Thursday, September 23, 2010

“Too Much Love Will Kill You”

(Disclaimer: read it through in its entirety. I hope this isn't going to be misinterpreted as the story of my love life. Just in case.. :-p)


"I'm just the pieces of the man I used to be, too many bitter tears are raining down on me...I'm far away from home, and I've been facing this alone for much too long..."

Hearing Freddie Mercury's classic song almost everywhere these past few days gave me an idea on how to condense 29 years of living, breathing and existing into 700 words when I was at a previous loss. It seemed at first that I could not explain the whole of my personality, but just parts that hopefully will give a gist of who I am.

The song is about a man who had to make the impossible choice between two lovers; one, a lover, and the other, "the love he leaves behind". Either way, it is a hard decision, nobody wins, because someone is bound to get hurt. The conflict between his id, ego and superego is an interesting study.

I reckon I've always been fascinated by people, how they think, how they feel, and how they live their lives. Every person is an interesting study, a microcosm of a psyche unto himself or herself that warrants a careful look from the observer. At 6 years old, I started reading books, magazines, anything ofl purpose that I could get my hands on because of this. I preferred (and still do) books with complicated characters who later on reconciled with their complexities...or didn't. My journals started from when I was 7, and up to now, I scribble regular thoughts and musings, my observations of the world.

In school, I would sit in the front row (center, if I can help it), because I wanted to take in the details, I absorbed lessons that way. I preferred the humanities, and was involved in the school paper of the College of Medicine at West Visayas State University in Iloilo despite the busy schedule, because I relished the fact that there was an avenue for artistic expression and an outreach of sorts due to the medium we had a free hand in.
The adviser of our school paper was a prominent psychiatrist in Iloilo City. It is perhaps, but not exactly the reason why I made this career choice.There was an amusing, noticeable trend of editors-in-chief of the school paper ending up going into psychiatry residencies. I don't believe he exerted his influence on us in terms of career decision-making, but being under his tutelage did in fact give us a view of the intricacies of the human mind that was always exciting and enriching.

After medical school, I did my internship year in Silliman Medical Center in Dumaguete City, and gained experience in the management patients with different conditions, from all walks of life. However, I noticed myself gravitating towards the occasional psychiatric patient that wandered into the hospital. When one (of the three in Dumaguete City) psychiatrist would make rounds, I would always be at his heels, carrying the charts, wanting to see how he was going to deal with the particular patient.

One time, there was a young 18-year-old female, who had manic episodes. Her room was always full of people who either were family, or were prayer groups who "prayed over" her, believing that she was possessed by the devil, and needed intervention. Her parents were distraught and believed that to be true. The psychiatrist I was with did an interview and prescribed medication, and soon enough, the patient was discharged eventually and followed up.

Just a few months ago, in my job as a resident in one of the district hospitals in my province, I've had psychiatric consults. At that time, it was a young male, 20 years old, seemingly at the peak of his youth, who had become violent and was prone to having delusions and hallucinations. His parents and family, mountain folk, were overly-concerned and would not leave his side.

Eventually, I had to refer him to a psychiatrist in the city, for definitive management. It was quite frustrating not to be able to manage him at my level.

Mental illness is no simple matter, and with the paucity of practitioners, I want to learn more, I want to contribute. #


  1. reading your starting paragraphs reminded me a lot about myself. I had this habit about writing but only for my analysis about people. i never maintained a journal for a vast portion of my life. The only reason i maintain one now is to analyze myself and my states of mind. I always found your posts on your experiences and your cases that you had to encounter very intersting. which reminds me how much being a doctor makes it very much a people to people kind of job unlike my own. I'm sure with your Masters degree you would find only more of such experiences :)

  2. A friend who could probably see right through me...kind of scary and exciting at the same time. =)

    That's amzing you started a journal at 7. Have you had time to read through what you've written or are you more focused on adding material?

    I remember that young man and his family. I hope he is getting the care he needs.

    In school I liked to sit in the back so i could watch the other students. But as I started to take school itself more seriously, I started moving up.

  3. @Nitin: It's good that you maintain a journal now...writing things down helps sort things out in your head. In the process, you start (re)discovering yourself. I read a book about it once. I didn't need to have anyone tell me it was fulfilling to "chronicle" one's life journey anyway. :-) Best wishes!

  4. @Ric: Yep, a cousin gave me a tiny notebook that passed for a journal. i promptly wrote about this boy I had a crush on in school. at 7, it wasn't a profound one yet. These days, i'm more into writing about stuff, and just trying to make sense of things as they come. i only write about stuff that feel intense as of the moment...and see how it all fits. It's variable.

    Yes, i would agree. a friend who could probably see right through you (and me.) is something to be a little anxious about. i feel you too. lol.

    have a nice day!



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