Guest youth blogger Katherine Ngo is a Youth Ambassador for
Reach Out. Katherine is also a medical student and former National
Representative of the Australian Red Cross. She hopes to link
people of all ages with opportunities for personal and community
Join her discussion...
"There are three ways to reform our faults.
First, we must feel ashamed.
The second way to reform is to know fear.
The third way to reform is to have a determined and courageous
Yuan (Ming dynasty)
It was a busy Monday in the Fast Track part of the Emergency
Department and it was also the first day on my emergency medicine
rotation. It was a day of left arm injuries. I had just
seen a grey-haired lady and a primary school boy with problems in
their left wrist. Then I was told to interview a 20-year-old
university student who had an injury to her left arm. I
called the patient in from the waiting room and was immediately
engulfed by the cigarette fumes.
What happened? She had been arguing with her brother who was
drunk and he had slammed the door into her arm. I asked the
stock-standard: "Do you smoke or drink?" She replied that she
smoked 15 cigarettes by day, for three years now. Then she
sheepishly said, "I suppose I have to tell you that I take other
drugs." She volunteered that she smoked pot daily and that
she needed to smoke to have an appetite. So we spoke briefly
about her motivation to quit.
Since that day in emergency, I have reflected on my own bad
habits and how I may have dealt with them. Something as
simple as compulsive eating of raisins when I was younger.
Like the people I meet in hospital everyday, I know my faults
and I suspect most people are well aware of their faults too.
But there is a big leap between knowing and doing something about
- When we have identified or acknowledged our 'problem', we may
feel ashamed. Why do we feel this way? We may feel so
embarrassed that we may not want talk our problems with our loved
ones for fear of disappointing them. This is where
readily-accessible information comes handy, if you can just search
online and not feel judged.
- We may have read all the information out there but still feel
'nah, it won't happen to me' or that we can somehow 'get away with
it'. Why? Because we don't fear or understand the
consequences of our actions - not just the effect on financial
circumstances and our health, but the impact on our family, our
workplace and wider community. This is where information and
discussion that explores the consequences in various facets of life
- We don't have enough confidence in ourselves or think that it
is just too hard. This is where challenging the negative
thinking, encouragement from others and inspiration from others'
positive and successful experiences are invaluable.
If we know our faults, understand the consequences and believe
in ourselves, nothing is impossible. Or as I have heard
"impossible is nothing."