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Family Dynamics

Last night I realized I have about four weeks left here in my hometown (aka: the place I’ve been living in the past 21+ years).

Panic ensued.

Because…I’m moving away from here???

I’ve never known anything else. I mean, yes, I’ve lived in other places for a maximum of 2 months, but there was always a return date scheduled. And now I only have to buy a one-way plane ticket? No return? Nothing? Shit.

I’m not saying I don’t want it. I’m just saying I’m afraid. And I’m so afraid I don’t know what I want right now.

What have I gotten myself into??? Why wasn’t I a good girl and just stayed here to do my residency? Grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side complex, that’s why. That and wanting to do big things with my life…things I can’t do by staying here forever.

My med school BF told me: “About time you panicked. I’m surprised you hadn’t done so already.” I guess it’s good I’m panicking late in the game? Less time to get cold feet? But I know myself too well to know that even if I had only one day to mull it over, I would still get cold feet at some point. It’s a given with me.

So, this is natural, perfectly normal.

But god it feels horrible yikes!

Every time I look at my dogs my heart breaks. I don’t know when I’m going to see them again after June. And my parents? Geez. I’ve never lived without my parents. As much as I might complain about them and they might be downers for my mood, I still love them to infinity.

I’m going to live alone…..a…..l……o…..n…..e………

Double “shit”. No. Triple”shit”.

I mean, like I said, I’ve lived alone before. It always just had an expiration date on it. But now? Now it’s for realsies. Now there’s no turning back. Now it’s…

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Ok, I’ll stop now. That’s too much pressure. (But it’s the truth! *squeak*)

On a more serious note…I’m afraid for my parents. They’re not getting any younger. And I’m leaving now, just when they’re starting to show a decline in health (specifically my dad). I feel like I’m abandoning them, like the worst daughter ever. I’ve always lived with them and have always had them just…there….with me. And I’m afraid of….you know….leaving, and…stuff….happening to them while I’m gone…

And my dogs…oh my god…how am I going to live without my dogs?! No, seriously, they’ve been key in keeping me away from depression one too many times. I love them to bits.

I’m afraid of falling again into the depression hole. It’s a lot of changes. I’m afraid. Period. I’ve been excited and looking forward to having my new life, but I guess I hadn’t really *really* realized that I’ll be alone and my life and everything I know will be hitting a 180.

Crap. No wonder my face is looking like shit these days.

Yes, still in disbelief. The news of my moving away soon to begin a new life will apparently sink in slowly.

I was thinking yesterday…after so much effort I’m finally here. I’m practically done. I matched. All I have left is graduation and continuing the journey. After 4 years of undergrad, 5 years of medical school, 1 mental breakdown, at least 3 serious episodes of depression, 1 hospitalization, the explosion of eating disordered behaviors, realizing I was abused, a leave of absence, 2 psychologists, 2 psychiatrists, countless exams, a diagnosis of depression and borderline personality disorder, 3 USMLE exams, 4 years of therapy and medication, 9 interviews, considering quitting a million times, thousands spent on traveling expenses and a visiting rotation…after all that, I’m finally here.

And to think, I was so worried I wasn’t going to get interviews or even match because I took a leave of absence.

I guess there’s an upside to thinking about all the effort I’ve put in and all I’ve been through. And yet, part of me gets scared when thinking about all that. I guess it’s good to think about the past, but only to a certain point.

Last night I got a bit scared thinking about whether or not I made the right decision. Having my friend match into the top program obviously got to me a bit because it made me think It could have been me. I could have had (insert Ivy league name) and all it has to offer,¬† plus the name on my diploma. It was inevitable. I mean, I had the choice of ranking the top program #1, but I chose the heart-mindblown program instead. Hopefully it will finally feel right once I start working. I guess I’ll just have to continue trusting my gut in the coming weeks. I mean, there’s no turning back now.

Either way, I’m incredibly excited. Yesterday I was google-searching what my white coat will look like at the heart-mindblown program and looking at the program website again. I was also taking a look at studio apartments for rent in the neighborhood I want to live in. I can’t believe I’m going to live the dream. And I certainly hope it doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare.

