Life After Medicine

What to do when you’re profoundly unhappy in your career

November 16, 2023 Chelsea Turgeon Season 1 Episode 128
Life After Medicine
What to do when you’re profoundly unhappy in your career
Show Notes Transcript

If you are in that place where you DREAD going into work everyday, this is the episode for you. It’s one of those episodes where I bring out the residency journal, and it is SO freaking powerful.

So in this episode I read directly from my journal in September of 2018, right before I took my leave of absence. It will definitely provide you with a sense of feeling seen and like you are not alone, but it’s also so much more than that.

In this episode I share

  • the journaling method that effectively saved my life
  • 3 cognitive distortions that will make a bad situation even worse
  • how to start feeling more hopeful when you are going through your dark night of the soul.

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Life After Medicine FB Group
Connect with a community of like-minded healthcare professionals seeking career change support
https://www.facebook.com/groups/leavemedicine/members

Find me on your fav social media platform for more daily content!
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coachchelsmd/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ChelseaTurgeonMD
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/coachchelsmd/

Welcome to the Life After Medicine podcast, where we help you create a fulfilling and non traditional career as a healthcare worker. I'm your host, Chelsea Turchin. In 2019, I left the hustle and grind of my OBGYN residency and set out to create a fulfilling career on my own terms. Now I'm a best selling author, career and burnout coach, and world traveler. Through this podcast, I'll show you how to enjoy your work, make an impact, and support yourself financially. Without all the stress and burnout you are currently experiencing. Let's get to the show. Five of the most common problems I see medical professionals struggling with right now, dread, Every time they drive into work, not showing up as their best selves for loved ones and really not having the energy to live their lives, jumping into a new job only to feel that same stress, same lack of fulfillment. And in the past year, having a moment that made them realize They were trapped in the wrong career. If you're experiencing any of these problems, you're not alone. The reason you feel trapped is because you have a lack of direction. Going into medicine, there's such a clear path that is all laid out for you. If you start to think about deviating from that path, there's not a clear direction. Medicine can feel like this one way street with no off ramps. And that is why I've created the Life After Medicine Facebook group. It's a place for like minded healthcare professionals to come together and Share the paths they've taken, how they've created a career that they enjoy on their own terms. So if you want to receive actionable advice from healthcare professionals who are creating careers that give them freedom and fulfillment, come join us in the Life After Medicine Facebook group today. Click the link in the show notes. You can join the Facebook group and start working towards a career that gives you freedom and fulfillment. I'll see you inside. This episode drops you right into my dark night of the soul. So there's this quote from Dante's Divine Comedy that says, Midway through the journey of life, I found myself in a dark forest, for the right way was lost. And that's exactly the feeling that we're starting with in this podcast episode. We're starting right in that moment where I was waking up to the fact that I was completely lost and completely trapped in the wrong career. And so if you are in that place where you dread going into work every day, this episode is going to be so helpful for you. It's one of those episodes where I bring out my residency journal, which is just such a powerful tool for you guys to see. Exactly the mental state I was in. So in this episode, I read directly from my journal in September of 2018, right before I took my leave of absence. And it will definitely provide you with a sense of like, feeling seen and feeling like you're not alone, but really, it is so much more than that. In this episode, I share the journaling method I used that effectively saved my life and is the reason. That I ended up leaving medicine and getting my life back. I share three cognitive distortions that will make a bad situation even worse than I did all of those. But I want to share with you kind of what they are so that you can stop doing them. Once you recognize these distortions and how they're making everything worse, you can actually stop doing them. And ultimately, I talk through how to start feeling more hopeful. When you are going through your dark night of the soul. So if you are feeling like you are lost in a dark forest and like you don't know the right way to go or the right place to turn, may this episode be exactly the medicine you need right now. Let's go ahead and get to the show. Hello, my loves, and welcome to a solo episode of the Life After Medicine podcast. Today, as I am recording this, I have tried to find a quiet space in this beach villa that I'm hanging out in. I'm recording this from Diani Beach, which is off the coast of California. Kenya and I'm here just for a long weekend from Friday through Monday with some friends staying at this gorgeous villa. But within this villa, it has been hard to find a quiet place to record this. Um, but I think I've like run away and sequestered myself in a room. While some of the people are off at a beach bar and some people are in the pool. So I'm hoping I don't get interrupted, but please excuse, you know, if there's any background noise or audio quality things, I just want to kind of give you the context of