Clogged Waterfalls

BY SAV MANDAKINI

Hidden in a cave,

Too scared to look out,

Too scared to escape

Heaven seems so far away

Happiness, I can’t attain

It’s a thousand miles each way

Don’t feed the animals

Threatening to break your castle

With iron fists and iron hammers

I gotta find my own way outta here

I don’t know where I am

I don’t know who I am

I don’t know how I am

But I’m too afraid to get on out there

I’m trying to change myself

But how can I when I don’t know myself

The waterfalls are clogging up

But no one, no one is out there

Sitting in my abode,

Flickin’ thru my phone

Doin’ it on the auto

Like a cyborg

Got no place to go

So, I sit here on the low

Waitin’ for someone to find me, oh-oh

Don’t feed the animals

Threatening to make you weaker

Don’t listen to their calls

Telling you to give it up, yeah

I don’t know where I am

I don’t know who I am

I don’t know how I am

But I’m too afraid to get on out there

I’m trying to change myself,

But how can I when I don’t know myself

The waterfalls are clogging up

But no one, no one is out there

When you’re getting down, you gotta find a way up

Getting closer to Heaven’s getting closer to yourself

Let the haters say you can’t daydream, but they won’t help you get to your dreams

Don’t fall into habits that are toxic

Don’t become a phantom of yourself

Find the things that make you tick

The saltpetre that makes you uptick

Then you can turn those feelings into fireworks

And unclog the waterfalls

I don’t know where I am

I don’t know who I am

I don’t know how I am

But I’m following, I’m following the fireworks

Look out for the recorded version of Clogged Waterfalls on Savannah’s Youtube channel, coming soon!

Crazy Socks for Docs

BY VIRGINIA SU

I stared intensely at the two options in front of me – I had a crucial decision to make. In my left hand I held my pair of simple black work socks that I wore to work every day. In my right hand, a pair of bright rainbow tie dye socks with little embroidered corgis. They were crisp and untouched ever since I bought them on a whim last year, but today was why I had kept them all this time. 

Friday 5th June, the first Friday of June. It’s Crazy Socks 4 Docs day! 

It all started when Dr Geoff Toogood wore mismatched coloured socks one day to work because his puppy had eaten all his other pairs. Hushed whispers that his mental health had deteriorated again went on behind closed doors. Yet not a single person asked him if he was ok or offered support despite believing him to be suffering from mental illness. To combat this stigma surrounding mental health in healthcare professionals and normalise support and conversations, he established the foundation “Crazy Socks 4 Docs” as a platform for awareness and discussion.

Friday 5th June, the first Friday of June. It’s Crazy Socks 4 Docs day! 

Doctors have a duty to care for their patients’ health both physically and mentally, but what happens when the doctor needs help and support? So many doctors experience burnout and stress overload from working overtime, compensating for staff shortages, sleep deprivation, imposter syndrome, emotional overflow from patients’ circumstances and the heavy responsibility for people’s lives. And yet, there’s constant pressure from the general public, fellow colleagues and high self-expectations for doctors to be perfect and to set aside their own issues for their job. 1 in 5 doctors in Australia have been diagnosed with depression, according to the 2019 National Mental Health Survey of Doctors and Medical Students. In order for doctors to perform to the best of their capabilities, it is crucial that their health is looked after first, as supported by research showing strong correlation between the mental health of doctors and the effectiveness of health care and patient safety. 

Medical students of course are not exempt from the increased risk of mental illnesses. In 2013, Beyond Blue conducted the first nation-wide survey, reporting that 1 in 5 medical students had suicidal thoughts over the previous year with 40-50% experiencing emotional exhaustion with anxiety and depression symptoms. This is significantly higher than the Australian population, indicating that systemic change within medical training, such as regulations and policies aimed at reducing the risk, must be implemented. 

In this current world state of a pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to take these issues seriously and support the mental health of doctors. Medical professionals are the front-line soldiers in a war for global health and all eyes and even more pressure are on them to treat patients despite limited hospital resources. They are sacrificing sleep and their own health, with issues infiltrating their personal lives as many are forced to separate from high-risk family members as their work puts them at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 themselves.  

In this current world state of a pandemic, it is more crucial than ever to take these issues seriously and support the mental health of doctors.

