Posts tagged shatterstorm
It seems I’ve often started entries like that. Perhaps it’s a longing for a simpler time, when the Internet was easily accessible by only those who knew how, and a simple hello world was an incidental communication that everyone understood as an “I am here.” For me it has, I suppose, become a simple mechanism of reminding myself that I exist. Doesn’t that sound depressing? Well, perhaps that’s because of how I’m feeling at the moment. No, dear reader, I’m not feeling particularly depressed, but I am bathing in the subtle melancholy that has been my default state of mind for the past decade or more.
Let me spin you a story. At the time of my last entry, life was grand. I had been working as a doctor for a certain amount of time – approximately 3 or 4 months – and I was enjoying myself. I’d probably just commenced my surgical rotation, from memory, and life was ticking along in his noble a fashion as it could’ve been. Two or three weeks later, that was different. I’ve never dealt very well with rejection, and never have dealt very well with relationships ending. When you’re in a position where you think you found The One, it is a bit hard to deal with the fact that that doesn’t prove to be true. At any rate, my relationship with the girl I referred to on this diary as Miss Butterfly ended in early May. I was shocked, horrified, pleading, self-destructive, and rapidly cycling emotionally from complete highs to complete lows: and that was all just in my head. Luckily, remembering how my last breakup experience went, I was proactive. I spent time with close friends, I saw a counsellor, I received medical assistance to help me sleep, and I had several of my most favourite people in the world come to stay.
Life moved on. And although it was an empty life, to some extent, it was liberated.
Over the next few months, several significant life events occurred. I underwent my first-ever general anaesthetic, to which, I’ve been told, I was hilarious to behold. I sat interviews for general practice training, as a means to get in to palliative training down the track, and despite being a doctor only six months on the job, I scored in the top 10% of applicants in Australia. Naturally gratifying, if slightly unexpected. That said, I’ve often been called an overachiever, a high achiever, or just fucking nuts.
I continued to work as a doctor, completing my surgical term, and working in the emergency department. I enjoyed ED a lot more than I thought I would, I was working with a lovely group of people, fantastic supervisors, and it was nice to be doing real medicine again. Then, moved onto psychiatry.
Psychiatry has always been a mixed blessing for me. In fact, I have often been told that I would make a good psychiatrist, and have been complimented on the quality of my work. What is not understood by the people I work with is how difficult I find walking onto the ward, every single day, and making it through the 8 to 9 hours that I spend their without turning into a blubbering nervous wreck. I remember, as you may if you’ve read this blog before, and/or have far too much time & the use of the search tool on your hands, that several years ago in medical school when I did my psychiatric rotation with my dear friend Kate, that on day two upon leaving the ward she and I both turned to each other and said, I think I need a huge hug. I almost suffered a complete breakdown on my psychiatric rotation. It’s not a proper post here without a slight amount of pop psychology, so let me just throw in that as an infj, I tend to walk through life with my empathy dialled up to 11. This, I have found, is highly self-destructive on a psychiatric term. In a psych unit, there are patients who’ve lost the ability to be themselves. This is an affront to human dignity and is something that I most abhor.
As such, psychiatry is to me most difficult to deal with. I was however, aware that this was likely to occur on this rotation, and as such I entered into it with an open mind, and with the expectation that I needed to dial myself down. This was going well until the middle of my third week of term. It was on a Wednesday, just before lunch, but I managed to inform a patient that he was not permitted to go on escorted leave that day, and thus was punched in the face. Security were present, and the patient reacted aggressively regardless. He was sedated, collected by the police, and taken to a more secure unit. I was shaken, but managed to compartmentalise it as something that, well, had been properly risk managed, and as such there was no potential for any other result at that time.
Exciting story, what?
So that’s work. I’ve been on leave for two weeks, which was planned before my assault, and has been a combination of incredibly relaxing and anxiety provoking. Relaxing in that I got to go home, visit my family, caught up with some of my most beloved people in the world, and drank a lot of good coffee. 😉
Anxiety inducing, in that Things seem to be happening between myself and one of my closest friends in Tamworth. This was… Unexpected. Not badly timed, not unwelcome, just incredibly difficult for me to currently deal with. Let me set the scene. In Tamworth, I have three close friends. We are a… Gang of four, if you will. Three of them are female, and there is me. Now, I find myself increasingly attracted to, inspired by, and unable to get off my mind, one of these three in particular. Luckily for me, she happens to be the single one of the three. Looking at the situation, I am fairly sure that there is some reciprocal interest on her part as well. From friendly/close body language, to continue gentle teasing, to finding even my most inane jokes hilarious, to the occasional glance across the room, to shared smiles and winks, I am fairly sure that I am not making up the signs.
