“I want to help people…” (-.-)

…it’s become one of phrases that is beautiful and heartwarming to hear from people, yet will immediately cause a groan of hatred and anger from medical school interview panels.


It’s quite sad really that such a noble sentiment is viewed by medics in such a negative way. But if you had to read hundreds thousands just too many personal statements which all contain that phrase (many of which will be rejected), then I can understand how subconsciously you would link “I want to help people…” with the thought “that’s not good enough to get into med school“. Good old Pavlovian classical conditioning: you CAN teach old dogs interviewers new tricks…

(WARNING: Next part involves a great deal of philosophical and serious ethical questions…continue at your own peril.)

Today, as I was waiting for a bus, I saw a dalmatian (let’s call them Rolly…^o^) tethered up to a post nearby, whining and barking a lot towards a specific direction. On quick inspection of Rolly, I couldn’t see any wounds or any signs of a physical ailment…but the whining especially made me want to approach it and see what was going on to upset this dog so much. I can say with pride a LARGE AMOUNT of pride that I had already taken a few steps towards the dog before I stopped myself…


This dog is clearly distressed…what if it misinterprets attacks me? (I doubted the inter-species value of my super amazing med school communication skills training…)

Then my bus arrived and I decided that Rolly had attracted enough public attention that am sure someone would have gotten involved if their owner did not return. So I left for my communication venepuncture skills session.

The point is that young naive me would have approached that dalmatian WITHOUT HESITATION…which makes me ask “Was I right to hesitate and walk away?”

Am I a coward and a hypocrite? My hesitation arguably shows weakness and undermines the sentiment of wanting to help. I also should not have assumed that someone else would take care of the situation…and on hindsight, I should have stayed and made sure that the owner returned soon for Rolly…I felt so relieved to find that Rolly was not there on my way back home.

But then again, you could argue that if I stopped for every person who signalled that they needed help, then I’ll never finish med school…better off volunteering for multiple charities than finishing med school.
Someone once suggested the following thought to me:
“Everyone needs help and if you start making yourself responsible for ALL of them, then it’s a slippery slope. You can’t help everyone all the time…

Let’s have a look at the individual whose words I just paraphrased:


…getting back to the issue of Rolly:
There is no absolutely right or wrong answer here to my question of “Was I right to hesitate and walk away?”ignore those many ignorant close-minded people who insist that there is one.
All I know is that young naive me is definitely sad over my actions…and that makes me sad. I want to say that if it happened again, then I’ll definitely do things differently…

P.S: On my way home today, saw an elderly homeless gentleman (I call him Cain and he wanders around my neighbourhood a lot, not bothering or troubling anyone) sitting quietly staring out to sea, but obviously a little cold. Without hesitation, I walked to the McDonald’s 5 mins away and grabbed a burger and a coffee…won’t bother with the rest of the story because it is irrelevant…but young naive me smiled again…(^.^)

P.P.S: When I got home today and turned on the tv, the first thing I saw was an advert asking for donations to supply water to people in Africa…I changed the channel…(>.<).
This is going to be hard…


Freud’s answer to everything: “Your mum…”

Thanks to the legendary Robin Williams for that quote. You are sorely missed, good sir.

Today, I saw was a 16 year old male patient who was suffering with mild depression. He had the 3 major symptoms: low mood, felt no pleasure doing anything (anhedonia) and lack of energy
As the consultation continued, it was obvious that he’d been dragged to see us by his older brother and he was getting annoyed at being asked questions. Eventually, it got to a point where the two brothers just started arguing amongst themselves. I looked towards the Community Psychiatric Nurse who was supervising the session and he gestured to me to just stay where I was and keep quiet…apparently the brothers fight like this a lot and it’s their way of releasing stress and discussing problems.
At one point, the older brother asked “Why are you being such an a******?”
And the response was “YOUR MUM…”


Now…firstly, am pretty sure that he should have said “our mum…”
Secondly, it turns out that the actual biological mother of the 2 brothers had started a relationship with a new boyfriend and the younger brother really did not take well to this…hence the reason for his bad mood was indeed the actions of his mum.
Third and finally, it must have made Freud proud to hear someone say that his mother was the cause of his problems in a psychiatric consultation…

As you may have gathered, I am currently on my cardiology psychiatry placement…and it is weird to say the least.
Now…that’s not because I am surrounded by people who others may consider as ‘crazy’ or ‘mad’, but because I’ve had and still suffer from mental illness (namely depression)…and because I consider myself to be COMPLETELY and UTTERLY INSANE; so it is indescribably strange that those psychiatric patients that I have seen think that I am a sane and normally functional individual.


For the record, I am not psychotic:
1) I do not have auditory hallucinations (aka voices talking to me)…unless you count those voices inside my head…one of them is Old Omega (the sensible grown up)…oh and there’s little Alpha (the one who justs want to have fun) and Mu (the one who keeps the other two in line)…
2) I do not have thought broadcasting issues (my thoughts are not being inserted inside my head from elsewhere or being taken away and seen by others…shush little Alpha).
3) I do not believe that my body is being controlled by something other than me…Old Omega disagrees with me.
4) I do not have delusional perception…Mu tells me that that the pencil I dropped was a sign from the mighty Unicorn to go and insult the Flying Spaghetti monster with the following message: YOUR MUM!!!

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