Another week went by. Another week dominated by negative thoughts. It’s like I’m not even trying anymore.
Today I went to the gym and then spent half the day sleeping until it was time to see M in the afternoon. My mom went with me because M asked me to bring her to ask her some questions about her background and her life. I don’t know how it went with her because M spoke to us separately. I’m pretty curious, though.
When I spoke to M I was desperate and anxious about everything. Especially about my career. She told me, and obviously she’s right, that the reason I’m so undecided about what to do with myself is the fact that I have zero self-esteem, so anything I decide to do I will beat myself up for it. She says that she thinks that deep down I know what I want to do and implied that the problem is that I don’t want to accept it. I know she’s right.
However, I told her, I don’t know how to make the distinction between whether I dislike medicine because I’m depressed or whether I am depressed because I dislike medicine.
She said that that’s precisely what worries her about me and my current state, that I don’t know the answer to that question. So, we agreed upon the fact that taking a break is the most logical thing, to distinguish between those two statements and see if I come up with an answer to the question. She also told me that sometimes it’s ok to do what you know is the right thing, instead of doing what you want to do, which I guess makes me feel better about being reluctant to take a leave.
All of this makes me think back to when I decided to go the MD route…
Back in college I originally wanted to do a PhD in neuroscience. However, I started doubting myself when I began working at a neuroscience lab and realized that I found the culture of academia kind of repulsive. In addition, I learned that life as a scientist is rough, and to top it all off, the likelihood of you becoming a tenured professor with your own lab nowadays is pretty low. Finally, I guess the dreams of infinite knowledge and helping humanity making discoveries simply died out.
Then I did a summer internship, after I started toying with the idea of medicine. It was during this summer that I became convinced that medicine was for me and helping people was what I wanted to do. I remember watching the team-work between the doctors at the hospital where I was doing research, and I thought I want to do that. I think that summer was the last time I felt truly happy for a prolonged period of time. How sad.
From there the reasons to become a doctor stemmed from the philosophical to the practical. I thought medicine was a logical option because of the job security and economic stability, considering how the economy is nowadays. So, finally, I made the plunge and started the process of studying for the MCAT, completing prerequisites, and applying to medical school.
However, fast-forward 5 years later and I’m knee-deep in medical school and I feel like I couldn’t care less about patients…I only care about me and my own well-being now that I’m having my second (diagnosed) bout of depression. I can’t deny there have been moments during this third year that gave me a spark of hope, like two internal medicine patients I had and a young psychiatry patient that was suspected of having BPD who I inevitably identified with.
Still, my self-esteem has been worse than crap since the beginning of the year. In addition, the psychiatry rotation left me quite disillusioned, although the theory and the idea of helping people who go through this shit called mental illness is inviting. It’s really the only specialty I would consider within medicine. But again, the rotation left me disillusioned.
I just…I don’t know, sorry if I’m rambling here…I just don’t have any dreams anymore. I feel I don’t know myself enough, and whatever random goal I make up on any given day changes with the tides of my mood. Whatever fuel I had back in high school and college to reach my dreams has run out, and now I’m just a mess with no self-esteem and many fears.
And sometimes I fear that since I have a borderline personality, that this is my destiny. That not having a sense of self is going to result in me hopping from degree to degree, job to job, never knowing what the hell I want to do. I really don’t want to end up like that.
The other day my mom told me something along the lines of “You were so confident back in senior year of high school…I thought you’d have more confidence than me.”
I know, mom, I know. It’s like I was atop the mountain and now I’m just rolling aimlessly back down.
Except I’m rolling into an infinite abyss.