Even the gentlest human can turn into a ruthless screaming monster when stress shadows all the moments of peace, restlessness drives him mad and anxiety cripples his spirit of being humane.
This is a case study highlighting the problems related to Stress syndrome reported by an accomplished and celebrated surgeon who flaunts a commendable profile of over 40,000 surgeries. Complying with his ever-demanding job, answering every call of duty, and straining his limits for excellence, the healer of life has somehow turned into a bitter pie for his near and dear ones.
As the wise philosopher once stated, “A surgeon should have a lion’s heart, an eagle’s eye, and a woman’s hand.” He has it all. An extraordinary man and an exceptional surgeon, who has the vision to find a way to spring the dying back on their foot, he was a gifted doctor.
The man is always on the run, attending emergency surgery from several hospitals. He is compassionate and humane driven by passion and love for his job. But the high-pressure situations, the stressful decisions, crucial concentration, and an exhausting routine has rather coated his expressions with a cast of rudeness.
He turned to tobacco, caffeine and even smoke to ease his tension which dragged him into a dark world of addiction. He is blessed with the extraordinary ability to attend to a case even when called in the middle of his sleep. But with time, he started to lose patience. Now he shouts bluntly at the nurses and assistants.
But because of the position and respect that he has earned over the years, his abuses are treated like sacred consecrations which his people around receive without any regret.
Recently, he started experiencing the aftermath of his suppressed stress and anxiety, he could not read, concentrate, or even fall asleep easily. Pinned by his habit, whenever he feels sleepy he pops pills to combat the problem temporarily. But his stress persisted like a silent warrior launching his missiles from time to time.
Upon the recommendation of his sister-in-law, who has been my patient for a decade, he was advised to seek a consultation with me. After ignoring her calls for months he finally came out to consult me for his stress-related issues. Upon revealing my knowledge of his impressive credentials, and exceptional professional skills, and even addressing him by name, he visibly expressed immense happiness and instantly felt a wave of relaxation wash over him.
As our conversation progressed, he grew more animated and began sharing a captivating story of his childhood connection to the realm of Ayurveda. He reminisced about his late uncle, who held the esteemed position of being the go-to doctor for their family’s ailments. With great care and expertise, his uncle would meticulously prepare small packets of Ayurvedic medicines, complete with detailed instructions for morning, afternoon, and evening consumption. As the young man grew up, he too became a dedicated follower of Ayurveda, benefiting from his uncle’s wisdom and guidance. However, as time passed and he pursued higher studies abroad, coupled with his uncle’s unfortunate demise, he gradually lost touch with the world of Ayurveda. It was only through the influence of his sister-in-law that he rediscovered the profound healing potential of Ayurveda, reigniting his passion for this ancient practice.
He confessed about his changed behavior and that recently he started shouting at his wife at a very high pitch. His voice was so high-pitched that the neighbors in his upmarket apartment started to warn and shame them. Being one of the finest surgeons in the city this was very humiliating not to mention the wrench that it put on their relationship and his family.
As doctors, we both knew that one can master the art of combating smaller mediocre stress with some conscious efforts. Tips like walking in the open, practicing breathing exercises, time for relaxation, body massages, proper diet, exercise, family vacations, trips, etc are well-known ways to tackle stress.
But severe stress and anxiety cripple a person which is the case in this scenario. It is very common for people from certain professions like healthcare, journalism, and entrepreneurs where the stakes are high, to experience a high tide of stress. People who are racing with time, and those who stand at the top tend to suffer from extreme anxiety and eagerness. These deadline heroes carry immense stress on their shoulders which finally knocks them out in the long run.
In this case, it was important to critically analyze the patient, and understand his routine, lifestyle, personal problems, mental agonies, and all other aspects to finally infer a conclusion about the treatment.
Opening up about his life he stated that he is an over-qualified surgeon for the Indian culture of the healthcare system. He shared his discontent with losing several opportunities in high academic institutions because of his temperament.
Going back to his childhood, he mentioned he was always anxious. He got married late since he was pursuing all possible degrees in India and abroad. He moved to Gulf, but he did not like the work-life there. Next, he shifted base to London but just to discover his displease in the foreign land. He finally came back to India and joined a big hospital.
Speaking to him, all the cumulative effects of dissatisfaction, anger, lack of sleep, and marital disharmony surfaced in the conversation. Considering all the aspects of his life and the symptoms of his problem, his body type, and age I prescribed a few ayurvedic medicines and diet changes.
Along with the Ayurvedic medicines, I taught him Yoganidra, which he practiced for three months without any breaks. I also advised him to practice self-massage daily with ksheerabala taila and practice Pranayama without fail.
After undergoing three months of dedicated treatment, he returned to my clinic with a radiant aura and a heart full of joy. Eagerly, he announced the arrival of a new chapter in his life—a chapter marked by freedom from anxiety and stress. The transformation he experienced was truly remarkable. With modest adjustments to his lifestyle, he found solace in restful sleep, sharpened his focus, and effortlessly fulfilled his professional responsibilities. Notably, his relationships blossomed as his once-disruptive outbursts diminished, replaced by a newfound sense of calm and patience.
Before bidding farewell, he expressed his profound gratitude, uttering the words, “Thank you, Brahmanand.” In a testament to his genuine appreciation, he extended an offer to provide the best possible discounts for my patients in need of surgical interventions. Remarkably, even to this day, he remains true to his promise, exemplifying his unwavering commitment to gratitude and generosity.