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Psychiatrist

I’ve had a good two weeks working at hospital. Well, actually, this week was much better than the first, but you get the gist of it. I’m finally starting to get the hang of it again.

I’m working at a psychiatric inpatient unit. So far I like it a lot. My attending has given me good feedback, at least for having been only my first two weeks. We’ll see if I can keep it up.

I had three patients thank me this week, which felt great. Then I had a patient get significantly better. He said his symptoms were the mildest they had ever been for the past 3 to 4 years. And he thanked me profusely, even said his mood was “excellent”. And guess who changed his medications? Me (with my attending’s approval of course).

I still don’t feel quite like a doctor, but I’ll get there. My attending keeps reminding me to present myself as DOCTOR Dana. I keep forgetting the doctor part, haha.

And I still feel like an idiot frequently, but less so this week at least.

I have a lot in my head regarding my work so far. My feelings and thoughts are very convoluted. I’ll post more about that this weekend.

As for my own mental health… I’m in a very good place right now. Been able to keep it up. No extreme homesickness so far. However, I’ve been terribly crappy at taking my Prozac. I forget every other day, practically. And then I go to hospital and make sure my patients take their medications so they get better and reach some stability. Geez, can’t even do that for myself.

But I’m OK…right now. I’m just worried about this becoming a slippery slope. I don’t have a psychiatrist or therapist yet in the city that I adore, and I’m starting to get worried. It’s not that I need one right now (although I am running out of meds…shit), it’s that I don’t want to fall in the hole and then be forced to look for one. I’d rather prevent all that from even beginning to happen.

But I’m so lazy you guys! Right now I have time to see a psychiatrist or therapist, but I’m so friggin’ lazy to go and do it. I’m so tired by the end of the workday (and my workday really isn’t that long, to be honest), I have no energy for doctors’ appointments. My work in the unit seems simple, but the truth is I’m always moving and always doing something.

There’s never a dull moment or no work to do. I didn’t think I’d get physically tired so easily at first, but oh how wrong I was…

 

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I’ve had a nasty flu for the past few days. Had to miss out on dance class today because of that, ugh.

Yesterday I finally received word on that teeny tiny apartment I was meaning to rent blindly. My application was accepted. All that’s missing now is my signing the lease forms and such. So it seems, I almost have a place to live in the city that I adore. That took a huge weight off my shoulders. For some reason I’d been working myself up so much over this apartment. It wasn’t letting me sleep.

In addition to that, yesterday I had the LEEP performed. It was quick and everything was fine. And hopefully it took care of everything and I won’t have to deal with this again. Hopefully the HPV infection won’t persist. But only time will tell.

I also saw R yesterday. It went well. It was kind of a farewell session, it being my next-to-last appointment with her. It was weird because I felt I didn’t have much to say. Back when I was in the hole, I always had something to say. But nowadays I sometimes feel I’m just narrating my day-to-day to G and R. And that’s really good, actually, because it means I’m managing on my own mostly and need less help from them. That’s progress. Lots of it.

So I spent part of the session reminiscing about how when I started seeing her everything was so different. I was terribly vulnerable, crushed, and needed help. R said she was proud of me and that she has no doubt in her mind about my excelling at whatever life brings me from now on.

We spoke about treatment, what I want to do and what she recommends. We agreed I’ve been in remission for quite a while now and could stop my Prozac. However, she recommends I should keep it up during this transition time going into residency and stop it 6 months after I’ve felt stable and well in the city that I adore. I agree and that’s what I’ll do. Stopping Prozac now is simply not an option.

In addition, R also said she wants me to keep going to therapy in the city that I adore. She said having the added support is not a bad idea during the transition time and that while training as a psychiatrist I will be faced with difficult situations that will potentially trigger me. She thinks having my own therapist will help not only me but my patients, as I can deal with countertransference issues with my new therapist. Plus, having my own therapeutic process is important if I’m interested in doing psychotherapy in the future. I agree with her 100%.

