Monday, August 24, 2015

Trouble the Water

Its 2am. I’m lying in bed, wide awake having exhausted my Netflix playlist. I try to close my eyes, but sleep won’t come. I stare up at the ceiling and my mind turns to worry as it is apt to do every night around this time.

“Am I using too much water?”
“Is this mole cancerous?”
“What’s that noise?”
“What am I going to wear tomorrow?”
“Am I studying enough?”
“Did I talk too much during doctoring?”
“Do people like me?”
“Do I like me?”

Around and around and around….worry grips me.

I have always been a worrier. Ever since I was a little kid. I can remember telling my mom how much I was worrying. Apparently, its normal for children to worry. And no wonder, young souls have such little control over their lives, worrying seems like a good option. But I thought it would get better in adulthood. I thought I would have things figured out.

We have precious little control over our lives. If anything has helped to make that clear, its being in medical school. People get sick and die and there is so little we can do about it.

When I do fall asleep, I dream that I am in trouble. I have paid my rent in chocolate coins and the landlords are not happy about it. I try to explain that I didn’t know, that I thought it was okay, that I wasn’t trying to hurt anyone. I wake up covered in sweat with dragon breath, as the sun pours in my window. Thank God it was just a dream, (note to self, chocolate money is evil but delicious).

Thanks in part to my psychiatrist mother and my Marin County upbringing, I like finding deeper meaning in my dreams. Take home message—I am wound way too tightly. I have so much trouble letting go of the grip of my anxiety that Kara found testing my reflexes impossible and we had to use Jack instead. I can’t relax in mind and apparently not in my biceps muscles. If I do, then surely it will all go to hell. So I’ll stay up worrying, guarding the night, in case it all goes horribly wrong.

I am so scared I’ll mess up my time here in medical school. I worked so hard to get here, I couldn’t bear to watch it all come tumbling down like a house of cards with the slightest movement of air. So I don’t dare breathe at all.

“Hurry up and graduate,” my dad said to me over lunch yesterday. He’s tired of paying my rent (in real money I might add) and footing the bill for my coffee/wine habit.

I want to hurry up and graduate too. I want to get out before the devil knows I’m here. Before they see the only sensible thing to do would be to kick me out. But part of me knows this is only the start.

"Will I get sued?"
"Will I kill someone?"
"How will I know how to make someone better?"
"How do I break bad news?"
"Will people like me?"

Will I ever sleep again?

I wish I was better. Smarter maybe. Skinnier for sure. A better writer. A better friend. Maybe then I could relax. My fears are real. And I can't find my way out. Fear keeps me safe. And motivated. And afraid. I both relish its presence and curse it. I wonder what it feels like to live without it, but its such a part of me I'm not sure I want to. 

When I was really little and my parents would wake me up in the morning I used to say, "Its a beautiful sunny day." Even when it was pouring with rain. I wish I could go back to that--channel my inner carefree 2 year old.

Today at least, it is a beautiful sunny day. I'm not sure that it will be tomorrow, but today it is. And today matters. Today I am a medical student.

Today I will let that be enough.

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