Meanwhile, my parents have been great about it all so far. They were incredibly happy and excited for me when I got the news and they’ve been supportive. Sad, but supportive. I saw a few tears well up here and there, but they celebrated with me and have made it clear that they are very happy for me. I just hope it lasts after the initial excitement wears off. That’s exactly what I need right now: their love and support.

Gosh, I’m in disbelief. I really hope other people get to read this and see that it is possible after all. Like I’ve always said, I have my ups and downs, but it’s still very possible to live the dream. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. “Borderline”, “depression”, “anorexia”, “anxiety”, and anybody else I’m missing….they’re labels that serve a purpose, but they don’t define you or your future. Soon I’ll be a 100% doctor, but also a full-time patient. Yes, it’s possible.

My mind is all over the place right now. I’m thinking about so many things and still stunned at the same time. I can’t seem to organize anything, not even my posts.

Sorry! I’ll hopefully get back to my (usually) coherent self soon.

 

In a few hours I’ll receive that email that states whether I matched or not.

And I feel like shit.

Thing is, it’s not exactly because of the Match that I feel this way. I guess it’s just been an all-over shitty day and it knocked the wind out of me. I’m actually kind of oblivious to the Match right now…I’m surprisingly confident (and a little bit arrogant) and whether I matched or not is the least of my worries. I’m pretty sure I matched.

I feel like shit because I let my parents’ feelings get to me.

My mom said to me yesterday: “You’re leaving and I’ll be left here, alone.” When I asked her if she was trying to guilt-trip me she actually answered yes.

Then yesterday I told my dad I’ll be traveling with a friend for a week, just to enjoy my time off, you know? He didn’t like it. His response was an incredulous: “So you’re going to (incredibly famous city) and then what?!” Later in the night he said: “You don’t love me anymore.” Apparently because I don’t accept his affection….but I know it was because I won’t be spending that week here at home.

I’m also traveling in May with another friend. So that doesn’t help either.

Why am I made to feel like shit when all I want is to enjoy my life, grow up, and make a respectable career for myself? Sure, sure, “the empty nest” and whatnot…but really, is this normal? Do other people’s parents make them feel like the worst offspring ever when they go through this?

I mean, really…I’m even afraid of telling my parents tomorrow whether I matched or not because that means I’m leaving far away from home. All the places I ranked are far away, so if I matched it means I’ll be gone come June/July.

Then on top of that my issues with relationships/men. I’m feeling pathetic right now. I feel no man will ever love me, because I’m simply not the type of woman men fall in love with. Plus, I feel ugly and horribly fat. I purged twice today. Honestly, will anyone ever give me a fucking chance??

Everything blows.

These last two weeks have really been a mess eating disorder-wise. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve purged. Maybe around 10 times. Not more than once each day. Thing is, that’s an all-time record for me. Purging has never really been my behavior, it’s most always been restriction.

Why has this been going on? I honestly think that after losing 40+ pounds in 2014 in less than 4 months I fucked up my stomach and ended up developing a mild case of gastroparesis. I wasn’t like this before 2014. It comes and goes, but these 2 weeks have been…ugh.

I get mildly nauseous after eating any meal. The degree of nausea directly correlates with how much food I eat. And there’s a point of no return that I can actually discern as I’m eating. The point of no return is usually when I am mildly satisfied with how much I have eaten. If I continue to eat after that, I know I will get nauseous 5-10 minutes after finishing. This mild “physical” nausea gets worse with what I call the “mental” nausea that I get from the eating disordered thoughts (You’re fat. You’re disgusting. I can’t believe you just ate that much, etc). All this results in my feeling as though food were stuck in my throat, begging for it to come out even 4 hours after eating.

In addition to the nausea, I get terribly bloated. And this is irrespective of how much I eat. If I eat, I bloat. And the bloat worsens the eating disordered thoughts, of course, even if rationally I know it’s not “fatness” but bloating.

I also feel full for quite a while after eating. Yesterday I felt uncomfortably full a complete 4 hours after eating a normal meal. The day before, it was 5 hours.

