I could have had a really different story

(Nobody Loves me Like You – Chris Tomlin)

 

So yeah, you’ve seen me writing about having interviews coming up and you’ve seen me writing about the waiting after the interviews. The interviews themselves were missing. I’ve written the post about the lead up to the interviews and through the interviews inside my head a few times…but the words haven’t yet made it from mind to fingers. It is hard figuring out how to balance the things I want to say, the things I feel like I should say, and the things I know I shouldn’t say. Sure, I no longer have any actual restrictions on what I can say, but I am not stupid. I know that there is always the possibility that someone could find my blog, identify it as my own, and use my words against me, so especially when writing about my job search I try really hard to have that at the back of my head to remind me that if I would be super worried about my current past or future employer to read me words then I should rethink posting it. I don’t always actually have my brain turned on enough to actually do that and I am like 99% sure there are at least a few things on my blog that maybe would be offensive to someone in one of those three groups, but at least when my brain is functioning enough, I am thinking about that…anyway, all that to say I have written and re-written this post over and over in my head, but the one thing that has remained completely unchanged is the title of the post. I am at a point in life I never expected to be. If life had gone at least sort of according to plan, I would be either in a position I love, or finishing a PGY-2 while interviewing for the position of my dreams. Instead, I am *still* looking for a PGY-1. There are a lot of things that maybe could have changed my situation, but I am where I am, and I have to believe there is some reason for that…so yeah…story time.

 

I guess let’s start the week before my first interview. I kind of didn’t want anyone but my manager to know I was applying for residencies, because I didn’t want everyone to know when I failed…but as it turns out, by this point nearly everyone knew or had at least guessed…which I guess is understandable considering I went to Midyear, asked off every Monday and Friday in February and switched out of all my February weekends, and had applied every year…so yeah, two of my coworkers offered to do some mock interviewing work with me and I was scared, but I agreed. I had been practicing interviewing myself from a massive list of common interview questions for a long time, but oh how I know that actually having to say something in front of people is way different than practicing alone in my apartment, and plus it is always helpful to have people willing to tell you that is a dumb answer, try again. Also, and this will be important later in the story, I worked four unscheduled hours that week allowing me to take four fewer hours of PTO.

 

So…Monday comes. I eventually decide to go use my coupon that is about to expire for bananas and get some lemonade or something. Around lunchtime or so I walked outside. I made it maybe halfway across the parking lot before I realized I had already almost fallen numerous times and maybe it was too cold or a bad idea to go then. Getting back inside was interesting because I had to go uphill and was kinda sliding backwards. Later I figured it was probably better cleared and I was going. Umm, yeah, I basically shoe-skated down the sidewalk. It was fun-ish, until a couple times I almost was blown by the wind into the intersection. So I decided the side of the road was a better option – still slippery, but not a continuous sheet of ice. I was doing okay until I got to a spot where I had to use the sidewalk and it was icy and I was struggling to get across this one sidewalk square that was out to get me. Someone wanted to pick me up, but they were going the opposite direction I was and plus I also did not know them, so I definitely wasn’t getting in. Long story short, I eventually got home but I was kinda cold because my five mile walk took a LOT longer than I dressed for and my gloves got wet from sweat on the way there so on the way back they didn’t do much for keeping my hands warm.

 

That evening I got an opportunity to at least hint at the stress from my interviews coming up and then I looked up the weather. It said winter weather advisory, avoid travel if possible. I was kind of nervous, but I knew that even if I had to drive super slow I’d eventually make it where I was going, and the advisory area really only extended a few miles past where I live. That night I didn’t sleep super awesome because I was kind of sore, but whatev.

 

Tuesday the weather was updated to winter storm watch, travel only if you must. Also not what I wanted to hear. I was stressed out and really didn’t sleep much that evening.

 

Wednesday the weather was updated to blizzard warning, do not travel. I started trying to find a way to make the drive Wednesday evening instead of Thursday afternoon. I found somewhere to stay the night, but I had a problem. No one would switch off days with me. And my manager is the one that sends an email every time there is weather to make sure we all come, so I wasn’t going to get a day off there, and my integrity keeps me from going behind his back to one of the other managers. Everyone told me to just call in sick, but I wasn’t sick, so I couldn’t do that. So anyway, that evening I did some interview prep with my coworkers and I probably sounded like an idiot, but they were super nice and encouraged me to advocate for myself. I went home and finished packing.

 

In the morning, the weather forecast had been updated again. Now the blizzard warning extended most of the way to my destination. Just in case something weird happened I packed my blanket, extra food, mittens, boots, a headband, lots of extra clothes. Looking at the weather, it was supposed to transition from bad to worse around noon…all morning I was doing my work dreading the drive and using all my down time to watch the snow plow cams and the MNDot map turn from green (good roads) and blue (use caution) to pink (avoid travel) and purple(do not travel). While I do compulsively research things that make me nervous, it doesn’t really fix the situation…it kinda just makes me more nervous. Some of those plow cams looked not so bad, but others you really could see nothing.

 

I was very patiently awaiting my turn for lunch. One of my coworkers went down to central to grab something and while there was asked if she needed to leave early to get home safely. She already had plans to stay in town overnight, but reported back to me that I should ask. I was really brave and I asked if I could leave early. I probably threw off their plans since I am usually the person willing to do extra work to let people have time off or other places, but hearing where I was going they agreed. I felt bad for leaving when I knew that would make it harder for other people whether they were trying to leave or just trying to cover, especially since all of our critical access people that day were people who live far from the site they were covering…so yeah…I felt bad, but I was proud of advocating for myself. I left a little under four hours early and got to just cover that time with PTO…so thankful for those four hours of PTO I saved the week before.

 

I got every last bit of snow off my car that I possibly could knowing that more snow was going to accumulate on my drive, and I settled in for a long drive. I barely made it onto the freeway because there was so much snow that I was getting stuck and had to floor it a few times to keep moving forward. This was going to be a stressful drive. The next entrance ramp I tried to slam on my brakes because someone else seemed determined to drive exactly where I was driving. Luckily just in time they realized my car was not slowing down much if at all and managed to get out of my way. Visibility was not great. And maybe like 15 miles in my tire pressure light lit up. Perfect. It wasn’t like I could stop though…there were definitely times I could suddenly see and realized I was in a totally different lane than I started in. And one time when I hadn’t been able to see a whole car length in front of my in a while and was really hoping I was still on the road. Then there was a brief moment of clarity. I noticed in my rearview mirror that someone was almost literally on my bumper. And about the moment I was freaking out about that, I could see the realization in their eyes and they were kind of freaking out too. We didn’t collide. Eventually I had to get to an exit from the freeway I was on, onto a different one. I tried really hard to slow down enough to make the turn, and just barely made it down the ramp. That was fun. I found a gas station and stopped. The idea was to check my tire pressure…but it was wet and cold outside and I felt awkward because at this gas station the air compressor parking place doubled as a handicap parking place…and so I gave up. At this point, it has taken me a lot longer than it usually would take to get where I was going, but it is still WAY earlier than I expected to arrive and probably before check in time for the hotel…but I figure I can’t sit in the handicap parking place forever, so I might as well go the last few blocks to the hotel. At the hotel I struggle to find a legal place to park. After driving all over the place (and anyone looking out the windows probably thinking I was an idiot), I found a spot that may or may not have actually even been a parking spot, but at least wasn’t labelled do not park, so I figured good enough and walked into the hotel. The person at the front desk was super nice and had a room ready for me and let me know where they would prefer people to park during check in and gave me directions to the underground parking garage…

 

So back in my car it was…but a few trips later all my stuff made it to my hotel room. It was probably the nicest hotel room I have ever seen. Beautiful furniture (that actually looked clean and was made of materials that I trusted they actually could clean effectively), very thoughtfully laid out more like a nice apartment than like a hotel. Spacious, and with basically anything one could need overnight available. My only real complaint was that the clock had a very short cord and was tethered to one specific outlet so there was no way to get it close enough to the bed to actually see it from the bed….well, I guess two complaints: and the clock didn’t have a radio feature, but neither of those complaints are really a big deal.

 

I could have used my time to prepare for the interview the more traditional way, but I was stressed out, so instead I wasted time on the internet. I call it preparing by minimizing stress…because I know stress steals my ability to effectively communicate. I also realized I was starving and hadn’t had lunch yet, so at like 3 something I was eating my lunch. About the time I finished that, the hotel was serving soup. I went down in the elevator. You know you have/had social anxiety when you are super duper proud of yourself for meeting someone in the elevator. Yep, I may have failed to acquire her name, but I did find out what she was staying there for, so not a total fail. The soup was actually pretty good. If I’d been staying longer I probably would have brought some up to my room for a snack another day, but I was getting to the point where I was too stressed out to even really eat, so I didn’t really need anything for right then…especially since I hadn’t finished lunch that long ago anyway.

