Sunday, February 21, 2010

winter slump: a meta-analysis

i think i get it now
these past 2 weeks on heme/onc have been a trying time. work-wise, it's been a frustrating -- and sometimes baffling -- period, with more than one unspeakable tragedy occurring among our patients. one would think that with horrible things happening to completely innocent people, i'd be able to glide through my own little tribulations easily, a whopping dose of perspective staring me right in the face every morning on rounds.

but instead, the opposite was true. i have been a mess these past 2 weeks. instead of grieving (out loud or in silence) about the utter unfairness -- stupidity, even! -- that puts the lives of toddlers and teens in jeopardy, i've just bristled at every little mishap, every annoying page. and on a parallel vein, with some personal things, instead of addressing/talking about the more important life issues that are stressing me out, i've just made a mess of the little details -- my workout schedule, for example.

i have never felt simultaneously so lazy and exhausted. i've been sleeping erratically, never feeling rested. and i have been missing josh, just feeling lonely while eating supbar dinners and going to sleep in a cold and overly-spacious bed. my mood, thoughts, drive -- they're all very february. and there's a reason someone decided to make this one the shortest month.

well, so now what?
yes, it's a good plan.

my heme/onc month is now over. and while i wouldn't say my next rotation is necessarily uber-uplifting (i'll be working with special-needs kids of all types), it at least comes with a better lifestyle so that i won't be surrounded by it seemingly 24/7. josh is coming off of night float, so i get him back from the nocturnal abyss! and maybe -- just maybe the NC weather will cooperate with a few more glimpses of spring (today was gorgeous but i was in the hospital all day and basically missed it all).

your comments yesterday were extremely sweet and supportive! thank you. but honestly, i feel that i'm ready for a swift kick in the rear (only one of you gave me even a hint of one -- and i definitely appreciated the honesty!). part of my problem, i think, is that with all of the action outlined above, i entered into several vicious (and borderline toxic) cycles. just a couple of the main ones:

feeling down/tired --> skipping workouts/runs and subpar eating choices --> feeling more down/tired --> repeat ad nauseum.

feeling overwhelmed --> avoiding working on projects --> feeling more overwhelmed --> you get the picture.

the way out of this mess, as i see it, is to just jump back in, doing one thing at a time. the first run, or the first thing tackled on my to-do list will be the hardest, but i am confident that things will slide into place. and i look forward to feeling like my energetic, upbeat self again!

just so you don't think i've lost the ability to smile
allie, susan, sara, lucy (my wonderful coworker), josh, and i met up at one of my favorite spots, the belgian gastropub Mill Town.

company like that can always turn my frown upside-down (excuse my fluffy anthro jacket in this shot!). the beer didn't hurt, either. for a culinary run-down (including a shot of my absolute favorite brew accompaniment ever), check out allie's recap.


  1. Sarah, I am sorry life is sucking right now. Give it a few weeks and you'll feel better, I'm sure.

  2. I can relate to everything in this post...thank you so much for sharing though, it's relieving to know others are feeling the same. Things will get better though - spring and new schedules are just around the corner.

  3. Anonymous9:46 PM

    I think you're being too hard on yourself for having a hard time. It happens. You don't have to be a chipper, uber-productive person at all times. You're allowed to have a bad day, or hell, a bad month.

    You'll get through it though. I have faith! Winter sucks.

  4. I totally understand. We've got several kids who are having a stinky time right now and here I am complaining that I have more patients than my co-resident! Come on, Claire! I'm ready for a reprieve from H/O but also not so sure that going into a call month will provide that. :-) So glad that you're getting Josh back!

  5. Anonymous11:16 PM

    your job right now is so tough! you are such a strong person though that i know youll make it though.

    glad to know that your surrounding yourself with friends to pick you up!

  6. Stephanie8:49 AM

    I really appreciate when you have honest discussions like this on the blog.

    For one, I think anyone who thinks about time management (so, probably 90% of the population, or at least blog-reading population) struggles with the same obstacles.

    Secondly, for those of us who also read for the health/fitness aspects, this is a huge issue! If finding time and motivation to work and eat well were easy, we'd all do it without a second thought!

    All that being said, I think we know that you recognize the challenges of a hectic schedule v. the challenges of watching your child fight disease (or some better example)... but I think it's ok to also recognize that "bad" isn't black and white... there are gradations of "bad" things that can happen... your husband being on night shift is bad, and its ok to be bummed out by that even if it isn't as bad as some of the medical situations you see.

    Whew, sorry, that was long and not very eloquent.

    Anyways, I like thought your discussion of your recent mood was thoughtful, and it made me think about how I get in to similar cycles myself. Interesting stuff!

  7. I think this definitely sounds like February. There is something about this month that just feels kind of draining and suffocating...and always makes spring sweeter when it FINALLY gets here. Don't get even further down on yourself for feeling down, hard as that may be. I second the third commenter--you're allowed to feel whiny, lazy, and ungrateful sometimes!

  8. to all: thank you all for your kind, wise, and thoughtful words. your advice helped me a lot yesterday and today!

  9. stephanie: i espcially liked what you said about the gradations. it's so easy to get caught in a black/white frame of mind!

  10. I hope Saturday night was a little sunshine in your life, even if you missed it all on Sunday. I know it was a great night for fun to meet up with you ladies (and Josh!). I think February is one of those months where everyone starts to feel it...even the happy people of the world get a little down with the craziness and waiting for spring. Almost there. :)