Psychology, why?

Fridays in Klinik Kesihatan are generally more relaxed work-wise. Meaning there are no appointments for NCD cases. We still run the ‘special’ clinics such as Quit Smoking Clinic, TB reviews, Methadone clinics, PEKA B40 enrollments and OKU/Kebajikan applications. Sometimes we arrange for IUCD insertions to be scheduled on that day too. Case discussion meetings are also held on Friday on top of weekly CMEs. Pop up clinics are run at the nearby old folks home. Retens are counted for and other miscellaneous activities happen on Day 5 of the week. It’s about tying loose ends, closing the book, planning for the coming week only to re-open on Monday.

Last Friday, no one took leave hence we were on full manpower. This leaves me plenty of time to catch up on my part-time study modules and assignments. It was difficult not to garner attention as curious minds wondered what was keeping me busy on my laptop. I had wanted my study journey to be low-key among colleagues but eventually the news caught on. I get the usual questions and skeptical remarks on top of really astonishing comments like

” Why degree and not masters?”

“What can you do with psychology?”

“We can redirect our methadone patients to her now – she can counsel every single one of them with her psych thing”

“Why are you doing this? 4 years for a degree? Only? You should take up masters in family medicine”

“It’s good to study something LIGHT like this on the side”

That last comment set my adrenaline rushing but I managed to keep it under control. I felt like making a photocopy of my module and give Topic 1 to read. Let’s see if that person could get past Philosophy first.

But maybe it’s my fault for not being able to sell my reasons well. I see a world where in the future, people will not only go for an annual cholesterol check but also their state of mind. As in exploring what their motivators are, their stress factors, and what has changed in their life. Are the kids growing up alright? Are you aging well? Did someone die? How are you coping?

I see a future where professionals and maybe their children will drown in their intoxicating thoughts or stuck at obstacles in their personal growth. They will need someone (another trustworthy professional who gets it) to untangle the mess and help them walk through the challenge in their private time. Away from prying eyes. In fact, I see doctor friends who might need help to sort out their loved ones battling addiction or something along those lines.

I see a future where psychologists are seen on par as a medical doctor in Malaysia. The psychology union would become stronger and will get everyone certified as who they study to become – clinical psychologists, organizational psychologists, criminal psychologists, educational psychologists, etc.

I see stigma on psychological related matters decreasing. Communities are accepting this as just another clinical condition that needs attention.

I see a future where people are fighting to get into a psychology course because everything in life has got to do with psychology.

It is a grandiose thought. But it’s motivating to find myself joining this clan. On a more personal note, I want my children to see that you could become anything you want, anytime you want as long as you work hard for it. I want them to know that if something doesn’t work out for you, you can always leave and create another path to suit your circumstances. InsyaAllah, with Allah’s blessing – everything would be fine.

Despite the unwelcoming remarks, I am grateful to have the support of similar minded individuals who thinks highly of education regardless of what level. It keeps me going. Trying to get better each time. Like Liverpool. Ha ha ha.

My anecdotes surrounding my studies are blogged more on NotaMinci. Feel free to visit me there.

Midlife Crisis – is this half of the years that I have in this life?

I had a moment of enlightenment a few months ago. And I took action on it. I decided to study part time. I made some enquiries to friends who are already on that path and those who have completed their studies. Some were encouraging, some tried to talk me out of it.

This could be a mid life crisis. Gosh, maybe. I am after all only 37 years old this year. If this is halfway through my lifeline – my impending death would be at 74? Hanya Allah Yang Maha Mengetahui.

I am taking a huge leap of faith here to juggle the many things on my plate right now. I will be missing more sleep hours and personal time. I am convincing myself that this is called Sacrifice. Most of my hours studying is online via modules and pre-recorded lectures on top of completing assignments with grueling deadlines.

There are a few certain things for now;

  • I have no intention to become a specialist in any field of medicine. Anesthesia will always be my first love. I tried to put in similar determination and passion into primary care just as I did into emergency medicine but after 2 years, I just feel that it is not working out for me. I do not enjoy the nature of primary care. As a responsible medical practitioner, I will of course still develop my knowledge and upgrade my skills to ensure I become a safe doctor but the drive to do so is not because I want to be a specialist. Its more of that I can be a safe doctor to serve my patients needs.
  • I have my husbands support. Knowing that he is OK with me doing this would mean him being able to support me and my schedule accordingly.
  • Accepting that the world is my oyster and that I am free to roam in it as however I wish and who ever I want to become.

I am pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Psychology with Honours. I am aware that having this scroll will not make me a psychiatrist. I am keeping my options open for other career options that this field may offer if I chose to upgrade on it stage by stage. I do not have to be a doctor forever you know. What if I want to work in a company as an organizational therapist. Or sit in my own office providing counselling or psychotherapy services as a private, registered practitioner. Perhaps delve into a popular or contemporary form of psychology. Or be the best ever social worker with a medical degree, an invaluable aide to Syed Azmi’s cause. I dunno.

I am envisioning a world where people need more help with their mental health from all walks of life. We are seeing a rise in people who could not manage their emotions and channel them appropriately to the extent of harming themselves and others. I also people who have a very distorted perception of how to treat another human being and their surroundings. I see communities falling apart as they place more value as an individual than coming together as one. We see more and more empty vessels making loud noises flooding social media, which is a huge influence in our lives nowadays – dishing out nonsensical advice to those who actually needs guidance. The world has gotten bitter and sick. Maybe I have a role here somewhere.

I will be blogging about my journey as a mature student in NotaMinci and a separate IG account, HOBOMINCI. I had wanted to document there my path towards becoming an anesthetist. However, survival of the fittest showed me that I am just not fit enough for that road. I failed to get into the programme twice and at the same time my social and biological clock is ticking. So I need a diversion. A form of affirmation to myself that I am meant to blossom but maybe not within the perimeter of an operating theatre or the ICU. Maybe it is best I blossom in the wild outside medicine where I don’t have to tiptoe and watch my back. Instead be loose and free like the dandelion in the wind. Only to sprout again in other terrains and bring happiness to humanity.