Monday, May 23, 2016

Block 4 Week 5: PANIC

We are almost halfway through the last block of the first year of medical school. It's a weird feeling. I feel like it went really fast, but it also feels like it has been forever. I stay really busy -- even if I'm not studying, I'm doing laundry, or cooking a giant bucketload of spaghetti, or attending church, or going to a family thing. I feel like there's almost no down time. The weird thing about staying so busy is I don't have time to worry about stuff, or think about how hard everything is. Except when I'm trying to take a shower. It's the weirdest thing, I'm in there washing my hair, and suddenly I'm having a panic attack. I start thinking about everything that I have to do, and how much I hate how things are going currently, and how bad I feel I'm going to do on whatever exam I'm taking that day. My brain starts flying around in my head like a manic hummingbird, and then it just freezes and I freak out. So this morning, John comes IN the shower and just prays for me while I'm flipping out. I'd like to say I immediately snapped out of it, but it took a little while to get it together. But I did get it together. Praying helps.

Why am I talking about this? Because I feel a particularly strong need to be completely open and transparent about this whole process. I could write a nice blog with a hero and minor conflict and wrap it up with a happy ending. But that's not what is happening to me. I started this blog with the intention of chronicling my journey to being a doctor with no idea what life had waiting around the corner to fling at me. I was hoping it would be clever and witty and something to make you think. This is not what I had planned, but this is what it is. I keep thinking that I am doing all I can, but life keeps handing me more. Once I adjust and start feeling like I'm keeping my head above water, something else kicks me in the butt. Medical school has not been the source of most of my difficulties, but it has probably kept me busy enough that I don't break down. This new panic thing kind of indicates I'm fraying at the edges.

So what do I do now? I've made an appointment to talk. Again. Talking with someone does help put things in perspective. A lot of time I panic because I haven't quantified what is bothering me. Talking about it often takes some of the BIG away. So I'm going to do that. I'm also going to make a point of being more grateful. When things get hard, I tend to get so under it that I have a hard time finding joy in ANYTHING. That is not a way to live. I started this journey because medicine brings me joy. The path sometimes dips into something that isn't quite as joyful, but overall I feel joy at the opportunity I've been given. Sometimes I just need to be reminded.

The coolest thing happened this evening. I was in my usual study spot, going over the notes for my pathology exam tomorrow. A gentleman walked in to pick up his to-go order, and started chatting with me. He noticed I was studying, and he wanted to talk about school and studying and his experiences. He regaled me with his story of going back to school as a non-traditional older student, and going into the army, and then returning to his home-town and reconnecting with his sweetheart from when he was younger. It was really cool hearing his perspective, and then he looked at me and said that I was going to be an awesome doctor, and he was going to find me when I was done and be my first patient. I almost started crying, because it's the love of people that spurred me in this direction to start, and coming back to that basic feeling is just really humbling. It's easy to get caught up in the stress of trying to pass all these exams and lose sight of your why. And my why always comes back to love. God has placed a huge love for people in my heart, and as long as I stay connected to that love, I will be successful at all the peripheral stuff that's on this journey. So stick with the love, people. <3 And thanks, Tony. You hit the mark, I'm so glad you took time from your regular schedule to spread your love.

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