All talk, no help… Say YES to help!


So many of you are feeling overwhelmed right now. As I listen to physician stories on my new podcast, I hear so much fatigue and despair. I wish I could give you a huge hug and sit with you for just a bit over some coffee or wine. For now, hopefully this provides some solace and validation. 

Look at the model below. I think what’s happening is a reckoning. It’s like there’s just enough breathing space to look up and realize what you’ve been through. If you’re not like one of my friends, with 10 (!) physicians out this past week with COVID, you’re likely trying to work through the phase of reconstruction. The phases of disaster (shown below) are ways we can anticipate responses to overwhelming events. Where are you?
I’m going to guess that most of you are in phases of reconstruction – working through grief, experiencing some setbacks and trying to create a new beginning. But that’s easier said than done. In actuality, what I’m hearing from folks as they begin to process this grief is, “I’m really NOT OK.” You’ve been pushed pass what should be expected from healthcare providers. As you work through grief, my worry is that many of you are experiencing acute trauma. You can’t begin to create new meanings and return to “normal” if you’re in a space of trauma.

Here are some signs of acute trauma:

Psychological symptoms

• Anxiety
• Low moodIrritability
• Emotional ups and downs 
• Poor sleep
• Poor concentration
• Wanting to be alone.
• Recurrent dreams or flashbacks, which can be intrusive and unpleasant.
• Avoidance of anything that will trigger memories. This may mean avoiding people, conversations, or other situations, as they cause distress and anxiety.
• Reckless or aggressive behavior that may be self-destructive.
• Feeling emotionally numb and detached from others.

Physical symptoms

• Heart palpitations
• Nausea
• Chest pain
• Headaches
• Abdominal pains
• Breathing difficulties

Here are some helpful resources for physicians:

Burnout Toolkit
Wellness Affinity Groups
“Getting Rid of Stupid Stuff” Initiative
Physicians Anonymous 
Oregon ECHO Network

In the meantime, I also want you to join me at a FREE workshop I’m hosting next month called, “We’re really NOT OK: 5 Steps to Addressing Overwhelm Today!” on October 19 at 6 PM PST. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity to be IN community with your peers and talk about actionable tools you can utilize now to address overwhelm. It’s not a replacement for therapy or coaching, but it’s a great place to start. 

With compassion for all you do,

Dr. Amy