 

I got as far as sorting through my things to find what I needed for the interview and start putting the rest of my things at least near my suitcase if I wasn’t going to need them. I kinda sorta tried to practice for the interview, but I was tired (remember I haven’t really slept more than a few hours since Monday) so I set two alarms and went to bed. Seeing as how I had used neither alarm before I was a little nervous about them and was awake once every one to two hours to check the time. Which is good, because I would never have woken up to my phone alarm, and I am not really sure about the clock alarm, because I turned it off before it even had a chance to go off. I figured since the interview started at 6:55 I should probably get ready first and check email and facebook and stuff later. So I started getting ready and just my luck, in the shower a nosebleed started. Uggh. I didn’t want the interview to start with me holding a nosebleed, so I really really needed it to stop. I did not want to shower and get ready one-handed, but I definitely couldn’t risk prolonging it by just letting it bleed while I did things. So yeah. That derailed my plans. I remembered from the high school nurse that sometimes ice on the back of your neck can help some people stop bleeding. It would have been worth a try, except that there was no ice in the freezer and I wasn’t totally sure the ice maker was even hooked up since there was a note on the fridge that there was an ice maker down the hall…so yeah…everything takes longer when you have to do it one handed and work around trying to get access to whatever shoulder is currently entrapped. Eventually I was dressed, made up, clothes folded, and mostly packed up and had maybe 25 minutes left before the interview. Luckily, the bleeding had pretty much stopped. I knew I was taking a risk by not continuing to put pressure on it a little longer, but girl’s got stuff to get done! So I packed up my car then got checked out, and by that time I was cutting it super close to make a bathroom run and be in the lobby in time for the interview. I just barely made it…which means that I didn’t have time to check out the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Bummer. It also means I didn’t have any morning internet time, so I was just really hoping there wasn’t anything important on there…

 

Compared to that, the rest of the interview wasn’t too bad 🙂

 

The presentation was a lot shorter than it was when I practiced and there wasn’t much eye contact, but I wasn’t rushing, just leaving stuff out…

 

The question and answer time actually left me wanting more…I had practiced so much stuff to say and there were only like three questions for me, but I was so glad that they were willing to coach me towards the answers they were actually looking for when my answer left them wanting more. It was a huge relief that there was only one hour of question/answer, but I realized that the problem is that a single hour of that is not enough for me to feel like they even know me at all. I think they liked me, but I really don’t know…

 

The case was not ideal…I tried really hard, but it was infectious disease…and I do not like infectious disease. Again though, they were willing to help me out. Soon it was time to go see the downtown area and have dinner. I felt like I was really awkward. Also, it felt like my winter coat Velcro was making little pulls and runs in my clothing. Also, the resident had my juice bottle in her backpack. I forgot about that until I was on the road like 10 minutes away…bummer. So yeah, anyway, once they dropped me off back at the hotel I went to my car and tried to check the tire pressures. One was 17 and another was 25, but the other two I couldn’t get the caps off no matter what I tried. I really didn’t want to go to the gas station again, and considering I could only actually fill two tires I decided against it and headed to my parents house. The hotel parking garage is super frustrating to get out of – you have to get out of your car multiple times to open gates. It seems like it would make way more sense and probably be safer to either have them motion activated or at least install some way to open them from your car…but no one asked my opinion.

 

The road I drove on is probs my new favorite road ever though. It has signs ever so often that say stuff like “concentrate on driving” and I’m like hey, how did you know I was not focused?! My new phone isn’t bright enough to use as a flashlight so my directions were useless. They were also useless because the exit they told me to get off on I am pretty sure doesn’t exist, but I found a road name I recognized and figured I’d just take roads I recognized until I got there…and it might not have been the most direct way, but it worked, though also taking longer than it could have because although I could see, it was slippery.

 

So I tried on some stuff to pick out an interview for Monday then me and my daddy went to the gas station with the fancy air compressor. We had to wait a long time for my turn and I had to move my car twice because some jerk who I’m sure could see that I was trying to use the machine parked in the spot right next to the machine, thus blocking my access to one side of my car…as it turns out, also, my dad had to borrow pliers from the store to get the caps off the tires, so it isn’t that I was too dumb to do it myself!! Then we got home and my parents hadn’t started packing for their trip yet (that they were leaving for at 3am) so they did that while I laid on their bed watching…

 

So I went to bed about an hour late around maybe 10pm, and I woke up around 4:55am. I figured I didn’t really need an alarm for 5 minutes so I didn’t bother. Yeah, so I woke up again at 8am. I mean, yeah, I was behind on sleep, but that isn’t my usual normal. I missed a day or two of iron though…and I’d been drinking milk so I think that is the biggest problem, because when life seemed like a big fog and I couldn’t figure out why I tested super low for hemoglobin, and when I started taking iron, eventually the fog seemed to fade…but when iron is really low, dairy intake is actually recommended to be avoided because it can greatly decrease the amount of iron your body can absorb. My guess would be that I am right at the tipping point of the teeter totter with my intake so if I consistently have iron and don’t have milk I am doing okay, but as soon as one of those things slips I struggle, so both at once was too much for my body to handle. But anyway, I had two bottles of conditioner in my bags but couldn’t find either and obvs didn’t have time to keep looking since by 8 my plans were to already be headed towards the car. So I showered and got ready for the day and got in my car and prayed that I could figure out how to get to my friend’s house without directions…and I did it and thanked God for a friend that tends to run late so that I could ride with her instead of trying to drive to yet another new place. It was super awesome to catch up and stuff.

 

And I was exhausted hashtag see previous paragraph and was practically asleep most of the rest of the day. In the evening though, I figured it was time to get ready for the next interview and discovered that not only did I leave my directions behind at home which I ended up printing new directions at work and hoping they were good enough since I didn’t have time to check them, but I also left all my notes and stuff at home, so I had pretty much nothing to go off of in preparing for the site specific aspects of the interview and had to start over…oh joy…I eventually ended up with some stuff that was far from perfect but was probably good enough…

 

So yeah. Sunday was great. I wasn’t running quite so late in the morning, but just my luck, I had another nosebleed that started in the shower. Yep…it is definitely time to at least *think* about an ENT appointment while trying to figure out if two in a weekend is really just that I didn’t do a good job the first time or if it is time to consider treatment options again if this is going to keep happening. Church itself was good. The roads were super slippery and I wondered why I go to a church so far away, but I got to do the kids for the first hour then attend the service and I got to sit by my best friend. People are super important to me. I couldn’t get up the driveway at home and got stuck in the middle. Later I tried to shovel. I am not good at it especially because the snow was up to my boots, but eventually I got enough snow cleared under and around my car to be able to move it, and eventually my brother came out to help finish up.

 

And then there was Monday. It would have made way too much sense to scrape off the car the night before or at least before I got dressed for the interview, so I had to do that in the morning. I left WAY earlier then could possibly have been necessary – even in the snow storms two years ago it never took longer than like 45 minutes to drive to the student parking and walk a few blocks from there to the hospital…and the roads Monday morning were at least a bit better. So I gave myself way more time than I thought it should take, expecting that I’d arrive WAY too early and have time to prepare for the interview and finish that with still too much time to try to figure out what to do with myself…like I expected to have more than even an extra hour…haha funny story, I got on the freeway and was going about 2mph. That is not a typo. Single digits. I kept thinking that traffic is always worse in the cities metro area and it was going to be fine – I just wasn’t used to traffic anymore…but eventually I realized I had like 45 minutes until the interview started and I was kind of panicking about what to do. Shortly after this, I heard on the radio that there was an accident partially blocking my exit. As soon as humanly possible (at like 2mph) I got off on the next exit. By the time I got there, I had 35 minutes until the interview started and my phone told me it was going to take 33 minutes to arrive. It was terrifying. Luckily I did not take my phone’s advice on the last couple turns, because I knew a shortcut and taking that and literally running through the hospital to the pharmacy, I showed up right on time and just barely before the RPD came in to start the interview. So that wasn’t a great start since I didn’t have my prep time and I was super stressed out.

 

The interview itself kinda went downhill from there. We started as a group for a few minutes then my first individual activity was writing about accomplishments. We were supposed to use the SMART acronym that I am totally over…all my ideas did not at all fit into that stupid acronym…but I had limited time, so I just skipped the parts that I couldn’t figure out. Not ideal, but I made it work…then I was supposed to verbally summarize what I wrote, and let’s just say I pretty much made a fool of myself doing that. Then I had the management interview. I had probably the dumbest answers ever that seemingly contradicted themselves and were really poorly thought out and primarily consisted of one word followed by I don’t really know, umm yeah. So that didn’t go super awesome. I next went to the staffing interview. I was so stressed out by this point that even the questions I totally did know a great answer to I stumbled and started saying dumb stuff that wasn’t really related. I definitely sounded like an idiot, and I could see at least one of the grading sheets where I noticed I was mostly getting 0 and 0.5 out of (I think) 2. So yeah…I didn’t just think I was failing, I knew…I tried really hard not to be super awkward on the way to the next activity…but knowing me, you know I still failed. The person walking with me, whom I knew from rotations, was incredible, and it was super awesome to try to catch up with her, but yeah, communication is not my specialty.

