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Flirting with chaos

January 19, 2010

1999: I am single, living with my parents and preparing for some very important exams in June

2009: …

… never mind

In recent weeks I have experienced short, intermittent bursts of anxiety. I can deal with late night jitters as I am naturally active in the evenings, so any worries disappear with a bout of exercise, candlelit shower and some light meditation. Waking up anxious bothers me a great deal, I feel a sense of injustice in the face of a comfortable night’s sleep that my mind decides to wrinkle up without warning, akin to shoving a meringue into a searing hot oven. This morning I didn’t even have to go into the hospital so the long-standing battle I have with myself to make sense of why I am feeling this way deepens. My night-time ritual doesn’t seem to fit the context of the morning’s grievances well, so I have taken to reading the news to the sound of trance and any knots manage to untangle themselves.

I know exactly what is going on: I am unwilling to accept the inevitability that comes with jumping on the doctor conveyor belt. Including A levels, I have given roughly a third of my life to medicine and I am not sure it would be right for me to start work immediately. The itch to work abroad is driving me to distraction and now is a good time to do it given that I have no commitments. In addition to this, the fallout from ending a 4 year relationship where I felt that I lost my sense of self along the way has exacerbated these feelings. And why shouldn’t they? I have ploughed along mindlessly for a long time and now that my relationship is over and medical school is soon to come to an end, I can’t help feeling that I don’t yet want to be sucked into the vortex of working as a junior doctor without giving it some serious thought first.

Ultimately I think I just have to accept a few painful truths: I felt a greater sense of achievement and fulfilment getting on a bike and riding over San Francisco’s Golden Gate bridge than anything I have ever done during medical school.

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