Finally, there’s the abdominal discomfort. At the top of my abdomen, localized to where my stomach is. Gnawing, crampy, and similar in level of annoyance to period pain.

All of this makes me want to purge. Purging eliminates the food, which is the source of the pain, bloating, and nausea. But, purging is an eating disordered behavior. So, as I’m trying to make myself feel better in an unhealthy way, I’m also feeding the eating disordered thoughts and behaviors.

So far I’ve had two days where I’ve led what I call my “gastroparesis diet”, which is really just being careful to eat small meals veeeeeeeeryyyyyy slowly. This results in pain-free, nausea-free and only very mild bloating days. Success. I’ve also been following a not so healthy diet other days, where I simply skip breakfast and eat as little as possible. This is obviously more eating disorder-oriented.

So, what keeps me from doing the “gastroparesis diet” every day? My parents.

Sounds weird, right? Well, my parents, I have noticed, are the main reason behind the growing anxiety surrounding my eating habits.

My dad loves food and he loves to eat. His own family had some pretty screwed-up upbringing surrounding food, where his mother (my grandmother), a woman with non diagnosed generalized anxiety disorder, obsessed that if her children didn’t eat they would starve. I suspect my aunt has her own issues with food because of this.

My dad thinks the only way he can show his children love, other than being affectionate, is by feeding them. He obsesses over his food. For example, if he wakes up early at 6am one day and we coincide for breakfast, he asks me what I want to have for dinner. My response: a very pissed-off grumble about how I don’t give a fuck about what I’m going to eat 12 hours from now. In addition to that, he obsesses over what other people eat. He’s always asking what I’m eating, always goes into the kitchen when he hears someone else go in, always wants a bite of your food, tells you what leftovers there are for you to eat (even if you didn’t ask), and lets you know if he disapproves of your “simple” dinner when you’re not that hungry.

My mom, meanwhile, pays close attention to what I eat because she noticed my weight loss in 2014 and recently confessed to me she thought I had an eating disorder (yes, mom, I do, but I wasn’t going to accept it to you…). My dad is also included here.

All this paranoia surrounding food results in my feeling an incredible deal of anxiety during mealtimes. First off, there’s the baseline anxiety of eating because I think I will get fat. But lately it’s not really that what’s been making me more anxious, it’s my parent’s obsessing over food in general and also specifically my food.

The gastroparesis issues make me want to eat small meals incredibly slowly. However, I can’t do this around my parents because they start to question my eating. Because of this, I get anxious thinking Am I eating enough so that they will let me be? And that only results in my eating more than I would like to…cue the bloating, nausea, pain. The only days I’ve managed to curb this are days when I have dance class, because I don’t get home in time to have dinner with them. I eat alone, in peace, and have only very mild bloating. Coincidence? I think not.

Also, mealtimes are so wrapped around conflict in my family it’s ridiculous. Food is the root of most arguments and gathering at the table for dinner feels like trying to keep a bunch of equal charges together. It’s awkward, it’s uncomfortable, and I want to get out of there as soon as possible.

It’s gotten to the point where I am so anxious that I am terrified of going out for dinner. Yesterday we did, and I was terrified of having people, including my parents, see me eat. I was also terrified of overeating, as that will trigger the eating disorder thoughts and worsen the gastroparesis symptoms.

So, how have I been managing the past two days? I stay in bed until really late so as to skip breakfast, eat a small lunch after my parents have left the kitchen, and then eat dinner and manage the anxiety as best I can (which is not managing it at all).

I hate it. I fucking hate all of this. I don’t want anything to do with food again. Ever.

 

 

Well, I passed Step 2 CS…. Now what?

Off to do my Rank Order List, of course! (Or ROL, for short).

Did that sound like it’s exciting? Because it’s anything but. I tried to do it two days ago and it got me riding the haterade so much that I ended up taking a nap on the floor of my room after rant-texting. Then today I gave it another shot, and so far so good.

Granted, there is this teeny little detail that has helped me feel more focused on the goal at hand: mildly restricting.

Yes, strangely enough, not eating much today has helped me focus on the goals at hand: residency, and losing weight. And yet, I just had a snack and feel like a fat failure again.

