I have PTSD.
I haven’t been to war.
I haven’t been in abusive situations.
I’ve spent over 2 decades working in the high acuity setting of the ICU.
There was a time when gathering data on the way to diagnosis was invigorating. I remember the excitement of intubations, central line insertions, following up results and caring for newborns on their path to discharge home with their family.
Then there were patients who didn’t go home.
The journey has been traumatic. You know it when you feel it in the pit of your stomach. I feel that now.
It’s not the patient. It’s me. In the on-call room I ruminate, going over it again and again.
It’s unhelpful. It’s unproductive. It’s distressing.
So, what’s the next step?
Stop fighting and acknowledge it. Go all in to get to the other side.
Acknowledge the trigger that has thrust me into re-living cases from decades ago.
Breathe it in on the inhale. Breathe it out with the next exhale. And let it go.
At 4 am I must do this on my own. This is both the truth and the tragedy of being a physician.
Physicians resist being this vulnerable with colleagues out of fear of being judged.
Do we trust support systems offered by the institutions we work for?
Will what we share be judged?
Will it be kept confidential?
I’m looking for relief N.O.W.
It’s up to me. Not the me that created this condition, but the higher part of me that has the solution. The solution that starts with acknowledging what is and bringing myself back to peace and feeling whole.
Relief comes to me through journaling, daily practices, and rest.
Relief comes as I make room for my feelings. I ride the wave of emotion without judgement, allowing grace to fill the space.
It may feel like I’m alone on this journey. Then I remember I am not alone. Spirit is always with me, guiding me, honoring me, making it alright.
I feel peace flowing in my direction.
Peace and gratitude.