RunawayJul 26, 2022
My first experience with burnout occurred as early as my first year of medical school. At that point, I felt like much of my education was essentially body mechanics. I felt like the 'humanity' in medicine was just not part of the curriculum. Would that come later? I hoped so. I had gotten through half of the academic year, when all of a sudden, I felt this strong thought came over me. "Run away."
"Excuse me?" I thought to myself.
"Go. Go as far as you can from this place."
"You have got to be kidding me."
"This life that you are creating for yourself is toxic. Look at yourself."
I knew it was true. I was in the school library. It was 2 am. There were maybe 1 or 2 other students there.
The impulse was so strong, I couldn't even concentrate. I gave in, and started looking online for options. Where do I go? What will I do? Can I tie this in with medicine? My young world had already revolved so long around creating my future career that I had a hard time separating from it.
Night after night, I took breaks and looked up various options. Long story short, I came across an organization called Child Family Health International. I managed to obtain grant money from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation to help pay down my travel. I got to see a totally different side of medicine. It enlivened me. We hiked from village to village in India and worked with the underserved and (often) uneducated. I learned about different, complementary modalities, such as Meditation, Ayurveda, Yoga, and Naturopathy, where the focus was on wellness - not just of the body, but of the mind and spirit. The balance between longevity through wellness and treating acute illness was much more obvious. I recognized that there was a difference between being a doctor and a healer, and one could become both. Understanding this seemingly small, but fundamental truth, was life-changing. It helped me to become who I was meant to be.
Sometimes, we hear these whispers in our mind. While the ideas may seem wild at times, maybe there's a reason that the whisper is there in the first place. Pay attention, because it's coming from you... perhaps a side of you that you might be fearful of.... That same side of you holds many profound gifts if you're willing to listen. You don't always need to act on the things that are said, but don't be afraid to ask yourself what that whisper is about. Allow the answers to come without judgment. You might be surprised at what you find.
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