During the last couple months I learnt many valuable lessons about life and about the fragility of life through my own experiences. Many of these lessons gave me great insight into interacting with my clients in a more meaningful way. Not only was the interaction with my clients changed but how I view things generally in life.
I got very ill and for a while the doctors did not seem to know what was wrong with me. I felt really scared not knowing what could possibly be wrong in a matter of one week. The doctors were talking about things like leukemia, lymphoma and lupus. Chronic diseases that could change my life forever. The thing is though, thankfully I had none of these things, but the thought that I could have, changed my life forever!
Some of the lessons I learnt. One never take life, especially health for granted. All of us, but especially mental health professionals need to take care of ourselves first sometimes. I was working hard, not taking vitamins, running myself on low to empty to try to meet and greet every one’s demands. The funny thing about it is that when you do something you love, even if you are running on empty it does not feel that way. Therefore I realised it is important for me to schedule some rest and relaxation in between despite not feeling like if I need it.
I also have a greater appreciation for clients with chronic illnesses. It certainly is an experience on its own to be diagnose with a life changing health issue. Therefore to actually go through the changes that has to take place day to day is another experience altogether. I definitely think I am better equipped to help clients overcome these life changing experiences. Not only do I have a greater appreciation for helping clients with chronic illnesses but also I can help them cope in a better way with loved ones who have these health issues.
Another emotional experience for me was being hospitalized. The hospital experience reminded me not only of our country’s failing health system, but also how some people have to live. Many patients at the hospital was in pain, many of them needed tests done but could not afford to go to a private doctor, many of them were humble people trying to get healthy and continue with life.
These experiences were a wake up call for me not because I am not aware ofwhat is going on around me but I think to keep me on my toes. Because sometimes in life things can change in an instant. Not only can they change but it could turn things literally upside down. I also learnt that people have to tolerate certain conditions because better really cannot be done. I learnt how badly our health care system is at this point. I learnt what it felt like to be sick and not know why and have the worst case scenario placed before my eyes. I had time to reflect and redirect my approach on life and on my career. I believe in the saying everything happens for a reason and maybe I needed to take my sick period to reflect and redirect my life and to be a better mental health professional to my clients…..