Global Health has been somewhat of a struggle for me internally. It has been a fascinating class, but I often find myself feeling horrifically guilty that all I’m doing is sitting in class learning about all of these issues facing millions of people near me and far away, and sometimes that distracts me. I catch myself feeling guilty that I have so much and other people have so little, but also because people are inflicted with diseases that are a product of their environment or where they were born, over which they have little control. I spoke to my partner about this and she says she feels guilty sometimes, but she is more spurred to action than bogged down by thoughts similar to mine.
I also find myself feeling paralyzed by the extent of the issues people face and the fact that there is no easy solution; global health issues are costly to address and programs are difficult to implement. Sometimes I feel hopeless that these issues will ever be resolved, and alarmed that the worsening climate will exacerbate all of these health issues before they have a chance to be tackled. This guilt I think gets in the way of my ability to feel empathy, and I am aware that it is an unproductive emotional approach to these issues. Still, it’s hard to not feel guilty for all that you have and all that you don’t have (namely, negative structural and social determinants of health) when other people out there suffer.