For a number of years, I have been a part of a group, mainly from the eastern part of the state, that meets on a regular basis for the express purpose of visiting as many different eating establishments as we can from Raleigh to many points east to taste new meals and enjoy each other's company. We are from all walks of life in our careers, some in business and others in law and medicine. We are conservatives and liberals, but that never interferes with our having a good time.
On Saturday, June 27, one of our founding persons, a wonderful man, a retired lawyer, and indeed the leader of our group, passed away, a victim of the coronavirus pandemic. All of a sudden, it became more real to me.
In a number of the webinars I have been doing these past months, several attorneys and paralegals have expressed their real concerns not only of their fears of getting sick, but a growing anxiety about their work and whether they would continue to have a job and if so, in what form. Could they continue to perform at a high level, and would it always be done remotely? Should they seek counseling for their feelings? While staying at home was intriguing and different at first, there remains the need for personal and social interaction with others.
Last Saturday morning, I read a column in the New York Times about a highly successful E.R. Doctor in New York, Dr. Lorna M. Breen, who took her own life in April during the height of the health crisis. An Emergency Room doctor at New York - Presbyterian Allen Hospital in Upper Manhattan, Dr. Breen faced the crisis of treating patients, changing hospital protocols, limited equipment and her own coronavirus illness. The concern of colleagues and family led to her leaving the hospital and the city with her sister for Virginia. She spent a brief period in a psychiatric ward, and a brief time with her mother. On April 26, Dr. Breen killed herself.
She was overwhelmed. She felt she was not good enough and had failed. She feared the stigma of doctors going to receive psychiatric care; she worked too much without a break. She became lost and felt alone. You can read the entire story here.
We are all having to adapt to new ways of living, working, and communicating in today's ever changing world. I think it is so important to take care of ourselves and to reach out to others whenever possible. It is vital that we all seek ways to relieve stress. Please do not be afraid to ask for help either professionally or from friends.