Friday, October 22, 2010


As salaam alaikum,

I don't know what it was about today...maybe it's Friday and maybe I'm tired and after a week of studying for finals that required silly memorization of things I wasn't ready for the assault that was the last lecture in my Gender and Health class today. The speaker basically said that the DSM-IV (and previous editions) and therefore much of the field of psychiatry is based on poor evidence and cannot be trusted as a diagnostic tool for...anything, essentially.

And while I speak candidly about religion (sometimes), some things that I do not discuss so candidly are my clinical opinions because, like with Islam, I am unconventional in the way I think of things and realize these thoughts. All I will say is that there is a reason that I did not choice to specialize in any particular field of medicine, and that's because I understand the limitations of the research within each field, and while being a physician means taking on the challenge of functioning within an sometimes unstable, ever-changing evidence-based paradigm, I felt more secure going into a field where the need is less questioned (at least in my mind) and obviously needed...and that is, being a primary care physician, concerned with the health of families, providing a medical home in a sense for people who need their care translated from the specialists.

Okay, but the end. That's more than I wanted to say about that.

Well...maybe that's not all I want to say about it. I also want to say that seeing that woman so adamant about what she believed, in summary, that the DSM is complete garbage, that I remembered something that I remember sometimes in my most desolate of moments...the realities in which we live on this earth are subjective. She lives in a reality in which most mental disorder diagnoses are bogus, and my classmate lives in a world where, acknowledging the limitations of psychiatric medicine, those diagnoses are founded and absolutely necessary. Neither left the classroom convinced of the other's argument. Meanwhile, I didn't participate at all during the lecture.

Not that it insulted my sensibilities...I live in a world where people usually don't agree with my viewpoint. But it's pointless for me at this point to contribute my perspective, except for the fact that someone who lives in the same realm of thought that I do may agree with my take and nod. It doesn't matter. Reality is subjective. Physicians have to live within a very specific realm oftentimes that precludes the possibility of doubt beyond what is reasonable to continue clinical practice. I exist in that realm, too...the difference for me is that I've been learning, in the past three years now that I've been in medical school, to operate in that realm while not believing in its absolute right without paralyzing cognitive dissonance.

So while others were invigorated, I was drained by the end of the lecture.

And mark my words, at the end of that lecture, I felt a sense of impending doom. This happens from time to time, but I felt suddenly like my shuttle was going to be in an accident, that we were going to crash somewhere in the middle of Downtown Boston between the Pru and the State House. Alhamdulillah, nothing ever comes of these feelings, but I usually have these sentiments when a positive change will come about in my life. I may actually be tapping into a sixth sense that I've not yet homed. I write it down so I can't deny it later if nothing comes of it. We'll see.

But I'm tired of more than just class this week. I'm tired of...this world, essentially. This existence is exhausting. People not doing unto others as they would have done onto them, essentially. And one of my biggest pet peeves is people acting like nothing's wrong when there is so much wrong, or people minimizing or brushing aside wrong when the wrong is so blatant. Maybe they can brush aside the wrong because they're not affected by it, but as a person who is the personal recipient of some of these wrongs, I can't just brush it off.

I'm getting cryptic now, but it's because I'm tired. I'm tired, and I'm reaction to this now diminishing impending sense of doom. If this is the way I can tell that something good is about to happen, it sure is a funny premonition. And by funny, I mean strange. It's not amusing at all.

I'm so tired, I'm not planning on going to the HLM social Saturday night. Sometimes it's fine because I could just exist. Among my classmates and those under me, I could just exist. I never had to explain to them why I was Muslim. Now that we're all dispersed, I'm finding myself socializing with Muslims and ending up explaining my life story too often...abbreviated version, of course. I'm tired of that. Some of us seek attention and I must admit, I do like attention sometimes, but sometimes I just want to be, do salat, eat, laugh and go home.

If my first name weren't Chinyere and were some more identifiable (though not characteristically black) Muslim name, no one would question. But then, I wouldn't be me, because having to pronounce my name to every teacher since preschool has, at the very least, built character.

But I'm tired, so I'm ending this week with happiness. Happy thoughts and happy times with happy people who don't remind me of all that I'm tired of. Heh.

I'll post later when I'm in a better mood...


  1. i didnt see anything cryptic at all. in 07 before i got into the deen i was having serious pains in my stomach/lower abdomen. by ruling things out we concluded it was IBS. my GI wrote me some prescriptions and was done, he was like i dont wanna see you back here. i joked, "Aww tired of me already?" I have a way of making him take a step back with his tone so I, and hopefully other patients, can see the sincerity his language and tone utterly lack. He elaborated something like, "No. It's not that at all. It's just that I've done all that I can for you."

    This was a perspective I do not agree with but I can respect given everyone's situations. Each doctor has a certain specialty. I would love if they were more honest and treat the patient as a whole, the body as a whole, too, incorporating research of others' where it would relate to common problems. But that's the model. However, the model is not an excuse to simply go by the book. This is the reason why I had failed to find a decent primary physician my entire life.

    The one I had in 07 was the first. She's a Muslimah that cares, my mom picked her out. But it's been harder and harder getting to her and she moved clinics to boot. I refuse to even look for a new physician because it is taxing me just thinking about it as an ordeal and having to go through them one by one.

  2. Also academically I was also a theoretical sort of person and couldn't stand the idea of needing to place a citation every paragraph. The more we study history the more we know the importance of both free thought (this used to be respected even without a Ph. D. What changed the game?) and not re-inventing the wheel. the latter was not something i was very fond of and wound up re-inventing wheels (a nice ability) b/c of my refusal to learn/listen. it wasn't until i got into Islaam that i'm beginning to balance things out. the whole academic evidence paradigm is most likely borrowed from Islaam, whereas there's no doubt scientifically it comes from Muslims.

    the moment any self-respecting scientist or researcher or worker goes from skepticism to determinism or dogmatism is the moment they might become something a bit of a danger. the danger they present is not entirely unlike all the doctors, whether primary physicians or specialists, who simply go by the book when most of our health issues exist beyond the scope of said material.