I’m in a weird place right now emotionally.

I had the internal medicine practical test today. Half of it was OK, the other half was kind of a mess, so honestly I can’t really predict whether I passed or not. After the test I went shopping with my mother. I’ve been having trouble lately with covering my feelings with impulse shopping. Instead of feeling my emotions I go out and buy things. Guess it’s part of the borderline personality.

The problem that keeps wracking at my brain is that my ObGyn practical test grade hasn’t been posted yet, which could only mean one thing: I probably didn’t pass. Since yesterday I’ve just been preparing myself to receive an email saying I didn’t pass. I’m preparing myself emotionally for having to repeat the ObGyn course next year. I figure, if it’s going to happen, then it’s better to be prepared than have it take me by surprise.

Either way, it’s still a blow to my ego and self-esteem. As ridiculous as it sounds, I’m not used to getting bad grades, or failing a course altogether. And I fucking hate how it feels.

I had an appointment with M this past week and we talked about this issue with ObGyn. She told me that I let so much of myself be determined by something so simple as grades. She asked me when is it going to stop. I really don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how to stop.

M also told me that whenever I do something good, like passing Step 1, I barely pay attention to that. Meanwhile, when I fail at something or have something negative happen to me, I pay so much attention to that. I focus on the negatives, instead of focusing on the positives in my life. Then on top of that, I let it destroy me completely and it affects me emotionally.

But I don’t know what to do about this. It’s great having M point out these things to me, but it would be even better if she could have the answer to everything, like how to not focus on the negatives. I know it sounds like something so simple, but when you’ve been focusing on the negatives all your life and putting yourself down all those years, it becomes part of you. Then on top of that you have a mother who is very pessimistic…well, it’s a recipe for disaster.

I don’t know, I just hope that someday I’ll be able to look back at this and make sense of it all.

  1. Doc said:

    I remember when I failed the first semester of nursing school. I was devastated. My “intelligence” had always been my strength and secret weapon. I had never failed like this before. I can't remember how I got past the shame and self loathing. I remember crying for weeks. When they accepted me back (thankfully) the next year, “something” was different and it all seemed easy again.
    I wish I knew how to help.. Have faith and see where it takes you.


  2. Hey Doc,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I really appreciate it. Hearing about other people who've had to go through similar situations really helps me ground myself. It makes me feel less alone and less like a failure. Makes me think there is hope after all.

    Take care


  3. Hello love,

    I'm really sorry to hear about Ob/Gyn and the uncertainty about your grade. I went through hell waiting for the results of my second attempt at the Step 2 CS. Can you imagine just how mortified I was that I failed that exam??! I had never failed anything of that magnitude before. And some stupid shitty retarded exam that really means nothing but that for some reason is still a requirement and supposed to be so easy. I felt so stupid and my self-esteem was shot. So I completely understand how you feel and sympathize. Just remember that this is only one area that is representative of your true intelligence and abilities. While I was waiting for the results I went through the worst case scenarios in my head:

    a) I failed again and had to spend another $1500+ to register and travel to take it again, and would keep my fingers crossed that the residency programs I applied to didn't notice that I had failed twice and just took into account my eventual pass

    b) I failed again and there were no available test dates before graduation so I would have to take a year off and reapply through ERAS all over again, on top of paying the $1500+ and traveling to take the test yet again

    When I finally got the email I was in lecture and when I looked down at my phone I literally had arrythmias. I had to go into the bathroom and take deep breaths, go over the worst case scenarios in my head and what I would do in each case, and then open the email.

    From my years of CBT, I think going over the worst case scenario and figuring out how you'd deal with it is a great way to deal uncertainty and anxiety about upcoming potentially stressful situations. You realize that even if worse comes to worse, you will be able to manage. As well, I find that asking yourself “Just how likely is what I am worried about actually going to happen?” really helps because you may not even need to go over the worst case scenario in your mind – the likelihood of your feared event happening may be like 0.01%.

    Anyways, about trying to focus on the positive, a really helpful thing to do is to write down your accomplishments. It's not enough to just go over them in your head at first, because people like you and me forget these things so easily and our minds automatically go to what we are unhappy about. Just from some of the things I have read about you:

    1) You got accepted into medical school! That alone is a huge feat!
    2) You made it to third year! All those courses and exams – you passed them all
    3) You passed the Step 1
    4) You received compliments that you related very well to patients

    Seriously, I know it sounds dumb but just do it. And keep it close by so you can remember your accomplishments and what you should be proud of. I often forget huge accomplishments, like the fact that I have a Master's degree! My friends have had to remind me!!

    Hope you are feeling better 🙂 Can't wait to hear from you again!



  4. Hi K,

    I'm so glad to hear from you again 🙂 I really appreciate your advice, I'll definitely put it into practice. Most of the time I forget my accomplishments and positive things in my life, and that just sucks me into this vortex of negativity.

    How did you deal with third year and what a lonely experience it is?


  5. Hello love,

    I read your latest post but I’m going to reply here. I’m really sorry to hear about your IM exam. What do you have to do for a practical exam? You also have to take a shelf exam, right? And this doesn’t mean you have to redo the rotation, does it?

    I’m also sorry to hear you are feeling lonely. That’s a tough emotion for us with BPD. Regarding third year, I didn’t feel too lonely because for the first time in a long time I got roommates (friends from my class) and there were a lot of students from my school at my hospital. As well, my friends from school and I like to party a lot so I would see them often on weekends. Are there no other students from your school at your hospital? Are there any students from other schools?

    Don’t get me wrong – the clinical years were an adjustment. I was exhausted at first. And I hated always having to be “on” – for the patients and the attendings. I also hate Peds, IM and Ob/Gyn. But I find that there’s always something to like from each rotation and you learn so much. I am so proud of you for being determined to study more and to improve on things. I usually handle setbacks by eating an entire cake and pizza, and then going out drinking. Nowadays I am trying to put that energy towards going to the gym and studying more. Not really “fun” things but I think in the end I will feel more fulfilled and better about myself. I really don't deal with loneliness well and come to think of it, I'm not really sure what I normally do… I try to blog, or text friends from home, I think. How far do your friends live?

    Talk soon!


  6. Hi K,

    So for the internal medicine practical exam we have to do history and physical with a standardized patient. I think the issue is not that I don't know how to do these things, but that I haven't been preparing myself appropriately. I should definitely practice more. And yes, we have to take a shelf exam (which I will pass, no matter what!). Since I failed the practical exam I have to re-take it. If I fail it again then that means I have to repeat the rotation. Same thing with the shelf exam. But that won't happen! I will pass the second time around (and the first time around for the shelf!).

    As for feeling lonely, the problem is that my friends are doing other rotations as I'm doing mine. So, maybe I'm doing IM, but they're in ObGyn or Peds, etc. So, really, I don't see much of them as they're in different hospitals. But whenever I get the chance I try to see them, even if it's not that much. I guess I just really need their support.

    I'm glad you've been finding more productive ways of dealing with setbacks. I've had my fair share of unproductive/bad coping mechanisms (like cutting). Recently I've been trying to talk myself through setbacks, trying to blog more often and write in my diary, trying to speak to family and friends….be more vocal about what I'm feeling so that I don't internally explode. I guess therapy's been doing me some good?

    How are you holding on? Would writing be a good coping mechanism for you?

    Take care!


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