This week’s freakout got me really thinking… I discovered two things:
1. I clearly have not come as far in the shame/vulnerability/self-confidence department as I thought I have.
2. I may have made decisions about my future based on misplaced priorities and values.
I don’t think I have to explore #1 too much – my frantic posts from earlier this week and my contemplation to privatize my blog are a perfect exhibition to support this discovery. Interestingly, the last few times I’ve met with my psychiatrist, I’ve felt like I didn’t really have much to talk to her about. This week, however, I’ve realized that I still haven’t tackled the biggest insecurity that probably underlies a huge part of my personality and is probably a huge source of my anxiety. I don’t see her again for another month, but I think I’m going to try and get an appointment sooner while this self-inflicted wound is still aching a bit.
As for #2, it is much more complicated. There are so, so many factors that have gone into me choosing where I want to do my residency: proximity to family, size and quality of the program, and support network/mentors are probably the big three. There are a few other smaller ones, like location, how moving/not moving will affect our quality of life, and considerations for my husband’s job opportunities. I have tried to give all of these considerations, especially the top three, equal and appropriate consideration. However, when I felt the fear of no longer having K as a mentor and friend, I began feeling like I had maybe made the wrong decision. Suddenly it occurred to me that, perhaps, I’ve given one consideration significantly more weight than others… Others that maybe should have had more weight.
Maybe it was the shame building up in me and making me afraid to have to work in a program where I would see her everyday and know how much I screwed things up. More likely, I suspect, is the possibility that I would never have considered making the decision to stay at my home program if K wasn’t in the picture. Don’t get me wrong, I have other mentors and other members of a support network, but none as important as her. The reality is that out of the top three places I am considering, if I took mentorship and relationships out of the equation, there are many reasons that I would want to leave… More so than reasons that would prevent me from wanting to go to the other two places.
If Option A is my home program, it has the mentorship and the support network I love. But, I didn’t really feel that well integrated with the other residents when I did my rotation. They have a great program, but the highlight for me is the relationships I have with people.
If Option B is the program in my hometown, it has my extended family, but no other support network (and my family doesn’t offer much of that, I case you were wondering). I’ve always wanted to go back to that city, I felt so comfortable when I did my elective there, and I happen to think they have a pretty good program.
Option C, well, I did my interview there yesterday and I felt great there too. It is closer to my hometown than where I am now, the people are super nice, and I think they have a good program too. It certainly would never be higher on my list that Option B, however. Despite that, they did an exceptional job of making me feel like they really really wanted me to come there. I felt extremely flattered.
However, when it comes to choosing between A and B as my first choice, how would my decision be different if I didn’t have K to consider. It is an impossible question to answer, but one that I have to think of, nonetheless.