 

The last individual part was the case. And oh man did I feel like I failed…and it wasn’t even an infectious disease case! I think my clinical mind was basically turned off because my stress level and everything got too high…and there was only one question and it was so open ended that I didn’t know where to go with it, so my mind shut down. So that was embarrassing.

 

And then we did our presentations and I used basically no eye contact and I think I made a bad choice about my presentation topic, because mine was different than everyone else’s and it wasn’t like some crazy disease state or anything. And you know my presentation style was more like turning around and reading my slides…I tried really hard, but my anxiety got so high that I could barely stand there and talk. I was so mad at myself. The rest of the day was just lunch with the residents and a “tour” of the hospital. Then we ended with talking as a group with the RPD again. She talked about how it is okay to not match. I loved that, because it usually isn’t something that is really talked about as if it is a possibility. And that is such a disservice to students. Statistically it is clear that a very large number of students will fail to match, yet it isn’t talked about like it really could happen until it happens – and even then it is usually talked about as if it is almost the end of the road. If more people could talk about it openly and honestly like she did, it would obviously still be hard to not match, but I feel like it would feel at least a little easier…and any little bit easier would definitely have been appreciated each time it has happened.

 

So yeah, then we left and I felt frustrated that I really wanted to do a good job and didn’t. And then the worry started that I would fail to match again. I feel like this year is my last chance. I don’t know what I will do if I don’t match in phase I this year…but I am starting to prepare for not matching. I know communication is my biggest challenge…so I am starting to attend a bible study with people I don’t know. I’m not sure how well it is going to work, but it was something I could start right away, and considering I’ve been one week so far and struggled to speak, I know it is something I definitely need to be doing.

Advertisements

Where are you now?

 

(Look up Child – Lauren Daigle)

 

I was at an interview on Monday. It already feels like practically a lifetime ago…but anyway, at that interview there was a writing assignment, and during my time to work on that, I started remembering my statement two years ago that if I didn’t match I would take a year to work at Caribou. Clearly that is not the path I took, but I have to wonder sometimes if I would be more successful in my residency search…or at least the interview part…if I had. I’ve heard a lot of stories lately of people who took crazy interruptions in life that they would totally never take back because those interruptions ultimately led them to where they really wanted to be in the first place. And it makes me wonder if working at Caribou could have been that interruption for me. The past is in the past though, so it won’t make a difference now. I can’t go back in time and apply at Caribou instead of phase II, the Scramble, and then pharmacist jobs…and I have no guarantee that having done so would actually have been good for my career…and we all know it wouldn’t have been good for my nutrition status…

 

Working at Caribou, while it may sound like some crazy half-baked idea, and definitely does sound like wasting my potential, was actually a very thoughtful plan even if it did end up being forgotten and abandoned when I actually came to that point in my life. I wasn’t stupid; I knew that communication was one of my biggest challenges. Most likely, communication is what has kept me from reaching my goals. Considering I had pretty much an equal number of interviews as applications in phase I in 2017, and interviewed almost everywhere I applied in phase II, the notable exceptions being the places that straight up told me before I even applied that they weren’t interested (which I should have listened to and not applied…hindsight…), well, it seems like the problem wasn’t my application materials…it was my ability to communicate (or rather my inability) once I got to the interview. Yes, some of it may have been that the relationship questions that seemed very popular that year reminded me of the one situation I wasn’t allowed to talk about and which provoked significant distress on top of my high pre-existing level of interview anxiety, but a lot of it probably really was just me. Working at Caribou would force me to work face to face with people, most of whom I didn’t already know, all day every day. I would have to learn to communicate whether I wanted to or not with people who were not going to be my friends. And it isn’t the kind of job where you can hide in the back doing something else most of the time. It is an all hands on deck operation where everyone is expected to be a social butterfly. So yeah. This wasn’t just some crazy chick deciding free drinks every day sounds super awesome. I mean, I totally wouldn’t have minded that perk, but the real big deal was the constant social interaction and opportunities for learning to communicate through observation and experience.

 

It would have been a hard job, especially at first, as a formerly socially anxious and maybe selectively mute student. Although, yesterday made me realize that maybe adding “formerly” is still a bit premature. I have a bunch of days off in February that I was hoping to use for interviews, so when I saw a religious-based event for young adults on an evening I was available, I decided that was something I should at least seriously consider. I will be the first to admit that people my own age are the hardest for me to connect with…and big groups of people I don’t know, especially in a location with which I am unfamiliar is not my jam. I do better in those situations if I have some kind of leadership role (probably part of why people saw me as a do everything in school even though I felt like I didn’t do much), but when you are the new member of the group and know nobody, you can’t exactly expect to have any kind of leadership role at all. Once I realized how scared I was to go, it became one of those things where I figured I basically had to go to gain skills and keep the anxiety from creeping back in and keeping me isolated.

 

So yeah, I had no idea whether this was some exclusive event I was inviting myself to, and whether this was the kind of thing where you are supposed to come early, on-time, or fashionably late. I had no idea what was actually going on. I just had a time and a place and that there was going to be some kind of snacks involved at some point (which knowing how I operate when in social situations may or may not actually include me eating or drinking anything, so I definitely did eat at least some dinner before going).

 

My car had like 10 miles before empty so I was going to have to stop and put gas in on the way…there is only one gas station legitimately on the way to the location, and it is the one I read about on the news whose owner is the one responsible for gas prices rising in Mankato because he complained that it wasn’t fair that he couldn’t compete and then was all annoyed that people weren’t thrilled with him for causing prices to rise. See, he threw a tantrum which caused some kind of governing body to force everyone else to increase their prices so that he could compete better with them…so yeah, I didn’t really *want* to give him my business, but I needed gas in my car and his station was there, so I did it anyway…at least his prices weren’t really higher than other places in town at the moment, although all the prices in town seem to have increased like 10 cents this week…but whatev…the difference in price is still less than a dollar to fill my tank…so anyway, all that to say I got to my final destination with like 18 minutes before the event started and the parking lot was pretty empty so I felt like I couldn’t go in. I almost gave up and left. I finally psyched myself up to go in when I saw that there were people walking around in there. Umm, yeah, I walked in, looked around, and was overwhelmed. It was a small-ish space where everyone was supposed to be just socializing and there wasn’t anywhere to just kind of stand off to the side out of the way…so I was basically just standing in the entry not really knowing what to do. Someone noticed my plight and took me to a group of girls and introduced me and them and left me with them. It was terrifying. They asked me a couple of questions that I whispered answers to (student status, are you new) then went back to their conversations. A little while later, another college grad who was new and two high schoolers who I don’t really know if they were new kind of invited me into a conversation and I still wasn’t talking much, but was at least included. Then there was food and it was pretty good. I could definitely have eaten more, but I did eat something, which is not always one of my capabilities in a new social situation! Right about the time I was starting to feel unsure again because I was now standing in front of an empty plate, the girl I met when I was new to Mankato came in and thankfully she recognized me and included me.

 

They announced everyone needed to go sit down for the event and she didn’t come and I was sitting by myself. Bummer. Then she came in and I was so brave asking to sit by her! There was some worship and then there was a lesson. It was from Genesis 3 and Luke 2. I don’t honestly remember a lot of what was said, but in Genesis 3, God asks Adam and Eve ‘Where are you?’ even though he totally knows where they are and they are covering themselves with fig leaves which are just going to wilt and die and leave them naked again. In Luke 2, Mary and Joseph kinda didn’t realize they forgot their kid when they came home from Jerusalem so like three days later they found him in the temple and he was asking the priests questions and was like didn’t you know I’d be here? Anyway, that stuff somehow tied into a lesson on how sometimes it seems like God doesn’t care, because we experience really hard things in life. Maybe that is abuse or a class at school or a breakup or something else…but what if he is just trying to take us from one path to another that will lead us to our wildest dreams? His example was that he had been a youth pastor for a long time and wanted to be the senior pastor. The senior pastor of the church resigned and he thought the spot would basically be his. Instead, he came into a meeting expecting to be officially given the opportunity to try out for the position and ended up finding out he did not have the position. Oh, how I know that feeling after having the phone call with my manager at my previous workplace expecting to find out I was now officially a pharmacist there but instead finding out I was now officially no longer employed there…The speaker stopped working at the church and was really down. He got an offer maybe a month later for a very prestigious role that would be awesome for him and his family, but didn’t align with his dreams. A few days later he just knew it was God telling him to say no to this offer. He had always dreamed of planting a church, and within a few days everything started lining up for him to get ready to plant a church.

 

It was a really good message for me. There are a lot of things in my life I don’t understand why I had to walk through, and it gave me a little hope that someday God will put me somewhere I will thrive even if the road there is hard and long. For this guy it only took 38 days between the meeting at his previous church and making solid plans to plant the new church and I have been walking through the valley a whole lot longer than 38 days, but I have to believe that someday I will look back and see that the pain I went through is less vivid when compared to the awesome place I will be in. I am struggling to hold onto any shred of hope that I will get a residency this year and that it will go well and stuff, but I have to believe God does care and God does have a plan. My Sunday school lessons have taught me that all the rejections I’ve faced haven’t been surprises to God. He wasn’t surprised that I was abused in college. He wasn’t surprised that I went through the traumatic change of churches in high school. None of my pain in life has been a surprise. He knew it would happen. And that is hard to reconcile with a God who cares. That is hard to reconcile with a God who is in control.

