alone...or worse still at the end of a rope. Tragic. 4 doctors come to mind and 2 near misses pre-pandemic. Many many more lives have been lost since.


I want you to know you're an important member of our unique tribe. There’s not a single soul that can replace you. Not one. They might be able to do the job BUT they can’t bring your unique beautiful soul, personality, heart, empathy, compassion, words, humour, smile and healing hands... because they're not you. There is only one of you in the whole universe. So, do we want to hang on to you???.... 100% YEAH! We need you to be well though.


Time to start Healing

This bit you’ll need support with. Speak to someone.


Start with a colleague, a supervisor, a friend/family, you may well be surprised by how kind and compassionate the people around you are.


That said, having lived through this myself, it's incredibly difficult to have this conversation, when you're already exhausted, low, possibly unwell, feeling desperately vulnerable, raw and numb at the same time.... It's not easy. The good news is the culture and attitudes of self care and self compassion within healthcare have started to gradually shift for the better. So, try the people closest to you. Give them a chance to anchor you.


Speak to your GP. We are your colleagues and we are here for you too. I'm often saddened that I don't see enough healthcare workers especially doctors coming forward even for baseline check-ups....I can count on one hand how many doctors I've seen since the pandemic began. Please please please get in touch with your GP.


To your healing journey, I'll add a box of tissues because those tears, if not already here will make an appearance at some point. Don't be scared of them. As you recover, the tone of those tears will become both cathartic and healing.



Don't rush the process


Time is going to be your greatest asset throughout this journey. It takes more than just a couple of weeks to even start healing. That's ok because this healing journey is more of a marathon than a sprint. It's a one day at a time, little and often approach. To be fair, somedays it'll be an hour at a time. That too is okay. Do what is needed.


You're my hero

You’re more courageous than you know and much stronger than you feel. When you feel fragile or the inner sceptic in your mind is casting doubtful looks or as they say giving you the side eye... remember this. You're more courageous and stronger than you know. We all are. None of us asked or are trained for this crazy that we are living in AND working within. You and I (and a few of us out here) ... could’ve bailed at any point.... and would’ve have been justified in doing so. Yet, each day we've somehow managed to put one foot in-front of the other and keep on walking. Bravo! Bravo I say! Someday we’ll look back at these chapters of lives and wonder at the audacity.... courage it took to persevere.


Be Gentle With Your Soul.

For now be gentle with yourself. Be kind. Grab a box of tissues. Get some help and take the time you need. There is still love and light in this world. DM if you want or need a listening ear. Big hug xoxo


 

For those in the U.K.


Well-being support services for doctors and medical students.


Support for healthcare staff


Shout and PH Crisis Support Text Service

A confidential 24/7 text service for PH patients. For anyone in a crisis anytime anywhere. Text shout NHSPH on 85258


 

If you're outside the U.K. and you know of good support services for PH, feel free to share it in the comments box, including which regions the services supports. I'm certain it will help someone and may even save a life. Thank you x

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