hit a wall of generalised despair..(15 Posts)
so, I left my city job to study medicine. I am mid twenties. I'm simultaneously sitting some leftover finals and I've signed up to a masters by research (law) from january
I have a preschool son who I never see, I had a hellish year of work/exams last year and I sacrificed his childhood basically and now it has hit me, why am I doing this? I have stopped going to class (NOT a good idea at med school) and feel really really down
I think my main problems are that I miss my job, that I have parental guilt, that SFE still haven't processed most of my application, that I am overworking with the extra bits (also writing articles and speaking at conferences - unpaid, but worth doing- and seriously involved in emergency medicine and 12 hour A&E/ambulance/helicopter shifts) I am having a childcare nightmare and DS's father who provides no support at all is furious that Ileft and is attempting to get custody (this would be dreadful for DS). The problems at university stem from me feeling old and out of place, like I can't fit in at all and like I don't want to. I have so much life experience it's hard for me to gel with my cohort. I should have done the shorter course but didn't.
Also my ex knows where I study and I'm scared of him appearing. And it takes me a good hour + in the morning to get there.
is it worth it? I won't be a doctor until DS is 6, maybe 7, I think he will hate me for giving him a childhood of poverty and no mother. I don't know how to balance it at all, I have so much work on that it's so hard to be a good parent.
sorry just grumpy I just thought eugh I can't do it anymore. Sound a bit pathetic ....
You sound like you're punishing yourself - maybe even punishing yourself for having him. Can student services help? Even if it's just finding you someone to talk to IRL.
You're a hard worker, obviously, and someone who can get things done. Make a new life plan. Break all these problems down. Career first. Pull out of the Masters and schedule it for (say) three years time. Will it really make a difference over the course of a career if you do it later? Do only the things that you need to do now to provide yourself with a stable (note, not meteoric) career. Your career as a doctor is what is going to provide for your son long term. And it will make him proud of you. Can you change to the short course? Do you really want to, or is that just because if problems in your personal life? If you get your career on a stable footing, other things will fall into place.
Now your personal life. Do you have reason to be scared of your ex? Do you need to talk to a lawyer or to the police? I bet student services could advise you there too. Do you have old friends from before uni? Don't worry too much about your cohort. You're there to work. Friends would be a bonus and will come with time. Concentrate on yourself and your lovely boy.
Now childcare. Who looks after DS for you when you do shifts? Do you have an uber-reliable, available nights, childminder? Or do you rely in family? Maybe someone here has some ideas, so bump for the morning crowd.
No idea if any of this helps, but you sound so, so capable. I bet you can fix this. Sleep now. Start in the morning. <yawns>
Persevere. If you will be a doctor by the time DS is 7, by the time he's 12 he will barely remember you NOT being one. Most people remember very little of their early years by the time they're grown up - all this is harder on you than it is on him.
Bit confused though - are you studying law and studying medicine and taking leftover finals and writing articles and speaking at conferences and working in emergency medicine all at the same time, while raising your son without support? no wonder you're fed up
In answer to your last question, Holla- erm, yes! I did law, I worked in a really great firm, I sabotaged it and left because I was too happy there and I'd always wanted medicine..that was 2 years ago..I have some exams I have to sit in May. I'm doing all the stuff at the same time. I also have been helping a friend with her accounts and she has totally abused that, not paid me for my time when I have no time anyway, she kept me there til midnight etc but I've pretty much stopped now.
I guess I am punishing myself in a way, the course in itself is not the problem. weirdly I think I am like this because the course isn't hard enough so I take on more and more and more and more work. This might be a bit of a pattern, when I was working in the city and sitting exams I was also taking a case to the european court of HR by myself and chairing meetings in chambers, and taking on another probono case, outside the remit of my work, and I did half an OU degree in Spanish/literature, on top of the law.
I don't really know why I do this because it always reaches a point where I suddenly can't cope. If I could be more normal then I wouldn't take on so many extra things.
I had to speak recently at a huge conference with scary scary HUGELY famous influential clever people there (last week) and article deadlines are floating about and I don't know where to start. I'm on 2 ethics committees and I teach first aid, and rock climb, and do ashtanga yoga and upside down pilates and circuits. I have done no filing all year.