I discussed the situation with my shall we say best friend, Meghan. Although she issued a caveat that it is incredibly hard to tell without personally knowing the people involved, she agreed with my opinion. This was both gratifying, and terrifying. Gratifying, because it’s nice to know that even when I’m having the effect of the high school crush as an adult, I’m not completely misreading things-I hope. Terrifying, in that I now to do something about it. Oh yes, I am aware of how pathetic & insignificant that sounds. I am, however, poorly equipped to deal with this situation. For a start, I find it incredibly hard to express these feelings in the spoken rather than the written word. I also have found that my autonomic responses i.e. adrenaline shock, increased heart rate, and mood swings make finding the right moment difficult. There was almost a right moment last night, until I decided, probably incorrectly, to wait.
Yesterday, I also went and had a chat with a psychologist, which is always a very liberating and very damaging experience. Liberating because it is nice to talk to someone and turn off all of my filters. They have been only five people in my whole life whom I am able to speak to with absolute honesty, filter-less (I’ve been in relationships with two of them, one of them is the aforesaid spelling mode Meghan, one of them is an old friend from Sydney, and the other curiously enough is this new friend in Tamworth – a good sign?). Damaging, because it brings certain things to the surface that I typically keep drowned far beneath.
At any rate, the psychologist’s opinion of my current state? Ask this girl out. I have, I told her, always put the greater good above myself. This is a very infj thing to do. Other people are more important, and remain so. I’m aware that this is self-destructive. I am aware that it is self pitying. But as Amanda the psychologist said yesterday, “you deserve to be happy too.” She’s right. As much as anyone does deserve it, I do as well. I just wish that it wasn’t so damn difficult, and that I could easily summon the courage to make it happen.
I suppose I am also terrified, that the answer will be no. The signs seemed to point to the opposite, my pessimism tends to reject them.
I can’t go on like this. I am careening from functional to non-functional and I suspect that there is an enormous positive potential in this situation, I just find myself overcome with dread that I could be wrong.
I wish there was some way to know. As a friend up here said last night, at dinner time, when I mentioned to him that I thought I was going to go for it-he is one of those up here who has, I am sure, picked up on matters, but is the only one to have commented thus far-he said that there’s only really one way to know for sure. He is right.
Wish me luck, dear diary. You’ve been a record of many depressive, and happy things over the years. Why don’t we kick off with a happy one this time.
When they call you name, will you walk right up, with a smile on your face?
No ladies and gentlemen, it’s a rhetorical question. A beautiful song, albeit a mildly saddening one. That perhaps is a description of the weeks thus gone – beautiful, with mild saddening imbued.
First things first – I’m now officially five eighths through medical school. I ran the gauntlet of the OSCE, as mentioned in the post previous couples therapy los angeles , had a day of light study and confusing dinner invitations, then sat two written papers over two days, which made me wonder if I was going to be five eighths through medical school. Dear GSM, when you eventually find this, as I’m sure you will, please note: that was a absolute piece of shit exam – even if, as it turned out, I did pass it all. That said – I’m getting ahead of myself in the story, so let’s deal with the aforementioned events one at a time, then do some philosophical meandering. I mean – I know why you’re all here, right?
OSCE. Objective, Structured, Clinical, Explosion. That’s how it felt by the third station. The day dawned bright and warm, I dressed in a nice stripy shirt, went into Wollongong and had a latte at Swell, then had a satay chicken early lunch at Mylan, all the while cramming Paeds & ObGyn notes (for… nothing as it turned out!) and then wandered to the uni, where I hung about for a little while with a few friends before we were tagged, given stickers, and then… quarantined for an hour and a half. Literally, I sat in a lecture theatre for an hour and a half without any phone/outside access (mobiles confiscated) and didn’t remember to take a novel. I did make a study playlist though! On my iPhone. Sigh.
