I just finished my inpatient psych rotation. It was a lot of fun, a lot more fun that I was expecting, and while I knew I would learn a lot, I learnt a lot more than I bargained for. One of the many things that struck me was the importance of 2 things- family history and social history. In the medical world, these are simply two headings under which questions must be asked, and truth be told, these are sometimes very easy to overlook. But in the psych ward, I think every single patient I met had a family history of psych issues- depression, bipolar diasease, schizophrenia, anxiety name it, and many of them had significant stories of trauma as children. These two facts made me realize some things....
1. There is a lot more evil in the world than I know and than I want to know. I still dont understand it and really, I hope I never get desensitized to the point that I understand it or that I dont care.
2. Psych issues aren't as rare as I'd like to believe.
3. There's a very good reason for Ghanaian "elders" to say "wo ko awarea, bisa" (before you get married, ask around). Every family has their thing- go in with your eyes open and deal with whatever issues your new family has.
4. Some people will tug at your heart like nothing you can imagine. And even the patients that you might least expect.