A Necessary Reply

After struggling with boundaries and saying "no," this psychiatrist found his voice.

COMMENTARY

If you are like me the word “no” has been dormant in your wellness lexicon. Busy bee is a more familiar term that has been embedded in my conscience, starting at a young age. Over the years I have come to realize that opportunities, although exciting, come with emotional currency. This manifest itself as time away from family and encroachment on solitude.

Many physicians like myself have experienced burnout during various seasons of their career. Thankfully, my mentors have helped me increase my confidence as it relates to becoming respectfully unapologetic when declining opportunities. "No" can be your greatest ally and help you prioritize self-care. Remember that your bandwidth matters.

I was recently on a Zoom call with colleagues discussing a promising project. The word overcommitted became a major theme that reverberated from our mental vocal cords. It inspired me to write this poem.

Feeble hearts scurrying at a sloth pace with pupil dilation

for alluring inbox of queries stacked with sapid opportunity syrup

that seeps through desensitized delirious dopaminergic zeal

lacking valor to advocate for body rehabilitation



Dr Clark
 is clinical assistant professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine-Greenville and medical director & division chief for Adult Inpatient and Consult-Liaison Services for the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at Prisma Health-Upstate. He serves as the Diversity & Inclusion Section Editor and Advisory Board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.