Good morning, NOMV Nation!
I’m back at NOMV World Headquarters @ NOMV Plaza after a great time at the VMX Conference, where I managed to consume, uh *learn*, a great deal. Marshall Tucker is asking me if “I can see” as I write a brief synopsis. Here in the Land of the Fucked, there remains much reason for hope.
1. The power of Community. Everywhere I went I saw people I knew. We talked and laughed and watched the super bowl. We lost our voice from screaming. (I for one got a bruise on my right bicep from it being grabbed every time the Eagles scored.) We are wired by God and evolution to be with others. We are like overgrown meerkats. Even introverts need company at times, before we scurry back into our burrows.
2. The power of a hug. I was hugged more times than I can count with my shoes on. Touch is one of my “love languages”. I’m like my daughter’s dog, Bentley. Bentley is a basset lab cross or something. He looks like his legs are on backwards, with his feet pointed at a 40 degree angle to his direction of travel, but he *has* to be touching you. Hugs are great therapy, whether from dogs or people, but people hugs rock.
3. The power of sharing coffee or a refreshing adult beverage. More than once I spent a few minutes or hours over a hot or cold drink talking and learning about my friends and they me. In learning, we can anticipate and or respond to the needs of our friends.
I’m just a dog doctor, but if I know anything from dogs it’s we need to spend time with people so we know when they need something. Like needing to pee. To learn to read their body language. Some are more obvious than others. Some just quietly stand at the door as if to say “notice me”. We need to learn to *notice* those we know and love.
4. You’ll be hearing more in coming months about the statistics of depression and wellbeing in veterinary medicine. Whatever the stats tell us, behind them are people. People who have their story. Listen to their story. Tell yours. There is bonding over shared stories and in them we realize we are the same. Broken and beautiful. Imaginative and infuriating. In turn, sad and sanguine.
NOMV Nation is now roughly 15,000 strong. Roughly the size of the town in which I practiced. Spread out though we are, we are a community who likes, loves, needs, wants, and cares for one another. We are ALLONE, as my good friend Jason reminds us. We are not a replacement for personal friendships, therapy, or anything else, but perhaps we are a springboard for those things. In fact my life is immeasurably richer because of you.
This is what I learned this week. More important to me than a few credits of CE.
Love alone is worth the fight,
The Admin Team of NOMV is a group of veterinarians dedicated to improving veterinary mental health.