It seems I’ve often started entries like that. Perhaps it’s a longing for a simpler time, when the Internet was easily accessible by only those who knew how, and a simple hello world was an incidental communication that everyone understood as an “I am here.” For me it has, I suppose, become a simple mechanism of reminding myself that I exist. Doesn’t that sound depressing? Well, perhaps that’s because of how I’m feeling at the moment. No, dear reader, I’m not feeling particularly depressed, but I am bathing in the subtle melancholy that has been my default state of mind for the past decade or more.
Let me spin you a story. At the time of my last entry, life was grand. I had been working as a doctor for a certain amount of time – approximately 3 or 4 months – and I was enjoying myself. I’d probably just commenced my surgical rotation, from memory, and life was ticking along in his noble a fashion as it could’ve been. Two or three weeks later, that was different. I’ve never dealt very well with rejection, and never have dealt very well with relationships ending. When you’re in a position where you think you found The One, it is a bit hard to deal with the fact that that doesn’t prove to be true. At any rate, my relationship with the girl I referred to on this diary as Miss Butterfly ended in early May. I was shocked, horrified, pleading, self-destructive, and rapidly cycling emotionally from complete highs to complete lows: and that was all just in my head. Luckily, remembering how my last breakup experience went, I was proactive. I spent time with close friends, I saw a counsellor, I received medical assistance to help me sleep, and I had several of my most favourite people in the world come to stay.
Life moved on. And although it was an empty life, to some extent, it was liberated.
Over the next few months, several significant life events occurred. I underwent my first-ever general anaesthetic, to which, I’ve been told, I was hilarious to behold. I sat interviews for general practice training, as a means to get in to palliative training down the track, and despite being a doctor only six months on the job, I scored in the top 10% of applicants in Australia. Naturally gratifying, if slightly unexpected. That said, I’ve often been called an overachiever, a high achiever, or just fucking nuts.
I continued to work as a doctor, completing my surgical term, and working in the emergency department. I enjoyed ED a lot more than I thought I would, I was working with a lovely group of people, fantastic supervisors, and it was nice to be doing real medicine again. Then, moved onto psychiatry.
Psychiatry has always been a mixed blessing for me. In fact, I have often been told that I would make a good psychiatrist, and have been complimented on the quality of my work. What is not understood by the people I work with is how difficult I find walking onto the ward, every single day, and making it through the 8 to 9 hours that I spend their without turning into a blubbering nervous wreck. I remember, as you may if you’ve read this blog before, and/or have far too much time & the use of the search tool on your hands, that several years ago in medical school when I did my psychiatric rotation with my dear friend Kate, that on day two upon leaving the ward she and I both turned to each other and said, I think I need a huge hug. I almost suffered a complete breakdown on my psychiatric rotation. It’s not a proper post here without a slight amount of pop psychology, so let me just throw in that as an infj, I tend to walk through life with my empathy dialled up to 11. This, I have found, is highly self-destructive on a psychiatric term. In a psych unit, there are patients who’ve lost the ability to be themselves. This is an affront to human dignity and is something that I most abhor.
As such, psychiatry is to me most difficult to deal with. I was however, aware that this was likely to occur on this rotation, and as such I entered into it with an open mind, and with the expectation that I needed to dial myself down. This was going well until the middle of my third week of term. It was on a Wednesday, just before lunch, but I managed to inform a patient that he was not permitted to go on escorted leave that day, and thus was punched in the face. Security were present, and the patient reacted aggressively regardless. He was sedated, collected by the police, and taken to a more secure unit. I was shaken, but managed to compartmentalise it as something that, well, had been properly risk managed, and as such there was no potential for any other result at that time.
Exciting story, what?
So that’s work. I’ve been on leave for two weeks, which was planned before my assault, and has been a combination of incredibly relaxing and anxiety provoking. Relaxing in that I got to go home, visit my family, caught up with some of my most beloved people in the world, and drank a lot of good coffee. 😉
Anxiety inducing, in that Things seem to be happening between myself and one of my closest friends in Tamworth. This was… Unexpected. Not badly timed, not unwelcome, just incredibly difficult for me to currently deal with. Let me set the scene. In Tamworth, I have three close friends. We are a… Gang of four, if you will. Three of them are female, and there is me. Now, I find myself increasingly attracted to, inspired by, and unable to get off my mind, one of these three in particular. Luckily for me, she happens to be the single one of the three. Looking at the situation, I am fairly sure that there is some reciprocal interest on her part as well. From friendly/close body language, to continue gentle teasing, to finding even my most inane jokes hilarious, to the occasional glance across the room, to shared smiles and winks, I am fairly sure that I am not making up the signs.
I discussed the situation with my shall we say best friend, Meghan. Although she issued a caveat that it is incredibly hard to tell without personally knowing the people involved, she agreed with my opinion. This was both gratifying, and terrifying. Gratifying, because it’s nice to know that even when I’m having the effect of the high school crush as an adult, I’m not completely misreading things-I hope. Terrifying, in that I now to do something about it. Oh yes, I am aware of how pathetic & insignificant that sounds. I am, however, poorly equipped to deal with this situation. For a start, I find it incredibly hard to express these feelings in the spoken rather than the written word. I also have found that my autonomic responses i.e. adrenaline shock, increased heart rate, and mood swings make finding the right moment difficult. There was almost a right moment last night, until I decided, probably incorrectly, to wait.
Yesterday, I also went and had a chat with a psychologist, which is always a very liberating and very damaging experience. Liberating because it is nice to talk to someone and turn off all of my filters. They have been only five people in my whole life whom I am able to speak to with absolute honesty, filter-less (I’ve been in relationships with two of them, one of them is the aforesaid spelling mode Meghan, one of them is an old friend from Sydney, and the other curiously enough is this new friend in Tamworth – a good sign?). Damaging, because it brings certain things to the surface that I typically keep drowned far beneath.
At any rate, the psychologist’s opinion of my current state? Ask this girl out. I have, I told her, always put the greater good above myself. This is a very infj thing to do. Other people are more important, and remain so. I’m aware that this is self-destructive. I am aware that it is self pitying. But as Amanda the psychologist said yesterday, “you deserve to be happy too.” She’s right. As much as anyone does deserve it, I do as well. I just wish that it wasn’t so damn difficult, and that I could easily summon the courage to make it happen.
I suppose I am also terrified, that the answer will be no. The signs seemed to point to the opposite, my pessimism tends to reject them.
I can’t go on like this. I am careening from functional to non-functional and I suspect that there is an enormous positive potential in this situation, I just find myself overcome with dread that I could be wrong.
I wish there was some way to know. As a friend up here said last night, at dinner time, when I mentioned to him that I thought I was going to go for it-he is one of those up here who has, I am sure, picked up on matters, but is the only one to have commented thus far-he said that there’s only really one way to know for sure. He is right.
Wish me luck, dear diary. You’ve been a record of many depressive, and happy things over the years. Why don’t we kick off with a happy one this time.