I just felt so miserable earlier and was in tears leaving the university just thinking I wish I'd never done this.
Childcare has been a disaster. I had a nursery, then I had to move house loads so DS went to stay with my family for a bit, then he was back with me, then back with them. The nursery fees are obviously crazy expensive and my hours make it so hard to have him and be a normal mum. I am meant to have him 100% of the time from next week, and that's also partly why I'm a bit worried. I don't know how I can do this= I have nobody to help (my family live a 5 hour drive away! and they're not able to help any longer) the nursery are cheesed off with me now and poor DS will be so unsettled as he has friends there, but misses London when he is there.
I do have good reason to be scared of my ex he promised to kill me and it was a very bad relationship, he was violent and it took immense courage, really, to leave. He is furious that I left. He's already got me a CCJ (by squatting in my old flat). He is terribly malicious.
bleurgh. Sorry to wallow in self pity. thank you for your replies though. Right I have to be awake in 2 hours...oh dear, might just stay up!
unclefluffly you're right I should pull out of the masters, logically that makes sense. I should not be doing 2/3 degrees at once! Also I think I have a drive to be meteoric, so just doing enough to succeed at medical school is far too low a task (makes me sound like a right twunt, I'm nice IRL honestly). I'm sure I'm punishing myself (I started 7 A levels, 2 of which were in secret because they said 4 was the maximum but permitted 5 with a harsh warning) I always feel like I am a disappointment no matter what I achieve, and now I feel like I lack some kind of professional worth because I left my job.
Thank you for pointing out DS won't remember, if I ever become a doctor, that I wasn't one before.
It's just so hard right now and seems so far ahead. I have lots of people telling me I have my priorities wrong and I need to just be a mum. I cannot do that (I am on my own I need to provide for him long term).
anyway sorry for my epic vent here, thanks
gosh... I wondered about you being up at this hour! (I am not in the UK.) You sound like a compulsive overachiever. What can you drop (hint: sounds like you need to drop more than one thing)? Do you start lots of things and not finish them? Which of your commitments could you most easily wrap up and put to bed, or at least put on hold?
Yeah I have a very nasty habit of starting things and not finishing them. I did come joint top of my year last year though in med school, not an easy task, but the students I had most contact with were utterly convinced I would fail. I think I am a compulsive overachiever at heart but in reality I take on so much at the same time I'm spinning so many different plates. I just don't know how to slow down and be a bit more normal, I envy the others who can acually do their work at weekends. My weekends are spent doing multiple 12 hour emergency shifts or doing some accounting or doing some law paper writing or researching journals for article purposes or chasing about on endless trains to see my son or take my son places. I never do the work I am supposed to do. In 3 and a bit hours I have to present a 45 min slot about a differential diagnosis case and I have no idea what to say because I wasn't even in the lectures and I've pretty much stopped caring.
sorry moaning again! I think studing is always going to be tougher with the added dimension of children. I really didn't think about the additional tolls of the course I chose though, the endless assignments, presentations, exams, placements. My placements are all over and they go on so late. All the other things I'm committed to are evening-based things that are not compatible with a DC. I think I will have to drop most of it really, but that's jarring with my need to do loads of things, so I haven't done it yet.
Thinking it through, I suppose emergency care is really important but I can't do as much as I would like. I guess the article writing and the law can fit into evenings at home with DS, but nothing else can really. I think I should probably leave weekends to do things with him, I cannot get any work done with him so it's tough to manage my time.
It's just a bit depressing to think I will have a blanket ban on any pther activity, be it emergency care or yoga or samba or debating or whatever it may be that evening, I just can't do any of it. DS is wonderful I don't mind but I almost feel I need to compensate for my stereotype (I was NOT the type needed in a city law firm because I had to leave on time to collect him from childcare, I was told I did it all wrong by having him quite young, so I feel I need to be super competent to counter some of this)
I will have a power nap and awake feeling less despondent. Thanks for understanding
To be completely blunt, what you are doing is unhealthy for both you and your son and you seem to be setting yourself up for a massive fall. No matter how bright you are and what a hard worker you are (and to achieve what you have you must be both to a great degree) what you are trying to do is just not possible. There are only so many hours in the day. I don't think you're doing your son a disservice by trying to become a doctor while he's little. I do think you'll be doing him a disservice if you carry on trying to take on so much extra on top of that. Your life needs balance.
