(This will be a two-part post. Brace yourselves.)
Jeez. I don’t even know what I feel anymore.
Yesterday I had my appointment with M. I felt I wasted her time. I read a few of my diary entries from these past few days so that she could understand exactly what’s been going through my head. She told me anybody would be desperate with all the negative thoughts I’ve got. She said I’m too much of a perfectionist and I’m way too demanding with myself. She’s told me that before, but for some reason the words finally sank in. I don’t understand exactly why I don’t judge my friends who’ve taken a leave of absence, but I judge myself so cruelly for remotely considering the idea.
I guess I felt better a little while after the appointment, after letting her words settle a bit. I was inclined towards taking a leave of absence after talking to her and my dad yesterday and all through today, and was feeling in a relatively ok mood. And now for some reason, since about two hours ago, I’m back to feeling this utter sadness. It’s like I have intervals of lucidity, where I can put some of my emotions aside and see clearly, but then a while later the haze of depression sets in and I can’t think anymore.
I can feel my cognitive abilities have declined immensely. I feel like a pile of stupid. (Which is why I feel like I’ve been straining to write these last few posts.) On top of that, I’m scared of making a final decision.
You know, I feel there’s a difference between what I want to do and what I should do. I want to continue in August. I want to graduate with my two best friends from med school and I want to finish this shit as fast as I can. However, I fear that if I continue in August, things are going to look terribly bleak down the road, whether in fourth year or in residency. So, that’s where I start thinking that I should take a leave of absence. I should take a break and work on myself.
Whatever. It all just boils down to being scared of making a final decision.
At times I fantasize about quitting medicine altogether and doing something completely unrelated. However, I would literally have to start from zero…take undergrad courses, etc. etc. But I think that somewhere deep inside my heart lies that naive girl who chose medicine as a career after becoming convinced that helping people was what she wanted to do. Maybe I just have to fall in love with it again. But to do that, I think I’d need time and options.
And by options I mean following an unconventional path into clinical practice or whatever the hell I choose in the end. I’d hate the idea of having to work for someone, and I’d hate the idea of being a psychiatrist who only sees patients for medication management for 5 minutes each. I’ve been fortunate enough, for different reasons, in that I have zero student debt (for now). I think that opens a lot of doors for me.
A lot of ideas pop up. Working part-time in medicine and also dedicating myself to something artsy (somehow). Getting involved in mental health advocacy. Possibly getting an MPH and working in health policy. Getting involved in clinical research.
I don’t know if I’m being realistic here, considering the shit-show (or no-show?) that is our healthcare system right now. But for now I don’t care about reality. I just want to be a dreamer again, because guess what? Depression takes away your ability to dream. Depression makes you want to be a messy blob rotting away as the days go by, with no hopes or dreams. So, it’s times like these that I hold on to, when I feel I have dreams again, because they show there’s light at the end of the tunnel after all.
Wow, I feel reinvigorated after writing that second part.
Maybe I’m onto something here?