where I'm at and where I am so that you understand, but I really wanted to jump on here. And record this podcast episode today because what I want to share with you is my some journal entries from back when I was in residency. So these journal entries are from September and October of 2018 and I'm going to read some with you, but I think this is going to be an episode that is part one of several parts where I walk you through my. Journal entries and sort of dissect them a little bit. And my reasons for doing this, one is I want to share them with you. So you know that you're not alone. So you really understand that I get it, that I've been there. I know that now four years later, my life looks so different and there's times when I can barely connect to that version of me who was feeling stuck and trapped in residency. And so I literally travel. with this journal. And I don't have many things I travel with. I travel and carry on only. So I don't have many belongings. And one of the things that makes the cut every single time is this four year old journal from my time in residency. I travel with it and I read through it every now and then just to connect to who I was back then so that I can better understand all of you. Um, and I'm going to talk a little bit about how I came to understand my clients and really remember sort of where I came from and what I was struggling with at that time. So part of it is just to share with you that you're not alone to take you back to this time when I was in residency, I was in this same situation, but also I want to dissect it to go through what are some of the things I did. did that made my situation worse? Like, what are some of the things that really made me unhappy and miserable and that were sort of prolonging the misery? And then also sharing and highlighting some of the things I did that helped me get out of my situation and ultimately led me to the life where I am now. So I think today I'm going to read three or four journal entries and dissect them. And then if this is something you guys like, I'll go ahead and read some more because I have a ton. I have an entire journal. Full of entries that goes from the end of the end of my time in residency and all the way through the beginning of my time in South Korea. So it's a really interesting time where I was trying to calibrate and make this huge transition. And I know that a lot of you are going through a career transition. And so that going through these journal entries and reading them out to you is something that might be beneficial to you. All right, let's go ahead and get started. September 27th, 2018. I decided it was time to buy a new journal, mainly because I was on such a spending spree at Marshalls and this one seemed cute. I'm also in such a rut recently and needed a pick me up or 12. I am so burnt out and exhausted and feeling so bitter and resentful about my current life circumstances. I'm in so much pain because I'm feeling such acute resistance to what is. I'm feeling so angry about the current state of my life. I'm dwelling on my lack. I'm comparing myself to others. I'm feeling exhausted and lonely and underappreciated and isolated, like I'm just not connecting with people recently. Dear universe, please help me. Help me to find my inner peace. Help me to accept what is and to appreciate all the many blessings and good things in my life. I don't want to ask you to help me power through because that's not what I want. I don't want to white knuckle or continue to drag myself along every day. I want to find a way, a different way, to approach the whole thing. Please help me to use my off time in a way that recharges me more. Please help me to let go of my resentment. Maybe that is going to require facing it head on to get to the root cause. Digging into it so I can understand it better. Please give me the courage to do this tough work. Please help me to stop feeling so isolated and alone. Help me to find pauses and spaces in my day to feel connected with the universe and those around me. Help me to seek and appreciate connection of all kinds. And then I transitioned out of my prayer to the universe and I go back into some of my self pity and anger and stream of consciousness sort of stuff. Okay. I just feel so rundown and angry and helpless and hopeless right now. And like I'm being dragged along through this nightmare that I have no control of. Why am I here right now? Why am I selling my soul and giving more of myself than I can afford to this career and this lifestyle that is so draining to me? Why am I alone? Why is it so difficult for me to find somebody to date, and to love, and to be with? I feel so low and helpless, and I just want so badly to find my person. Where is he? What is wrong with me that I can't seem to find somebody? How can I get out of this self pity spiral? Am I doing something wrong in the way I'm living my life? Is there something inherently wrong with me or how I'm carrying myself through this world? Am I too selfish? Too depressed? Do I drink too much? Is it that I take Adderall? What is it? And how do I fix it? Do I just need to love myself more? Work on appreciation more? Meditate more often? Am I focusing on the wrong thing entirely? Should I just take the rest of second year off dating and really just focus on myself loving myself developing such a strong self love and self confidence that I can't feel lonely and I feel such happiness from within that feels energetically better than all of this self pity and misery. Is it true that the feeling of loneliness means I'm deeply in need of myself? Universe, please guide me and help me to listen to you. My only intention this weekend is to tap into your guidance and let you lead me into a more peaceful approach. I have so much resistance to release and I feel like in many ways I have taken steps backwards during residency due to my perceived lack of