What can you do to get involved?

Crazy Socks 4 Docs Day is its flagship global awareness day where you are encouraged to wear crazy socks and strike up conversations about mental health in the medical work field. So pick some crazy socks, snap a pic and upload them onto Instagram with the #crazysocks4docs! And if you don’t have a pair of crazy socks, SockMe (https://sock-me.com.au/) is donating $2 to the foundation for every pair of socks purchased for the rest of June. You can also donate straight to the foundation through its website to further support its vision, but most of all, start the conversation the next time you see a colleague or doctor. 

Park Run

By Tracy Nguyen

It is no doubt that there are many health benefits to running. As medical students, you must have told several of your patients in GP clinics, or constantly heard your doctors reminding their patients of countless reasons why they should exercise. Personally, when I think about running, the first things that come to my mind are all of its common associated health benefits – improving cardiovascular health, strengthening muscles, increasing bone density and maintaining healthy weight. It is not only until relatively recently when I started doing park run that I realized there is way more to running than what I thought…

Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means a good runner. Not surprisingly, my first park run performance was honestly on the lower end of someone in the 20’s age group. I was sweating like crazy for the whole 5 kilometers with my face looking as red as a tomato and I could not help feeling the urge to stop running at any moment, with all the increasing squeezing pain in my abdomen and legs. Every time I saw someone about 10 years younger than me, or at least more than double my age running past me, it was quite hard not to feel embarrassed. At the end of the run, I thought to myself, I missed those sleep-in Saturday mornings where I could sleep cozily in my warm blanket, not having to go through all this suffering. I may give it another try but this might not be a suitable new routine thing I should do on weekends.

At the end of the run, I thought to myself, I missed those sleep-in Saturday mornings where I could sleep cozily in my warm blanket, not having to go through all this suffering.

To my own surprise, and probably to quite a few of the other park runners I met that day, I have been joining the park runs every week since then without fail. I have come to enjoy the run more and more for various reasons. I have learnt that park run is in many ways similar to life. You can constantly compare yourself to others but at the end of the run, it is you and your own progress that matters. It may seem so embarrassing that you are so far behind others and as if people must be judging your performance, however, everyone is just trying their best to finish their run rather than being judgmental or disappointed as you may feel. Everyone has their own story, some people have been running for the last 10 years, some just started today, some have chronic pain that they are struggling with for decades and some may start running again after years – but everyone has the same goal, to go to the finishing line. And on that journey, where both the fastest and slowest runners want to give their best, they also learn to be understanding and supportive of others, some encouraging shouts mixed in with heavy breathing sounds as “Good job” or “You are doing great” to people you have never met before making the run just seem so much more endurable. You set smaller goals along the way and feel more comfortable with your own pace and so proud of yourself as you pass another 500 meters or manage to get back to running after slowing down for a while. You become so mindful (and maybe so tired) that all the stress and worries from study and work no longer bother you, but at the same time you are more aware of the surrounding environment. “Oh, I didn’t notice the river looked this nice during the last run” or “Since when did all the leaves turn into this beautiful red color?”. And nothing is more satisfying than the moment you check your performance time after the run and see the time getting shorter and shorter, though just by very small amount of time each week, and you know you are definitely doing better than you used to. Smiling, while trying to catch your breath with muscle soreness all over your body, you are glad you decided to leave the cozy comfort zone to run again today, and you know you are going to be here next week….

And on that journey, where both the fastest and slowest runners want to give their best, they also learn to be understanding and supportive of others, some encouraging shouts mixed in with heavy breathing sounds as “Good job” or “You are doing great” to people you have never met before making the run just seem so much more endurable.

Maybe all that talk will not be enough to convince you to join a park run near you anytime soon, but don’t forget you are also doing a life run right now. There is no doubt it is full of stress and hardship sometimes, if not almost all the time, but do remember that things do get better, and every small step will bring you a bit closer to your goal and every effort you put in will count towards your end result. Learn to enjoy the journey rather than being too focused on the finishing line and be forgiving and supportive of yourself as well as others in that run. I wish you all get the best out of your run and enjoy every moment of it and hopefully find some good companionship on your way to the finishing line.

If you feel inspired to give park run a go, visit their website here to find out more about it, and join your nearest group!: https://www.parkrun.com.au/