“This is to inform you that Dr. G is planning to take a month long leave of absence for personal reasons. This will begin on Feb. 9th and end March 8th. Her return to work date will be March 9, 2015. If you require any further information do not hesitate to call.”
Yesterday I was carbon copied this letter that was sent from my program director to the postgraduate dean of medical education. Even though I had the whole weekend to think about my upcoming break, it suddenly became very real. It is going to happen. It is out there now. People are going to start to know. Suddenly I am very tired.
I am grasping hard to the edge of this cliff, but I am losing my grip. I can feel my nails sliding down the rough stone and the dry soil accumulating under my nails with every millimeter I drop. I didn’t feel nearly this close to falling last week, and all that’s changed is that I accepted this break. I’m not sure if I even want to keep it together – keep holding on for one more week.
Six days of work left. Two call shifts left. I drag my feet in the halls between patient rooms. I don’t even try to stifle my yawns. I have given myself permission to fall apart – to be weak – and now I can’t stop it from happening. I’ve allowed myself to accept (or believe?) that I need a break… That I am not doing as well as I’d like to think… Before I embraced this idea, I was fighting hard to stay on top. But now I’ve given up a little.
I feel like I’ve already lost the battle and now I’m just parading around the hospital with a white flag flying above my head. Is this a sign that reality is setting in? Is this an indication of how much effort I’ve been expending to pretend that I am coping well? I’m not sure. I just know that since this break became a reality, I just can’t seem to keep my head up any longer.