I have just over a month to go before intern year is over, and the only thought I have is I don't know if I can keep doing this for three more years.
Between the third and fourth year of medical school and one year of intern year, I've already been doing this for three years.
And I'm not sure I've come out better on the other side of those years.
Right at this moment, I'm so beat-down and burnt out that it's hard to care about anything. I'm tired. It's hard to sleep at night, because all I can think about is that I have to get up and go to work. Again. And again. And again.
It's been months since I've had two days in a row off.
I know what the signs of burn-out are, and I'm pretty sure I'm checking off the boxes. My performance at work is suffering. My motivation to study is minimal. I'm just doing what is required of me and not much more.
And the thought that I'll keep feeling this way for three more years makes me just want to quit right now.
Except I can't. Because someone has to pay the mortgage and bring home food.
As I was having a mini-meltdown last night, Hubster made a remark about regretting going to the particular medical school I went to. I told him it wasn't the school I regretted, it was medicine in general. I've become a statistic, one of the many doctors that say, given the chance, they wouldn't do it over again.
I resent what my education and training have done to me.
I like to think of myself as an optimistic person. I like to think that I'm an idealist, a dreamer, a hoper. But I'm not sure how much of that person is left. My training has been the optimism and joy right out of me.
There is a reason the depression rate and suicidal ideation are so high among physicians (Great article about it here.) The path through this is difficult. Like a fellow resident-blogger wrote once, "When it is bad, it is very bad. And when it is good, mostly, it's just OK."
But don't worry. I'm okay. I may be burned out, but I'm not depressed. I may not be happy at work. But I still have plenty to have happy about.
See, things at home, well, they are the best they've ever been. Even if Monkey is going through a particularly naughty phase that includes dumping all the drill bits under the deck. The boys are happy and healthy. Hubster and I have reached a new level of communication and love in our relationship. Coming home every day feels like reaching harbor after a journey. I feel like a different person at home. One that has nothing to worry about except being tackled during a game of tag.
Maybe it is the happiness at home that makes going to work so very hard.
There is a resident that I'm working with right now that is still so happy and thoughtful and energetic. I don't know how he does it. Maybe his training up to this point has been different than mine. And then I am envious. Envious that he is happy, when I just can't seem to be. Envious that he is content, while I am trying to survive. Envious that he is still optimistic, idealistic, and hopeful.
But there are times, even when I'm not sure how I can keep going, there are small moments, that I think, maybe, the old girl I was is still in there.