Yes! Doctors get depressed too, as well as other health workers. But rarely do people recognize that even the therapist needs therapy.
Dr. Wilfred could comfortably say for certain, without an inkling of doubt, that he was living his best life. He was just 25 and feeling so accomplished with himself, particularly because of the well-deserved feats he acclaimed last two years upon his graduation from medical school.
He was honored and awarded the best graduating medical student, best clinical student, and of course, youngest graduating medical student, thanks to his ever-studious and boring lifestyle. Across the pews of the seated guests in the hall, he remembered seeing his mom smiling so gleefully, and his little brother, Michael let out a big grin. He could make out his Dad saying, “that’s my boy” as his name kept resounding in the hall with echoes of deafening applause. That was two years ago…
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It was the beginning of a new year and as usual, he had already outlined in details, the nature of his activities for the month. He had taken upon himself the sole responsibility of sending cash monthly to his family who were so proud of him. They had invested so much in him from the small stipend they had while he was in medical school.
His mother who now fondly calls him Doc, worked in a Daycare facility while his father was a Butcher in their local market. So, somehow, he believed it was most right for him to show appreciation by reciprocating their kind gesture now that he was earning as a medical doctor.
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This Friday morning was quite unusual as Dr. Wilfred woke up, having strange feelings; feelings he couldn’t fathom its root. He pondered for a while, trying to place his thoughts on something. After a while of futile thinking, he decided to carry on with his early morning workouts before heading to the hospital but his regimen that morning weren’t going entirely as planned.
“Is this some sort of mood swing?”, he soliloquized. Nothing was wrong but he was disturbed. Worse still, he lost appetite for food.
While at the hospital, everything seemed normal; the atmosphere, trooping in of patients, other health workers walking up and down in their magnificence, and the faint smell of drugs filling the air. Perusing through the new folders at the Pediatrics ward with Dr. Sandra, Dr. Wilfred’s phone beeped twice. It was a text message.
He wasn’t ready to read something about the trending Coronavirus and how to prevent it, so he ignored it, focusing on the folder. It wasn’t long when his phone beeped even more.
“Aren’t you going to check your phone?”, Dr. Sandra asked. “Sure”, he said, and picked up his phone. Most surprisingly, he had already missed five calls. Reading the first text, he looked so apprehensive and taken aback. And not saying a word to Sandra, he dropped the folder he had with him and dashed out. His parents were in the Accident and Emergency ward.
His phone kept buzzing incessantly but nothing mattered to him anymore. He scurried down the stairs leading to the Accident and Emergency ward, nearly knocking down an amputee young boy with crutches.
Dr. Sandra was transfixed; somewhat dazed at the spot as she couldn’t understand what was going on with Dr. Wilfred. In all, she knew all wasn’t well, and that sparked an unforeseen feeling of uneasiness and fright in her.
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Dr. Wilfred in all his years on earth had never been treated with such gory sight, not even as a medical practitioner. He had seen severe cases involving accidents right from his clinical posting days, but definitely not the kind before him. On recognizing his presence in the ward, some of the Doctors rushed to take him out, at the same time, reassuring him that all will be fine. He had seen them; his parents and only brother, all lying lifeless and soaked in thick blood. Just then and right there, he slumped.
Doctors Get Depressed Too
After some months of the tragic event that claimed the lives of Dr. Wilfred’s family, he became a shadow of himself. Although his close friends joined him in his apartment as a means to keep him company and care for him during his sad time, it was never enough to stop his dwindling condition.
He would sulk for many hours and end up consuming many bottles of beer till he gets intoxicated to a stupor, all in a bid to forget his saddened state. Time after time, he would brood over what the essence of living really was, and if it mattered. It got to a point when members of the clergy were invited to have a moment with him but somehow, it never helped his situation.
As the days rolled by, he resorted to being a pathetic loner, consuming more and more bottles of rum, and sulking most of the time. It was obvious he was suffering depression; the kind the sufferer craves to end it all in one second.
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Preparing to resume work after months of bitter mourning, Dr. Wilfred could affirm that he was living his worst life. As a Doctor, he had read so much about mental health but none of those seemed to be of help to him.
His thoughts became suicidal and he wasn’t going to share this with anyone. He carried on with life knowing full well that someday in the near future, he would end it all. But until then, a part of him needed a savior.
JIDEIJE, EMMANUEL EKENE.
UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, ENUGU CAMPUS.