Even car accidents happen for “good reasons!”
Wanda didn’t want to hear the reasons.
Anything could sound like a good reason for bad performance. It is what it is. Just own it!
And Wanda was out. And just as quickly as she concluded, I flashed back to the quivering resident who messed up on internal medicine rounds. I stood there with my spine like a steel rod. My white coat felt heavier with my fair-weather reference books bulging in my pockets.
Keep your chin up and look at her! I told myself.
This wasn’t the first time for me, so I had the “luxury” of practicing a previous well-described lesson from my attending on how to respond to feedback. Those days seemed like a series of stings, burns and frost-bite, but I am grateful for that at least – the knowledge of how I’m supposed to “take it.”
Wanda came back into my mind’s focus as memories of internship faded. Wanda wasn’t even mad at me. She was telling me this story as an example of her difficulty coping with anger. Here she was asking for help while justifying her position. Don’t we all, though?
I saw the irony in her criticism of those who gave reasons for their foibles as compared to her own explanation for anger and medical care. Yet again, aren’t we all inconsistent like this? Wanda is not alone. She even had good insight too. Explaining away our mistakes is shabby, lacks class and is insincere.
Some time ago in a post, Please Don’t Say “But”, we talked about this, which later we termed “presence.” But why see a psychiatrist about these things? Because insight is only worth so much. If the mechanics to respond to the insight aren’t well, then you’ll be able to withdraw from your self just that. In Wanda’s case, it was spitting anger, hot to the touch and not much safe. It had quite an effect on her interpersonal relationships and quality of life.
But Wanda was suffering in more than her apparent psychological and sociological selves. She was also suffering in her biological self. (See biopsychosocial model.) Wanda, was ill.
When we find that we can’t do what we want, don’t respond the way we intend, have negative emotions and behaviors we didn’t invite, see the associated deterioration in our connections and quality of life – when we are suffering, we need to look for help. It’s hard to be productive and survive without support. Any bit of nature will tell you that. Ask a peach tree if you don’t believe me.
Question: Does it make sense to you that emotions and behaviors might be all we have to show us that we are medically ill? If not, please tell us why.
Self-Care Tip: When insight isn’t enough, consider a medical consult. Be a friend to yourself.
- Remember, You Are Free, Even When You Accept Help. (friendtoyourself.com)
- SHATTERED LIVES with Donna R. Gore welcomes Sam and Wanda Rieger (donnagore.com)
- righteous anger (rebekahshope.wordpress.com)