During my 3rd year of medical school, I kind of lost myself. I think it even started after the first two terms of medical school, so after the first year. All of my energy went into surviving (and actually doing well), during my basic sciences years. I wanted to do very well, and not just pass my exams but even to just pass the exams, one had to work very hard unless they were a naturally born genius.
Due to that desire and need, I sacrificed a lot. I felt that it was a small sacrifice to make, to achieve the goals I wanted in life; to become a doctor. So I stopped going to the gym regularly, and that eventually diminished to not going to the gym at all. During my 3rd year, because the clinical years are a whole new chapter of their own from the whole book that is called medical school, I had to readjust my studying methods and also refocus on “impressing” the doctors around me. Not only was I being evaluated on my test taking capabilities via the NBMEs but also on my ward pimping abilities (impressing the doctors with my basic knowledge of their individual specialties). With that, there was basically two different areas that you are graded on; the clinical clerkship which is a subjective grading, and the NBMEs (national board of medical examinations), which is obviously objective.
My eating habits also went out of wack. I didn’t care about calories or what I put into my body. During times of heightened stress, like during my Medicine rotation (the studying was more the headache than the actual rotation itself), I was drinking coca cola as if it was water. The last time I drank water regularly, must be a year and something ago. Basically, my whole life and who I considered myself to be; a very fit individual who worked out regularly, counted my calories and observed what I put into my body and recognized the benefit of drinking a lot of water; was replaced with a regular, sedentary individual who’s idea of physical activity was climbing the stairs in the hospital following the consultants on their ward rounds (which was a lot of flights) and walking to the shopping center to get something to eat or add money to my UK bank account so I could pay for my bills (which also happens to include a gym membership that actually got its’ most use during my medicine rotation, oh the irony of that; the most hectic rotation, was the one I actually found some time until the last few weeks of it, to work out at the gym).
With the 7 weeks break I took, between the end of my 3rd year and the beginning of my 4th, I am starting to re-evaluate myself. Not only was my eating habit and lack of exercise, a new thing for me, I also started to have an increase in anxiety. Anxiety enough, that it started to cause me physical symptoms. Due to that, I had to work harder in studying, which in itself heightened my anxiety. It was a vicious cycle, as excelling at this was and is my number one priority right now. It is my only priority right now as it is the only thing I am focused on right now in my life. So losing myself and then experiencing anxiety in a different way, the break I am on, was/is much needed. Sometimes in life you want to keep going, but sometimes you have to listen to yourself and allow your mind and your spirit to be renewed with time. The fact I can play video games with leisure, watch all 3 seasons of Narcos during a binge session and get back into exercising very slowly, is a blessing. I am learning how to reduce my anxiety, as it was mainly caused by constant worry, over everything. Some what of a non-diagnosed generalized anxiety that didn’t affect my life as I still studied, went to the hospital and saw my patients and took care of myself, otherwise. But, anxiety that needed attention when I was able to do so, which is now. My clarity is coming back and with time, as it continues to diminish (the anxiety), I will write blog entries pertaining to what I did and how I overcame my anxiety (which is a work in progress) as so many people in this world suffer from this in silence.
Becoming me again, will consist of those entries about anxiety and overcoming it, along with my life as a 4th year medical student, getting back into my fitness activities and running my little fitness business that I used to have back in the day. With time, I will become me again but a new me; a doctor, who cares for her patients, who takes care of her body and her mind and hobbies include working out, blogging and running her small online fitness business.
Becoming me again, feels pretty good. 🙂