As a Doctor, it is important to take some time out for self care, of which is not always easy to achieve. Read on for further insights into the rewards and challenges that come with being a Doctor. Herein, Dr. Justine Crowley reflects on 2014 and her first year as a natural medical practitioner in the psychological sciences.

For those of you who have either received your MBBS/MD, a dentistry degree or another doctorate degree that is medically and/or scientifically related; you know well there and then that your life is about to change forever. Realistically, earning such an award will amplify your emotional and happiness roller coaster ride simultaneously. Congratulations (or not), you’re now a scientist and an admirable member of the community.

It happened in mid May, the doctorate of psychology was awarded to me, and temporarily my life turned itself upside down – thankfully for the better. The fun (now not so fun) areas of my business pre-doctorate were cut off from me with barely any warning, and I needed a personal assistant on a temporary basis to help me manage my time, cook my meals, and pay my bills for me to name. Right on the end of financial year due to the on call stress when depression in your clients/patients amplifies in winter, you get locked out of your house after work. Thankfully my pre-planned holiday (before being awarded my new life title, like getting married) was booked months prior, and that much needed breather was just around the corner. Hurrah. 

If you thought that sitting and actually passing the GAMSAT was bigger than ben hur; as you continue along the life of a scientist, you even get to sit an exam on your birthday, and for a whole two weeks after that. At least some of your exams are open book. Listening to 90’s alternative music on YouTube is sometimes my saving grace, and my abundance well to keep my practice well and truly alive. Being a natural medical practitioner – specialising in hypnotherapy and counselling (on the contrary) is rather rewarding. In nearly all cases, results are achieved. Whether it is from helping a patient/client eat less and exercise more, to overcoming depression and/or kicking procrastination in the butt – nevertheless to putting one less smoker back onto our streets post treatment is super fun. You are trusted and treated with a high level of respect. The ups and downs of continuing professional development also got me back together with my boyfriend, and so far (five months later) this is working out really, really well.

When all healing fails is a sign of burn out. You clearly need a rest. Also, when your family hear you saying that “f” word a fair few too many times recently, you know you need a break. Also when you’re dying for a strong, alcoholic drink after a session with another mentally ill individual, and you want to rip your work shirt off your skin simultaneously. Doctors know the effects of alcohol (full of chemicals, yes) on our delicate bodily systems – thank you organic chemistry for introducing us to carbons. You never look at propene like you used to prior.

Furthermore, just because you are also a trauma counsellor, does not mean that you’re God or some perceived hero that can heal anger issues with a client on tap. Something that has taken me eight years to learn and discover, does not take five minutes to heal. To some clients/patients, 90 days is a long time to repeat a positive habit/behaviour in the world of psychology to replace a not so desirable habit – yet it needs to be done. 30-90 days is the length of time it takes the unconscious mind to replace habits and behaviours for permanent results to take effect.

Being a natural medical practitioner/doctor can and does bring abundance and a high income to your door, yet with such laws, that income still needs to circulate. As a doctor, that high income goes on insurance, personal help like secretaries etc., clinic room rent, dry cleaning, paperwork, phone calls, electricity, Internet usage and continuing education before you earn your healthy share.

Plus, you’ve joined the profession that enjoys the highest suicide rate of all professions. I am 34 years of age (as at the time of writing this), and there have been times where I’ve been tempted to take my own life through this work a couple of times already. Sadly to say, I am deeply taken back and disturbed by the   siege that has happened in  recently . I’ve just witnessed the loss of a great person (Tori, the  cafe manager) who I worked with in some work I was doing before becoming a scientist, of who also became a great friend in the process. He was such an intelligent, caring individual who was just trying to save his life, as well as the lives of other hostages in this situation around him. He was engaged in work that he loved so much, and this is rather tragic because he was also the same age I am. Tori, you now make me brave. Being a doctor is not a decision you take lightly. I underwent eight years of post-graduate study in psychology to better my life, and heal myself from a highly traumatic childhood – goal accomplished. Running a professional natural medical practice on the back of such an award is just a bonus, and one that should not be taken lightly.  

It is nice when your patients/clients do not always call you “doctor” followed by your name. This is a sign of being a real person. You’re basically an academic who can commit to a field of study for at least six years without committing suicide in the process. That is your first test, and you’ve passed it.

Despite the strong, authoritative title to your name, you are still equal with everyone else – except when it comes time to paying your bills…your title reminds you of authority, responsibility, and maturity. Although harsh at first, it is quite nice when those snobby flight attendants actually say “Thank you Ms Crowley” instead of “Thank you Dr Crowley” when they see my boarding pass the moment I board my flight, and the title on such a pass clearly says “Dr.” You cannot be blind in that job. Things don’t make sense, yet it is all good humor. The successful outcomes, and the not so successful outcomes in the treatments you administer come and go in cycles. The law of impermanence. 

In the meantime, I am taking a break from being a natural medical practitioner, and if this break becomes indefinite, that title of doctor will never go away. Everyone needs a break from highly responsible work from time to time, in order to stay sane. Must I say, for me personally, 2014 was a great year, however a rather tough and tense year. Merry Christmas to you all, and have a safe and enjoyable 2015. Here’s hoping for a better 2015 for all. Justine. 

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