It’s weird, knowing my next appointment with her is my last. And it’s weird to think I’ll be going through the same thing with G at the same time. But I feel I’ll be ok. We’ll see what happens.

Well, enough rambling for today. I’m kind of out of it with this flu.

Well, I am still in disbelief.

I mean, I matched at my #1 choice. I’m going to live 4 years in the city that I adore doing what I want to do: becoming a psychiatrist. I mean, I’ve been dreaming of this for 7 years.

And to think, this program waitlisted me initially! If I have something to thank the Russian for, it’s his insistence at my emailing the programs during interview season. Had it not been for that, maybe the heart-mindblown program wouldn’t have thought I was that interested and might have thrown my application in the bin.

Is this real life? Is this really happening?? Oh my god…it is.

Yesterday was a great day for me, obviously. But also for my friends, and I am so happy because of that. We all ended up in our top choices. A friend of mine actually matched at the top/brain-mindblown program. It was her #1 choice and I think it’s a good fit for her. We were both so happy and in disbelief. And we both agreed that we hoped this was the right decision for us. So many hugs ensued.

I texted G during the match activity my school had. She was so proud of me. I told her I couldn’t have done it without her and obviously she said I did all the work and she was just there to give me a little push. Then she said I’ll have new challenges in this new life I’ll be having, and I can’t let the past ruin the present…to push all those negative thoughts aside. I felt a little tear welling up.

Then later in the day R called me after I texted her. She was also so proud of me, of course.

And guess who made a reappearance? The Russian. I’m guessing he saw my facebook posts announcing I matched and he texted me “congrats!”. I considered not answering, but decided to just say “thank you” as I like to think of myself as a decent human being. Then he texted “you’re going to live in (the city that I adore)!”. That I did not answer. I’ll acknowledge his congratulating me but that’s where I draw the line. Hopefully my silence came across as a big “thank you, but fuck you”.

I celebrated by going to dinner with my parents at a fancy restaurant. Unfortunately it ended in a not so pretty way, with me purging at home as soon as we got back. Then I went out with friends for a while, but I was so exhausted by that time that I just wanted to go to sleep and celebrate alone. The introvert in me was drained.

Then today all the happiness kind of went to hell. It wasn’t a great day and I’m pretty sure it had to do with my not sleeping well in spite of having matched. I’m just so used to the stress by now. Ugh. My brain and body still can’t believe it’s fucking finally over.

I purged a little while ago too. Not good. I tried to avoid it but the nausea and fatness was too much. And I think I had a small binge before purging? Lately I’ve been suspecting that I might not have severe binges but do have milder versions of it. Double ugh.

Now that I think of it, this post pretty much captures what I’m feeling: all over the place. I’m happy, I’m nervous, I’m worried, I’m stressed, I’m in shock….but I’m also still struggling food-wise…and I’ll always have to fight off the depression demons on a daily basis.

I guess I’m just content with having matched. I’ll focus on the happy for now.

 

 

Ah, I think I’m depressed again. Though I don’t want to call it that. I’m feeling shitty. Yeah, that feels just about right.

It just so happens that I’ve been kind of crappy with my Prozac since I left home to visit the Russian in October. And I haven’t had therapy in who knows how  the fuck long. G and R? I don’t know who they are anymore. I also haven’t been writing as much and today and yesterday I tried to sketch but I couldn’t even doodle. Sigh.

And I know what triggered it all. In addition to the obvious (the Russian, interview season, thinking about my goddamn future on a daily basis…) I’ve been back home for a few days now. It was like turning on a switch.

I’m back in the noise and with my parents, but most of all back to this tired old place where I’m from and which I’m so sick and tired of. It doesn’t change. It literally does not change. If you visited this place 50 years from now you’d find the same people, the same conversations, the same problems. I’ve always been an outcast here, and having the joy of pretending I was a nomad across the different states for a month now made me forget just how much I don’t fit in here.