time. I love you so much. Please help me and guide me. I'm at the end of myself right now. Help me lean into the love you have for me and help me to release the fear of not being enough and the fear of being alone. There is so much love all around me. Help me to recognize it and become a part of it. Help me to release the illusion that we are separate. Help me to feel the oneness that is my true nature. Help me to trust in you and trust that everything is unfolding in my favor. Help me to seek the light and lean into the love. Okay, so that was my first journal entry, and it is quite a doozy. There is so much there that I want to unpack. The first thing is the style of journal entry. So it really is stream of consciousness. I'm not going off of any prompts. I'm just really... Almost like throwing up all my thoughts and emotions onto the paper. And then on top of that, sometimes, so like I kind of go through this, you know, word vomit, get everything out. And then I go through phases where I'm essentially praying to the universe through my journal. And this is still how I journal now. It's like, I get out all the hard stuff, all the pain, all the things that make me feel low, and then at the end of that, once that's. out of me, there's just sort of prayer that comes out prayer that flows through me. And it really is an interesting style of journaling that I don't know if I got that from anywhere, but it's just sort of how I naturally flow from one thing to the other and sort of how my mind works. And so that is something that you. Can adopt as well, if that is interesting to you. And that's something I have my clients do. I always have them write up prayers to the universe and, you know, journal to your intuition and sort of allow yourself to open up and to surrender to something bigger than you. But we'll talk more about that in the things that I did well. First, I want to talk about the things I was doing that were making me more miserable that were essentially prolonging this sense of unhappiness. And this is not to blame myself or to. To say anything negative about myself. It's just now from this hindsight experience and from working with clients who are going through something similar, I just want to point out some of the behaviors and thought patterns that don't help when you're in this situation, just so that you can bring some loving awareness to them, some curiosity to them, and maybe start to shift them because there's no point in continuing to think things or, or act in a certain way. If it's. just prolonging your unhappiness. So first thing that was making me miserable and this is situational like due to the situation was really the lack of time and energy from my job in medicine. We're going to get into more of this in the future entries that I go through, but I was just working so many hours and then I was so exhausted that in the little meager amount of time that I had remaining, it just felt impossible to do things, to take care of myself and to connect with people and all of that, that sort of relates into the loneliness aspect. So, and we'll talk about this more in the second entry, but essentially like not being in a job where I could be my authentic self, that was really hard feeling like I couldn't be relatable to other people feeling like I was putting on this mask. I wrote this blog post called the mask of professionalism, and that is something that Trying to, to be this character, trying to play this role and not feeling like you can just like relax and be who you are, but that you're always trying to calibrate to impress other people or to become something or to, to show that you're a certain way that is so lonely. And on top of that, I also felt this loneliness from not being in an intimate relationship because. If you guys have read my book, Residency Dropout, in 2017, so like during, like about a year prior to when I wrote this journal entry, I went through a really painful breakup with the guy I was dating in med school, and then, you know, I had a year to start recovering from that breakup, but in that time, I was So busy in residency that I felt like I didn't have time to date. I didn't have time to meet someone and I just didn't have the time required to dedicate to a relationship. And that felt really made me feel really lonely. And especially I was in a program where I've almost everyone else in my program was in a long term relationship. And so that it didn't feel like there was as much. Camaraderie outside of work because people would get home and want to just hang out with their partners. And I felt like, well, I don't have a partner to hang out with when I get home. And so then I started to feel lonely from that as well. Um, so that was a huge part of what was making me miserable is just lacking connection, lacking time to cultivate connection and. Feeling like I was sort of an other within my program because I was one of the few single people where almost everyone else was in a relationship. And that made me feel just different than everyone else. And that was just sort of hard to navigate when you're already so busy with so many other things, not really having a support system. And then, so there were some situational things that were making me unhappy, but there was also. Some thought patterns and thought distortions that were going on that were also really contributing to my unhappiness. One of them was the what's wrong with me type questions. I get into that, especially when I was thinking about being single, right? So instead of trying to work through And a logical explanation for why I'm alone. All I felt was this emotional explanation of what's wrong with me. Am I doing something wrong in the way I'm living my life? Am I too selfish? Too depressed? Do I drink too much? Is it that I take Adderall? So I'm pointing to all of these behavioral patterns. Within myself and thinking like, these