On impostor syndrome and the pandemic – my journey through medicine

Recognizing my privilege

Before I begin. I acknowledge the privilege from which I can speak, being afforded a somewhat comfortable and secure career in these uncertain times. The economy is in a state, people are starving, people don’t have secure jobs, people don’t have jobs, period. The pandemic has slapped poverty in many people’s faces. I truly empathize with the many affected. I am privileged, lucky, blessed. That said…

I hate medicine. I hate this job. I despise this career. It truly is not for me. I’ve given it nine years of my life and it in turn has given me respect, comfort, and security. But not much else. And alas, the ‘all else’ is what I truly seek.

The beginning

I brushed it off first in medical school. Convinced myself that I’d fall in love with it when I finally get to save lives, I’ll find the passion when I’m no longer burdened with studying, with ward marks, with six-weekly anxiety-provoking exams. I’ll be a doctor and I’ll love it.

journey through medicine
Graduation
Impostor syndrome

When I started working, waking up anxious and with a heavy heart everyday was explained by claiming I had impostor syndrome. “You don’t believe in yourself, is the problem. You are too tough on yourself. Just shift your thinking. You’re going to get it as soon as you get rid of the debilitating idea that you do not deserve to be a physician” These are the thoughts I forced myself to think, in order to get me out of bed. They only worked to get me out of bed. They did not persuade me that I made the right career choice. I still do not believe I should be a doctor.
One chooses to be a doctor for a myriad of reasons. None of them should be ‘to impress my father, to show him I’m worthy of his approval.’

The pandemic

The emotional tax of this job alone, without the addition of an unexpected pandemic, was enough to make me consider a different path. Now with COVID, emotional and mental health is basically non-existent. As I write this here piece, I just spent about two hours crying. A five month old baby boy, cared for probably more, in the nearly 2 weeks he was with us in hospital, than in his entire life, has demised. This, after fighting AIDS, severe malnutrition, TB, neglect (ABUSE!), and corona virus.

He spent his last days alone, with nursing staff in scary PPE coming in only to feed, give medication and wipe off his bloody diarrhoea, with interns (like myself) in monstrous PPE coming in only to poke and prod to put up intravenous lines and draw blood. He had family by name only, and had not had any visitors since admission. When I tell you, dear friends, I have not cried for a person passing like this, ever, not even family. What level of emotional health is that? May the little nunukins have rest, wherever he is. May his soul rest in peace.

pandemic
Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

We have absolutely no idea how long this pandemic will dwell within our spaces. Or even how deleterious its effects will be on us, mentally, emotionally, financially, socially. Personally, I’ve taken this time to fully reflect on my hatred of this career. I’m not entirely sure where the road leads from here. The series, the invitation into my journey, the story, ends here. However, because of the current state of the world, the pandemic, the love of security, respect and comfort, my journey through medicine, and consequent reflections, continues.

Friends, what have you been reflecting on during the pandemic? What things have you found out about yourself, the world in this time period? Let me know down in the comments.

Thank you all for engaging with me through this journey. The series ends here. Watch for my next series through the month of September 🙂

Published by blaqandgoldblog

Life seen through a black girl's lens

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