I can tell I’ve gained a bit of weight (and by a bit I mean about 5lbs). And that’s really bugging me lately. It’s made the eating disordered voice speak louder. I’ve tried to restrict like I used to, focus on losing weight like before, but for some reason it’s gotten more difficult. Between my parents paying attention to everything I eat and my own inability to restrict like I used to, I just feel like a fat loser.

The last time I lost a drastic amount of weight was in 2014, around the time of my hospitalization and the kidney stone I had. I’m so frustrated that I’m even wishing I would get physically sick again just so I can jump-start my weight loss.

You know something that excites me a little too much about matching for residency? The way I’ll be able to control my food and just do whatever the hell I want, whether it be eating or not eating, simply because I’ll be living alone and controlling my own fucking expenses. Living with my parents messes up my eating habits. I end up overeating so they won’t suspect I have eating disordered tendencies. And you know what overeating results in, right? Purging. (Which I did yesterday, by the way. Thanks for nothing, Superbowl.)

Right now I’m at a place where I’m still listening to the healthy voice that says: Don’t restrict, don’t do that to yourself. I think back to the excruciating pain of gastroparesis that had me crying alone in bed one night in 2014 and I don’t want to go back to that.

And yet, the voice that says Do it, you’re fucking fat, your ass and thighs are huge and it’s only gonna get worse, keeps getting stronger each day.

 

 

This week I had my last interview. Wherever I match will be far away from here. Good. IF I match…

Depression has been gone for a while now. I hope it never comes back again, but I’d be naive to think I won’t have another episode in my lifetime. The recent months have given me a lot of insight as to why I might not have had an episode in a long time. It’s weird, considering I’ve barely seen R and G since September. But I have my theories.

In addition to all the progress I’ve done since 2011, these past months have been an incredible distraction for me. That alone has been enough to fend off falling in the hole again. I’ve been so busy thinking about where I’m traveling next, where I’ll be staying the next day, hoping I have a place to sleep at least overnight, worrying about money, about interviews….there really hasn’t been any space for me to think much about my problems.

And then there’s the fact that I’ve been mainly outside of my home, with friends or by myself in random cities. I saw G last week, and she agrees with my line of thinking: a big contributor to my feeling depressed is my home environment. Once you take that away, I’m better able to manage my thoughts and emotions.

Like I’ve said before, I love my parents to bits, but their stress and their own problems affect me a lot.

So, if I match, I’ll be away from my home environment.

IF I match…

This whole process is tiresome. I just want it all to be over. It’s interesting, and it’s an adventure, but it gets to the point where it’s just painful and frustrating. I just want to know if I’ll have a job for the next 4 years, if I’ll be able to be a doctor, if all these years of effort, pain, and money were wasted away or not….I mean, a lot hangs on the news I’ll be getting on Match Week. And it seriously sucks.

Yesterday the program that blew me away asked if I’d taken Step 2 CS already. I did, a while ago, but my result won’t come around for another few weeks. So, now I’m scared, because if I didn’t pass Step 2 CS well….my chances of matching would be null in such a case, probably.

I mean, the pass-rate is around 97% I believe, so the odds are in my favor. But I know me. I get really nervous in practical tests, I didn’t study as much as I wanted to, and I feel I had a lot of wtf moments during the test with a lot of faulty physical exams, differential diagnoses, and crappy notes. Everyone keeps telling me: “You’ll be fine, you’ll pass. If you showed empathy you’ll be ok. You’re smart,” blah blah blah. But there’s this little nagging voice in the back of my mind that says: You didn’t pass. You won’t match. You won’t be a psychiatrist. You’re screwed.

I’m scared.

All right, ladies and gents…my update is long overdue.

Interview season has really fucked up my blogging, what with the unstable housing and not knowing where I’ll be one day or the next. I’ve discovered, during this time, that I actually don’t like being a nomad as much as I thought I did. The instability takes my long-held hobbies and shakes them up. Hence, writing has been sparse, art has been sparse, dance has been sparse…everything.

