“Was this morning good for you? Is there anything different I can do to meet your learning needs while you’re here?”
I could feel the tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I didn’t want them to come. My eyes had been burning all morning. I assumed the burning was because of the exhaustion I had from the Insomnia that kept me up late the night before. But the wetness of the tears felt soothing. My eyes wanted me to cry and I couldn’t stop it.
“I just need a little pep talk” I said with a cracked voice.
She got up and closed the door. I covered my face with my hands as I lost the ability to keep the tears from falling down.
It wasn’t just about the studying and the exhaustion. It was more about the recent events at work that have cause significant emotional distress for me. Every day that I’m forced to study at the hospital, or attend a mandatory meeting with certain people involved in the events, it’s as if I experience a PTSD type reaction. I cannot cope.
I told her about how the fallout of the recent events contributes to my pre-existing insecurities. I feel like I completely lack insight into my own capabilities and performance, because every time I think I’m doing well, something happens that makes me feel like I’m completely off base. I told her how these feelings of insecurity and inability to assess my own strengths translates into my fear of failing the exam.
Her kindness was reassuring.
“What they’ve done to you is completely unfair and unfounded but is also not surprising giving the environment we work in. But, you are a strong, levelheaded, goal oriented, and direct resident, and you will succeed.
“Your downfall will be yourself – if you aren’t able to get into the right headspace – that will be where you risk failing. Don’t let this be the reason you confirm their beliefs about you.”
I finally stopped crying. My eyes weren’t burning anymore: I had quenched their thirst for an emotional release. I received some true, genuine, and helpful advice from a preceptor whom I’ve come to admire and appreciate over my time in residency.
Today I am grateful for people like her: People who are genuine, honest, trustworthy, and who give you the space to release your fears and emotions safely.
This was a difficult day and it was hard to find something to be grateful for. Thankfully for this little gratefulness project, I was forced to reflect and find this one moment of gratitude.