Taking Control of Depression

By Phoebe Chi, MD, MPH

Depression. One word that can mean so many things. For those who have lived with or currently live with depression, you know very well the effects it can have on your daily life. Depression can drain not only your physical energy, but also your hopes, motivation, enjoyment, and personal drive. You may be aware of all the steps to getting better, but you just cannot get yourself to take even the first one. If this sounds all too familiar to you, you are not alone. And there is hope.

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Continue reading “Taking Control of Depression”

I’m Sorry I Couldn’t Do More.

You took your life.

I’m sorry I was only
fifteen feet away.

The doctors were only fifteen feet away.

You didn’t know this.
But I spent days and nights
next door to where you decided
to end your life. Where the doctors
gather, pondering over differentials…
treatments…dissecting our every move
to ensure that we are doing the
right thing for you.

The right thing…

If I had known you,
I would have fought for you.
I know you weren’t my patient;
I know we had never even met.
I am just the person who found
you. Who pronounced you.
You were already cold,
but still, I placed the
stethoscope against
your chest and
listened.

I didn’t hear anything.

Did you hear me as
I wept for you?

I’m sorry.

I’m sorry
you were suffering.

I’m sorry you felt
as if
you had
no way out.

I’m sorry I couldn’t do more. 

This is a reflection over an event that happened during residency.
An event I still think about at times. 
A lingering guilt.

A New Day.


What do we do, come that day,

when walk we must through vacant streets,
when frore and tremulous become the nights,
and windowpanes with autumn’s dew weep?

What do we do, come that day,
when summertide flees from bitter air’s chase,
when even the trees forsake their leaves,
And swallows depart to a fitter place?

For that day has come,

and now we weep,

as the earth reclaims another,

their souls now sleep.

But come winter’s call new snow will fall,
then
autumn’s death will be entombed.

And as morning rays gleam through curtain seams,
New seedlings in our hearts will bloom.

Then we will know that a new day has come. 

This Poem is Dedicated to the Memory of Rhonda Elkins and her daughter, Kaitlyn.

To Rhonda.

 

Almost a year ago, I wrote something for your daughter.

 •

I never thought at that time that soon I would be writing similar lines for you.

So as I try to find ways to make sense of the pain of finding out that you left us, just as Kaitlyn had left us, I can only come out with these words…

…That through your daughter’s passing,
you had come into our lives.

Through your pain,
the world was moved.

Through your words,
 eyes were opened.

Through your tears,
hearts were touched, lives changed.

And through your perseverance,
Kaitlyn lived on.

But even as you worked unceasingly,
Your soul continued to break, your heart grieved.

And now you are again with your daughter, your bright shining star.

Goodbye, Rhonda. Now you can finally rest.

◊ A Poem Dedicated to the Memory of Rhonda ◊

Sky

 Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower, we will find… rather… strength in what remains behind…

•      •      •

.For those who may not have known Rhonda, here are the links to her writing.

My Bright Shining Star: A Mother’s True Story of Brilliance, Love, and Suicide

My Bright Shining Star, a blog

To Kaitlyn, a Girl I Will Never Know.

I’ve been wanting to write this to you for a while. I go to work, and though I’ve never met you, I think about you. I talk to a patient, and while I’m standing there, there you are again, tugging at my heart. Maybe it’s because I know of your mom, and I know of her heartbreak. Maybe it’s because I know you will never be able to do what you were meant to do.

This is what I know about you. You were a medical student. You went to school in North Carolina. You cared for people. And you wanted to care for them at the greatest capacity possible. You wanted to help people during their times of sickness, strengthen them in their weakness. But your life was robbed from beneath you. So this will never happen. And the world has lost another great physician.

I hear you were a loving person, one who illuminated the day of all whom you came across. Of course you did. You were your mother’s shining star. But what no one knew, and what you didn’t reveal until your departure, was that you were also suffering. Deeply. But you were good at hiding it with your smile. And because it was a genuine smile, we were beguiled. Especially those closest to you.

bench

When I think of you, my heart aches. Maybe it’s because I feel that I understand you better than I have a right to. Maybe it is because I once smiled a similar smile. I weep because of what you did, and because I think I understand why.

When I think of you, my soul is anguished. You were going to be a remarkable physician. You would have touched others with your empathy, changed lives with your care. They would have remembered you, not simply because you were the one who eased their suffering and comforted their souls, but because your spirit would have brightened their lives. No one had the right to take that away from you.

I’m sorry I never got to know you.

But even now, you will not be forgotten.

◊ A Tribute to her Mother: Rhonda Elkins ◊

◊ A Poem Dedicated to Kaitlyn and her Mother ◊

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