 

So yeah, after we were invited to hang out and join small groups and stuff. I didn’t get that far just to give up, so I stayed and eventually found myself in a conversation. If you know me, you know that leaving a conversation is one of the things I am really bad at. So it wasn’t until probs a little after 10:30pm I was headed out to the parking lot. You know you are way over tired when you turn on your car and all the defrosters and just sit there. Eventually it occurred to me to use my scrapers. I got enough scraped that I could at least kinda see forward between that and the defrosters…and I figured I’d scrape the rest when I got to a red light…haha, funny…I cannot reach the passenger side in the front nor can I even really think about reaching the back while sitting in the driver seat. So I eventually got to my apartment parking area and had to roll down the windows to find my spot and get into it without running into other cars or the giant concrete pillar which is right next to my spot…and to save time I figured I’d roll up the window as I was finishing parking. Yes, while my head was still sticking out the window…my brain is stupid when tired. Luckily, I figured it out before I was squashed.

 

Then I just wanted to ride the elevator to my apartment but I couldn’t because some couple was in there trying to talk to me and were standing on the elevator (but not using the elevator) so eventually I just had to walk away and use the stairs…so today was mostly a waste of the day because I am still so tired and trying to get through the day with a foggy mind, but I did mostly finish doing my taxes, so there’s that…lol…now it’s prob time for me to go to sleep…I’d say go to bed, but if I am wearing clean enough clothes I tend to spend my entire day on my bed, and sensorily, I like the pressure input of the covers over me so I mean, it is basically like I am in bed all day…

So I’ll be here waiting

(The Waiting – Jamie Grace)

Waiting is hard. So hard. I like to pretend I can hold onto some bit of control, but like trying to grab a raindrop, the tighter I try to hold the less raindrop like it becomes until I is completely gone. And I reach the point of waiting where I can do absolutely nothing (okay, slight exaggeration) to change the outcome.

 

I have been crushed by failing to match so many times it is hard to believe that this time could be different. I feel trapped and it is hard to believe that I might someday be able to escape the cage. I want to believe I can fly, but I’m afraid of the what if. What if I fall? I feel like residency is my only way out. Are there potentially other options? Maybe…but my overactive sense of loyalty shuts down those possibilities…I would feel so bad quitting and leaving a hole just to go somewhere else unless it really were my dream job…but like the rejection email I got almost two years ago insinuated, it is basically impossible for me to compete with the people who have two years of residency. I mean, yeah, I did somehow manage to convince my current employer that I had the experience and skillset to do anything anyone else was doing and maybe even do it better, but I have like zero clue how I pulled that off beyond sheer luck…or maybe everyone else said no…IDK…honestly I thought I blew it when I was asked something like so you’re interested in community practice and I said nothing because internally I was thinking oh c**p, I thought this was an inpatient job, not an adult retail position?! Lol, at school community meant retail; in this practice, community means medium sized hospital…and somehow my awkward lack of an answer didn’t disqualify me and I honestly have no clue why not…

 

I was going to write a totally different post, but somehow instead of the words I’ been writing in my head all week, this came out instead. I’m in an in between place. I’ve finished my scheduled interviews. Everywhere else has either rejected or waitlisted me. I’ve got lots of scheduled PTO days just hoping to be called in for an interview or work…and I’m just waiting for match day to find out if I finally got a position. I wish I could just skip over the next month and know. Even if it is bad news it would feel better to just stop the tension of not knowing…I just wanna know…

‘Cause the years behind are a handful of days I’m 26 and 17

(Fly – Christa Wells)

 

Lately I’ve been loving Christa Wells’ music…the words to “Thousand Things” came into my head Friday night on the way home from work “You’re gonna cry yourself to sleep. You’re gonna soak the pillows for many weeks. You’re gonna cry, why? Why?…and in the midst of the most, exquisite pain you’re drawn into a peace that doesn’t go away” Oh, how I wish God could give me that peace. People tell me God has a reason and stuff, but that doesn’t take away the pain I am experiencing now. Like, cool, God has a reason, but that reason is keeping me in a place I don’t like…

 

I don’t understand why no one wants me. I so deeply want someone to just give me a chance. And it hurts.

 

But for the most part, if anyone asks, I am doing great! Why do I say that? I mean, yeah, the fact that someone is talking with me does tend to elevate my mood, but I kept thinking today that there was more to it than that…

 

And towards the end of the church service, it clicked. For most of college I wasn’t allowed to talk about what was going on in my life and I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone that I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone. There was a threat that if I did, I would no longer be a student. While I later learned in law class that the contract was not valid because I didn’t have the capacity to contract when it was signed because of the way it was presented to me, I knew instinctively that even so, breaking it was a risk not generally worth taking. Maybe I wouldn’t actually get kicked out of school, but there were people who knew how to make my life more difficult, and they made it clear they weren’t afraid to do so for no reason, so I definitely didn’t need to give them a reason if I didn’t have to. Life became a balancing act.

 

When the biggest part of your life is off limits for conversation, you kind of have to shut down and turn on perpetually happy mode to survive. I mean, there is only so much you can play off as academic stress, and if you are upset and don’t have a good excuse you are going to end up backed up into a corner. It also means for me since that time is when I was doing a lot of my learning about how to use my words after living a lot closer to silence, that I learned that serious conversations had to happen one on one in private places and had to be very serious, because I didn’t want to risk the time I had already survived at school. M was not going to take that away from me. If I was going to stretch the rules, it was going to be either mostly anonymous (like on my blog) or to someone I trusted deeply and something that was important for me to say and it had to be well-understood that this was a private conversation. When you live under that kind of caution you probably naturally are going to be a little slower to learn to open up, and when it comes during the formative years of your conversation skills, you end up missing out on a lot of opportunities to learn how to be real and share about yourself. No kidding I am still playing the I’m fine card.

 

It makes me wonder if how people say that I do really well staying calm in chaos or an emergency is not really so much that I am calmer than anyone else, but that I don’t show it as externally as other people might. Hmm, I wonder if I could shorten my story in such a way as to use that situation as a growing experience?

 

So yeah, all these thoughts came about because the pastor was talking about how despite past hurt God is calling us to be in relationship, and that reminded me, obviously, of the abuse, but it also reminded me of the late night freaking out in a notebook Spring 2017 shortly before Easter because the text one of my friends sent me sounded like she and another friend and potentially others had been talking about me. That possibility was incredibly dangerous for me. Two of those friends did know some things, probably more than I really should have said, and both knew a little more than I would have otherwise been willing to share because both had been involved in my search for a counselor and what they knew putting together the pieces I’d told each one was almost certainly enough to get me in trouble, particularly if they had shared with anyone else. Add that to the fact that I was weeks away from graduation and also that there was so much other pain going on in my life right then, and I was incredibly terrified and felt betrayed. Luckily they had talked to each other and not anyone else, and had really only stayed on a surface level both identifying that I was hurting and dealing with some things I’d asked them to keep private…so they had respected me in ways I had significant experience not being respected, but that night I didn’t know that, and I felt so alone in the pain and sorrow and fear. Looking back it seems silly to have gotten myself so worked up over it; I lost many hours that evening/night over that text…but in the bigger picture living through the abuse at school and the oppression and then the rejection and getting just weeks away from graduation and finding out that maybe because I had trusted someone the graduation was going to be taken away and make all the years of pain for naught, no kidding it was a big deal…I mean, yeah, I could have asked exactly what had transpired *before* I freaked out, but considering everything else going on in my life at the time it wasn’t like I had much (or really any) reserve at the moment to think things through like that…and hind sight it 2020.

 

Y’know, that reminds me that maybe now, too, I should wait to freak out until I see the whole picture. This past week I got the last of my rejection letters. On the positive side, I am done getting rejection until March and it isn’t even February yet…on the negative side, it really hurts to keep getting rejection after rejection. It is scary because maybe I have spent all this money and will end up still with no residency and that is frustrating. I guess I should remember that I don’t have as many interviews as in the past, but I don’t need everyone to interview me just to reject me later. I just need one person to want me enough to hire me.

 

Also, looking back, it is crazy that it was really only like 5-ish years ago that I didn’t really talk at all…it seems like forever ago, but at the same time it feels kind of like yesterday. I might not be the most social person in the world, but considering not that long ago I considered someone my friend if I could say hi maybe 50% of the time if we were alone and I passed that person in the hallway – and I didn’t have many friends, I guess I really have grown a lot and am still learning a lot. I’m not who I was.