Also, not helping my depression is the fact that I need a fucking car to get anywhere interesting here. Sounds stupid, but it’s much easier for me to balance my emotions when I know I can just pick up my two legs and go somewhere within 5 minutes without having to turn on a car and think about gas, traffic, or road rage. So, I lock myself in my room because it’s just fucking easier and it’s my comfort zone…hence the isolation and falling into depression again.

And then there’s my parents. The same old tired crap that drags me down again and again. I love them to bits but my god, I cannot live with them anymore. Anything they do or say sends me spinning into bitch-mode.

I’ll be leaving for another interview in a few days. Then I’ll be a tourist somewhere else for a few more days. Then I have to come back and study for Step 2 CS. Oh the excitement…

And the Russian. Nothing there, obviously. Texted him today because he has a pair of earrings that I adore and left in his apartment. I refuse to leave them there. I suggested he ship them or we meet up quick when I’m back in the city that I adore in January for an interview. I was crossing my fingers he’d say meet-up, but was expecting having to text him my address. No answer. No nothing. Texted him again, nicely, asking him if he had any preference. Again, nothing.

I’m so fucking heartbroken you guys. I want to be angry at him and I know it’s what I should be, because he’s the one avoiding me and not showing face. But I can’t help but think that I was just wrong in sending him that angry text (which wasn’t even insulting, by the way, it was firm and angry but not indecent). I keep thinking about the small things we shared before it all went downhill…the conversations, the uncanny coincidences in things we liked and just the things we talked about, the movies we liked and joked about, the conversations about medicine and philosophical stuff, him saying “I love listening to you ramble”, the kisses, the intimacy, the jokes we shared, the places we went together, that cute smile of his, and that fucking geeky laugh he has that makes me weak in the knees because it makes his tough exterior melt away for just the teeniest second…..

I miss him you guys. And there’s no getting him back. There’s no fucking getting him back (ah, hello tears…they’re starting to well up). I fucking ruined it.

And of course that sends me on a tailspin of thinking: Oh I don’t want to be a doctor anymore, fuck I don’t want to be a psychiatrist, why am I even interviewing for residency?, I’m a good for nothing idiot, I’m fat and pathetic, can’t even hold onto a great guy who was interested, I just want to crawl in a fucking hole and wither away and die in my own fucking shit.

Last night I couldn’t sleep. I can’t sleep anymore. The noise in this house and this fucking neighborhood just don’t let me sleep. The noise in my head, thinking about interviews and the teeniest details about what I answered, what I did wrong here and there, how I would rank the programs, where I would be willing to compromise where I not to match in my #1 program (which is very possible)….it’s all keeping me awake at night.

And then come the thoughts of wanting to die, the suicidal thoughts that never come to fruition because fuck, if I’ve made it this far I’m not just going to kill myself on a whim (in my case, I know it’s “on a whim”…I know myself well enough to know that the thoughts will wither away after a while, doesn’t mean it’s “on a whim” for others though).

And then, by fucking g-d….I wake up in this fucking good-for-nothing place that offers me, you guessed it: NOTHING. This place offers me zero opportunities, zero life, zero happiness. The only things I find here are my parents and siblings, my friends, and my dogs. Nothing else.

So I wake up. Go back to sleep. Wake up. Go back to sleep. Dream about the Russian never coming back home from work. Wake up. Go back to sleep. Dream about the Russian avoiding me during an interview day where we coincided. Wake up. Can’t go back to sleep. Hate myself. Sit on the bed. Get up. Open the blinds….and fuck, I’m still in this shitty place they call my hometown. I’m here again. Stuck again.

I go through the day. I eat dinner. Hate myself for it. Purge a bit. Feel the high. Alone.

No Russian. No new interview invites. No new adventures. No place to grow. It all withers away the moment I start to get comfortable. Hurting so much.

(And yes, I’m crying.)

 

A few minutes after my previous post I got an interview invite. And not just any interview invite, you guys. I got an interview invite to a renowned program in this city. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought they’d do anything but toss my application into the bin. I’m still in shock. I was almost happy crying yesterday after getting the email, and I never happy cry.

