Busy Not Bored

Thus ends my 3rd week of being a house officer. On psychiatry.

I’ve got to say, (and it’s probably quite clear) that I’m not having a good time with things at the moment.

This is something I have feared for a while. And I’m not sure if I can clearly articulate it, but I’m going to try to on here. As for now, this blog is the only friend/support/confidant I have.

When I was given the chance to choose my 4 rotations for this year, I had chosen a preference of general medicine, general surgery, cardiology, and medical ED. We were asked to give 10 preferences. The other 8 were different combinations of general medicine, general surgery, orthopedics, and geriatrics. My last preference on that list was the one I got. Psychiatry, general medicine, cardiology, and general surgery.

I had given this a lot of thought. I really wanted 4 rotations where I would be extremely busy. By busy, I mean arriving early, leaving late, and running around all day. That’s what I wanted. I even chose the busiest hospital there was. Everyone else I know is saying that’s crazy. If I were that busy, I’d hate it. And I’d wish to be on a more relaxed rotation.

That’s actually not true. I do better when I don’t have time to stop and think about a lot of things.

A quote comes to mind:

“Left alone, my mind is actually quite dangerous”

On psychiatry, I have no work. On most days, I am done with all my jobs by 11:30am. Yet I have to sit at a desk and while away time until 4:30pm. And that, to me, is torture.

I heard this on the first day when I arrived in psychiatry. They told me I have no work. from 8:30am. I read about some of the patients, but that was done by 9:30am. There was nothing to do.

Except ruminate.

So many times I’ve said that there are these frustrations I have in the back of my mind all the time that are actually growing quite painful recently. New developments in my family and other things and I can see it affecting my mind quite a bit. But it’s not anything I can change or influence myself. But that means all I can do is think about it and stress.

Which I hate.

All I know is that the only way to counter it, is to be busy. I know this works because when I actually do have something to do, like seeing a patient or deciding on a treatment, I don’t have the time to think about other things. I become very focused on the work at hand. If I’m ever idle though, it all comes back.

Which is why psychiatry is the worst rotation for me to be on at the moment. I would happily trade lives with my colleagues on general surgery currently. Anything to find relief from the constant thoughts in my head with problems I cannot fix.

I know it’s only 3 months. And then I’ll actually be off to general medicine and will be much more busy. But it’s only been 3 weeks. And I’m already emotionally tired and sick.

This is quite difficult for me to explain and it probably sounds vague and fluffy. But very very few people in my life know what an anxious person I can be. I imagine things way too vividly. I think about things too much, I have a single thought play over and over in my head until it becomes almost hallucinatory. I don’t tell people these things. When I say few people know, it’s if they’ve ever picked it up on their own. I never talk about my own anxieties. Why bother, really. No one is going to be able to fix it. I don’t come across as an anxious person, apparently. But a single thing can keep me awake for days on end. And currently, many things are. The ongoing stress, is draining. And nobody sees or understands that.

But these things are also making me upset at work. Because I have nothing to do except sit around and pay attention to my thoughts.

I need to find things to keep me busy.

Or hope this rotation goes by really quickly.

Or hope these problems will magically disappear.