I am so, so, tired today. I don’t really know why; I went to bed at my normal time and I woke up at my normal time. But this morning I just did not want to get out of bed. I was dragging my ass around all morning, forcing myself out of the house without even packing a lunch. I’ve been tired for my fair share of days. After all, I have two kids under three (one who still barely sleeps through the night) and I go to school full time. But today, not only was I extremely tired, but I also noticed that I was in a bad mood.
At first I didn’t make the connection between the exhaustion and the bad mood. I am pretty notorious for being in a negative mindset most of the time anyway. However, my one and only New Year’s Resolution was that I was going to be more positive and look for the “good thing” in whatever is making me grumpy. As such, I have actually been pretty happy, optimistic, and confident in the past few weeks. So today my bad mood stuck out to me like a sore thumb! I think I did a good job of keeping my bad mood to myself – a skill I’ve mastered quite well from my history of being a grump – but that doesn’t change the fact that I knew I was in a bad mood.
Instead of being excited for the day and looking forward to the learning that lay ahead of me, I was miserable that I had to go into work in the first place. When I met with my attending physician and learned that he had a full day pf appointments with no cancellations, I became agitated. Through every appointment, I could feel myself slouching in my chair and allowing my thoughts to float off into outer-space; I wasn’t the interested, attentive, pro-active student that I have been over the past 2 weeks in this physician’s clinic.
After a few appointments I started to feel like my attending physician was angry with me, that he was disappointed with how I was acting, and that he really didn’t like me much at all. This thought was completely out of left field! For the past two weeks I know that I’ve been a great student; I’ve been asking questions, making comments, talking about how much I’m learning, demonstrating my acquired knowledge, and acing my patient interviews. The physician himself has even told me numerous times that he is very impressed with my engagement and performance. So, as soon as I started to think these negative thoughts, I immediately told myself that I’m being ridiculous!
And, at that moment, I realized how much I have grown in the past few months! Instead of convincing myself that my attending physician really was angry with me, I was able to recognize that I was projecting upon myself my own fears of incompetence and inadequacy. Not only that, but I also realized that my exhaustion was probably the reason for this complete change in attitude. After I came to this realization, I fought hard against my lack of confidence and convinced myself that it was all in my head; I stared down my own fears and anxieties and I won.
At the end of the day, my physician and I were chatting about tomorrow being our last day together. He told me that he’s been really impressed with my interest and my involvement with his patients. He thought I asked a lot of questions and that he hasn’t had a student like me in a long time. He said that he figures I will do very well throughout the rest of my clerkship if I keep up the energy and enthusiasm. Despite my bad mood and my creeping insecurities, I allowed myself to accept his praise and then I asked him to write me a reference letter. Of course, he said he would be very happy to do so (I expected this and had every intention of asking him to do this since the middle of last week… until this morning, that is).
I’m not sure to what I can attribute my new-found insight and strength to fight off my insecurities. Maybe it’s because I’ve spent two weeks in outpatient psychiatry listening to a psychiatrist offer supportive and psychodynamic therapy to countless patients… Maybe it’s because I’ve spent much more time “in my own head” lately… Maybe it’s because of my daily blogging, and my interaction with the people in the blogging community… I’m not 100% sure. I do think, however, that it’s a combination of all of these factors and I am so, unbelievably excited that I’ve made this gain in my mental/emotional health. I hope I can keep up my confidence and battle more of my issues surrounding insecurity, anxiety, self-doubt, and low self-esteem.
Despite my exhaustion, I am so, so thankful that I was able to have this small victory today! I am even more thankful that I am able to come here and share it with all you wonderful people in the blogsphere… for so many reasons!
(P.S. I’m beginning to worry that I’ll have to change the name of my blog… I’m not really that cranky anymore!)