When I started writing these blogs it was with the intention of starting some conversations and understanding different perspectives. Most of all I wanted them to be authentic.
This week I gave serious thought to resigning.
A perfect storm of events last week lead me to sit down and try to put into words why.
As I read it back the following day it made for painful reading. Most of the issues centred around everyone else and how I was reacting to their behaviours and attitudes. There was very little about the actual job of being a doctor. A job I love.
When I’m under severe stress or pressure I withdraw. I go into a mental bunker and stay there while my brain conducts a sort of mental purge. All kinds of garbage can come spewing out. Most of it is a series of imaginary conversations all of which are in fact rooted in reality. Things I wished I’d said, what that person would’ve said if I had. A whole lot of nonsense really. However it’s this nonsense that depletes my energy and causes unnecessary friction. It had also brought me to the conclusion that I no longer wanted to work as a doctor.
For those of you reading this who have never experienced it I genuinely admire you. I do believe though that the vast majority are not so blessed.
My mental health is such that I can recognise the signs and choose to retreat. I need to let my mind do it’s thing but at the same time try not to pay attention to it.
During these times I rely on practicing mindfulness (Headspace) so I can literally watch the thoughts float in and out my mind. At the point I have to stop concentrating and ‘let my mind do whatever it wants to do’ I never cease to be amazed that it does nothing. Nadda. No thoughts at all. This amuses me no end given the constant chatter of it at any other time.
I also listen to podcasts. Shortly after listening to one such podcast I had something of an epiphany (or mini psychotic moment depending on your perspective). I listened to an interview with Don Miguel Ruiz. He wrote the book ‘The Four Agreements’. I’m not one for airy fairy self help stuff but this book has made a significant impact on me.
The four agreements are simple:
1. Be impeccable with your word
2. Don’t take anything personally
3. Don’t make assumptions
4. Always do your best
Hearing him speak and then reading the book has really forced me to stop and take a proper hard look at my own perception of the world and how it’s so dependent on the opinions of others. My preferred poison of choice – the one telling me I’m not really good enough.
What I have found in the space of a week is that like mindfulness, when you put a stop to the white noise you are left with something of a void. I’m not sure what to make of it just yet other than it’s very quiet. If I’m being entirely honest the silence is taking some getting used to but it does feel good.
I also can’t say with certainty how it will ultimately impact not just my professional but also my personal life. I do feel like there has been something of a seismic change in my outlook. I also believe it stopped me from giving up on something I love. And that can only be a good thing……