But I’m still here, kicking and screaming. I have 4 more interviews left, might actually cancel the last one and make that 3. That’s a total of 10 interview offers, waitlists pending, 2 programs I won’t rank, and probably 7 programs I’ll rank in the end….making it 8 because one has a research track I’ll be ranking too. The savings I’ve had for years have disappeared in the span of 3 months. All I’m saying is: this shit better be worth it.

And the Russian? Russian no more. That asshole. No good piece of shit. He ghosted on me. Approximately 2 months of dating and he completely disappeared, just like that. After one month of waiting, I texted him again after he appeared in my facebook newsfeed (he’s like a unicorn on facebook, so if he has time for that, it means he has free time for sure). I just want him to send me my fucking earrings (he has a postage store right across the street from his place…I mean, c’mon). Obviously, my message went unanswered, just like the ones before that.

It bothers me how nasty he’s been. He’s shown his slimy, true colors all right. And it bothers me, because like him there’s many other people out there. I mean, seriously, he must think I’m the teeniest human being to ever grace the Earth to have the indecency to ignore me in such a way. To me, that’s disgusting.

Ghosting is disgusting. Don’t ghost, my friends. Don’t be such asses. If you don’t like someone, just throw your ball of shame out the window and tell them straight up. It shows you respect the other person.

But, the Russian? Good riddance. Because, there’s another guy I met. A friend of a friend. Might post more about him if it goes any further. What’s important about him is he made me realize I deserve love. And nice things. And a good man. So, even if nothing solid happens with this new guy, I’ll be forever grateful for his entering my life. He made me realize I put the Russian on a pedestal when all along he was a bleached, hairy little ass. We’ll call this new guy C for now.

And just to show you how awesome C has been….the Russian half-joking/half-serious told me not to be my weird and goofy self during interviews. He was appalled at how goofy and unpredictable I could get at times. Meanwhile, when I asked C if my weirdness scared him, he answered with: “No. It’s what I like about you.”

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I felt an explosion in my pelvic area when he said that. It was my ovaries.

So, that’s the good stuff in my life right now. The kinda shitty stuff encompasses family and food. The two F’s.

My previous post was right after Christmas. I felt like crap. My mom was in a terrible mood on Christmas because the night before we had a small argument. She, in a bitter tone, mentioned she isn’t going to visit me if I match for residency somewhere far away from here (which is pretty much everywhere I’m planning on ranking…oops!). She’s been saying that for a while now. It’s her way of dealing with the coming empty nest. Like I’ve said before, my mom has the emotional mind and defense mechanisms of a 2 year-old. I get that. I get her pain. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be (seriously).

But…I wish she’d just go with the flow and root for me in spite of the pain, the way my dad has been doing. He’s always rooting for me in spite of obviously not wanting me to leave. So, I told my mom she’s making me feel like shit with her comments and snide jabs. Cue the small argument.

She behaved like this when each of my sisters left. It’s nothing new. But it sucks all the same. I’ll have to suffer through it. I know she’s just talking shit. I know she’ll come visit me. I’ll just have to…suffer through her wrath for now.

As for food…I purged two days in a row now. I’ve been eating terribly. I know I’ve gained weight. I’d say the eating disorder monster was hibernating for a bit there and it’s slowly waking up again. Thank you for nothing, holiday season. Trying to hide your eating disordered ways during this time only results in gaining weight because of all the excess food that’s constantly on the table. But that only causes the ED behaviors to rear their ugly heads later on if you’re not fully recovered or in a good place mentally. Hence, the nasty ED cycle during the holidays.

So, here I am, very slowly trying to decrease my portions without anyone noticing, going back to my fasting ways. To me, purging is just the instant relief I need at rare times. My baseline is eating small portions/fasting. That sounds horrible, and it probably is, but I’d rather have that than be fat.

Oh, and as a side note, I’ve been terrible at taking my Prozac lately. Just like with blogging/writing. And no therapy because it’s the holidays! Gee-whiz, no wonder my mind has been tending toward the dark side. But no. No no no no. I refuse.

That’s that for now, my people. I’ll get back to your comments and emails soon. I’m falling asleep as I type this.

 

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