Poetic Reflections Yield Lessons Learned

Psychiatric TimesVol 40, Issue 8

"Be bold, choose joy, and live authentically."




We were so afraid

COVID-19 is deadly

Life is short, SO LIVE!

This short haiku reflects the uncertainty many felt during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic while watching the death tolls rise despite increased responsibilities at work on top of continued burnout. The most important lesson I learned from the pandemic was that life is short and uncertain, so we should make the most of the gift of life that we have today.

I am forever grateful for that lesson, and it continues to guide my decisions: I ask whether something brings me joy and whether I can make a lasting impact.

Perhaps the pandemic and its lessons were a blessing in disguise, but it doesn’t negate the enormous loss we faced and continue to face.

Be bold, choose joy, and live authentically.

Dr Bell Washington is a quadruple board-certified physician who specializes in adult, child, and adolescent psychiatry; obesity medicine; and lifestyle medicine. She is in private practice, where she provides culturally centered care while treating obesity and mental health disorders.

She is a 2022 40 under 40 Leader in Health and Nutrition and Obesity Research Center at Harvard Diversity Scholar and a recipient of the Network for Emotional Well-being’s 2022 Emotional Well-Being and Physical Health Fellowship.

In 2020, Dr Bell Washington received the Outstanding Teaching Faculty of the Year at Wake Forest University School of Medicine and the National Medical Association’s Top Physician Under 40 Emerging Leader award.

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