I became a psychiatrist, which arose as a felicitous consequence of my chronic experiences with insomnia, allowing one afflicted to ascend as a healer of others. My sleepless nights have transitioned from their former acute torments, and now manifest more as a stasis and decline. Rather than solely attributing this to the natural aging of my body, I believe with sufficient effort I may often overcome it, though it strives to persist.
As the scripture proclaims, we are all sinners – all patients. Who can claim to be wholly without affliction? Problems will inevitably come to each of us. This was an ancient taboo amongst folk, and one I adhere to still.
Using the term “psychiatrist” seems crude and abrupt. I prefer to view my role through a traditional or religious lens. Esteemed Western theological works like “The Practice of Loving-Kindness” and “The Art of Loving” describe techniques akin to Buddhist “giving” and compassion. Our care for others falls within this domain. Caring is in its essence simple, straightforward, and logical. I impart what knowledge I have gathered from experience, whether those received it be familiar or novel to this perspective. These rudimentary understandings were cultivated through my own endured or ongoing struggles with insomnia.
Many sleepless nights I’ve known, born from torment in the dark of night – if the elixir distilled from one’s own anguish may heal others, it must constitute merit won from suffering endured!
As the New Testament states: “The healthy need no physician, but them that are sick.” This holds philosophical significance for me, and also serves as medical counsel when I apply what I’ve learned. Guidance emerging from a patient’s trial offers more therapeutic aid than a clinician’s detached view from above.
Counting sheep? This most ineffectual method, where mechanical numbers fail to penetrate my mind, amounts to little more than an idle saying – one that benefits some, yet releasing the herd proves more liberating for my insomnia-wracked brain. Sleeplessness itself stems from an overactive intellect, as fleeting inspirations pass through it like shooting stars, gone by morning without record. I must quickly transcribe such flashes onto my computer lest they vanish, yet lying attempt at rest more continue to burst forth, eternally kindling and extinguished without cease. Wisdom tells me to accept these transient meteors’ disappearance and avoid entangling in each spark’s dousing.
Such is the nature of human expression.
Insomnia signifies but one fragment, with myriad interior factors. All life consists of dust, yet each mote merely requires a drop of compassion’s water.
The psychology studied in my student days seemed ahead of its time. My paltry knowledge, scarcely more than superficial, met criticism from relatives later achieving prominence in the field. This reinforced that mastery lies not in information alone. As in antiquity’s eighteen weapons of war, victory derives from one’s ability to wield means, not the implements themselves.
Modern urbanites increasingly suffer insomnia and its attendant psychological maladies, as mental health disorders emerge unseen yet impactful. I set academic theories and statistics aside, opening an aperture instead to individuals around me – for we all fortify this city. Too seldom do we converse though continually crossing paths. Contact occurs by “happenstance” yet proves therapeutic. Like an informal doctor with medicine pouch in hand, I welcome all through my door.
This pouch contains but a lone droplet of affection’s elixir – concern for others.
Such scant care easily perceives surrounding shadows, much as girl A’s sorrow appeared at once on entering.
A’s face, meant in youth for vigor, bore anxiety like parched grass. Newly graduated, she joined a medical firm. Through acquaintance, our doors received her group providing exercise therapy gratis. Seated alone awaiting her turn, A seemed one requiring treatment herself though sent ostensibly to provide it. Discerning her plight required no protracted contact. Assigned popularizing health knowledge, she appeared instead thirsting for its fruits.
Recognizing such “favors” promoted equipment solely through “free” treatment, and A’s misery remained undisguised, I couldn’t subject her twenty wasted minutes. When her hands lightly worked my own slight ailments, I equally employed my state to draw from her despondent mien and feeble fingers what lurked deeper.
Compared her sinking heart, my rigid shoulder mattered little. Easily our discussion turned inward. Though just past girlhood, work anxieties since graduation begat chronic insomnia.
When our appointed span elapsed, lukewarm implements ended yet speech persisted regardless. Clearly she sought guidance, none remaining for therapy’s pretense. Willingly I offered respite at her journey’s pass, like lamplight through a window for one lost in darkness.
With options aplenty in this diverse age, initial steps require not define one. Merely contact with the world, and obstacles slowly cleared – deadwood and weeds pruned from a young life’s pathway. A few months later brought sunshine in her tone upon the subway’s call, malaise now lifted as with new dawn invigorating days.
My former vestige lay vanished like nightmare’s end.
Where even a single drop remains, love may yet deliver – and on my worldly paths, each met was fate or care bestowing solace to sorrowing souls and sound advice those seeking it. None concerned sleep directly; rather easing torments haunting many hearts, not only nightly hindrances but also obstacles of spirit. A little water thus dissolved barriers mended through word’s guidance.
At times insomnia returns yet other nights pass unremarked. No more its presence or absence forms my focus, but individuals received as I stand proffering aid.
Continuing Mink’s account, I’ll share present circumstance – participation improving a hotline’s psychological values.