The Mrs. The Mommy. The M.D.: Diagnosis: Burnout
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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Diagnosis: Burnout

The medical student population is filled with people who would be considered the overachieving prototype. The simple fact that one is in medical school means that in order to get there, at some point they took more classes beyond what was require by their major, may have participated in some type of research (some even published), shadowed doctors during their own school vacations, and/or volunteered for hundreds of hours in their community or abroad...

Yes, on paper it all sounds amazing, but how does it translate once you have matriculated into medical school and you are in the middle of an exam block? It usually means:
- Spending 12-18 hours at school everyday for a week straight.
- Letting your home remain in shambles because you don't have time to waste cleaning it up
- Eating junk food everyday (fast food sometimes multiple times a day, because vending machines and only the 24hr fast food places are open during the lonely hours you stay up studying).
- Not working out (or doing whatever you usually do to relieve stress) because there isn't enough time - I've tried reading or running through flash cards while on the elliptical...just makes you motion sick
- Not going to sleep hoping to soak in as much knowledge as you can during every waking moment, then when you finally stop to sleep, dreaming of yourself running same information in your head...

Then when the exams are finally over, you are one high-strung and sleep-deprived blob.

The relief that I feel after taking a block of exams equates to how I felt at the end of the semester when I finished final exams in undergrad at Michigan. But in medical school it's not finals, and you have to do that again 3 or 4 times before the semester is over.


And right now I feel like I am going through a dry spell. I am just plain burnt out. In fact, as I was writing this post, my dentist's office called to see if I knew I had an appointment at 2:50 today. It's 3:00. And not only did I write this appointment down in my iCal, planner, and tell the hubby about it last night, I mentioned it to my mom this morning on my way to class :sigh:

"Burnout (n.): a state of mental, physical and emotional exhaustion — the experience of long-term exhaustion and diminished interest"

Yep...that's it. I feel like my intensity is lacking. Yes, I attend class, but I don't pay attention. Yes, I study, but it's not nearly as dedicated as I was last semester. Now, instead of coming home when everyone is already in bed, I usually just stay home all day. I look at my notes AND watch TV. I stop to play with my toddler...frequently. And I definitely don't stay up any later than I have to.

I called my mom to complain about this on the way to my exam this morning (this was before I told her about today's dentist appointment...), and before I could get a word out, she starts sharing about how T.D. Jakes was "on-point" today. She says that he said our faith is growing even WHILE we are going through something hard and challenging just by the sheer fact that we choose to keep going. That God allows us to go through rough times in life so that we can appreciate when He brings us out of the storm and into our destiny. Well, there's no denying that that Word was meant for this girl...

I have loooong way to go before I'm done with school + residency, but I know I am walking in my destiny, so I need to get my act together. More on this later...
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