Darkness Closes In

(I’m Not Alone – Plumb)

Today I was watching videos because dealing with the residency process is really stressful and stuff and watching videos can take me out of my mind for a little while. In one of the videos, a parent of a child with selective mutism said she wanted her son to have one really close friend that he could speak freely because everyone should have that and she can’t imagine going through life without that. Her statement reminded me of an article I read recently that people without disability tend to overestimate the burden of living with a disability often rating it as an outcome worse than death whereas the disabled person him or herself is often living a happy life. There is certainly a disconnect. She may not be able to imagine going through life that way, but I can. And to be honest, even now I am a lot more able to use my words, but I still can’t speak freely even with my closest friends. What a lot of times might look like spontaneity has really been rehearsed at least inside my head first for quite some time before the words come out via text or via actual speaking. I plan and plan and plan in advance if I can for social outings trying to predict what might happen and how I might respond. And I am SO much more social now than I was not that many years ago. People react to my world thinking it must have been horrible, but really until I started opening up and learning more about the world other people live in, I was pretty darn content with my own little world. Even knowing there is a bigger world out there, I am not devastated about the world I do live in.

So yeah, watching these videos about selective mutism it reminded me that there are other people like me out there and it also made me realize that I wish I had what the kids in the video had. With selective mutism, the longer someone goes without intervention, the more difficult it is to change for a few reasons. First, over time we develop better and better coping mechanisms that let us avoid communication while still getting through life with what we need. Second, the longer we’ve been quiet, the more other people compensate for us and take away opportunities to speak; and related to that, if you haven’t spoken for a longer time you are a lot more likely to attract attention when you finally do say something than you would in a brand new environment where no one would really know the difference. When the focus going directly to you is exactly what terrifies you, enhancing that spotlight by going against what everyone expects makes it even harder. I wish someone had realized there was a problem with my communication skills and coached me into better using my words a lot sooner. Watching these kids (maybe 11-15 years old) coached through things like grocery shopping and interacting with people at tourist attractions and making friends with peers I was so proud of them for using their words, because honestly I still work hard in those situations, but I was also jealous, because if I could have gained my words sooner who knows what path my life might have taken. I would have had a lot easier time making friends in college for sure, but beyond that I am thinking about how if socially I hadn’t struggled so much I wouldn’t have been as severely abused if I was abused at all…Assuming I still ended up in counseling and even assuming I started out the same way picking partially based on my fear of judgment and not switching until the next year, I think taking some of the social concerns out of the picture I would have been a lot more likely to be willing to try off-campus counseling instead of insisting I was going to be okay with someone who clearly wanted to hurt me before I even started a counseling relationship with her. Additionally, with slightly better social skills, I might not have been as good of a target for her abuse. Better able to talk and write, her secrets wouldn’t be as safe with me. She taught me shame to help keep me quiet, but I have to wonder what would have happened if she couldn’t get enough buy in from me on shame in time…Going forward, with more time to learn social skills and with better confidence secondary to not having the backpack of abuse to carry, maybe I could have gotten my dream job the first time around.

I feel frustrated, because I feel like this year is my last chance, and I am getting a lot of rejection, and the places I haven’t been rejected I feel like I don’t have much of a chance because I don’t have the advantage of recent presentations to fall back on so in addition to my admittedly lacking presentation skills, I also have to write the presentations on my own on top of all the other things going on in life. It is hard.

And I have now received rejection from most of the places I was most excited about working. Not at all to say that I am not excited about the two places I am interviewing, but just to say that sometimes the rejection speaks a lot louder than the whispered maybe of an interview.

I told God I would stay alive to live out his plans for my life, but it really feels like he doesn’t have much in the way of plans. It feels like I’ve slipped through the cracks. It feels like maybe I’m just going to be stuck here forever. I don’t feel like I can handle this much longer. I want this year to be the year my story is, as Dan Allender author of the Healing Path would say, one of God’s great ones…but the voices in my head tell me that to get excited is just a way to get more hurt when the inevitable rejection comes and all an interview represents is really delayed rejection.

I mean, I guess I do save the expense of traveling to interviews by being rejected earlier rather than later…but that doesn’t make it feel any better. Let’s be honest, I did already have plans about not only my travels but the apartment I was going to move into and everything if I got certain residencies that I have now received rejection from. I am not giving up until the season really is over, but it is so hard hanging on. Hope is by far one of the most dangerous commitments in life…but without hope I have nothing.

I don’t know how I am going to get through this, but I know I have to.

Somehow I ended up here

(Thy Will Be Done – Hillary Scott)

 

As I was driving back home Saturday night, the radio dude said something like this next song is for anyone who is holding on surviving and they’re not quite sure how. That caught my attention so I paid a little more attention to the song. I know this song, but this time, that lyric “somehow I ended up here” is what stood out to me.

 

Here’s a few a more lyrics to that song.

 

“I’m so confused. I know I heard you loud and clear, so I followed through. Somehow I ended up here. I don’t wanna think I may never understand how my broken heart is a part of your plan. When I try to pray, all I’ve got is hurt and these four words: thy will be done. I know you’re good, but this don’t feel good right now…It’s hard to count it all joy.”

 

It isn’t a song I usually listen to that much, but really thinking about the words I felt so connected. I feel that desperate frustrated sentiment – feeling that I did all the right things and ended up in a very broken place, not understanding how God could let that be my story. How could a good God let me go through this? As I enter into another interview season, the dull ache has started to roar into the very real flames I have been walking through and I am struggling deeply again with all of this.

 

On I think it was Thursday, I told y’all and God that if God wanted me alive then I would remain that way…and, well, on Friday I found myself thinking, God must want me alive. I was not thrilled with that thought, in fact, I was rather resentful that he didn’t understand how much this hurt. How hard it was to live through this pain with no real end in sight. See, I was driving down the road thinking about how I live somewhere it would be pretty hard to die accidentally on the road. Wait, back up, let me give you a little perspective first. On Friday I checked my email and had two emails from residency programs. Neither one had the word interview in the subject line and I just knew. I knew it would be bad news. And I was right. And it is so frustrating, because it is expensive both financially and emotionally to apply to programs – not to mention the time commitment…and one of them was included among what was going to be one of my top choices…and the other was one I was super excited about too…

 

I am afraid that all the work and money and emotion I have put into this will be in vain, that all of this work and stress and money will be spent with all it buying is more rejection. I have faced so much rejection and it is hard because I don’t know why no one wants me. What is wrong with me that no one want me? Will anyone ever want me? When do I just get to give up and admit no one is ever going to want me? It feels like the harder I try and the more I want it, the further away my efforts bring me.

 

And so as I was driving to my parents’ house to get help from my dad at picking out a new phone, I kinda wanted to be dead, despite telling God just the day before that I was willing to stay alive if that was what he wanted. But it’s not like I live somewhere with huge treacherous drop offs on the side of extremely narrow roads where it would be very possible to accidentally die. The more I thought about it, the more I realized even intentionally death via car would be pretty difficult. My car has a very high safety rating, and it would be pretty hard to get up enough speed to cause a fatal one-car “accident.” And while it may or may not be possible to cause a fatal collision with another car, that would be even more wrong to do, because it would pull more people into pain. That is not a good way to solve problems. Not sharing pain is also why I could never actually intentionally cause my own death. Doing so doesn’t usually end your pain, but instead shares it with other people. I know how much I hurt and wouldn’t wish my pain on anyone else.

 

So yeah…with that backdrop, I was driving back to my apartment Saturday night. I was thinking about how we drive down the road with so many other people, yet we are often very alone in our own little existence while in the car. Each car has a person in it with their own story, yet we will likely never know the stories of any of the people who are in such close proximity to us for sometimes significant periods of time. Maybe I am the only one who thinks about this, but I often wonder what is going on in the other people’s lives. Where they might be going right now? Why? How does that fit into the greater story of their lives? I might be right next to that car for an hour yet know absolutely nothing about the person inside when our time is over. This is one of the very few times in our lives in which we will be next to someone for such a period of time and not even have exchanged a hello or a name if not more than that. It often increases my level of compassion for people when these thoughts strike.

 

When people are driving seemingly like idiots, you have to realize that you have no idea how they usually drive and what might be going on in their lives causing them to drive like that right now. It is certainly all because of God that I am still alive right now. Following not matching back in 2017, my world seemingly stopped while the world around me was still carrying on at an ever faster pace. I had to sprint every day to even pretend like I was anywhere close to keeping up. Although my world was stuck in my pain, the rest of the world went on so I still had to drive to rotation every day and still went to church every week…but so much was going on in my head that I had to work really hard to remember which pedal was the brake and which was the gas. At times I couldn’t remember and was barely saved from an accident…and often the tears in my eyes made the road ahead of me blurry…and add that to sleep deprivation making me halfway asleep even when I was awake since I wasn’t sleeping much at night and also struggling to remember how to get places that I’d been going easily for a long time, and you can imagine that I was that idiot driver on the road…but it wasn’t that I was dumb, but just that there was more going on in my story than I could really handle. Realistically, I shouldn’t have made it out of that alive, but somehow I did, and because of that I need to believe that God has a really good reason for it. I have to remain hopeful that someday I might see why I am here. God did not take me this far just to abandon me.