are signs that are, these are, like, these are the reasons that I'm single. This is an inherent flaw that I have. And that's a painful way to think. It's painful to think that there has, one, that there has to be a reason that you're single. That there has to be something wrong with you if, if you're single. That, like, you know, point, like, this is something I really hate when people I meet and it's like, they're trying to be complimentary by being like, Essentially saying like, wow, you're so amazing. Why are you still single? But what they're really asking is what is wrong with you that nobody wants to be with you. And that's essentially the way I was acting. And it wasn't just that I did that within my romantic relationships or lack thereof. It's that I, that was a thought pattern I had that I carried with me to my career and to every other. Aspect of my life, if things were going wrong or if things felt off, I admit immediately blamed myself. Like what's wrong with me. And that I did that for a lot of residency. What's wrong with me that I can't stay awake for 24 hours at a time. What's wrong with me that I don't love being in the operating room. Like all of these things where you start to turn it back to yourself and ask what's wrong with me. And that's a thought pattern and a thought distortion. That's really painful and it can lead to a lot of unhappiness over time. What's interesting is during the journal entry itself, I recognized that one of the huge causes of my suffering was that I was in acute resistance to what is, so I wasn't accepting my current situation and that was causing even more pain. So examples of me. Not accepting my situation. I was feeling anger about it. I was feeling resentment about it. I was feeling regret about the choices I had made that led me up into this current situation. Those were all ways that I was resisting and not accepting what is, and I'm reading. This book right now where the author talks about like pain equals pain, but then pain plus nonacceptance equals suffering. So essentially what she's saying is we're all going to have situations in our life that are painful, where we experience a level of pain, where maybe we lose someone we love, or we go through a breakup, or we're, we're in a toxic work environment, or we're in a job and then we get fired from a job, right? So pain is a part of life, but then when you have this painful experience. And you refuse to accept it as something that happened to you, that's when you become even more entrenched in your suffering. And so that's essentially what was happening to me. And I started to recognize it. It's that it's not just that I was unhappy in residency. It's that I was unhappy and I couldn't accept that I had. That this is what my life was and that I was so unhappy with it. And partly because I had built it all up so much. I built it all up that like, once I got to this place, I'll have made it. And so it was really hard to accept that. No, I got to this place and I'm still really unhappy. And that sort of leads me into my next part, which is that. In the, in the blog, not in the blog post, in the journal entry, I talked a lot about, um, finding my person, like, where is he? I just want to find my person. I just want to be in a relationship. And essentially what I'm doing in that thought pattern, and yes, of course, I want connection. I want, um, to not feel so lonely. And so it makes sense that I'm, Sort of writing all of those different things. Like I understand where I'm coming from, but this whole idea of like finding my person, that's like a rescue fantasy. And it's an example of the arrival fallacy. Essentially, I'm thinking that the reason I'm unhappy is, is just like super black and white. I'm unhappy because and lonely because I'm single. If I find a relationship. everything will be okay. Finding a partner will save me from this misery that I'm in. It's this rescue fantasy. And, and so maybe some of you are not thinking that exact thing. Maybe you already have a partner in a relationship and, and then you realize, look, it, it doesn't save you. It is still a lot of hard work to maintain a relationship, right? So maybe some of you have a partner, but you're thinking, well, if I buy this new, beautiful house, then it will save or if I get to this, um, if I get this promotion. That will save me. If I get to this one, it's just having like this, any external thing or this, any time in the future, that's going to solve all of my problems. And the thing is, it's just not true. No one event or one person is going to fix everything in your life. Unfortunately, sometimes. There are adjustments and changes that need to be made that are part of the process of creating a happier life for yourself. But there's also going to be a lot of the internal stuff that you have to work on too. And it almost is like it makes it too easy. It allows you to. To not make any changes in your current life. If you're always thinking something else is going to come along and save you. But in order to, to be in a career where you really feel happy and to create a life where you really feel happy, there's a lot of things that need to happen. There's internal changes and shifts in the thought patterns and the way you see the world, overcoming your negativity bias, lots of just like internal work, but then also the bigger. External changes as well. And this is all part of the work that I do with my clients as we work through authentic career alignment and getting them into a career that is a reflection of who they are. So those were some of the thought patterns and distortions that were. Sort of prolonging my misery and making me unhappy. And I also, I want to point something out when I was talking about acceptance and like non acceptance, how not accepting my situation was making, was causing more suffering. Um, let's be, I want to be clear about