All Posts · Emotional Baggage

Riding the Slump

Today is Canada Day.  I am supposed to celebrating the holiday and the beautiful weather with my wonderful family.  However, I am stuck on call.  Not only am I on call, but it’s the first day of my internal medicine rotation… and I hate internal medicine.  So, instead of being at home spending some quality summer time with my family, I am stuck in a stuffy, hot, intern lounge listening to the two residents engage in small talk.  And, here I am blogging and being anti-social.

I’ve been in a bit of a slump for a few weeks.  I can’t really pinpoint the exact reasons why, but I’m pretty sure its the same stuff that comes up every time.  I’ve also been very tired from my obs rotation, so I’m sure that’s not helping.  I had to wake up extra early this morning to drive my mom to the airport, and when I got home I had the choice of laying down for a bit, diddling around doing nothing, or going for  run.  You might be surprised to learn that I chose the run.  I figured that I need to start working harder to take care of myself and I need to take more responsibility for my own feelings.  So, I decided to go for a run and hopefully clear my head and get the day off to a more positive start.

My run was great.  It was about 6:15 and the community was completely quiet.  The sun was just up, the ground was still wet from the rain overnight, and it was already warm enough to wear only a tank top.  I got in 5K in about 30 minutes.  I had some time to really think about what was on my mind.  There is the usual stuff that always bothers me, with the biggest thing being loneliness.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I struggle with being social.  The hardest obstacle I have is that my husband is so, so introverted that he would rather stay home r do things alone before he would do things as a group.  Last night I wanted to go down to the riverbank because there was a music festival going on and one of our neighbours was going.  My husband said he didn’t want to go because I was just going to end up “hanging out with T.”  What’s the big deal with that?

The loneliness seems to feed on itself.  I think about what I can do to feel less lonely, but very little comes to mind.  I think about the friends I have from school, but they are all younger, they don’t have families, they are in a different stage of life and it’s hard to identify with them.  Then I think about K.  She’s my friend, she’s close to my age, she’s got kids and a family, but she’s in a different life spot too… not to mention that I can’t really be her friend.  And then, being a med student with kids leaves me virtually no time to get out there and get involved in activities that would help me meet new people.  So, where does that leave me?

After the loneliness comes the recurrent thought that I want to be done with this stage of my life.  I’m so happy that I made the decision to change my career and go to med school.  But at the same time, I am sick and tired of being a student.  I want to be doing what I want to do.  I am done with being at the bottom, done with other people telling me what and how to live my life, and done with being a “poor and starving student.”  I am currently starting on my 12th year of post-graduate education.  12 years!  And when I graduate next year, I get to look forward to 5 more years of training before I can even really have control over my life.  Yup, lots to be excited about there…

And, related to being an older medical student comes the lack of consideration and respect that goes along with being a med student in general.  I wrote a little about this here.  A great example of this is how I am on-call today.  It is the Monday of a long weekend, it is the first day of this new rotation (so I have no clue what I’m doing), and the orientation is actually tomorrow.  That might not seem bad in itself, but I am on call every weekend for the next 4 weeks and if you include this weekend, that makes 5 weekends in a row.  When I went to go talk to someone about it, they told me, “Friday’s don’t count as weekends (um… when you work until 8am on Saturday and don’t get a post-call day… how does that not count as a weekend), and too bad for you…”  So basically, from now until the end of July, I am working the equivalent of 6 days a week, with 6 of those days being 24 hour shifts.  Yup, sounds like fun.

Then yesterday happened: I had my weekly weigh-in day with my Wii fit.  I haven’t exactly been eating well these last few weeks, and while I’ve been trying to exercise, I haven’t been consistent.  The verdict: I’ve gained 9 lbs total since I stopped following weight watchers about 2 months ago stopped breastfeeding about 4 weeks ago.  I was already grumpy about that when I went to change over my load of laundry and found my husband’s pretty much brand new iPhone 5 in the bottom of the washing machine.  Yup.  I did it.  I forgot to check pockets – and it couldn’t have been a pen, or a $20 bill… it had to be the phone.  FML.

SO, back to my run this morning.  I thought that, given everything that I’m feeling, there was no good reason to not go for a run.  In retrospect (the 4ish hours that is’t been since I made the decision), I’m glad I went.  I feel much better mentally and I can feel good about making the right decision.  I got my exercise in, and it was motivation for me to pack exactly the right amount of food for my call shift today: I even counted out my points.  Hopefully my day continues down the same path that it is on.  I am enjoying the time I have to catch up on my thoughts and on my blogging (maybe I can get a few posts to schedule for this week… I have a lot to talk about) before my pager goes off and I have to actually do some work today.

I have been riding on the edge of this slump for a bit too long and I fear that unless I make some changes, I will lose my balance and fall in.  I can say that today I am doing more than just hoping that I can get off this edge and get back to a place where I am feeling better about myself and my life.

(P.S. for those of you waiting for an update from my last post: I went digging a little deeper yesterday morning and I think I could feel the strings.  I also asked one of the gynecologists I know if they can help me out and tomorrow she will be doing an ultrasound to see if it’s still there… and by default see if anything else is there…)

10 thoughts on “Riding the Slump

  1. Aaah, I’m sorry you’re having a hard time. I was feeling the same over the weekend (my consultants made me work the weekend even though my current rotation regulates that students SHOULDN’T do weekends). It sucks. I know we should love medicine so much that we don’t mind calls and so on, but having a life is fun too. I hope you’ll feel better soon!


    1. Thanks! I often feel guilty about complaining as a medical student. We should be so happy to be here and if you asked me before I got into med school I would have said I’d do anything to be so lucky to be in med. Oh how perspectives change! I guess if we didn’t still love it, we would have quit by now, right?


  2. Did you hear the story about the baby who was born clutching an IUD?

    Slumps are the pits, but I can’t imagine you falling deeper. You’re too insightful. I hope you feel better soon.


    1. Um, No. I did not hear that story… Thanks for telling me about it (cough… sarcasm… cough…). I was just thinking of taking a picture of how bloated and sort of pregnant I look in my scrubs today, but then I thought, “that would be stupid…” Maybe I should now!

      As for my insight, I hope you’re right! I just want to get back to feeling normal.


  3. Dear Cranky Giraffe,
    I have been reading your blog for over 2 months now and I have read all of your entries. I stumbled upon your blog when I googled ‘avoidant personality + med student’, which I think I have based on the psych lectures I’ve attended. I love your blog and you’re stories are sooo insightful and funny. I can relate to so much of what you write.. like the difficulties of breastfeeding as a med student and not liking your own dad. I only know you through your blog but if you were nearby, I would so love to be your friend! Anyways, thank you for writing so intimately about your life and I always enjoy reading your posts.

    Good luck w the internal med rotations!


    1. Wow, thanks so much for reading my blog! Your comment really put a smile on my face. I always like to know that there are people out there who love to read my blog! This is a challenging thing we do, this med school thing, and I don’t think there is an easy answer. I hope to hear more from you!


  4. Clerkship is tough, man. And medical school is already hard enough without feeling like you have no one in your class you can identify with. I hope you find your way out of this slump soon and try to enjoy the learning opportunity that IM presents.


    1. Thanks. I always try to look for the learning opportunity in everything; it makes the time spent on call and in clinic so much more valuable. I’m sure this will pass soon and everything will seem better!


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