Anyway, after the quarantine we were escorted to the med school and I went upstairs, sat down, buzzers began and off we went for two and a half hours. My first station was a bitch (muscular/neuro lower limb shit crap) but… I walked in, my hands were still, my stomach was calm, and I just played the game. That almost fell apart on my third station which was apparently a peripheral vascular disease (although I did examine the nerves, muscles, chest, lymph nodes and lungs!) but… after that it was mostly smooth apart from some cockups, but not fuckups. Anyway. Walked out feeling crap but okay, and went over each station and thought “ah, can’t actually find any I fucked over totally” so that was nice. I then got a phone call saying “hey, let’s go see X-Men!” and so a gang of ten med students watched a hilariously awesome film and just chilled. Great end to the day, I must admit.
Sunday following was… confusingly indecisively enjoyably odd, I must admit. I did a half a day of study, and was randomly asked to dinner by a friend and (hey, let’s be honest) I’m still unsure what the hell she meant by it. That said, dinner was lovely and made me wonder – and since my brain was insanely complexly wrapped up in issues involving acute renal failure and schizophrenic medications, and as such my reasoning was not perhaps working well… but hey. Anyway, that plus a few other things have led to a relatively amusing extended conversation about the ‘X-Girls’ (which I will no, not elaborate on here), but apart from that, and a few flutterbies, well… I’m derailing from my narrative.
Curse you, Miss Butterfly.
The written exams followed on the Monday (oh god, that was so bad) and the Tuesday (if not multiple choice, it would have been even worse) and I was not confident at all precious, not confident at all. I then spent a week trying to relax but basically evolved into a check-online-marks-repository-every-fifteen-minutes machine instead. There was some creativity though, when Jessie semi-volunteered me to work on the script for this year’s MedRevue, and which I didn’t take much persuading to do, and so we’ve done that a few times since and have put together something that is kinda fun and kinda hilarious, if I do say so myself. It’s been ages since I’ve written script, and it’s been a hell of a good time – and now it appears I’m singing and acting in it as well as helping write the show. Creative team ahoy!Read more: http://knockyourhealth.com/lipolaser/machines/contourlight.php
Anyway, after that, marks did eventually come out – thank you, dear Kylie, for calling me in the middle of the fail call times to congratulate me, but seriously, thanks! – and I passed… hence the 5/8ths I mentioned earlier. And that’s nice… and climactically anticlimactic. This means that in four weeks, I’ll move to Bowral for a year (apart from some of summer) and then after that I’ll be effectively qualified, electives pending… and that’s scary.
Lots of elipses in that paragraph there. Just saying. But yes – not long now until it’s over and done with, and I can get on with the real world issue of finishing a novel and becoming Rich and Famous. Watch this space.
Finally, a few thoughts to round this out – I’ve finished the conversations, with you poetry sequence I posted a few of a while back – 25 pieces in length in total. To be truthful, it was becoming too hard to keep writing, and the X-Girls issues as mentioned earlier have fried my brain to the point that the Girl Known As ConversationsGirl needed to be removed, and so I wrapped it five poems earlier than the initial plan. I may pick it back up again – who knows when I’ll run into her again – but right now, I can’t think like that.
There comes a time when the empath and the emotional engager needs to turn off. There’s a thought that says you can close your ears but you can’t close your heart, and it’s mostly true, except when you bottle it all down and refuse to let any of the emotion leave and just pray that it distills itself away and is gone – either that, or it explodes in your face. Until recently, I’ve been bottling a lot of things away, and it’s only through conversations and through talking with a few friends (and one in particular) that that has at all changed – and for that, we can thank my Psychiatry rotation for basically running along in the background and uncorking all my stored bottles.
Ah, metaphor. Regardless – I’m feeling more emotional and yet more stable than I have in a long time, right now. There’s butterfly potential, there’s relaxation, there’s a new movement in the doctorin’, and health is looking a bit better (physio + orthotic + maybe-no-surgery = awesome news)Plantar Fasciitis cure so at the moment, fingers crossed… life is good.
Let’s see how long this time lasts. 🙂
I sit my first OSCE tomorrow – that’s an objective structured clinical examination, for those playing along. It’s a multi-station clinical examination that I am feeling both a) fairly okay about and b) oh god please help I don’t know anything aaaaaaahhhh!.
I then have a written paper monday, a written paper tuesday… and Phase 2 is complete and I can have a stressful (results dammit!) holiday. I need it.
Might help with the self-reconstructive process a tad. Only need to hold it together for four more days, and then I can let it drop. The awesome thing though, about that right now? I think it might not shatter. Just maybe. 🙂