this, that when I say acceptance, I don't mean just like passively, like if I accept my situation, that means I passively do nothing to change the situation. That's not it, but you do need to accept. That this is the situation you're in in order to change it. I think Eckhart Tolle, one of my favorite spiritual teachers who I've read a lot of during this time, he talked about like, let's say that you're in quicksand accepting that you're in quicksand doesn't mean resigning yourself. Like, Oh, I'm in quicksand. Let me just resign myself to the fact that I'm here. I'll always be here. There's nothing I can do to change it. And I'm done. And I will just die in this quicksand. It's like you accept it. And with that acceptance, there comes an ability to be like, okay, so this is the problem. And now I know the landscape of the problem that I'm in. I'm better equipped to fix it. So I'm not gonna try to like shuffle around like a crazy person to get out. I'm gonna. Um, stay still and do whatever it is you need to do to get out of quicksand. So it's like, it's not about accepting and then resigning yourself to the misery of the situation, but it's accepting exactly where you are so that you can use that knowledge and the information of where you are and leverage that to make a change. Okay. And now I want to talk about some of the things that I did well in the sense of these are the things that helped me ultimately get out of my painful situation. And the first one is just literally the fact that I journaled about it. I mean, when I look through this journal, It's this journal saved my life in so many ways because I got all of my painful thoughts out of my head and onto paper. And this is one of the things I do with my clients when I make them do all of these workbooks and I just have them journal through so many of their things and they're, you know, the, the things that are going wrong because journaling is what got me through. So part of journaling is just like bringing awareness. To all of the pain that is going on in your life and acknowledging it and then starting to look for patterns and like, Oh, well, yesterday I joined out about this and I was unhappy. And then I said the same thing today and again and again, and journaling just brings this level of awareness. To your thought patterns. It brings awareness to your circumstances and it also just helps to release and relieve some of the pain because you're getting it out of your head and onto paper. So one of the things I did really well and did right at the time was just that I wrote it out. And so for you, you know, maybe you don't like putting pen to paper, but I do encourage you to have some sort of outlet, whether it's like leaving voice notes for yourself to just sort of get out all of your. Pain and misery or typing things out, writing it down, going to a therapist, um, anything that really just helps you to put language to why you're struggling and why you're feeling unhappy because the more you have to articulate it, the more insights you will gain into your psyche and into what is really wrong because you have to, you have to know what are the parts of this that aren't working for me so you can know where to intervene and make some changes. Okay. And then something else that I, that I did well, that turns out to be really helpful to get me out of this painful situation was having this spiritual connection. So as you'll notice, I write about the universe a lot and I think about like the light and the love and all of that. And while it might sound cheesy, what it really did was it helped me get through having a connection to something bigger than myself really helped me. To ask different questions and just to, to surrender in a way. So that's sort of one of the next parts is I reached out for help, right? In all of these journal entries, I talk about universe, please help me to find a new way to approach the whole thing. Universe, please help me to see things differently, right? I'm at the end of myself. And when you're at the end of yourself, there is a power there because I surrendered. Right. One of the main things I said is, I don't want to ask you to help me power through because that's not what I want. So I was starting to see that there might be a different way to approach things that hustling improving might not be the answer that just white knuckling and holding my breath and trying to get through something that didn't feel like the answer anymore. I had done that all through med school. I had done that during my intern year. And my whole illusion around that being the way or the answer, it was shattered and it wasn't working. And I was starting to shift all of my spiritual beliefs. One of the, the big quotes that really started to connect with me was there is no happy ending to an unhappy journey. That's from Abraham Hicks, who's another spiritual teacher. And I started to see the truth of that. Like, When you're unhappy all along the way, it's not like you're going to arrive and suddenly be happy. That's not how it works. It's about enjoying the process and the journey. And if you're not enjoying, it doesn't mean enjoying every minute of every day on the journey, but if you're not enjoying the actual journey, why do you think you're going to arrive? Again, this is a rival fallacy as well arrive. And then all of a sudden, everything's okay. And you're happy. And I was just starting to see that's not the way. And as I was starting to see that, I was just starting to reach out for help because I didn't know what to do. I was feeling so lost. Everything I thought I knew about how to approach life and how to achieve happiness and how to be successful, all of that was just starting to crumble and shatter. And I was feeling lost. Spiritually, all of those things. I was feeling disillusioned. I was just feeling sad and lonely and just going through this really dark night