Healing of the Mind: Just as Important as the Healing of the Body
In every person’s life, there are certain factors which contribute towards the creation of their personality. Little things make a man, a distinct person; make him who he is. Similarly, in every doctor’s life, there are always certain things in their past which lead to the selection of this field for themselves. My inspiration came from my dad; a Dow Medical College (Pakistan) graduate and a GP, running his own private clinic in the back of our house. He was an amazing doctor in both knowledge and skills, but what stirred my heart every time was his kindness towards his patients and the dedication towards his work.
I recall witnessing tense, worried and hurt people entering his clinic with lines of anxiety etched on their faces and when they would leave even the shadows of those lines would be gone. The relationship between a doctor and a patient is a very beautiful one. God chose us to help heal the wounded, but sometimes we forget that wounds can not only be physical but of soul and mind too. We forget that the patient who has come to us is suffering mentally too, and that the healing of the mind is just as important as the healing of the body.
If someone asks you, what the greatest disease in the world today is; your answer may range from diabetes and hypertension to cancer and AIDS but in my opinion the greatest disease of today’s world is being unloved, unwanted, and uncared for. The absence of empathy is the real demon of today’s society. Today’s humanity hungers for love, hungers for sympathy.
Physical diseases may be cured by medicines but the only cure for grief, loneliness, despair and helplessness is empathy, kindness and love. Many people in this world die from disease, hunger and poverty, but look closely; many die from lack of care and love too. It’s a world of chaos that we live in, facing injustice, poverty, loss and grief every single day.
Every person is affected to a certain level, having a certain level of stress inside him. This stress eats a person from the inside. He loses his concentration, his efficiency, his ability to deal with problems along with being exposed to many diseases like anxiety and depression and even cardiovascular problems. The removal of stress is not only necessary for the well-being of a person, but also for the well-being of the society on the whole.
In these circumstances we should remember that kindness is the material for miracles, empathy is the real solution. Don’t hesitate to do a kind act because you never know how soon it will be too late. Save lives through utter kindness.
I remember, a patient came to my dad’s clinic once whose attire was loudly speaking of the life of hardship he was living; he had no money for either medicines or dad’s fee. My dad gave him free medicines, free treatment, and even money from his own purse instructing the man to buy something to eat first. He knew that no one has ever become poor by giving to others. What is written in the lines on your palm will itself come to you, no need to run after it.
What you give to others finds its way back to you, in one way or another. I believe that more than the people’s body, it is the people themselves who need to be cured, treated, revived, renewed and redeemed. A single word of hope can be a priceless gift for someone. It takes a second to utter a word of kindness, a second to do an act of kindness, but the echoes of that word and the imprint of that act are truly endless. It only takes a split second to smile and forget, but to someone who needs it, it may last a lifetime.
For healing of the body, first the mind and soul have to be healed. It is our duty to listen intently to our patient when he talks to us, take him into confidence, reach to the root cause of his problem, reassure him, and provide him spiritual support along with medical help. Tell him that his body’s ability to heal is greater than anyone has permitted him to believe, help him in believing in his own power of healing. A steel resolve, a bright hope can heal as good as any medicine.
Belief in our own self helps us stand strong and face the world. Body, mind and spirit constitute a person and there is a delicate balance between them. We doctors should strive to understand this balance and apply the knowledge of this balance in our medical practice.
It is our duty to empathize. Nobody can become a good doctor without empathy. Life is short, money comes and goes, but the good deeds you do accompany you to your grave. Good deeds like honesty with your profession, a soft spot for humanity, an understanding of other’s pain and the honest desire to rid the person of that pain.
Remember that when we treat people merely as they are, they will remain unchanged, but if we treat people as if they were what they should be, they will change and become what they should be. Your kindness to your patient will give birth to hope in their heart and hope heals. It heals what the eye can’t see.
Give your patients the gift of hope, wipe their tears away, allow them to really heal. You heal the soul of one person today and tomorrow he will heal souls of many more. Families and whole societies can thus benefit from a single act of kindness.
We doctors are servants of humanity. To serve humanity we will first have to recognize our place in the countless light years and the innumerable ages that have passed. Only when we have grasped the subtlety and intricacy of life, we can grasp the concept of humanity. We may seem little, tiny beings in an infinite world but no life is insignificant. It is a life that alters the course of history, a life that can lead to either immense destruction or startling growth.
Make your life count. Defeat ignorance and apathy for good. Do at least one thing to change the world or another’s person life, other than your own. All of us are given life, but few truly live it. Live life for real, help others to live their lives for real, help them to be alive instead of merely existing.
As doctors we are given multiple such opportunities every day. Don’t let them go to waste. Be kind, give hope, become a source of true healing. Wipe away the tears of humanity. Make world a better place to live in.
Remember that we have been given two hands, one to help ourselves and one to help others. Let’s restore this profession to what it was really meant to be; a lifelong service of mankind.
About the Author: Iqra Tariq is a student of 4th year MBBS at Dow Medical College, Karachi, Pakistan. She hopes to work in the fields of psychiatry and dermatology after completing her graduation. Iqra can be reached at [email protected]
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