Millennium Park Abuja is the largest public park in Abuja covering, approximately 32 hectares. It is located in the Maitama district of the federal capital territory. The Millennium park was designed by he Italian architect Manfredi Nicoletti,commissioned in December 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II.
Its a lovely place for bird watching, a picnic, walks, jogging, other outdoor and group activities.
Photo Credit: Travel Start Blog
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness that is predominantly associated with the following symptoms: low mood, lack of energy and loss of enjoyment in our usual activities. Student doctors and practicing doctors can say these core symptoms of low mood, anergy and anhedonia quicker than saying pseudopseduohypoparathyroidism. But identifying these symptoms within oneself is a much slower process.
Depression during medical school is not a new phenomenon, and despite our understanding of mental health is improving, many student doctors are struggling daily with depression. There are various factors during medical school that can contribute to ill mental health:
- Lack of sleep due to a busy schedule.
- High expectations – from your yourself, medical school, parents, family friends, etc.
- Financial strain – the accumulation of student loans, balancing paid work and studies, etc.
- Emotional strain – wanting to provide the best care you can to patients.
- Personal responsibilities and commitments – being a parent, friendship commitments, relationship commitments, carer duties, etc.
- The intensity of constant assessments, persistent appraisals, exam after exam, etc.
- Unfortunately some environments have a stench of over-competitiveness, over-compensation, intimidation, etc.
- A new environment, new city, new country, new friends, etc. – medical school may be the first big change you have experienced in life so far.
So how can we lighten the load?
Discussing mental health is often thought of as taboo, both in the medical profession and public; therefore to speak of it, requires courage and encouragement (having both simultaneously is not easy).
So how can we lighten the load? How can we start healthy habits that lead to a healthy lifestyle?
At Medics’ Inn we do not claim to be psychiatrists, but we are experts in seeking help! That is what we urge you all to do.
If you are struggling with your work load…seek help.
If you are experiencing financial strain…seek help.
If you are second guessing a career in medicine…seek help.
If you are having difficulty balancing your responsibilities…seek help.
If you feel sad and lonely…seek help.
Seek help from those around you, your supervisor, your tutor, your personal GP/doctor, etc.
Sometimes, because we do not want to ‘bother’ anyone with our issues, we dig ourselves into a hole. But the earlier you seek help, the easier it will be to come out of that hole.
Photo Credit: PhotoPin
At the forefront
They say that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Say that to the oncology patients, the pain in their eyes, wishing not to remain any longer
My heart tremors as I walk down the corridor
The palpitations of my index fingers are too persistent to ignore
My trachea collapses every time my beeper goes off
I sweat and sweat, I try to replenish it with water, but it’s not enough
Hours on the ward seem to be long days that make me weary
I think I’ve caught what the patient was diagnosed with in bed three
Although I’m told not to, I self-diagnose
Lists of symptoms and signs I compose:
- Fears of not being able to supply their demand
- Suffocating my thoughts with predictions and plans
- My imagination runs wild as I begin to contemplate
- Mistakes and devastating actions I could make
- That leaves someone who trusted me in pain
- Scribbling my signature at the bottom of their records – shame
- Blood stained resume no longer fit for practise
(A disgrace to the Medical Council, incompetent and useless)
- These notions come to greet me every moment of the day
- They’re absent at breakfast, present at lunch, occasionally there at dinner, they never go away
- Making me question my ability and sanity in this field
- I’m no longer in control of how I feel
But since I’ve started sharing the content of my mind
Something has been fertilised inside
Teamwork introduced me to ‘Mechanism to cope’
These thoughts of the day seem to be replaced with hope
Lately I’ve befriended a new angle of view
It is a subtle friendship because those that know about it are few
The budding beginnings bring about brand new brainwaves
Constantly contemplating and constructing confident considerations which are crucial
I think I’ve come to understand that I’m not the superhero the world has been waiting for
This fight isn’t over; battles are being won every day but we all remain in war
Nevertheless it is the daily combat that keeps things ticking
The persistent resistance against invasion
The inconsistent resilience that makes us human
And the hope of tomorrow that keeps us going
This poem is titled ‘At the forefront’ because it expresses the thoughts of a doctor who is struggling with the harsh uncontrolled reality of death and disease. They are constantly faced with patients who look to them for help to overcome their terrible disease they battle. At first it is all too much for Doctor A, the mental and emotional problems are presenting themselves physically, or so he believes. This portrays the first big idea in Whole Person Care, ‘Illness and its remedies lie at many levels within a system’; although the pathology can be explained through the activity of adrenaline in the body there is an emotional level that suggests a the trigger for the release of adrenaline, it is more likely that clinical signs have emotional factors are their trigger. This also addresses idea seven, “We can learn from different philosophies of health.”; the psychobiological relationship presented by Doctor Amid shows that his mental health affected his physical health, hence the physical manifestations of his worries. Integrative Medicine is employed by many practitioners to focus on the patient as a whole and to make use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches; if Dr Amid presented his physical symptoms to a fellow doctor it would be easy for his colleague to be absent-minded towards Dr Amid’s emotional symptoms and only treat the physical issue.