 

Sometimes I wish I were brave like the people I know who successfully committed suicide, but then I realize that while they may have been very brave for a short period of time, they just transferred their pain to other people and that is not okay with me. I would never want anyone to feel the pain that I have experienced in life…and I also have to remember that I am brave too. It takes courage to continue to face every day when all you really want to do is escape. There is no end in sight right now, and that is hard. I want to know that someday I will finally be on another path following my dreams, but it is hard to really believe that when face with all the obstacles of rejection I have faced every year. I want out, but maybe I really am trapped here for life and need to just keep moving along one day at a time.

 

Oh, and totally jumping ship to a different topic, but all my phones in the past have been named Mr. Phoney Pants. I have decided that my new phone’s name is Xena. She is a one of the cheapest phones you can get at Best Buy, but she reminds me a lot of me…lol…which is how I decided she should get her very own name…she CAN do a lot of things that my old phone couldn’t like successfully make a phone call in which both parties can hear what the other is saying and send texts without a few minutes of praying a signal will be found somewhere to make the text go through…but communication still isn’t her strong suit. All the text conversations are a bit jumbled. The words look like probably they are all there, but they are all over the place, so you’d be hard pressed to understand any of the conversations. She doesn’t do things quite the same as everyone else, but she knows what she wants and does that. So yeah…my new phone has a name. And she probably needs a case before she ends up in multiple pieces on the concrete at some point…

I’m Everywhere You Need Me To Be

(The Last Night – Skillet)

So I figured anyone who follows my blog is probably sick of hearing about residency and applications and interviews and stuff…and I’m tired of thinking about it. I just want it all to disappear. Even positive change seems overwhelming at times and there is the very real possibility of not getting interviews and/or facing more failure to match…but that is the last I am going to write about it in this post. I do need to try to prepare for interviews and stuff, but I also need to remember that I am more than the interview process. I still have a life here in the meantime. So since we probs all need a break, I wrote about something else today.

 

In the past I have read that doctors have a high suicide rate and haven’t been able to find much about pharmacists. What I have found in the past is that pharmacists tend to have higher levels of stress than doctors, which I have conjectured would also lead to higher levels of suicide. I have never really thought further than that or questioned what I read, but today that changed a little.

 

Today I was reading a Pharmacists’ Letter CE about suicide, and one of the sections was about risk factors. I have to admit that most of the time when I read something like that I kind of skim because there isn’t usually going to be anything there I don’t already know, but this time, something caught my eye and caused me to slow down and more carefully read the whole thing (except the part that went into excruciating detail about how many questions are on each suicide questionnaire, because ain’t no one got time for that…well, okay, plenty of people have time for that, but as a pharmacist, I am not one of those people). The study that the CE article cited about which occupational groups are at risk took place in New Zealand, so take this with a grain of salt, because I do not know enough about New Zealand to assess for myself how much external validity this study has for the US. The CE writer anyway thought it was relevant, so there’s that…Anyway, female pharmacists were one of the groups with heightened mortality rates. Okay, not too surprised yet…until I got to the next sentence. Doctors are not at high risk. I was also surprised that males in armed forces are at lower than average risk.

 

So yeah. I guess my conjecture was right about pharmacists being at high risk for suicide. I would be interested in finding out more about that – is it a particular type of pharmacist (community, ambulatory, ED, ICU)? At a particular point in their career or life (graduation, first pregnancy, completion of residency, some number of years post-becoming certified)? Sparked by some sort of career-related event (difficult patient death, rejection, failed exam, major error)? I know there are things we probably can’t change like the fact that pharmacy is a field in which 99% isn’t good enough for example, but I wonder if there are modifiable factors in the world of pharmacy that could turn this around. The fact that it was females but not males in pharmacy that ranked at high risk seems telling to me that hidden somewhere is more to the story. I want to know what that factor is and how we can change it, because every death is one too many.

 

Although every death is a real person lost forever, a person who was someone’s friend, family member, etc, these self-inflicted deaths seem to paint a much more cruel picture. I mean, a lot of deaths are self-inflicted to some extent which is why working in healthcare, especially with adults, can be so frustrating at times, but the intentionality of the suicide death sets it apart. There is a very clear cause and effect that anyone can see…and yet the choice is made.

 

I wonder if doctor suicides receive so much attention without being statistically more common because of the doctor heal thyself adage making it seem like more of a stark contrast and maybe even failure of the profession when a doctor dies in an act of suicide. Perhaps it isn’t more common, but more shocking…and potentially more relatable, because doctors get to personally know a large portion of their community, whereas people in other professions likely have a smaller sphere of influence…IDK…this is totally just me thinking things through.

 

I am just one person in a rural community. I can’t change the world by myself. I feel like in some ways it is true that I am not enough…alone I am not able to do anything to really make any difference in these statistics…but that doesn’t mean nothing can ever be done and it doesn’t mean that I can’t have any impact at all. Just like each death is a person, so is each life. If I (and you and everyone) keeps an eye out for the broken and hurting people who might be around us maybe we can unknowingly save enough people to change the statistics…because we all do it differently, but we can make a difference for that one person and all those one person plus one person plus one person can add up to a real impact…just food for thought…

 

…this feels personal to me. I know people who have committed successful suicides (not just through my position as a healthcare professional, but as a real live human person in the world). I know people who have tried or thought about trying. I know people who know people. And there have been times in my life I was not actively suicidal, but longed to be not alive…I am not stupid. I know that very easily my story could have been different. The line between not wanting to be alive and wanting to do something to make that a reality and then the line between that and actually doing it – I want to describe those lines as super totally wide and safe, but I know the reality is that they are thin. As much as I want to describe it as a seven foot high concrete wall that is difficult but not impossible to surmount, I know it is probably a lot more like the barrier on I-75 in Florida this week that was physically present, but for all practical purposes, absent, described as so weak even a motorcycle at safe speeds would not have been slowed much. Just like those children were killed as innocent bystanders as other people’s vehicles careened out of control past the two barriers, it would have been easy for my life to cross those lines. I have God to thank for not answering my desperate constant prayer to take me home. Life is still hard sometimes, but I did not take my life. Neither did God, but honestly His will is more important than mine and if I bring more glory to him alive than getting out of the way then I will live. And I don’t know what great things God might have in store for me later in life.

 

And it is a common problem. I do see it from the other side as a health care professional as well. I try not to go into the charts of the patients on our BH (behavioral health) unit unless absolutely necessary (because HIPAA and especially with that unit because my mental health records were essentially made public in college by Certain Someone and that felt intrusive even though I would have happily given more detail than was in my records to anyone who asked), so I don’t know the amount of suicidal ideation/attempts in BH, but I do know that in our ED (again, in a SMALL community hospital) it is exceedingly rare that we don’t have at least one patient at all times with suicide as their reason for visit, and there are times I check the track board and there are a lot more than one patient here for suicidal ideation/attempts.

 

So yeah, I have no idea where I was going with that, but I guess morale of the story, remember that everyone you encounter has a story and if you listen and care you might save a life without even ever knowing the impact you had. What can you do with what you have?

 

And yeah it is bedtime so that’s all for now 🙂

 

What if You Lose

(Cross that Line – Superchick)

I was watching youtube videos the other day and suddenly I was crying…okay, so it wasn’t exactly sudden, but either way, I was crying. And I was like seriously girl? It is a video and not even a very sad one at that. But then I took like 27 seconds to reflect and was like this is going to sound totally crazy, but I never let myself really feel the pain of not getting a residency the first time (or any time after that for that matter), and I guess watching videos seemed like a time it was safe to feel the emotions of the people in the video. I am empathic, feeling other people’s emotions almost like my own sometimes. I know it probably sounds weird with how much I was hurting to think I wasn’t letting myself feel the pain, but really I did everything I could to not feel what was going on. So yeah, I was impacted and felt it to some extent, but I turned off as much of the pain as I could…and that is probably why I could at least sometimes turn it off and function at least kind of through life for a while…

 

It is how I have dealt with pain of all kinds for basically ever – trying to figure out how to pretend it doesn’t exist. It is a very functional help for very short term, but over time I can see now that I need an outlet. I need a way to express and feel that pain later when it is safe to do so. Instead, I feel like I have been running marathons for years but am expected to not show that I am tired. We could say the marathons started when I didn’t match, but really we should probably scoot it back to at least when I was abused in college, or maybe when I had to change churches on August 10th, 2008. I’ve been trying to outrun the pain for so long…but around every corner I turn I know it is still just barely behind and will catch up to me if I stop…and I don’t know how to stop running. Things in motion tend to stay in motion and I feel like I can’t stop.

 

And like was mentioned in a couple different sessions at midyear that I attended and probably many that I didn’t, there is this internal and sometimes even external pressure as a professional to appear calm and confident and put together at all times. We feel we are not supposed to ever feel sad or frustrated or angry and certainly shouldn’t express those things if somehow we did break and feel them…that is way hard and really seems crazy when you consider what we experience in a normal day – and then add to that the emotional rollercoaster of my career path and you can imagine that a lot of days it feels like a volcano is exploding inside of me while an earthquake rips me apart but I am still smiling and pretending life is awesome and everything is great. And I want out. I want off the ride. I can’t do this forever. I feel like being on the bottom with managers who seem pretty traditional I can’t be the one to break the mold. I have to keep following the herd…but I want out.