I don't wish to engage in internet diagnosis but do you have downs where nothing gets done too as well as these times of massive activity? Taking on far too much, setting unrealistic goals, which to you seem reasonable, and staying up all night (going by the times of your posts) could all be signs that you need to consider your own mental health here. If you burn out then you will be unable to achieve anything until you've recovered.
Although being a mum should not be your only priority it should be high up on the list and ultimately you have to make difficult choices about what you can and cannot do.
Hi Fork thank you for taking the time to read my ranty posts and for such a considered reply. I don't have downs when nothing gets done, like truly depressive downs, but emotionally I have massive dark cloud days. I still whizz about doing stuff, but I'm often on the verge of tears and generally hating myself as I do it, wishing I'd made different decisions. I guess being a doctor is quite a lot of work in itself I really need to stop making it harder, I don't know why I do that.
Thanks I think I need to maybe pull out of the masters at least (though I feel like SUCH a failure for even typing that!! mental health...questionable!)
I agree with Fork. From what you have posted, you seem to have two passions. The first is to be a good parent, and the second is to become a doctor.
Both of these can be extremely difficult in their own right, and combined together must be quite something. I'm guessing that you must have a support network, because nurseries don't cover night shifts, at least not in my experience. Even so, I think that you should focus on what you need to do.
To spell it out, you need to qualify as a doctor. You do not need to all the additional things. I'm quite sure that your cv is impressive as it is! I'm concerned that you will overburden yourself and risk failing medical school. You need to defer your masters and concentrate on your medical studies.
I woudn't worry about not fitting in with the young ones. You will probably find some of them are similar to you. I firmly believe that age has little to do with finding things in common. I have friends in their 20's and friends in their 50's, and can have a conversation with them all. I'm also considering going back to university soon and I'm
an old glimmer 40.
Best of luck, and don't make things more difficult for yourself than they need to be!
thanks the only way I can do nights/12 hours is when DS is with my mother, but she is very far away- I don't have anyone in London despite living here forever, my peers are either much older and wouldn't know what to do with a child as they've never had one, or they're my age and many have busy social lives (what's that!?) or have moved away after university. I think I really am at risk of failing. I have more exams in January and currently would not be able toa nswer a single question. Rankings are important in medical school too so I really need to do well, which means learning all ofthis year's material in a couple of weeks when I will have DS full time. Agh it's so hard to shelve the law but I am taking in what everyone's said. To me, the expectations aren't unrealistic but to anyone else.....hmm
I think the age thing will matter less, I have many friends older than me but maybe only one or two who are younger. I'm okay with it but it's when people ASK me my age and I feel a bit old :-/ it's just another thing I've been a bit down about, when training is so long anyway. I think I've just been a bit miserable of late, non-specifically.
Anyway thank you I just need to shake the feeling that I'm a failure if I don't do all the law at the same time..
No one can give the full attention needed to law, medicine and a child. I think that is what your post is saying, that you realise that and it is making you utterly miserable.
Law is a seductive mistress, she lures you in but you have left her for medicine. Which might be a far more sensible option for your Son. Because Doctors, whilst working incredibly long hours (which if your previous life was law, you are used to) are also hours which allow for a family life. Your son will be proud of your achievements and will inherit your hard work ethic. But I doubt you will want him to emulate your over achieving - which you may well be doing because you don't feel worthy. Yet you are - an impressive mother who has achieved more than most of us.
So, as you would advise a client, cut out all the extraneous stuff, and concentrate on where you want to be - then make your plan to get there. Be single minded about it and apply it to your medicine and your DS. Bung DVD's on for DS to watch (he will love you for this!) and study. Make him sandwiches to graze on. Take him out for a walk, and use that as a break for you and to bond with him. Use the skills you aquired as a lawyer, to become the best mother and doctor you can. Good luck.
Thank you I feel a bit calmer now. Thank you for your comments, it just got a bit overwhelming I think you're right I need to focus on what I want to do now, and stop throwing obstacles in my way to make my life even harder than it has to be. I always go for the hardest option. DVDs and walks, this is achievable!