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Crying is OK in Medicine

Let’s normalize crying, asks the anonymous writer, an intensive care doctor moved by a recent tweet.

May 25, 2023

Crying isn’t a bad thing. Get that through your skulls. Pun intended.

I scrolled past a tweet the other day, posted on the front page of SoMeDocs (thank you for this site!).

“Some of the most powerful advice I received from a #PedsICU mentor: “The grief is for you to witness but not to bear.”

I think about this often. Some of the wisest advice is easier said than done.

What are the sound bites that echo in your mind?

It was posted on Twitter, right here.

Since it challenged others to come up with their own sound bites, I did.

 

My sound bite comes from being told not to cry. Except that instead of listening to the advice, I’ve decided to go against to.

It echoes in my mind today, because of just how full it actually is. Following this advice will only make us bottle up our grief and anger. I think that the doctor who wrote the tweet above would agree.

You see, as a doctor training to work in the intensive care unit, I have always been taught to maintain a certain level of emotional detachment from my patients.

The mantra of “not crying in medicine” has been drilled into us since medical school. But over the years,

I have come to realize that this is not always possible.

 

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The ICU is a place where patients are at their most vulnerable, and it is impossible not to form a connection with them.

I have seen patients fight for their lives, and I have seen others lose their battles. Each time, it takes a toll on me emotionally. I used to feel guilty for crying, as if it made me less of a doctor. But now I understand that crying is a natural response to the pain and suffering that we witness every day. It is a sign of empathy and compassion, not weakness.

I have learned to embrace my emotions and use them to fuel my passion for helping others. I still maintain a professional demeanor, but I no longer suppress my tears.

Instead, I let them flow freely as a reminder of why I became a doctor in the first place – to make a difference in people’s lives.

Who else out there lets their emotions fly high? Scream out loud, so I can hear you. Scream out loud, so we can all hear you.

 

Let’s normalize crying.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email opmed@doximity.com. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Find out what we’re looking for here and submit your writing, or send us a pitch.

All opinions published on SomeDocs-Mag are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of SoMeDocs, its staff, editors. SoMeDocs is a magazine built with the safety of free expression and diverse perspectives in mind. Do you have a compelling personal story you’d like to see published on SoMeDocs? Submit your own article now here.

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