Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No ifs, ands, or buts.

Let's talk psychiatry for a bit, my favourite subject. And no I'm not being sarcastic since I'm known to dislike a lot of things in Medicine. Dislike is a strong word though, let's just say there are a lot of things that I'm not too passionate about in Medicine.

In psychiatry, there's this one questionnaire called Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE). It's used to assess one's cognition, ie one's mental capabilities in processing things including memory, problem-solving, language and some others. 

One of the tasks in this questionnaire is to ask patient to repeat this sentence;

"No ifs, ands, or buts."

I never really had a thought on it. Then one day I was telling Adam that I made a mental note to myself that I will try to limit myself from using the word 'but' in daily conversation, including text messages. He later added that Umi (my mil) used to have a similar rule in the house, just that she urged the kids not to use the word 'if' too often.

And then this sentence in MMSE came to my mind. Of course, there's the word 'and'. Unfortunately I'll probably get nowhere if you take away the 'ands' in my life.

Why no 'buts'? Here's the thing. I know a friend in college who was very negative about things. She saw everything at its worst, there was always something not quite right somewhere. Always. Her reasoning was simple, she'd rather not expect the good in things only to be let down by them. It's kinda like expecting the weather to be raining cats and dogs with snow and hails, then it turned out the sky was only grey with a minus temperature. Nothing like the horrible rain, so it made her feel better, even slightly.

Honestly it was unfathomable to me. Still, I respected that.

Then I happen to know another friend who holds a pretty similar view of life. She always adds "but then.." to almost every statement that comes out from her mouth (or mine). Oh, there's four days off, but then.. It's pretty sunny outside, but then..

It tires me out.

I try not to dwell on negative things too much. So a consultant gave me a judgmental smirk when I failed to catch a murmur in clinic. Okay. Death glares as I found myself not knowing basic things? Okay. I'll take that. Looking stupid in front of patients? Come on we've all been there.

Not answering 'conversion to open procedure' as a risk in a laparoscopic cholecystectomy? Hah, that got me there for a bit. Still, what to do.. Laughed it off and moved on.

If I were to be veeery honest/true to myself/everyone reading this, I shall say I hate negativity with every inch of contracting muscle in my body. There I said it. Then I realise hate is a veeery negative word, and it wears me down. So no, I don't hate it, I'd just rather not be around it.

Some ask how can I be positive about things.

My strongest reasoning is.. Him. Contentment in His decree. There must be reasons why things happen - good or bad. I like this one statement, and I find it soothing as it is in Malay, so I'll tell myself many times - "Orang beriman ni, benda baik dia bersyukur, benda kurang baik pun dia bersyukur." When something unpleasant hits me, I remind myself, there are more things to be grateful for than to dwell on the bad things. Bersangka baik dengan Allah. Doesn't mean I'm not sad, in fact I sometimes take it reeeally hard that I cry every now and then out of the blue. At the same time I remind myself that this isn't the worst. I'm still alive, still sane, still believing with every little reasoning I have left, and that itself is a blessing.

To be consciously grateful. To have unfaltering belief towards Him. Percaya dengan yakin, is that not what iman means? So I try to remind myself that whatever happens, it's with His will. And to believe that there's a higher power watching over us, looking after us, that's faith. It's the certainty that soothes me. The certainty of knowing that there's Him in every step I take. And when it gets reeeally tough/hard and I find myself questioning 'why', I try to take a step back and remind myself the reason I am here in the first place. Why am I still breathing today? Remind myself of the purpose of life.

When I was sooo stressed preparing for exams, I took a step back every now and then to remind myself, that it was all temporary. Dunia je ni. While I was freaking out with exams, there were lives taken away in Syria. There were innocent souls killed in Palestine. And there I was stressing my brain out for exam?

Indeed, from Him we came and to Him we shall return.

This keeps me going. Apalah sangat dunia ni kalau nak compare dengan akhirat sana.

Doesn't mean we don't have to work hard in this life, it means that whatever we do, do with a conscious awareness that this is all for the afterlife. For akhirat.

Hence, whenever good things happen, Alhamdulillah. He's chosen to grant us with His blessings, and with that come further responsibility in improving ourselves and bring ourselves nearer to Him. Whenever something unpleasant happens, say Alhamdulillah too, there are far too many great things to be grateful for in this life. There must be reasons why things happen, as He let them happen.

Now now I think I lost myself somewhere between the 'buts' and 'ifs'. Typical me, not surprised. (rolls eyes to myself although I'm not entirely sure how)

I guess my whole point is try to focus on positive things and not ram everything with a 'but'? It's like going to a battlefield. If you're going into a war believing that you're going to win, chances is you will win. And there's this highest power in every air you breathe, doa is your biggest secret weapon, percaya dengan yakin, kan?

Alhamdulillah, I am officially a final year medic as of yesterday. Many thanks to kind prayers and words from everyone. If anything, I sincerely hope this brings me closer to Him, inshaAllah.

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