An article published on Washington Post titled ‘What I’ve learnt from my tally of 757 doctor suicides’ was truly shocking! It seemed that over the past few months the suicidal toll for doctors worldwide has risen beyond what was seen for centuries! I find it hard to see numerous doctors end their lives as a result of depression or guilt.
I’ve set up my own accounting/tax advisory practice for doctors in the UK since 2014, I liked working with doctors because they are honorable profession. They are the pillars of the society and they are truly healers.
However, recent years I have seen a lot of news on UK media (especially from The Guardian Healthcare) about doctors who are overworked, stressed-out and even some committed suicide. The overall situation shocked me!
Doctors suppose to be the ones who save people’s lives, but who is there to save their lives?
In my view, ‘healers’ are of many types. Healers are of many types. A business owner can be a healer because he provides solutions to the problems and ailments of others. Accountants and lawyers can be healers as they heal people’s tax and legal issues. Doctors, the people who help us get well, are healers. They put smiles on others’ faces.
They are highly skilled and valued. However, just like the doctors, the society can also place higher expectations on them! As a doctor, what do you do when you lose a patient? And as a healer, how do you deal with the emotions similar situations evoke?
As a business owner and an accountant myself, I once felt really guilty when I fall short of a client’s expectation. Which I can relate to why doctors feel that way when losing a patient.
As I have always wanted to maintain a high standard, in that particular circumstance, I felt I’ve not provided a peace of mind to that client. As I felt guilty, I had that inner critic telling me ‘You don’t deserve that client anymore.’ But guess what, I started to hold back. I felt too guilty to keep providing more value that I am capable of offering.
In the end, the client had left me, because he then felt I was too hands off and reactive…
Looking back, I realized that the ‘inner critic’ wasn’t really true. But the fact that I personalized everything not just didn’t help turn things around, but also sabotaged this professional relationship. And as I began to become more self-aware, I’ve learnt to deal with my guilt and became more ‘guilt resilient’.
Below, you will find three steps, that I personally use to develop resilience as a ‘healer’, and I hope it can help you the same too.
#1 Be aware of them
The first step is always being self-aware. In particular, be aware that what the inner critic saying about you is protecting you, but it does not define who you are. If you want to be resilient, you need to learn to look out for these emotions. You need to understand why it is you feel guilty if you are to reconcile these emotions.
#2 Don’t personalize
Being aware of feelings of guilt will help you maintain perspective and understand, as I once did, that not everything happens to you is because of you.However, this does not mean that you should not take responsibility for the results you areresponsible for. But it helps set your emotions aside, but allows you to connect with your resourcefulness to deal with the situation and even turn things around.
#3 Be growth oriented
It is the old saying that ‘Everything happens for a reason’. Learn from your past and understand that these things do happen. And they may carry an important message that we need to grow in this lifetime. Tune into the message and always look for the positive impact of any loss.
Life is a journey where everyone plays a part. Whenever you find it hard to persevere, remember this: there will always be people who need you. Doing so will help you to be resilient.