He comes to a point where he is emotional attached to the patients he cares for. In order for a practitioner to relate to their patient they must be able to empathise, it should be something that is constantly applied throughout a consultation. Although, being human means a doctor is often subject to emotion, empathy can consume a doctor, leaving them in a dysfunctional state. “…I think I’ve caught what the patient was diagnosed with in bed three. Although I’m told not to, I self-diagnose. Lists of symptoms and signs I compose…”. But this is something that we can all identify with, when we’re too attached to a vulnerable person we become we bear their burdens as if we were them. Empathy should be a costume doctors wear when needed, but in order to make rational decisions this costume must be taken off, it is then put on again when appropriate.
‘…Effective relationships are central to effective care…’ is the fourth Big idea, kit wasn’t until Dr Amid shared his fears and used the support system around him that he was able be released from his prison of negative thoughts. It was through teamwork that he was able to know about these mechanisms.“…But since I’ve started sharing the content of my mind. Something has been fertilised inside. Teamwork introduced me to MOC ‘Mechanism to cope’. These thoughts of the day seems to be replaced with hope. Lately I’ve befriended a new angle of view…”. The effective relationship between Dr Amid and his colleagues lead him to effective care.
The poem ends with Dr Amids new thinking; it is evident that the new technique adopted by him has created resilience. This ending does not paint a safe, comfortable and nice image of life as a doctor but accepts the reality that death is painful and despite human intervention, is inevitable. “…The inconsistent resilience that makes us human…” this shows that Dr Amid is still on a journey, like many us this journey may last for a lifetime. In practise resilience can be hard to define because people are different therefore their resilience will manifest differently; there can be no time allocation, characteristics criteria, physical duties or a check list to be ticked off. Resilience in intrinsic, it is a characteristic that can only be activated by yourself, which confirms the sixth Big Idea ‘…Self-care helps create resilient practitioners..’.
Dr Amid is a fictional character that represents the thoughts and worries of medical students and doctors.
Photo Credit: PhotoPin
When you are in Abuja Nigeria, consider exploring these places! Have a look at part 1!
There are many shopping malls/centres to visit while in Abuja, for example:
Ceddi Plaza, 264 Tafawa Balewa Way Central Business Area, Abuja, FCT, Nigeria
Photo Credit: Ceddi Plaza
Photo Credit: Silverbird Cinema
National Children’s Park and Zoo Abuja
“The National Children’s Park and Zoo in Abuja is new, with modern spacious enclosures for the animals and plenty of playgrounds and activities for children. Visitors can see African animals such as cheetah, giraffe, ostrich, zebra and lion (now extinct in Nigeria’s national parks), and there are also domestic animals like camels, donkeys and chickens.”
Photo Credit: Tourism News Nigeria
The Hilton pool, gym and Fulani Bar
“With its traditional thatched roofing, mats and statues, this Abuja bar’s design reflects the culture of Nigeria’s Fulani people. Order barbecue à la carte specialties for your lunch or dinner. Unwind with a snack as you take in views of the Transcorp Hilton Abuja hotel’s beautifully landscaped gardens.”
