I feel like I owe an explanation for being more removed lately. Maybe I just owe this reasoning to myself, and if that is the case, bear with me. It has been a uniquely eventful year following a somewhat depressing end to 2016 (the engagement being a shining exception). Most of that stemmed from work stress and disappointment due to feeling stuck and unsupported. And I’m finally ready to talk about it.
There is an apathetic hopelessness surrounding those months late last fall/early winter. I felt stuck and could not muster the motivation to take the steps necessary to become unstuck. It is an incredibly frustrating feeling, and I would frequently turn it on myself in self-deprecation. I lost my drive for a lot of things I used to derive pleasure from, reading books, playing games, and writing included.
I cannot report much more detail on 2016 other than to say this vicious cycle consumed my mind for too long. Even my mother, when Ryan reached out to share his intention to propose to me, told him that one reason she was so excited was because I could really use a win right now. And what a win it was, but that is another story that you can reminisce about here.
But coming back to the eventfulness of 2017 so far, I look back on each month in theme. So much of it still feels surreal, even now.
January – Time to Commit
- Commit to studying full-time for my licensing exam after the holidays. (all month)
- Commit to the time and place of our wedding, involving a quick trip to Colorado. (mid-month)
- (Ryan more available than usual on his elective month.)
February – Convenient Timing?
- Emergency laparoscopic appendectomy. (Beginning of the month)
- Take my licensing exam with some discomfort post-op but no debilitating, distracting pain. (Mid-month)
- Take a cruise to the western coast of Mexico with only minor abdominal discomfort. (End of the month)
- (Ryan more available than usual on his Neurology rotation, thankfully allowing him to be extra helpful as I recovered.)
March – Spiraling
- I learn that I am licensed (morning) and that I am unexpectedly and immediately considered out-of-network with ALL of my clients using insurance (mid-day). My grandfather passes away (evening). (Beginning of the month, same day)
- Wedding dress shopping, preliminary rounds, while trying to keep a brave face. (Beginning and mid-month)
- Crescendo of experiences at work leave me feeling incredibly unsupported and hopeless about coming back from the undeserved hit after becoming licensed. (End of the month)
- (Ryan much less available than usual due to Surgery rotation.)
April – Let’s turn this around.
- Use the frustration for good this time, looking for opportunities to become unstuck. (Beginning of the month)
- Find the wedding dress. (Beginning of the month)
- Turn in 30-day notice at my old practice. (Mid-month)
- Accept position with new, hopeful practice. (Mid-month)
- Reunite with small but significant joys, i.e. playing games and reading. (End of the month)
- (Ryan still less available due to surgery rotation.)
It is a lot for me to wrap my head around, even now. It is funny to feel grateful for something like emergency surgery, but the timing was truly ideal to still allow for a trip to Colorado beforehand, not fully interfere with my exam, and also allow a trip to Mexico only a few weeks afterwards. (Can you imagine how much it would cost to be lifted by helicopter from a cruise ship?)
I mention Ryan’s availability to highlight another aspect of my gratitude for the timing of my surgery but also to emphasize how hard it was to struggle in March without him. I have talked before about my responsibility to minimize or redirect my needs when our time is so limited. It was not like my struggles were a secret, but I kept (or at least tried to keep) my burdens from overwhelming him, too.
I have not written in depth about the surgery rotation yet, but suffice to say that there is no extra energy for him to give after these long days and too short nights. It is not a slam against him but simply a fact of medical school that these shifts must take place, and I am still more grateful that he could help me when I was physically incapacitated if he could only be there for one.
Somehow, things turned around in April. It is hard for me to accept the credit, as it is hard for me to digest any true compliment. Regardless, the source of so much frustration is receding into nothing. I am moving on.
May will bring a wealth of change as I begin a new job, and as hopeful as I like to be about it, there is still the anxiety that comes with any significant change in life. That does not stop me from seeking small pleasures again, and that little piece alone has meant so much in feeling more like myself again. I truly missed reading. A pastime I needed to give up for the sake of studying at the beginning of the year remained lost for too long as I wallowed and struggled. Seeing myself seek that out again may be a change too small for others to appreciate, but I vehemently relish it.
Ryan sees it, and he appreciates it even while he envies it. It is nice to answer his question (or anyone’s for that matter) of how my day is going with fine or good and it be an honest answer. I am doing pretty good, and I am hoping it will continue to get better. In the meantime, I will enjoy reading and playing as much as I can.
It is human, normal, to go through phases of difficulty. I do not expect it to be rosy all the time. But I lost myself for too long. Of course there is a context to consider, from the troublesome work environment to having less time with my partner, and that certainly played a role in the depth and length of my blue period. But I am responsible, too, and it is up to me to find ways to be myself. It makes our rare couple time more authentic and enjoyable, and I hope to be more proactive with taking care of me and us moving forward with the rest of this eventful year.