And what does that mean? It means the same thing I have confirmed over and over again during my short life: that for every down there’s an up and all shitty things launch you into something better. So, the program I had my sights set on, where I did the elective for a month, sent me a rejection, but this top-notch program sent me an interview invite. Of course, it’s not an acceptance into their program (I’d be very surprised if I match there, let alone like it when I interview), but the mere fact they actually invited me to interview is a much needed self-esteem boost for me.

So, that’s that. I’m even more scared shitless for the interview trail now, since it’s going to be my second interview. Advice is still very welcome.

Meanwhile, my time with the Russian here has been great so far. Getting to know him and his quirks is great, the things I like about him and the things I like less.

When we first met I remember him telling me that he wanted to get to know me slowly, like peeling off layers one by one. Meanwhile, I get pretty desperate to know every little detail about him right away. It all has to do with my not wanting nasty surprises down the line that will leave me hurting in a bad way. And when I say nasty surprises, I mean stuff like abuse, violence, or just on the whole being dishonest. I flat out told him honesty is a turn-on for me and that if he’s just himself and is honest with me then he’ll have me in the bag.

These two days that I’ve spent with him I’ve actually liked getting to know him slowly, peeling those layers patiently. I guess it’s a matter of trust. I have no choice but to trust this guy and how he presents himself. Likewise, he can only trust what I have shown him so far. The uncertainty about what I might find down the road scares the shit out of me, but you can’t magically know everything about a person in just a few meetings now, can you? So, we’ll see how all of this goes. I know we both have our dark sides, like any other person.

I saw both G and R this past week. G worked her magic with me and put me back on track like she always does. I don’t remember much of what we discussed, unfortunately.

Meanwhile, with R we talked about the Russian. I told him how I was afraid of him lying to me about being single, how I don’t mind that much if we’re not exclusive at this point where we’re just getting to know each other, but how I would be very incredibly hurt if it turned out he lied to me after I asked him three times already whether he’s truly single. That would set me a few steps back in terms of my progress recovering from the relationshiT.

R asked how I would react if that happened and I told her: “I would tell him to go to hell and fuck off, because I warned him more than once about not wanting to get hurt….and then I’d go cry in a corner.” She responded my reaction is most definitely not the one I had with the Ex back in the day, and the mere fact that I’ve worked so hard at my recovery will protect me from falling into the same trap twice. She said she was proud of my having that reaction if that ever happened.

And, like I mentioned above, she also said that there’s no way for me to know right now whether or not he’s truly single. She said the only option I have for now is to trust what he says. If, down the road, things go sour, then that’s not my fault because he’d be the dishonest one not me.

Trust. Ugh. I have a difficult relationship with trust. Trusting men. Trusting residency admissions committees. I’m expected to trust so many things right now…

In two days I’ll be catching a plane to visit the Russian.

How did this happen? We were planning on seeing each other sometime in November. But the opportunity came knocking a bit earlier, so we agreed on my visiting him for a week and then leaving for my first interview (Nov 3rd). While he’s out working I’ll be working on interview prep.

I’m so excited to see him again.

But at the same time I am so scared. What the hell am I even doing? What got into me?

And I have no clue what to do for interview prep other than practicing potential questions and trying not to overdo the freak out. I’m scared…shitless. I have no idea how to impress these people other than looking professional and not doing something stupid.

R made me freak out on Thursday after she gave me pointers on how to answer the mental illness/leave of absence question. I got scared as soon as I noticed a bit of alarm in her attitude. She seemed like she was under the impression my head is up in the clouds. I think she was scared for me.

I have a week to get ready for this first interview. And I have no idea how to do this. Any help? Anyone? Please? 😥

I’m back. I couldn’t take the lack of posting.

I’ve finally gotten ’round to really really studying for Step 2 CK (didn’t stop posting for 20 days straight for nothin’!). However, I still decided to reschedule the exam…again. I simply was not ready to take the test without a bit more extra time. Will hopefully be taking it mid-July or come the end of July. I want to be done with it already.

