Interesting week. Emotionally all over.
I got a rejection email from the hospital where I did a visiting rotation. Actually, I got two rejections last week. But that one hurt the most. It was my #1 program at the time.
I’m surprised at how I handled it, actually. What would have been a total disaster day for me back in the day, filled with hysterical crying, suicidal ideation, and just all over miserable, came more as a relief. I was very worried about this particular program, as I knew they were inviting for interviews since the first week ERAS opened up for submitting applications. So, when the rejection email arrived, I was devastated, but relieved finally. I was tired of the waiting game.
When the email arrived I cried a bit. Not hysterically, though. I spent literally 20 minutes feeling miserable, no more. I texted everyone at my phone’s reach: friends, family, the Russian. Only a few answered. And while I waited for answers I was able to partially recover on my own. In other words: BPD-0, Me-1 .
I decided I wasn’t going to get anywhere by crying about it. Yes, I was going to allow myself to feel the sadness, but I wasn’t going to allow myself to go overboard with it. That’s where the difference between “me 3 years ago” and “me today” lies.
So, I felt miserable. I hated myself. I wanted to die, was having suicidal thoughts. I told myself I was a pathetic candidate for residency, that I was ridiculous in thinking any program would give me a chance after taking a leave of absence and then explaining on my application that it was due to “mental health issues”. I told myself I was a pathetic excuse of a person; actually, that I wasn’t even a person, I was just shit. I told myself I was an idiot, and I was weak for taking a leave of absence….for getting depressed in the first place.
Ouch. I tell myself the kind of stuff I would never tell anyone else, let a lone a patient. I tell myself things I don’t even believe. You’re weak for getting depressed…where the hell did that come from? Certainly not from my frontal lobe.
At one point I just started focusing on what I do have. On the good things. On the 6 programs I’ve been invited to interview at so far….on seeing the glass half full. And I started psyching myself up for those interviews, thinking about those specific programs and looking up information on them. Then the Russian and my friends texted me back. The Russian’s incredibly positive, I love that about him.
And the rest of the day went fine, actually. I decided to put it all behind me and just focus on what I can do: get excited about the interviews I have, apply to a few more programs, and be nice to myself. That’s not to say I don’t get pangs of feeling like crap, but I decided it wasn’t going to be the focus of my attention.
Plus, if a program can’t handle a potential future resident saying they had trouble with mental illness, then it’s not the program for me. I’m not up for living a life of lies and hiding behind a mask. I had enough of that with the relationshiT. And, I’m all for advocacy and getting rid of stigma, so if a program doesn’t give me a chance and doubts my capacity to work as a psychiatrist solely based on my past state of health, then it’s a program I don’t want to be in. I’m not interested in working with hypocrites who tell their patients mental illness is nothing bad, but shun their coworkers or residents who’ve had trouble with mental illness.
[And, if that’s not the case and they rejected me due to some other reason, then fuck them too. I’ve already got other programs that are willing to give me a chance in spite of all that, 6 of them so far (and hopefully more will come).]