 

And residency might be that out, but at the same time there are still a lot of pressures on a resident who also traditionally is supposed to pretend that they are not human and are happy to do anything and everything even if it means staying up late and getting up early to get it done…ASHP is starting to really push initiatives to change this culture and actually have programs take a step back and realize that taking care of their residents might allow them to have a more productive experience and ultimately become better clinicians…but it isn’t a real mandate at this point. Some programs took it to heart and others will likely ignore it or worse pretend they are doing it while really just making a mockery of the concept.

 

And I am still scared that I won’t get a residency at all. And at the same time I am super excited about the residencies I haven’t even interviewed for that I have practically planned inside my head an entire life around…while also feeling so much pressure about the what if I don’t match. What if I have done all of this and tried so hard again and yet again no one wants me? I hate this limbo. With the way the residency process works even if I decide it is a good idea to just constantly keep trying, it really isn’t long from when I get the rejection that it is time to turn around and start the whole process again. And it seems like every cycle that ticks by is another year keeping me circling the same barriered dead end cul de sac that I want out of. I can’t keep doing this…but I also feel like I can’t throw away my education and just quit. I feel trapped.

 

I know that I am a strong candidate and will rock the socks of anyone willing to give me a chance and hire me…but the problem is, if I even make it as far as the interview, that is where I struggle. I work so so hard every day to learn and use social skills, but the interview process is stressful (strike against me) and unpredictable (unable to directly prepare – strike against me) and unfamiliar (unable to try to mimic observed conversation patterns – strike against me). And three strikes and you’re out. Once I became a talker outside of the classroom my social abilities have grown faster than the abilities of other people my age, but when you start at a so much lower level it seems like I’ll never catch up to my peers. The gap gets smaller, but it is still there and if I’m being really honest, I am still learning how to transfer skills from one setting into another so even the skills I’ve learned for the workplace or for church or whatever don’t directly translate into skills in an interview…and interviewing isn’t a situation I really have enough experience with to have skills specific to that situation.

 

I think if they just let me work for them for a while they would probably agree that they want me on their team, but that isn’t how interviews work. Interviews require communication skills and that is just the way it is. No one cares how awesome you are at what you do if you can’t answer all their questions that may or may not be related to your ability to do the work. Plus, there is probably some labor law that prevents people from letting you volunteer your time while they decide if they want to hire you…especially considering the whole issue of licensing since I have a pharmacist license only for my state and my intern license for the one other state I was licensed in expired a week ago…and also there is absolutely no way I could come up with enough PTO for even a week at a few places…

 

So yeah…I am just praying someone is willing to look past my communication skills (or lack thereof) and give me a chance. I want to be the best resident someone ever had, but I can’t if no one will even let me have the title of resident.

I’ll drown in the water if I listen

(Head Underwater – Flyleaf)

 

I have never really been such a fan of new year resolutions. I’m not sure why. Maybe it is the stigma of creating a goal that is only expected to last a week – why bother planning to fail? Maybe it is the result of so many times in my life where really the only goal was survival and adding another challenge on top of that would have just felt laughable. Maybe it is something else entirely. I don’t know.

 

I did this New Year’s Eve Reflection worksheet every year for a while because a blog I liked said I should…but eventually I stopped doing that…and it wasn’t really something that really fit me…I am 90% sure my answers changed minimally each year not because I was an identical person but because the questions weren’t ones that I really knew how to answer. Over the past maybe 8 years or maybe more it seems like picking a word for the year has taken off and become super popular. I never really thought much about joining that bandwagon. It seemed like a lot of pressure to have to pick one word…and the goal was to have a word to reflect on and we have just established that reflection isn’t something I am well-suited for…and everyone on the internet it felt like had these like crazy divine encounters that left them totally certain of what their word should be and I definitely didn’t have that and had no idea what word to pick…

 

And then last year the phrase better not bitter was in my head and I decided that should be my goal for the year…I guess kind of like the one word except that it was three words. I didn’t realize it right away when I picked it, but I am fairly certain it came from the song “I’ll Find You” by LeCrae.

 

Just hang on a little longer my friend. It’s all worth it in the end, but when you’ve got nobody to turn to, just hold on and I’ll find you.

 

I’m hangin’ on by a thread and all I’m clinging to is prayers and every breath is like a battle. I feel like I ain’t come prepared and death’s knockin’ on the front door. Pain’s creepin’ through the back. Fear’s crawlin’ through the windows waiting for them to attack.

 

They say don’t get bitter get better. I’m workin’ on switchin’ them letters, but tell God I’mma need a whole lotta hope keepin’ it together.

 

I’m smiling in everyone’s face. I’m crying whenever they leave the room. They don’t know the battle I face. They don’t understand what I’m going through.

 

The word tryna play with my soul. I’m just tryna find where to go. I’m tryna remember the way. I’m tryna get back to my home, but I can’t do this on my own. That’s why I’m just trusting in you, ‘cuz I don’t know what else to do.

 

They say fear haunts and pain hates. I say pain strengthens and fear drives faith, and I don’t know all of the outcomes and I don’t know what happens tomorrow, but when that ocean of doubt comes, don’t let me drown in my sorrow, and don’t let me stay at the bottom. I feel like this hole is too deep to climb. I’ve been lookin’ for a way out, but I’ll settle for a peace of mind.

 

Picking up all the pieces of my life and hopin’ that I’ll put together somethin’ right. Tell me all I got is all I need. Tell me you gonn help me stand and fight.

 

So was 2018 better than 2017 or am I still working on switching them letters? I mean, I guess when you consider that 2017 I failed at the match twice and the scramble and ultimately had to let go of pretty much every shred of my hopes and dreams, probably 2018 was better. I failed at the match again, but just once…’cause I only tried once. There were certainly hard days, but I made it to the other side…so that should count for something.

 

You know what I think the hardest thing about moving around a lot is? There are people all over the country (slight exaggeration…) who mean the world to me and I have no way to meaningfully tell them hey, thank you so much for being such an awesome person…I mean, a lot of people like that I don’t even have contact information for or I don’t even remember their names…I guess it really is true that you will forget what people said and did, but you not forget how they made you feel.

 

Everyone has different definitions of introvert and extravert…but I find that the best way to describe myself so people kind of understand is that I am currently an introverted extravert. What I mean by that is that I deeply crave being with people and doing life together, but I am often apprehensive of seeking out these opportunities and stuff…and that really big chaotic groups are really hard for me so like the atmosphere at a conference center where everyone is loud and everywhere is completely overwhelming and draining for me. It isn’t that I don’t like loud – I was the one who loved leaning against the speakers at Remedy Drive concerts…and it isn’t that I expressly dislike large groups of people – I do great in a classroom setting…and it isn’t even that I don’t like having a lot going on – I thrive on a fast paced environment…but there is something about that chaos that just really doesn’t agree with me…so anyway, as a result, there are some people who it really does feel like they have practically moved heaven and earth to support me, but so many other people that mean the world to me, but what they did was something they probably didn’t even really realize they were doing – like a few years ago there was someone who got a little note from me expressing my appreciation because I didn’t know her name and she probably didn’t know mine, but it meant so much to me that every time she saw me in the hallway she took the initiative to wave or smile or say hello, and stuff like that is meaningful to me. I am the kind of person who would be thrilled to just get to go sit in someone’s office or living room or kitchen and just be with them…not even necessarily conversing or anything, just being together….my guess would be that people probably get tired of me eventually…but I guess I’ve never asked…

 

Ummm yeah, I have no idea where that came from…it was totally not what I was planning on for this post…but then again not much of today has gone according to plan…I was going to download an audiobook when I got up, but *again* the app said all downloads for the day were gone…I did some laundry…and ended up putting it in the dryer which I almost never do, because I didn’t wanna get up and deal with the wet laundry…and then I had a ton of shopping and cooking I planned on getting done, but my muscles said no, we are sitting on the couch in front of the computer right now…lol…I suppose there is still time…Once I finish writing this I am going to eat dinner and then put on my shoes and go shopping…I’m guessing shopping Friday afternoon is going to be a little busier than doing it in the daytime, but I’ll survive…

 

So yeah…did that…kind of…I wanted to buy: milk, oil, eggs, fruit, vegetables, and a few other things…I came home with oil…arguably the most important since I wanted to make pancakes and needed oil for that, but yes, I am the kind of person who gets overwhelmed in all the choices and just gives up.

 

Also, on the way to Best Buy to try to figure out what phone I want to buy (which I failed at, but hey, at least I tried…and then made plans to go shopping with my dad another time), someone screamed out their window at me. I wish people wouldn’t do that, because it is really really hard to understand what they are saying and so I get frustrated. But anyway. I’m not sure whether they said “you look hot” “where’s your bike” or something totally different…but I decided to go with the positive and assume they thought I looked hot :). Sure, sometimes people say that because they think you are ugly, but I chose to believe that they think I looked awesome…I don’t really put a high value on appearances, but that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate people acknowledging when they think I look nice. It is great because I am always really hard on myself…so it feels really good when without being prompted people find something positive to comment on and go out of their way to do so.

