Maybe, I was known as "sadness", but it gave me the opportunity to reach residents who really just needed encouragement and kindness from someone who understood. Sometimes, there is so much power when someone says "me too". I wasn't the best resident or resident of the year, but if I saw an opportunity to help another resident regardless of what year they were when they were having a hard time, I took it.
So…now what? I fully accepted that I had chronic depression, but what would I do about it? As I talked more and more with the physician coach who also happened to be a psychologist, it became clear that in addition to consistently meeting with her, I also needed to start medication. I know this also... Continue Reading →
There came a point when she finally said, “it sounds like you have dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder.” At the sounds of those words, I went into denial. “No…I can’t have depression…that can’t be right.” She then went over all of the symptoms and experiences that pointed to this diagnosis. She pointed out the chronic feelings I’ve had since the time of medical school…6 years. As I left her office that day, the realization that I had been battling with these feelings for 6 years shocked me.
During this time, I was so deep in the depression that I could not see how clear the diagnosis was. I simply indulged in the idea that I was weak because I could not overcome these feelings and be the good resident that I felt everyone else around me were. All I could think on that morning when I almost drove off the ledge was “how did I get here?"
I saw the fury in his eyes and I felt like he was about to physically attack me. With every word, he emotionally attacked me describing me as a terrible doctor and threatened to sue the hospital and me by calling lawyers. The thing that really broke me was when he brought my character into question. He angrily asked, “would you do this to your own child...are you that heartless?”
There at the top of the list was the email that would hold my test results in it. Nervous butterflies started batting their wings within me and a fire of nervousness spread throughout my face. I finally clicked to open the results with my eyes closed.
The end of January and into February is often known as a time that residents enter into a common period of “intern blues”. At least, this is what I was told by one of the attending physicians who was doing a "wellness" session. It is a time where the supposed enthusiasm for medicine starts to wane and “burnout” sets in.
A resident team is just that…a team. I think that if my senior resident on that rotation had treated me more like a partner and actually was there to help me learn, I think that rotation may have been slightly better. There should be an attitude to work as a team helping each other in caring for the patients as well as learning. Just because a resident becomes a senior resident, that does not mean that the resident is somehow smarter, it just means that the resident has more experience than the interns. I believe that the relationship between the senior resident and intern should be a partnership rather than a hierarchy. A senior can learn just as much from an intern as an intern can learn from a senior.
Then, the PSCU phone rang with a tune that still haunts me to this day. It scared me at first, but I grabbed it and answered, “Hello...this is the pediatric resident doctor”. As I said that out loud, it was the weirdest feeling ever. “Wait, what?!...I’m the doctor now?” I thought it would be exciting, but it wasn’t. I was finally a doctor, but in this moment, I wanted to be anything else other than that. That title came with a responsibility that I didn’t know if I wanted anymore.