Okay, here is a truth that is difficult to admit: The other day I was watching Sleepless in Seattle (for the zillionth time) and at the end, when Tom Hanks reaches his hand out to Meg Ryan and says “Shall we?” I found a tear rolling down my cheek. Really? Me crying at a movie scene I have seen many times in the past? Not very “macho”, right? I guess I can’t blame this in hormonal changes.
I know that on a daily basis at the office, at my home, and with my family members via text/phone/video, I feel really compelled to put on a VERY brave and positive face. The very last thing I need to do is have my patients, family and friends see “the doctor” be sad. I didn’t think my mood was being tremendously impacted until I realized that the tear I was shedding was not about Tom Hanks/Sleepless in Seattle, but rather, a cumulative effect of seeing all of the horrific news of what is transpiring in my old hometown (NYC) and the rest of our great country. Additionally, I am feeling lots of empathetic pain for the patients and people I know whose livelihoods are being so threatened by the financial fallout from the pandemic.
We all, some to a lesser degree and others to lots more, are having mood issues that range from anxiety to frank depression. Many people will try to shrug this off, put on their “game face” and hide this from their loved ones. There is a certain embarrassment factor in admitting that coping is not optimal.
I try very hard to not “push” medications on patients but at times, prescription medications can blunt anxiety, smooth depression and allow a better quality/quantity of sleep. It is NOT a sign of weakness to ask for help.
Please contact me if you are struggling in ways that cannot be helped by the usual coping mechanisms that have worked for you in the past. I am here for you.
And as promised, with all of the positives of laughter spelled out on a previous blog, here are jokes from my favorite comedian, the late Rodney Dangerfield:
My doctor told me to watch my drinking. Now I drink in front of a mirror.
I drink too much. Way too much. My doctor drew blood. He ran a tab.
When I was born the doctor came out to the waiting room and said to my father, “I’m very sorry. We did everything we could…but he pulled through.”
I come from a stupid family. During the Civil War my great uncle fought for the west!
I come from a stupid family. My father worked in a bank. They caught him stealing pens
My mother never breast fed me. She told me that she only liked me as a friend.
My father carries around the picture of the kid who came with his wallet.
My wife made me join a bridge club. I jump off next Tuesday.
Last week my tie caught on fire. Some guy tried to put it out with an ax!
I met the surgeon general. He offered me a cigarette.
One time I went to a hotel. I asked the bellhop to handle my bag. He felt up my wife!
This morning when I put on my underwear I could hear the Fruit of the Loom guys laughing at me.