Banging your Head against a Brickwall.

His sedentary processed food lifestyle had caught up with him a few years after his 40th birthday, and without major change he would be lucky to leave middle age with working kidneys, or all of his toes attached.

Today I failed, I failed to get through, I failed in helping him decide that it was up him to make the changes he needed to make and to take responsibility he needed to take, and at times like these I knew I was banging my head against a brick wall.

This article is all about head banging, because I’m a professional and resilient headbanger, I do it multiple times a day, and if head banging was an Olympic sport I’d be one of the favourites to bring home the gold. For me it’s my job, it’s what I do, and why I do it is because once in a while my tough nut will get through and all that hammering will be worth it.

But some of us don’t realise we are banging our heads against a brick wall, and when we do seldom do we know how or when to stop, this is because there are times when we don’t know there’s a wall and neither do we we know we are banging our heads against it.

“I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail..” (‘Maslow’s Hammer’ – Abraham Maslow, 1966)

Perhaps there are times when different tools are needed, perhaps there are times when the hammer needs to go back in the box, someone once told me that there’s a tool for every job, the trouble is I don’t always know what that tool looks like or even how to use it.

Last week when reviewing patient notes prior to the UK’s annual QOF sprint finish I noticed some of our patients had been sent well over 7 letters, not to mention numerous SMS messages, and had had multiple messages printed on their prescriptions, those with serious illness had been phoned to remind and cajole them to get them in for a review of their health. However chasing people doesn’t always work, because sometimes you have to wait for people to come to you for help.

There’s a threshold that they alone can cross that allows them to let go of what is holding them back and then decide to make positive changes for their future, it’s unfortunate that sometimes crossing that threshold only happens if there is enough pain and leverage to drive that change.

Every day I’m still guiding and pushing people in the right direction, but every day there’s also a time when I know I’m banging my head against the brick wall.

Lately I’ve thought ‘why keep knocking if the doors already open’, some people just don’t want to walk through it, whilst others only decide to walk through when it’s far too late.

A future of taking responsibility is not always as compelling as a life of solarisation (spending your life on the sofa) with only short term headonistic rewards that don’t always reveal their consequences until it’s far too late, why some ask do I need to take responsibility when it’s just far easier being a passenger in life.

So it’s back to banging my head against a brick wall next week, but don’t worry not only do I have a hard head, I also have a few other tools in my tool box, but it’s a pity I’m not allowed to give a few people the proverbial kick up the arse they really need.