On my first day of clinical placement, I met a patient who was going to die. I found myself speechless. What do you say to a patient resigned to his own fate? To a patient with rapid-onset cancer and for whom living months longer than his prognosis is his achievement? Are there words for such a situation?
On my second day of clinical placement, the intern I was with made a MET call for a patient. I remember standing there, staring at the patient and the intern and the nurse and the ICU staff who hurried around him, taking notes and calling out words and terms I didn’t understand.
This is what makes med scool very lonely at times. There are so few people who understand what is involved being in a hospital setting, and fewer still to whom we can talk to about all the crazy that happens out on the wards. Our experiences are rarely shared and often difficult to articulate—how do you explain to someone how it felt to watch another human being struggle for their life? How it felt to be confronted by a patient with the same barriers to living as you experience each day?
But I think, most of all, we make med school lonely for ourselves. The business of medicine is a very small company. The friends you make to day are your future colleagues, the registrars your future consultants. We don’t want to show weakness. We’re afraid that, when we apply for internships and fellowships, someone will remember us and judge us, deny us a placement because they know us as the girl who couldn’t cope or the boy afraid to try.
Two months ago, I wanted nothing to do with medicine—I wanted nothing to do with life. It’s frightening, how easy it was to give up, to sink into my own loneliness, to hide from any form of companionship.
The hardest thing to come to terms with is that I wanted to end it all, and how close I came to that edge. I skipped out on clerking patients to go to the pharmacy and stare at the pills and potions, having given up on my own life. I glared at train tracks, trying to come up with a way of dividing my existence into reasons to continue and reasons to throw myself in front of the train.
I felt completely alone. I came to the conclusion that there was no one to talk to, because if I did, I’d jeopardise my entire future. And besides, everyone else was doing just fine—I should be coping as well. I was a failure.
I was wrong.
I broke down to my clinical supervisor and she broke it down for me: this is what you’re going to do to get your life back on track. This is what is going to happen next. I’m going to keep you on track and you’re not alone.
I told my colleagues what was going on. It turns out that I’m not the only one who feels alone and as if I’m not going to make it. I’m not the only one afraid my tutors think I’m an absolute idiot and I’m not the only one that feels this mountain is insurmountable.
Med school is lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. Reach out to your seniors, to your peers, to your colleagues. Med school can be amazing, but it’s not worth losing everything for, it’s not everything you are, and it’s not about suffering.
There is always help available.
Tagged as: the hardest post i've ever written. med school. medical school. med students. med school and loneliness. loneliness. reach out. help is there.
- downi reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- duck111 likes this
- looklostlaugh reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- justalittledoctor reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- emae likes this
- solarbol likes this
- hemlockeater likes this
- thecheerfulmedic reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent and added:
- nothingbutsoundandfury likes this
- catecholaminesand reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- catecholaminesand likes this
- capuccinolattemocha likes this
- erinbobaron92 likes this
- christieannlee likes this
- singtothesesongs likes this
- dochelp likes this
- hungryhungryhiba likes this
- ashleyalis likes this
- orangushamstursaurus reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- t3hmagicalninja reblogged this from moxacautery and added:
- superglo likes this
- moxacautery reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- duhemible likes this
- stephaniehe likes this
- paradislove reblogged this from dorasnursing
- fitnesstopractise reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent and added:
- fitnesstopractise likes this
- anywayanyhow likes this
- prettypinktulle likes this
- bernicesea likes this
- blisstrack likes this
- blisstrack reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- aerial-biologist reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent and added:
- mayralo reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent and added:
- madladyrandom likes this
- whatevermakesyousleepatnight likes this
- kimber911 likes this
- ychox likes this
- mllediabolique reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent and added:
- amhsar likes this
- dreamsandescapades likes this
- dreamsandescapades reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- absurdlakefront likes this
- gordonchen reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent
- gordonchen likes this
- mayralo likes this
- medicosid likes this
- le-bruit-noire reblogged this from mylifeasamedstudent