Sunday, November 16, 2014


I felt a lot of genuine support and was buoyed by the reader comments after my last post. Been thinking a lot about the different things people said. I received some emails that also echoed the comments in the "thank you for being real" vein.

I think I'm feeling a little overwhelmed by the "is that really your life?" emotion when I flick to FB and see an endless stream of perfectly manicured children, lawns, engagement photos, work achievements, and exercise updates.  I look down at the jeans I've been wearing to and from work for the last three days, the stacks of review books I should be pouring over to study, and the pile of t.v dinners I've gone through over the past week for sustenance and I think, "Where am I going wrong here??"

And I don't want to use FB or my blog as a permanent venting space but I think there is a distressing lack of REALNESS in the world these days. We're not supposed to admit that we're scared, or unfulfilled or unhappy. And we are certainly not allowed to admit to failure, mistakes, bad decisions, or regrets.

There are a lot of people out there who I wouldn't want to disclose my shortcomings to, or my sadness to. But many of my blog readers are on a similar path and probably think they are alone. And to those people I want to say, "No, you are not alone.".

I had a beautiful, challenging week. I was up early and in bed late. I was able to sneak in a couple of bike rides on my wind trainer, and eat a couple of meals before 10 pm. But mostly, I was at the hospital with a full bladder and an empty stomach. I picked up a devastating diagnosis on a fit and rugged man, and held up a fresh, slippery, crying baby while grandad took photos on his SLR. I missed my boyfriend and my own bed. I bought a lottery ticket once again hoping magic would erase my student debt, freeing me to chose if medicine was still what I wanted to do instead of had to do now.

But there is no choice now but to carry on. As Winston Churchill famously said, "If you're going through hell, keep going."


Fordo said...

Life sucks some times. That's just all there is to it. Choices, time, humour, sleep and exercise all help to get us through. Family and friends help too. Presumably you have a goal to reach- "If I can just get through the MCATs....If I can just get through my first grueling year of medical school...if I can just get through medical school...if I can just get through residency..." you will be on to the next road. It really is okay to admit you're scared, upset, angry and unsure. In fact, I think you do yourself a disservice if you don't admit those emotions. Vent, cry, scream. I would listen, cry with you and hand you a glass of wine, if you were anywhere near Albuquerque. Here's a little hope maybe: I periodically yearn for the marriages, families, wealth, or freedom that friends or family have. In the last few years, though, I've also noticed I'm very much where I want to be and should be. I still need to exercise more, eat better, and learn to save money better, but everything has worked out pretty damn good. I'm hoping you'll find your pretty damn good, too.

Anonymous said...

I successfully stayed away from FB (do not have an account) for two years because the happy lives of the facebookers were making me nauseatingly depressed. But when I come out of my current hell I reckon I have to join FB back because that bitch makes living a competition I cannot stay away from permanently.

But I do plan to make a set of rules for self before I join it again to avoid getting sucked into its addictive blue bars and red colored notification. Before I left FB I had unwillingly transformed into a professional stalker of random people. It made me sick to my bones.

Albinoblackbear said...

Fordo- If I'm ever in Albuquerque I'll hit you up for that glass of wine! :D

I am trying to find sweetness and light in my current situation but it can be tough. Especially when I'm sleep/exercise deprived and far away from my boyfriend, friends and family, in a province I would have never chosen to live in. Thing that really bugs me is I don't FEEL thirty-five and I hate that my age is actually starting to come into my decision making process. It's a weird reality to accept! Still looking forward to see where the next bend in the road takes me...

Vidhya - I often toy with the idea of just quitting FB but it does give me a lot of enjoyment as well. I suppose when I feel it depresses more than sustains me I'll go. Might be sooner rather than later.

Just Me said...

Hugs to you! I love checking in to see what you are up to. We don't know each other, but I will tell you that we have been through similar journeys both personally and professionally. There was just an article about doctors and suicide (don't do it) and how high it is because people don't talk about it. Doctoring doesn't turn off at the end of the day - it invades everything you do unless you say no. Sounds to me that you need to kick medicine out a bit. Get more you in there - it might only be an hour a week, but join a class that has nothing to do with being smart and looking after anyone. Tell everyone that you sell shoes at the local shoe shop. Birthdays have a way of also being a slap to say do you have what you want. If you don't - go get it. I hate to tell you but this feeling doesn't get better in practice. Medicine can invade unless you stop it. You have to feed your other passions to keep yourself filled up to give more to medicine. Start by at least putting up boundaries with your personal wellbeing - your patients will wait while you pee and they don't want you hungry either :)

PGYx said...

No, it is not really their life. This article ( nicely illustrates how pictures do not tell the tale.

But I think even with this knowledge, it's only natural to fall into comparing ourselves to others, just as women compare their appearances to obviously photoshopped images of women in magazines.

Several articles have been written about how FB can actually make us feel less connected with others in some ways. However, I like seeing what people choose to share and many of my friends and "liked pages" share genuinely interesting and/or useful links. I like to post links to articles that fascinate me and it's ok with me if my mom is the only one who "likes" a post (which she very kindly does most of the time).

I don't post much about myself and generally don't post about my triumphs when I'm lucky enough to have them because I chafe at the idea of anyone thinking I'm bragging. But I almost never think that others are bragging when they post about their victories so maybe my concern is a holdover from my teenage years when friends were more jealous than happy for me when good things happened in my life.

Maybe one other reason people don't post much about their trials and tribulations is that it's sometimes hard to fit those feelings into a "status box." I think the essay-type format of a blog is a more amenable to sharing challenges. But more than that you have a way of writing about both triumphs and challenges that resonates with others and makes us unfailingly root for your success & happiness! I suspect folks in your life feel similarly.

Unknown said...

You're right. It does he,o your readers to know that they are Not alone in their struggles, as it helps you too, and You definitely are not alone. I've been struggling with similar struggles as well, I'm a nurse and a single mother. Forget Facebook, and the illusions people post there. That's a start. Take care.

sandnsurf said...

The long journey can be made more interesting by looking out of the window
Belief in oneself and ones direction reduces the need for comparison to the scenery flying by
Turn away from the window, regard your traveling companion - or the empty seat - take a deep breath and just be.
Life in a journey and you are the only constant, and what a strong and powerful that constant is.
Thank you for your writing
Virtual hug

Anonymous said...


I left FB when I reached the absolute nadir of hell but I was also a FB addict and so I had to do it. Most people can go on without quitting FB.

I am going to go back soon for the general entertainment and to avoid giving an explanation to why I am not on FB which almost always ends up making me sound borderline insane. :)

OMDG said...

We're supposed to appear perfect all the time to everybody? Oops.

Residency is hard and long, but at least I no longer have time to listen to the anonymous critics telling me that mothers who work are selfish, and that I will never accomplish what I want professionally (nor should I strive to) because I have a child. It's been quite refreshing.