 

I guess that kind of relates to where I am right now with the residency process. I read something on the internet and was like that is totally me. It was talking about how some people talking to them you’d think they were these super impressive people when in reality they are actually pretty mediocre, whereas other people have excelled in a large number of pursuits, but talking with them it would seem like they struggled just to barely pass their classes and didn’t do much else. You can probably imagine which camp I fall into…there are a lot of reasons why, and I honestly don’t think it is *just* the abuse, although that definitely does play a large role. I think part of it is also that throughout school getting good grades was punished and I so desperately wanted just to fit in, but also had this strong inner drive to do whatever it took to achieve…two desires that were ultimately pretty incompatible despite my best efforts.

 

In kindergarten play time was taken away for the kids who knew how to read. After that I transferred to a different school and good grades were punished with having to miss class to go to this ELP class that was basically just taking you out of class to assign meaningless pointless homework while you fall behind of real school. In order to finally get out of that class I had to miss an entire lunch and recess one day, but it was totally worth it. My ELP classmates begged me to come back because I guess it got worse when I left, but I am no idiot. I escaped once and I wasn’t going to go back. Instead I gave them the option of escaping like I did and it was their choice whether or not to weigh out the evils and see which was worth it to them. I think one or two did quit (with a lot less fanfare – apparently my parents gave the school a bit of a talking to after my experience) and the rest made their choice to stay.

 

In middle school and beyond getting good grades means getting intentionally paired with the worst students for group projects so that you have to work even harder for your grade not to be sabotaged. (I will acknowledge that in sixth grade there was a great gifted and talented program that I participated in, but y’know, that wasn’t really enough to cover all the more negative aspects of getting good grades). In middle school getting good grades meant you were lucky to win Panther Pride awards once a year versus the special ed kids who won nearly every single week and the kids who never even turn in their assignments winning like every other month. In high school it meant getting pulled out of class again and it meant having a few friends when large groups were being formed for assignments, but otherwise being ostracized and teased…

 

So I was super excited to go to college where no one would know what my grades were and I could pretend I was failing and therefore become popular. Haha yeah…as it turns out, it is really hard to pretend you are failing out. I don’t know how people figure out that you aren’t actually failing out, but they do and it probably happened before I’d even been there a whole month. And once one person figures it out, the world knows. Nothing is a secret when you get good grades. If one person knows then you better believe they are telling all their friends and acquaintances and you can kiss your prospects of making normal friends goodbye. All you are going to get for the most part is friends who want to copy your homework. (I did find a few really good real friends, but let’s be honest, the vast majority of the people I would still consider my friends from college are staff members…or people who didn’t actually go to my school).

 

So, I mean, take that, and do you really think it is going to be in my nature to brag about myself, or do you think I am going to act like I am the loser I have been trained to think I should be if I want a chance at fitting in? Then add to that my natural shyness and social anxiety…and to that the fact that females tend to be under-sellers of themselves…and to that my strong aversion to dishonesty even by means of exaggeration…and yeah, is it really any surprise I am no good at interviews?

 

Then add to that the abuse. When you’ve been told that no one will even want you enough times, you begin to believe it in the core of your being. And the more times you are rejected, the deeper that false truth sinks in.

 

So like the lyric I chose for this post says, I’ll drown in the water if I listen. I need to choose not to believe the lies that I can’t be a pharmacy resident. I need to choose not to believe the lies that I will never be good enough. Instead I will listen to the random strangers on the streets of my small town telling me that I am hot…lol…my jacket with a hole in the sleeve from falling while playing queen of the mountain with myself sure does make me attractive 🙂 (Yep…I’m still a kid at heart).

 

I’m pretty sure I started this post to talk about my new year’s resolutions (or lack thereof) for this year…funny story…I don’t actually know what those resolutions were going to be at the time I started writing this post…I do remember what I thought of last night which was going out to eat at least once a month…but then I decided that was dumb, because the goal of that was to communicate more confidently to help with interviewing, but the going out to eat was only going to happen once or twice before interviews happened anyway, and that isn’t really going to make much of a difference, I know how to order my hamburger plain medium fries and an apple pie…I don’t know how to interview.

 

Oh, how I so deeply yearn for a position this year. I am so excited…I really can’t take the thought of being here a whole another year and doing it all over again. I want to be the best resident some program has ever had. There are a few in particular I am super pumped about. And I hate that it is very possible I could be in this same place next year just praying someone somewhere will want me. Yes, the interview process is financially costly, but more than that it is emotionally and logistically taxing…after interview season I will be out of PTO for a long time…I’ve been working on the math to find out if I even can take a week off in the summer or not…and I don’t even know if I took the right days off for when people will want to interview me…and I don’t even know if anyone will want to interview me. I wish people would just give me a chance. I feel like if someone would give me a chance at the actual job they wouldn’t regret it, but I get stuck on the application materials and interview process and people are so numbers driven that they aren’t willing to see the actual person behind all those numbers. I understand that is how the pharmacy residency world works, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it.

 

Lol, the interview tips book that I was listening to earlier says you should never pay to apply to jobs…clearly the book wasn’t written with any understanding of the medical profession…if you don’t pay your phorcas fees you don’t get to apply and therefore don’t get a position. That’s just the way it is…the author also lost all respect from me when he said that someone told him once they got a job using Indeed and told him to pass along the great resource and he’s never heard of that resource but maybe check it out if you are looking for a job…like, umm, seriously? How can you at all consider yourself any type of job consultant or anything if you’ve never even heard of Indeed? Indeed obviously won’t get me a residency, but it is an extremely well-known popular job search site. Even if you haven’t ever tried to get a big boy or big girl job I’m sure the majority of the population has heard of Indeed.

 

Totally off topic, but the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence…especially when the grass on the other side of the fence is actually plastic pretend grass and the grass on your side is real grass that is mostly dead because it is currently January.

Let’s use our voice while we still can

(Running Out Of Time – BarlowGirl)

 

So I started writing this post in like September or October but then I got distracted and so now I just found this paragraph and figured I’d finish it…especially because I just got a pamphlet in the mail from the Census Bureau about crime statistics of reported and unreported crimes…how do you have statistics of unreported crimes? Umm, good question…I feel like if you can count them they must not be unreported, but no one asked my opinion.

 

I was reading an article with a chart of how men vs women respond to “how do you avoid being a victim of crime.” The commentary noted that the men basically don’t think about it, but a lot of women have specific things they do…which from a quick skim of the list seemed like pretty stupid ways to prevent becoming a victim, and may even increase risk, but considering what my OCD anxiety had me doing to prevent getting sick, I can’t judge too hard what someone else’s anxiety makes them do. But anyway, the commentary went on to say this was the immensely unfair difference between men and women, because women are so likely to become victims of crime. I read that and laughed out loud. Umm, no, if anything this chart shows the unfair difference is that women are worry warts. I am not sure whether crime statistics show a difference in victim rates between men and women, but I am fairly confident the difference is not nearly as large if it even exists as this article suggests…For that matter, I  really wouldn’t be surprised if the statistics are in the opposite direction and men are more often victims.

 

So yeah, my thoughts then about the difference being anxiety level rather than actual differences in victimization rates was spot on. In 2016, for personal crimes affected males age 12 or older at a rate of 21.8 victims per 1000 people (yes, I know the correct statistical term is persons, but that word sounds dumb to me so I choose to use people because I hate how everyone wants to create their own lingo when we already have plenty of standardized terms). Females age 12 or older were affected at a rate of 21.3 per 1000. So although statistically there is no difference, females actually are less likely to be victims than men, not the other way around like the article tried to suggest. So instead of hidin’ yo’ wife and hidin’ yo’ kids, maybe you should be hidin’ yo’ husband. Have you ever heard that song? It is so funny.

 

Wanna know something else funny? People are all butt-hurt again this year about obsessive Christmas disorder clothing. Like seriously people. It is cute hilarious attire. If it isn’t your style then don’t buy it, but considering it is sold pretty much every year, clearly other people do like it, and just like you are allowed to wear clothes someone else might not like, they can wear clothes you don’t like. Just because it exists doesn’t mean you have to like or buy it, and just because you don’t like or buy it doesn’t mean that other people can’t love those awesome clothes.

 

So, going back to what I was talking about before, I guess I should probably include some definitions. The Census Bureau divides crime into two categories, personal crimes, and property crimes. Property crimes are attempted or completed burglaries, thefts, and motor vehicle thefts (so sounds to me like you could sum that up with just burglaries or thefts since the last one would be a subset of one of the already existing categories, but clearly they didn’t ask me about how I thought they should categorize their data). Personal crimes are everything else including assault, robbery, rape/sexual assault, and purse snatching/pickpocketing. So yeah, in those gender separated statistics they really did include only the crimes where gender could potential be relevant in selecting a victim…’cause stealing an abandoned item in the yard (by far the most common property crime) is just as easy whether the item originally belonged to a female or a male because guess what, they aren’t there to defend their property…but someone could potentially think a woman might be less likely to out-run them or something and choose them to physically grab something from rather than the man next to her…

 

So yeah…women are not more likely to be victims…