Pretty AND Powerful

I was parking my Jeep on a short incline. Also, I wanted to be sure I was equidistant from each white strip on the pavement. Looking up and forward, my concentration was shattered. Off in the distance I saw a princess. Spotting princesses is almost as rare as mermaid sightings. I’ve seen a group of those too recently. However, it was just a picture so I didn’t get to talk to them. I threw my car into park and jumped out.

Now she was standing for others to see and comment on. Her dress was pale blue, flouncy. I could see the sparkles as I closed the distance between us. She had curly blonde hair, so cute. She didn’t have a wand or scepter or anything in her hands. Who was she? I can’t remember who wears blue.

Her mom was tucking her into the car, so I had to walk faster.” Hi there! Hi!”

Her mom turned toward me.

“I see you have a princess in your car”, I said.

“Oh, yes”, she said quietly. The princess poked her head out.

“Hi there!, I said to her. Which princess are you?”

She simply smiled.

I asked her mom, “Are you headed to a party?”

“No”, she said

“Oh, why so dressed up?”

“It’s ‘pick your fight day’. That’s all she was willing to wear.”

“Oh, how old is she?”

“3.”

“Ahh.”

I turned from mom and bent down to speak to the little one inside the car again. “Well, I’m so glad to have met a beautiful princess today. Bye sweetie.”

She smiled a wide grin for me. As I walked to my apartment, I knew there was a lesson in this scenario. I couldn’t wait to get to my computer and start to comb it out.

Ladies, do you have a dress or suit that when you put it on you feel pretty and powerful? When you wear it do folks take notice of your energy? Are they drawn near? Do they fall under your spell for a few minutes?

When I used to feel down or weak, I’d put on my old college sweatshirt. It is an XL, grey, frayed sleeves thing. It wasn’t pretty however, when I put it on I would gain temporary strength and boldness. But I was kinda hiding in it.

It’s ratty and way too big for me now. I think I need to exchange it for a “princess gown”. I need something that presents  the dreamer and optimist in me. (That’s what the princesses represented to me as a girl. Their stories ended happily, things worked out. I never really made the connection that a man was necessary for that to happen. Guess that’s because I was raised by a mom on her own.) I need something that allows my “magic” to sparkle. And it’s gotta fit properly!

Once we find our “gowns”, let’s wear them everyday. Let’s put up a fight when someone thinks we should take them off. Let’s recognize the sisterhood of those with “princess powers”.

Disney-Princess-Lineup-walt-disney-characters-20868733-729-214

What do you think?

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Guest Post from Dr. Pamela Wible

What I’ve learned from saving physicians from suicide

 | PHYSICIAN | MAY 27, 2013

A psychiatrist in Seattle had picked out the bridge. At 3am he would swerve across his lane and plunge into the water. Everyone would assume he fell asleep.

A surgeon in Oregon was lying on the floor of her office with a scalpel. Nobody would find her until it was too late.

An internal medicine resident in Atlanta heard an anesthesiologist joking about the lethal dose of sodium thiopental. Alone in the call room, she would overdose that night.

Three planned suicides. All three physicians survived. Why? physician-suicide

While preparing to overdose, the internist was interrupted by an endocrinologist calling to check on her. Before grabbing her scalpel, the surgeon called several physicians pleading for help—I responded immediately. Two days before he was to drive off the bridge, the psychiatrist spotted my ad for a physician retreat. He called me begging to attend.

One week later, I’m hiking through the Oregon Cascades. The scent of cedar envelops me as I approach the lodge where I’m welcoming physicians who have arrived from all over the United States and Canada, all of us on a pilgrimage for answers.

Tonight we begin a retreat for doctors who yearn to love medicine again. Studies confirm most doctors are overworked, exhausted, or depressed. The tragedy: few seek help.

I ask the group, “How many physicians have lost a colleague to suicide?” All hands are raised. “How many have considered suicide?” Except for one woman, all hands remain up—including mine.

“Physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession,” I explain. “In the United States we lose over 400 physicians per year to suicide. That’s the equivalent of an entire medical school. Even that’s an underestimate because many physician suicides are incorrectly identified as accidents.”

I tell them, “Both men I dated in med school are dead. Brilliant physicians. Loved by their families and patients. Both died young—by ‘accidental overdose.’ Really? How many physicians accidentally overdose?”

The room is quiet.

It’s easier to say accident than suicide. Doctors can say gonorrhea and carcinoma. Why not suicide? Maybe we can’t face our own wounds.

“I’m a family doc in Eugene, Oregon, where we’ve lost three physicians in eighteen months to suicide. I was suicidal once. Assembly-line medicine was killing me. Too many patients and not enough time sets us up for failure. Rather than kill myself, I invited my patients to help me design an ‘ideal clinic.’ It is possible to love medicine again.”

The Canadian doctor to my right wipes her eyes. “I’m feeling so discouraged. I want to give up and work at Starbucks. My head is exploding from banging it against the system.”

A bright-eyed, blonde woman reveals, “I just took a leave of absence from med school because it was ‘killing my soul.’ Three classmates attempted suicide.”

A newlywed couple join in. “I’m a nurse. My husband is an internist. He’s suffering, but I don’t know how to help him. Doctors don’t seek psychiatric care because mental illness is reportable to the medical board. He fears he’ll lose his license.” Her husband adds, “I was suicidal three months ago. On the edge. My wife and I are hoping to find answers here.”

Here, physicians, nurses, and medical students share their wounds and their wisdom—in community. We share new practice models, communication techniques, and strategies to care for ourselves—so we can care for our patients.

In four days, I witness more healing than in four years of med school. Once strangers, we’ve become family. Parting ways, the psychiatrist from Seattle thanks me again.

I didn’t know these doctors, but I know their despair. By speaking about my own pain, I validated their pain. By being vulnerable, I gave them the strength to be vulnerable too.

But mostly we healed each other by not being afraid to say the word suicide out loud.

Pamela Wible pioneered the community-designed ideal medical clinic and blogs at Ideal Medical Care. She is the author of Pet Goats and Pap Smears.