When There are Too Many to Count

If I were to learn one more thing my brain would be so heavy, I wouldn’t have the strength to carry it around, unless I went on crutches. (loosely paraphrased from Life on the Mississippi).

That describes what it’s been like this month. Just when I thought I understood the five nutritional groups–vitamins, minerals, amino acids, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants–I found another–glycoproteins. And just when I thought I’ve made energy healing about as easy as it could get with my Infinite Intention CD, I learned about the role of magnets in healing. Then there were adrenal fatigue, Lyme disease, hypoglycemia . . . the list goes on.

The life of an orthomolecular psychiatrist is not easy. One can’t get too settled into the comfort of habits and familiar territory. New information will soon be along to kick one out into the unknown once again . . . .is there no rest to be had?

As John MacEnulty wrote:

Discipline and letting go, the two paths as one, guide me always.
Work and trust, another way of saying it.
Knowing takes us to its limit, its edge. We go beyond.
We learn, come to understanding, let go of our understanding and pass into
the unknowable, the highest knowledge.
Without discipline we increase our ignorance.
Without letting go we build a prison of information.
The two paths merge as one, breathing in, breathing out.

Hyperventilation more like. . . .

As I explore the many uses of glycoproteins and magnets, and see their clinical outcomes in the lives of my patients, the process of learning and growing is once again repeating itself. The pattern has become familiar:

First, I hear about something new, and I ignore it.

Second, I hear about it again, and this time I listen.

Third, I resist and battle against the new data.

Fourth, I am very skeptical, but I grudgingly try it anyway.

Fifth, I accept the new approach and am thrown into unknown waters.

Sixth, I gradually master the approach and become familiar with its strengths and weaknesses.

Seventh, I teach others how to use the now familiar approach.

Eighth, I encounter new information and repeat the process . . . .

Sometimes, when the amount of information gets overwhelming, it’s important to remember that it’s not what one is learning, but that one keeps learning that is important. Improvements in care could not happen without the discomfort of change and stepping into the unknown, or making mistakes and figuring out why. As physicians, it’s important to be humble and not put oneself up on a pedestal–the fall is harder the higher one sits.

Though it’s tempting to play the role of savior or authority figure, it is far better that we not play any roles at all, and be content to be ourselves, with all our laughable flaws. For the greatest improvement in care, after all, is the ability to have compassion for ourselves and in turn, have true compassion for others.