The High Point

Friday, September 18, 2009

I'm approaching the point in residency I've been dreading.

The point where I'm constantly fatigued. I'm so tired that I can't think about doing dishes, or helping prepare meals, or managing the boys school papers. The point where I'm away from home too much, taking overnight in-hospital call every third night. The point where I feel like I will never know enough, never be able to study enough.

I've known this time was coming. I'm not sure if knowing helps me be more prepared or if it just becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

During intern orientation, we are shown a graph of rates of depression during intern year. The rate in June is near zero. By January, the rate is near 75%. Everyone looks at this graph and points to the high point in January. We are then given talks about how to cope during the midpoint of the year, the increasing stress, higher expectations combined with the lack of sunshine.

I am scheduled to be on Trauma service at that point.

Although impressive and terrifying, the peak in January isn't what concerned me most about the graph. The red line we were shown never went back to baseline. The rate of depression, so low among incoming residents, so happy after completing four grueling years of medical school, never returned to zero. The lowest it got was 20%.

The funny thing is that even as I approach that January peak, and boy, can I ever feel myself rushing towards it as my confidence and ability to stay awake while standing are every tried...the funny thing is that this is still better than medical school ever was.


Karen said...

Yikes! That's crazy to think that 75% of interns are running around depressed!

But you'll get through it as long as you keep remembering how much better it is than med school.

I don't know if I could physically handle being more tired than I have been lately. And I know it's nothing compared to where you are!

Stephanie Faris said... when does it go away? Ever? Are you just doomed to be depressed throughout your career?

Bonnie said...

You can give yourself permission to be tired, feel inadequate to the task, etc. just know that you are being held and supported by the most loving husband, sons, and family and that heaven itself has smiled on you and made all things possible. You are simply becoming more than you ever were before! When you fall asleep, you still are in a great position to look UP. Love can carry when stamina cannot. The valleys preceed the high places--You will not only succeed, you will fly again! I promise. You will beat the odds because you can.You are an optimist!