Well it’s time to wrap up this run and move on! It’s been a quick 6 weeks. But I think I’ve done more reflecting and pondering on this run than any other. Mostly because I had a heck of a lot of free time when my consultants were doing paperwork work for 4 hours of the day.
There’s a lot of philosophy that I’ve learnt on this rotation. My view of people with mental illness has changed. Especially in forensic psychiatry.
The great thing about people with mental illnesses is that they become a complete version of themselves. By that I mean, they can’t be anything else except them. They can’t put on a fake mask or pretend to be someone else. They’re authentically who they are. And I find that so much easier to work with than normal people. xD
Especially in forensic psychiatry where it’s so easy to assume that a criminal is a criminal because they were born a criminal. But only when you see people who have mental illnesses and are treated appropriately, do you realise just how vulnerable many of these “criminals” are. When treated, the patients I have seen are the sweetest, most thoughtful people. There’s nothing really wrong with them. But outside, they’re considered evil, disgraces and are shunned from society without receiving the help they needed early on in life. And a few of them, particularly those considered “antisocial” were those who attacked others and showed no remorse. But when you find out about the people they had assaulted, many of them frankly, had it coming. They were horrible people who said and did horrible things. Many times in my life, I have had the overwhelming urge to punch someone in the face. Multiple times. But I have the inhibitions and the ability to stop my hand from shooting out and catching Mr. Stuck-up in the face, more than once. Even though he would have deserved it. Or how often have you read in the news about a horrible dictator or politician who treated others in a horrific way and thought to yourself “someone ought to teach him a lesson”? Sadly, both you, and those people are “normal” and free to be around in society, where the individuals who actually act on these feelings are locked up and labelled “criminals”, “psychopaths”, “sociopaths”, etc.
Not all of them fit this category of course, but for a while, I was under the impression that none of them fit that category. I thought all of them were fundamentally flawed. They’re normal people just like us if they received the help they needed. I reflected a lot about the circumstances of a person’s environment that predisposed them to ending up with a mental illness. If I had a dollar for every traumatic childhood case I had heard in the Mason clinic, I’d be pretty happy with the amount. It’s quite sad. It’s not really your fault someone bullied you to the point where you began hearing them in your head continuously telling you what a loser you are. And that makes you lash out. At yourself and others. And that means you’re locked up while the bully is probably still out there somewhere.
Whew. So that was pretty philosophical. In terms of this field of medicine, I’m not cut out for it. I can definitely see that. I think I’d like something a bit more fast-paced and with less paperwork. I also think that psychiatrists have a “trait” that I don’t really possess. It’s this detached trait. One of my consultants is actually quite shady. He told me off for laughing at a joke He made in a patient interview. He told me that I must be more self-aware and careful about laughing during patient interviews as it might upset the patient…………… I nodded politely. He also told me that he cannot give me an excellence grade for ‘professionalism and boundaries’ because I expressed some sadness that my patient Mr. PH left back to prison abruptly. I believe my exact words to my other consultant was “aww I didn’t know he had left”. She told my shady consultant I had said this, and so it was decided that I have boundary issues. He then proceeded to lecture me on “Empathy vs Sympathy” and the importance of “do not feel what the patient is feeling“. Eye-opening lecture, that. It was then that I learnt that the real “professionalism” is making sure you don’t say anything at all to your consultant that is not work related. The best part was when he later told me that my performance is great because I have such a great manner towards patients and I make them feel comfortable. By this point I adopted an emotionless face. Determined not to respond to anything he would say anymore. Yeah I definitely do not have the psychiatrist trait. That sounds like I’m being a bit bitter. But truly, I respect all the psychiatrists. Their job is in no way easy at all. They’re all super qualified and brilliant doctors. I just don’t think I can be one of them.
Anyways! It’s time now, finally, to move on to my last rotation! Hopefully it will be a good way to end the year!