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Q: "Have you hired protection yet?"

This question was posed to me by a fellow psychiatrist whom I deeply respect.

I fully understand where the question comes from: when you're messing with a social construct that makes rich people richer, they will do anything in their power to maintain that power and wealth. Sometimes that means silencing or discrediting the voice causing the ruckus.

I don't have a death wish nor do I want to be in the national spotlight. I don't like the idea of anarchy and I have no desire for anyone to lose their jobs. But when I know that people are suffering on a daily basis, killing themselves, turning to drugs, neglecting their kids, and neglecting themselves all due to broken access to our outstanding healthcare providers, I feel compelled to do something.

As an American (and a black guy), it's tough to not despair when journalists ignore my emails or letters, when businesses say they aren't interested in talking about something that will save them billions of dollars, when politicians don't respond to my pleas. As a physician, it's worse when colleagues are more intent on complaining than changing the system or when they cling to an idea (like single payer) which does not go far enough to restore the patient-physician relationship. I'll admit that I'm narcisstically irritated that an option created by a doctor doesn't "take off like wildfire". Luckily, my training as a psychiatrist reminds me that when dealing with a traumatized nation, time, support, and hope are the most important ingredients in healing and committing to change.

I listen to this song often to remind myself that in promoting a healthcare reform plan for others, I must also be mindful of my own mental health. This song grounds me, inspires me, energizes my soul:

Lastly, while I'm not an economist, I take great consolation knowing that PSYCH will generate millions of new jobs, increase consumer buying power, increase consumer spending, decrease stress related to finances, and usher in an era of contentment that Americans have never seen.

"If you create the game, you create the rules,

And if you'll just be you, there's no way you can lose."


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