of the soul. And I didn't know what to do. And so I reached out for help and it wasn't like I wasn't physically asking anyone around me for help at that point. But I was opening myself up to be helped. I was just sort of surrendering and saying like, I don't know what to do here. I feel lost and turned around. And just that level of openness where I was able to just tell the universe, like, Hey, I don't know what to do. I think that's one of the things that set into motion, my program director reaching out to me and asking like. Me to take a leave of absence and saying I needed to take some time off because by surrendering, by saying, Hey, I'm stuck. I'm lost. I don't have the answers. I just think that opened up a level of guidance and intervention that otherwise I maybe wouldn't have been open to. Okay. Next entry is a shorter one, so this is from the next day, September 29th, 2018. It's so funny how now that I'm in residency with the least amount of free time ever. All I want to do is live my life. I just want to be a normal person and spend time with friends and go hiking and have time to go grocery shopping and go to the park and ride my bike and have all my weekends to do whatever I want. I could care less about my career or making a difference in the world or prestige or glitz and glam. I don't care about impressing people. I just want to hang out with them, relate to them. When I'm working as an OBGYN, I don't feel relatable at all. I feel like I'm trying to be this secret superhero who is trying to act relatable, but it's all this act and I can't just be real with my patients. Or anyone, I'm so, so over residency. Please, universe help me because I feel trapped. I feel like there is no way out. My ultimate plan right now is to take my camper van to Utah and just never come back. So in this journal entry, I am really starting to feel this lack of connection and this lack of relatability, and those things started to become so important to me. And it's because I realized the way I was going about trying to connect wasn't working. So I used to think that if I got to this certain point in my career, right, if I achieved a certain level of prestige and success, that people would admire me and that that admiration would translate into real relationships and connection. But I started to realize that as I achieved and sort of got myself up onto this pedestal to where I was above other people at that place. There wasn't connection there. There was just this sense of like, you're supposed to be up on this level of. Being a doctor where you don't have to sleep as much as everyone else and where, you know, the answers to things that other people don't know. And you have to make decisions and you just carry this huge weight on your shoulders at that level. And it just felt like. The reason I was trying to be a doctor in the first place was all like null and void, because I think I wanted to do it subconsciously. I didn't realize this at the time, but it's like, the reason I wanted to do it was because I wanted to feel like I belonged. I wanted to feel like I mattered. I wanted to feel like people were maybe like paying attention to me or loving me and caring for me or something like that. And. I just started to realize, like, I don't feel connected at all when I'm here, when I'm a doctor, when I'm trying to work as an OBGYN, I just feel lonelier than ever. And, and so all of that, that was just starting to shatter my illusion. And I started to realize that, like, what I really wanted. Was just to like be surrounded by friends and to connect with people and to laugh and to just have my time to do what I wanted and I was starting to see like, this is what I really want. And this is not compatible with the life that I chose as an OBGYN. And so I was starting to see how, how much The things I wanted in the life I had chosen were at odds and that was scary to admit and to acknowledge. But again, that's one of the powers of journaling is you just start to get honest with yourself about what you really want. Okay, let's do one more journal entry for today, and then if you guys like this style of episode, I am happy to do more because I have a whole entire journal, as you can hear, the pages full of posts that we can talk about. So this next one is from the very next day again. So I wrote three days in a row, September 30th, 2018. I feel so defeated and profoundly miserable. That's really all I got for you today. I can't put my finger on exactly what I hate about residency, other than the sheer high volume of hours that I'm working, the lack of sleep, and the lack of time to do anything else. I'm so fed up and sick of it. I'm honestly starting to get angry. I also feel so isolated and alone. Dearest Universe, I need your grace right now. I need help seeing this whole thing differently. How can I find a way to be happy? I can't keep living like this, feeling like I'm being dragged along every day. I can't keep feeling so encumbered in misery and dread all the time. I feel so trapped and powerless, like there's no way out of my own life. I just want to scream or crumble. or both. I'm starting to hate the patience. Essentially, what I'm doing right now amounts to an overall miserable approach to life. This is not how I want my days to be. Is there any way to find happiness in the current way I'm living? Okay. So two things I want to point out here. One is that as I was journaling, so as I got to even just day three of journaling, I was starting to come to some conclusions that like, I can't keep doing this. This is not working for me. Right. I said, essentially what I'm doing right now amounts to an overall miserable approach to life. So as I wrote things out, things became, it became clear to me. That this was not a sustainable way to live, and I had probably been living like this for a while, but the fact that I started really writing it