April 23, 2010

I am an emotional creature

This week begins our final "block" of classes, called "Neural Sciences" that is basically a complete structure and function of the brain, along with learning the pathophysiology of diseases. Our course director began her Introduction lecture, as most course directors do, with the objectives of the course. These usually include "learn and understand the structure and function of XX organ systems" and "understand the basic molecular mechanisms of disease in XX organ systems" - she included these. But she also included at the end: to make you, as future physicians, more aware of and more impressed by mental and psychiatric health.

She went through a bunch of comments made by physicians that are disparaging about working in mental health - such as "you want to be a psychiatrist? but you're so smart!" or "why would you do that, it's not even real science!"

It's scary to think how little psychological state and emotional state factor into our health CARE, even though they often are the greatest factors in our HEALTH.

I saw a video on ted.com of Eve Ensler, the write of the Vagina Monologues (and numerous books) called "I am an emotional creature" that just said it straight and, like Eve Ensler always does, blew my mind.

Check it out:
I am an emotional creature video

In medical school, we're taught to defy our needs (sleep, food, space), to ignore our emotional responses to things that are huge like death and life and pain and love. It's good to remember that embracing those can make us better doctors, better people, and that repression of them is not always good science.


“My short skirt / is not an invitation / a provocation / an indication / that I want it / or give it / or that I hook. . . . My short skirt is happiness. / I can feel myself on the ground. I am here. And I am hot.”

-Eve Ensler

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