Physician burnout is all the buzz in hospitals these days. With rates of physician suicide, addiction, depression, divorce, and early death rising uncontrollably, and with physician drop out rates peaking, hospital administrations know that something has to change—or we’ll wind up with no doctors, and with no doctors, there’s no business. Sadly, that’s what it seems to take to get the attention of hospital administrators these days. The well-being of doctors doesn’t seem to matter so much. It’s dollars and cents that drive the system, and if there are no doctors, the business of health care falls apart.
Dearest Doctors, Nurses, Midwives, Therapists, Chiropractors, Naturopaths, Energy Healers, Acupuncturists, Caregivers, and Coaches,
I know how much you care. I know you are an empath who feels the suffering in others and devotes your life to alleviating it. I know you feel the pain of others as an ache in your own heart, and as a light worker, you long to bring love, comfort, and peace into the hurting hearts and bodies of those you serve. I know you feel called to do this the way priests are called to the priesthood, as a spiritual calling and a Divine mission. I know you are grateful for the impact you have on those in need. I know it fulfills a deep longing to feel like you’re the hands of the Divine, serving love as only you can. I know you need to be needed, and it gives your life purpose. I am so grateful for your service. Thank you for how much you give.
We all know medicine is in crisis, and so are those of us who serve the sick and injured. Astronomical numbers of health care providers, especially physicians, suffer from abusive medical training, neglect of self care, unmet physical and emotional needs, compassion fatigue, burnout, chronic illness, addiction, depression, anxiety, broken relationships, loneliness, and PTSD from the traumas we experience without proper emotional and spiritual integration.
For some reason, I am someone who attracts people who need to tell their most painful, gut-wrenching stories, who need to have their story lovingly heard and witnessed and honored without shaming or judging or fixing. People tell me stories that break my heart, stories that move me to tears, stories that evoke compassion and fill me with outrage, the ones that elicit an impassioned upwelling in my heart to make the world a safer place for tender, sensitive, deeply-feeling souls. I hear stories that wreck me about doctors who unwittingly abuse their power and harm the very people they’re here to serve. I hear people’s #MeToo stories about bosses who harassed or raped them and then threatened to fire them if they didn’t stay silent. I hear stories about police and lawyers who not only failed to protect an innocent person who had been violated; they abused or even wrongfully killed someone in that vulnerable state. I hear stories of priests who abuse their power and molest young children in the name of God. I hear countless stories of people whose parents and siblings molested them, violating the ultimate trust any child should be able to have for safety in one’s own family. I hear stories of people who have been traumatized by gurus and spiritual teachers and self-help authors who abuse their power and commit the most atrocious crimes against Love in the name of “I’m just helping you get rid of your ego.” I hear stories of people who are getting the crap beat out of them from spouses who say, “I love you.” [Lest you ever question this, THIS is not love. Don’t ever believe an abuser who gaslights you with “I love you” right after abusing you. This kind of psychological manipulation is as abusive and confusing as the emotional or physical violence. Love does not abuse power like this.]
This morning, a friend was telling me about how someone she loves treats her. Her stories sounded painful and brutalizing, even abusive. I wondered why she tolerated such apparent disrespect. She was describing someone who obviously doesn’t appreciate the gift of this friend of mine, who is such a love bomb. When I asked her why she didn’t give herself the gift of distancing herself from this person and make space in her life for someone who treated her with more affection, appreciation, and care, she said, “But he loves me.”