And I’ve been holding up, somehow. Living with MM and her husband these past few weeks has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because being away from home has made me realize so many things about my future and things I have to do so that I can become a mostly healthy, (questionably) sane, and independent pseudo-adult. A blessing also, because I’ve been able to just focus and study. No TV on 24/7, no arguments, no emotionally-laden family stuff affecting me at all times….just me and my books and qbank.

But it’s also been a curse because it’s brought to the surface a lot of issues having to do with the codependent relationship I have with my mom. Also, issues relating to the relationship with my dad. G says I have to be selfish in a good way, and continue to pay attention to myself at this time…continue focusing on me and my stuff, because the family stuff isn’t helping at all and they’re not much support either way.

It feels good, but then I get the pangs of guilt. Utter guilt and shame. I feel like the worst daughter ever, like I’m abandoning them and even abandoning my dogs by giving myself any semblance of importance in this world and tending to me. If I’m not being miserable alongside my mom I feel like I’m a traitor. If I’m enjoying my life at any given time, I feel like I don’t deserve any of this and deep down I’m the worst daughter ever for leaving my parents at home to manage their non-existent relationship on their own.

I don’t know if I’ve said this here before, but for a long time now, I’ve felt like the buffer that keeps the tension at home slightly lower than boiling point. But that doesn’t do me any good. I’m working on myself, I’m going to therapy, taking my medication, staying on top of my mental health and trying to find my way in the world. It’s not my job to make them do that for themselves. Although I would give anything to see my parents genuinely happy and I love them so-fucking-much, I can’t do anything for them if they’re not willing to change and put effort into living better lives. That’s their job. (I sound so mature, reading this paragraph now, but really what I feel is 100% guilt.)

Trying to find that balance between laying out a line of boundaries and maintaining a relationship is completely new to me. I’m used to losing myself in people with whom I have a very close relationship (not that many people, actually). And I’m used to losing myself in the black hole that is my mom, specifically. It’s a constant push-pull battle between Just being me and living a positive life feels liberating vs I’m the worst daughter ever and I’ve abandoned them to fend for themselves….and then I go back to But this guilt just feels like the prison I’ve been in my whole life, while living -my- life feels so liberating.

In a recent appointment with R, we compared the process of placing boundaries to a fenestrated membrane…because we’re fucking geeks. (To my non-science-y readers, that’s like a sieve, or a type of membrane with little holes that makes up some parts of the body. I told you we’re geeks.)

And I recently kind of failed at placing that little fenestrated membrane and pushing away the negative parts of my family that take a toll on me. On Father’s day the small family reunion we had was horribly awkward and I felt completely rejected by my mom, who was acting icy toward me and barely speaking to me or MM. I felt she was somehow, albeit unconsciously, reproaching me for taking a break from the home environment. Then my dad, in all his depressive glory, made me feel like shit at one point and it was completely unexpected. (Trigger warning: self-harm) It all resulted in me purging part of dinner that night and then proceeding to burn myself with matches (not as hardcore as it sounds, I’m ok). I had to take the next two days “off” because I was back in the depression hole for a bit.

But then when I get back up and place that little fenestrated membrane again it feels slightly better. At least if I’m feeling down I know it’s due to stuff pertaining to my life, and not my parent’s life. At least if I have problems with food (which of course, I still do even after taking a break from home!), I know that I’m the one in control and -not eating- and I’m the one damaging myself. I’m not using it to get back at my parents, or as a coping mechanism for the crappy home environment when it’s just me. It gives me the time and energy to be able to do what I like to call “STOP, Drop, and Roll”: taking a pause when I’m about to engage in behaviors and questioning it all.

Am I making any sense? It makes sense to me, somehow, and I guess that’s what matters. When I don’t have the home environment as an excuse to flog myself on a daily basis, it’s easier to focus on just growing up and living my life. And, like I said, I still have my shitty stuff going on here even on my own, but the difference in my mood and the absence of constant ups and downs is….astounding. It’s given me a whole new perspective on my future life plans/goals, etc.

It’s all easier when I just have to deal with myself.

Ok, back to the books now.

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