View Full Version : Mental Health is NOT just for patients.

07-25-2007, 10:21 PM
Yesterday, I had a few free minutes in the ER to just sit and talk. Yes, I know it's hard to believe but it really did happen. I sat, and I talked.

What is more amazing is that I was talking to one of the attending physicians that comes to our hospital. She is an "older" doctor who started her career in medicine about 2 maybe 3 years ago. Now, we had another doctor with the same last name, but it never occurred to me (and I don't have a clue why) that the two of these people were married.

As we were talking, she casually mentioned my black eye. She asked me how I got the swelling and bruise and I told her the amusing story of how I got my eye blackened. (Which by the way was from softball practice and me not paying attention.) Anyway, as she spoke to me she began to tell me of a good friend she had that would have "unexplained" bruises that her friend would explain away. She said she felt naive because she believed her. Then one day the doctor's eldest daughter came home and was crying. Of course being the good mother she asked her daughter why she was crying. The young girl told Dr. Mother that her friend's dad was beating her mother. The doctor said she couldn't believe that of this woman or of this man. The daughter said to her, "Why, I know daddy beats you." The doctor said she stood in silence that her own young child would know her shame.

As the doctor told me the rest of her story about the abuse, the other women, how he brought the other women home and she would cook for them as these women swam in her pool with her children she began to cry. She said he took from her every ounce of confidence and self esteem she had from her and she is only now struggling to regain the remainder of what is "her." She told me she has come a long way but she will never be to anyone what she was to him.

I had feeble words for her. All I could say is that she had the respect from her children, something he would never feel. She cried as she told me her daughter told her the same thing. She said, "When I get down and complain, my daughter reminds me...'Mom, do you think I can ever respect a man like that? And I have to say that about my own father.'"

I was stunned by her candor, and at one point she told me, "I don't know why I'm telling you all of this, I hardly know you."
What she said was true, we didn't really "know" each other, but she has touched my soul and I will never forget the pain in her words and the tears that filled her eyes.

I guess you just never know when you are going to meet someone that needs a little mental health cathartic moment. Maybe people who appear to have it all together need someone to spill their guts to every once in a while. I'm glad I was there for her.

Her story did make me wonder. How many abuse cases, both emotional and physical, have I missed in my ER practice?

Mother Jones, RN
07-26-2007, 01:36 PM
We ask our patients during the screening process if they are abused, but I wonder how many people don't tell us the truth.

Nurse Stella
07-28-2007, 06:05 PM
My mother has been married to my stepfather for 44 years. Over the past couple of years, her demeanor made me ask her if she was abused. She denied it, and I let it go. Now, that she is living with my husband and I, I listen to her stories, and yes, she has been abused. Not physically, but unargueably mentally and emotionally. And I didn't catch it. I am certified in psych/mental health nursing. What else am I missing?


kate loving shenk
08-11-2007, 04:55 AM
abuse is a tough nut to crack--due to the denial.

08-18-2007, 03:11 PM
abuse is a tough nut to crack--due to the denial.

Not just the denial, it's the shame that the abused person feels. Often they only deny to people who ask because they are too ashamed to admit it.

How do we get them past the shame?

01-13-2013, 10:47 PM
Great post MyOwnWoman!!I heard someone said once that it's much better to talk to a stanger, because you can get an unbiased opinion about a situation!but it's really sad to hear stories of abuse