Source & Photo Credit: Hilton
The Hash House Harriers Run/walk
“Hashing is a state of mind – a friendship of kindred spirits joined together for the sole purpose of reliving their fraternity days, releasing the tensions of everyday life, and generally, acting a fool amongst others who will not judge you or measure you by anything more than your sense of humour.” (by Stray Dog on http://www.gthhh.com). Every other Saturday, a group of 70 to 90 avid runners and leisurely walkers alike convene to explore the countryside around Abuja. The walk, accessible to all – from elders to kids – is around 4 to 6 km while the run is around double that distance with a drink stop along the way. Earlier in the day, a group of ‘Hares’ have set the trails in some nice spots near Abuja with great scenery. So, the Hashers’ objective is to find the true course and to be ‘On On’. After the run/walk, Hashers gather in a circle to welcome newcomers, to send off leavers and to honour each other for any number of reasons by giving them ‘down downs’ – this is chugging a beer, traditionally, soft drinks for those choosing. While the run/walk is completely family-friendly, humour in the circle can get slightly saucy (mostly a lot of double entendre … though from time to time people have been known to drink out of their shoes.) A good sense of humour is a must! After the run, for those willing, there is a “chop” – dinner at a local establishment.”
Source & Photo Credit: Inside Track Abuja
“This is Abuja’s all-in-one retail and leisure destination of shops, restaurants and night clubs, located at 423 Cadastral Business Zone, AO, Central Business District. Attractions in the Dome include Bodyline Fitness Centre, The Tropical Flowers and Palm trees of the Para disco Garden, Octagon Nite club, Wesley Snipes VIP Lounge, the Summit Restaurant (Offering Nigeria, Asian and European Food), swimming pool and an indoor games arcade with a ten-lane bowling alley, a gymnasium with a pool table”
Source: The Nordic Villa
Photo Credit: Logbaby
Grand Square Supermarket
“It is the best place to enjoy eatables and is renowned for its bread outside Paris. You can cherish the ice cream quite favorite among people of Abuja. Though the rates are high but the taste of the meats and cheese is best. The supermarket is known for its great service and selected food it serves.”
Source: Est Travel
Photo Credit: Logbaby
Catch up on part 1 and look out for part 3! Please tell us in the comment box below where you would encourage others to visit!
Medicine is similar to other professions is many ways, but it is also different from other professions in many more ways. The hustle of medical school is like no other undergraduate course. As well as studying for a degree, you have begun your training for the career. Your career starts now.
You have now adopted a culture where juggling numerous extracurricular activities is the norm; you turn down more social events than you’d like; your term/semester begins with, is interrupted by or end with 1-3 assessments or exams! The list goes on. Only other medical students/student doctors understand this way of life. Although your family and friends are very proud of you, there is an air of disappointment. Even though you try to explain the structure of your course, the emotional demands, the time constraints, your goals and aspiration, “they just don’t get it”.
But remember you are not alone on this journey, there are hundreds of students just like you in the country, and there are thousands of students around the world in your position (some worse off). Stay true to your convictions and try to maintain a healthy balance of things. Know your priorities. Remember, medical school is but for a season; how you handle medical school is an indicator of how you will handle life as a doctor.
I was given the opportunity to be the surgeon’s assistant for a left inguinal hernia repair procedure. I felt honoured because I had no previous experience with the surgeon but nevertheless gave me this opportunity. This opportunity sowed a seed, I have discovered my interest in surgery and as I have progressed through the Junior Medicine and Surgery unit I have seen this interest develop even more. This is one of the few occasions since the beginning of my clinical placement that I have more than a mere medical student but part of the medical team.
Although this opportunity was given to me by a senior surgeon, I had to enthusiastically seek out this opportunity and make myself available. Enthusiasm is most certainly a tool that every medical student should possess, as well as a stethoscope.
I hope to explore this interest even more and seek such opportunities as I progress through the medical programme.
Anonymous, 3rd Year Student Doctor
Photo credit: PhotoPin
When you are in Abuja Nigeria, consider exploring these places!
“This impressive waterfall, an hour’s drive from Abuja, is 30 metres tall with a span of up to 200 metres across, dependent on the season. There are two main streams of water crashing over the cliff face, however during the height of rainy season the whole cliff face is engulfed by a formidable curtain of white water.
The Gurara river is a large tributary of the famous River Niger and is most impressive after the rainy season when the water becomes a raging torrent while in January, during the dry season and when water levels are low, there are clear pools at the bottom of the falls in which visitors can swim.
As well as being an area of outstanding natural beauty the area surrounding Gurara Waterfall is also a fantastic place for bird watching.”
Source: My Destination
Photo Credit: Visit Abuja
“Millennium Park Abuja is the largest of the green areas and parks in Abuja covering a land area of about 32 hectares. It is located in the Maitama district of the federal capital territory. The Millennium park was commissioned in December 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom.”
