Depression is a motherfucker

I feel so miserable. I can feel frustration, anger, worry, and sadness through every pore of my body. Funny thing is, I was doing great yesterday. Then today I woke up. That’s all it took: waking up.

But before I get into things, I wanted to apologize for neglecting the blog a full 6 days. That never happens. I found it difficult to cram in some time to post.

I finished the partial hospitalization on Tuesday, after my insurance fortunately granted an extension. It went well. The group therapy sessions were decent and useful. The individual therapy sessions, on the other hand, were kind of useless. I suspect it had to do with the fact that I’m slow to warm up to people, and I felt the therapist didn’t understand what I was going through what with medical school and such. But at least she was a good therapist. As for the program psychiatrist, I felt she genuinely wanted to help but wasn’t remotely interested in my background.

Later on Tuesday I had my appointment with M. As usual, it went great, and it elevated my mood. It was the highlight of the day, I guess. We discussed how my relationship with my mom has resulted in a negative concept of myself. She told me she would like to have a session with my mom to get to know her background and have a better understanding of how it has affected me. I told her it seemed like a good idea. I also told her that I felt it was necessary that I see her more frequently, and she will be seeing me twice weekly during the month of May.

Then yesterday I had an appointment with a psychologist I was referred to from the hospitalization. It was awkward since, again, I’m slow to warm up to people. I felt there was a wall between us, but she seemed nice so I’m giving her a chance. The only thing I didn’t like is that at one point she flat out asked me “What do you want to work with?”, and I had no idea what to respond. I gave her a bullshit answer about stress and anxiety management, but thinking back I should have said something about working with my non-existent self-esteem and negative thoughts. She gave me some homework and will be seeing me in two weeks.

In spite of everything, I was doing great yesterday. I was fully convinced that I wanted to take a leave of absence from medical school and work on myself during a year, then come back for my fourth and final year. I’ve been thinking about this these past few days, and yesterday I felt I had made a decision and was comfortable with it.

But then today came along, and everything is in shambles again. I woke up early because I had an appointment with the Dean of Student Affairs at my school, to discuss the process of asking for a leave of absence and all that shit. Just waking up and knowing that I had to go to my medical school got me in a terrible mood. As soon as I woke up all I could think about was how I wanted to die. I’ve been ridiculously irritable all day, isolating and pushing my parents away.

The truth is the appointment with the Dean went ok. She was very nice and explained everything to me and answered my questions. However, I couldn’t help but feel like such a failure. A fat failure, to be precise. No, wait….a fat, disgusting failure.

I felt like a failure because I kept thinking: Why did I do this? Why didn’t I stick it out and finish third year? Why did I screw up everything? Why am I not as strong as my peers? Maybe I shouldn’t take a leave of absence. Maybe I should just withdraw from pediatrics and continue my fourth year in August and do pediatrics then.

I called M’s office and left a message for her to call me back. She never did, and I really needed to speak to her to gain some clarity. I’ve felt so alone all day, like I have no one to talk to. And on top of that, I isolated. A recipe for disaster.

Yesterday I felt that a leave of absence would provide me with some time to recover appropriately and regain some energy. I wanted to do four things during my potential leave of absence: take dance classes, take art classes, learn a new language, and do research when I felt ready for it. I felt these things would help bring my self-esteem up, and although they would constitute a “waste of time” to many residency interviewers, I didn’t give a shit. It was all about me and my recovery.

Then today the anxiety kicked in. I feel I’m screwing up my career, that taking a leave of absence means I’m a failure, and that the $580 that were used to pay the Step 2 CK will go down the drain (apparently I can’t take it while I’m on leave, and of course the NBME doesn’t issue refunds). I feel weak and small, and I see no escape from these feelings but death. I also panicked because if I take a leave of absence I would essentially be letting my knowledge rot away for a year (or less).

I hate depression. I hate my life. I hate myself. I feel overwhelmed, and each time I have to go to my medical school to sort things out or meet up with administration folk, I get this terrible feeling of being a failure and not wanting to be there.

I know I might have missed a few things in this post, but if you’re up for it, can you give me your opinion? Ask me anything, and comment away.

Oh, did I mention I hate depression?

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2 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    I think the leave of absence sounds like a good idea. Believe me, when you are approaching 40 as I am, no one will care one bit whether you graduated in 2015 or 2016. One year makes absolutely no difference in the overall scheme of a career. Also, from what I've read it seems like your depression started in med school, so taking some time off might help you to sort things through and view things more clearly. My two cents! – Azure

    Like

  2. Hey Azure,

    I honestly hadn't thought of it that way. I guess at my age you tend to forget you have so many years ahead of you and you need not worry about petty things like the year you graduated medical school. I'll definitely be keeping your words in mind in this decision process I'm in right now.

    Take care

    Like

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