out, it all came to a head much more quickly that I could not keep doing. Things the way that I was doing them. So that's a big one is having that realization of like, I don't know what needs to change, but I know something needs to change because this is not going to work for me anymore. That is a big point to get to. It's scary to get to that point because especially when you don't know exactly what needs to change, but having that honesty to just be real with yourself and say, you know what? This is. This is what I need. This is not going to work for me anymore. That's huge. And then the next part was that last question I asked, is there any way to find happiness in the current way I'm living, or do I need to make some big changes? So I want you guys to know that at that point, I was scared to death at the idea of making some big changes. I didn't even love the idea of like, not taking Adderall anymore or stopping drinking. Like all of those things felt so drastic. I didn't even want to consider the idea of like leaving residency or trying to start a business or starting to travel. Like all of those things, that those huge changes, those didn't feel real. Those felt like escape fantasies, like driving my camper van into the deserts of Utah. Like all of those things felt fake. But in this moment, I, I asked the question, like, can I just continue? Like what I wanted to do, I wanted to be able to fix things in a smaller way. You know, if I just do some mindset work, if I work on gratitude journaling to overcome my negativity bias, if I pray more, if I meditate more, if I fit in more time for yoga, if I find a relationship, right. I desperately wanted to find a way to be happy. Without rocking the boat too much. Yes, I was going to have to make some changes, but I didn't want to have to do too much. And all of those things are so important. And those are things that have been instrumental even now as I'm traveling. So all of the mindset work, all of the gratitude, prayer, meditation, those daily routines are so important. And yet. Would not have been sufficient if I had stayed in my old environment in my old situation, partly because the time and energy required to do life in medicine to to work in medicine doesn't really allow you to do life outside of medicine. And so. That was a huge thing to where it's like, I can't really do all of those smaller things realistically and continue my life in medicine. But in this moment, so like, I did not want to make any big changes. I wanted to do things in a smaller way. So just so you know, like that wasn't what I initially wanted. Like I would love, I would have loved to be able to find a way to be happy. In what I was currently doing, but more and more, I was starting to realize, shoot, I don't think this is going to work. I don't think I'm going to find a way to be happy in medicine. My soul is calling me outside of the hospital. My soul wants to be outside. My soul wants to travel and be free and to have this expansion and spaciousness in my days. I want to go to cafes and work from there and it just was not Going to be possible in my current environment. And when I asked this question, this is one of the first times I'm starting to open up to the fact that, Oh, I might need to make some big changes. So this was a pretty pivotal moment in the journey. So what I want to encourage you guys to do is to take some time to journal. Spend some time over the next week, spend a little bit of time every day, just writing down. How am I feeling today? What happened today? What is going on? What are some of the emotions that are going through me? What are some of the thoughts that are going through me? Just spend some time. Doing a daily check in. It can be really short. It doesn't have to be anything too hectic, but just spend some time maybe at the end of each day thinking of like, what happened today and how do I feel about it? And then just let yourself write because every time you put pen to paper and you bring this awareness to your day, that helps you to get out of autopilot. That helps you to bring some intentionality. To your day and to your life, it helps you to bookend each day and to start thinking about like, is this life that I'm living in line with the life I want to be living? Otherwise, life just starts to slip away from you. Like quicksand. If you don't take some time to actively stop and think about how each day is going and what you're doing and is it in line with who you want to be and your values and all of those things. That is such important work doing this daily practice of journaling and you know, don't, you don't have to make it too all consuming, but I would just say, can you spend 10 minutes before going to bed writing whatever comes out of your mind? About what happened that day and how you feel about it. And just answering those two questions could start to lead you to some clarity. So I hope you found this episode helpful. Let me know if you want to hear more episodes of me reading from my journal and sort of dissecting some of the things that I did well, things that were not helping me just so that you can start to have some guidance and support. On your own career transition journey, wherever you are. Thank you so much for listening. I love you guys so much and come and join the Facebook group to join the conversation that we will have after each episode to really connect further and take these topics even deeper. All right. Until next time I hope you enjoyed this episode of the Life After Medicine podcast. Make sure to leave a review and subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode. If you want to continue the conversation, share your takeaways, and connect with other like minded healthcare workers, then come join us in the Life After Medicine Facebook group. The link to join the group is in the show notes. I can't wait to connect with you further.