Photo Credit: Travel Start Blog
Yankari Park and Wikki Warm Springs
“Yankari Park and Wikki Warm Springs are located around the Gagi River, approximately one and a half hours by road, southeast of Bauchi Town. The best time to visit is between November and May, when tourists are likely to see more game since the dense vegetation has dried out and the animals congregate around the rivers. The reserve habours over 50 wide range of prized indigenous wildlife, including Baboons, Monkeys, Warthogs, Hippopotamuses, Lions, Elephants and Leopards.Other animals include Buffalo, Gannet, Roan antelope, Bubal Hartebeest and spotted Hyena in addition to African hunting Dogs, Cheetahs, western Kobs, red-fronted Gazelles, Waterbucks, Grimm’s Dockers, Oribi and red-fl anked Dockers. The reserve also hosted more than 350 species of indigenous birds, 26 species of fish, 7 amphibians and 17 species of reptiles.”
About 7-8 hours drive form Abuja, so head out early!
Source & Photo Credit: The Green White Green
Usuma Lake/Usuma Dam
Photo Credit: Sky Scraper City
Golf at the IBB Golf Course
“ General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, as the then Head of State relocated the Federal Capital from Lagos to Abuja, which could not boast of a golf club. As a result, many key Officers of the government, who were of course avid golfers, desert the City at short notices to Lagos to enjoy their game of golf. In order to solve this problem of unusual trips to Lagos to play golf, the idea of providing a befitting golf course in the City was conceived by then Col. John Nanzip Shagaya with Alhaji Kazaure, Chief C. A. Mbanefo, C. N. Chigbo, B. I. Eze, O. O. Odunuga Nana H. Aliyu and S. O. Jones. The golf course concept was packaged and presented to General Babginda, who as a lover of the game enthusiastically approved it.
The categories of members of the club include ordinary, honorary, overseas, corporate and junior members. It has Ladies and Lawn tennis sections and regular Wednesday and Sunday kitties apart from other small and big tournaments that are organized frequently by the club and outsiders. The club also regularly organizes public lectures on various issues to keep its members abreast of current national and international issues. The club has a well equipped workshop and modern clubhouse with a pro-shop, two standard car parks, six locker rooms for males and females, administrative offices and standard Bar/Restaurant managed by the popular Sheraton Hotel and Towers.”
Source & Photo Credit: IBB Golf Club
“Abuja carnival is a yearly program that hold in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria most in the month of November. It feature road shows, musics, cultural dances, masquerades, durbar and lots more with participants from all the states of Nigeria. It’s a great occasion and has spectators from around the globe.”
Photo Credit: African Spotlight
There are numerous art galleries to be inspired and entertained by!
Look out for part 2 and 3! Please tell us in the comment box below where you would encourage others to visit!
In medical school, you adopt the ‘work hard’ culture, but it is equally important to remember the culture of relaxation. Sometimes, the moment you sit still, you feel a sense of guilt for not doing ‘something’. The truth is, in Medical School, there will always be ‘something’ for you to do. There is always work to do; this could be revision for an up-coming exam, research for a written assignment, follow-up work in the lab, staying after working-hours to practise a particular clinical skill, spending some time in theatre, preparing for your next tutorial/lecture/lab project – these demands do not include the extra-curricular activities you have picked up along the way or paid work. Sports, dance classes, creative workshops or conferences that require the submission of a paper/abstract/poster, etc. The list is endless. The list will continue to be endless. So it is import to relax and truly switch off. Put to one side the daily, weekly and monthly demands of medicine for a moment and just relax.
Have a break. Enjoy the break.
Photo Credit: Photo Pin
I really enjoyed the experience of working in a clinical environment. I was excited because it felt unreal, I’d fought hard to get into medical school and I was potentially standing in the environment I would be working in in the near future. It gave me that extra encouragement from time to time when I doubted if being a doctor is the right profession for me. A lot of the time it did make me upset, I spoke to a lot of people who suffered with chronic illnesses and the description of their physical and emotional pain made me feel down. A lot of what I thought about medicine came from the media; there are also times when the doctor has to tell family members of their recent loss. Speaking to someone who describes their chronic pain really hits home how emotionally draining this profession will be and medical school can be. In a way it has taken me from childhood to adulthood, my faith also. There is so much pain and suffering in the world, it reinforces my belief that God really has a plan.
Photo Credit: PhotoPin
Year 1 Student Doctor