Medical school was a trying time. I have of course pushed you through focusing on medicine for each of you since you were two. I want greatness from both my sons. I had once looked into going into investment banking in college but looking into my future I looked at work/ home lifestyle, money, flexibility, as well as job security. They were few options but I chose wisely and have always wanted the same for you, which is why you have been steered.
There was time I came very close to quitting. I have always been an introvert and coming to the wards was difficult. Attending are usually extroverts who push you to speak in front of assemblies and conferences. There is also much constructive criticism and just plain criticism. As both introverts, you know that sometimes you just need to recharge when you have been out in public. The long days and call nights caused me anxiety with no time to wind down. This lead to run away anxiety and a desperation to escape. I became depressed and withdrawn. I decided to speak to the dean about leaving. I was ultimately given a month to think about my future and decide.
The first person I told as I had this breakdown was your mother. She was supportive and left me dignified in an empathy only a female can provide with no other words on my future. I wanted to leave town and forget this place. My father was not understanding but was panicked and rushed to force me to get better. There was only talk of ‘not good enough,’ ‘not for everybody,’ and ‘why not just keep going.’ He was disappointed and did not seek to help me but rather judge.
I did not speak on the future for two weeks. My mind and nerves calmed. I went on anti-depressants for a few months. I broke free of Memphis and got back to Florida. I felt free but unfinished. I have an inner sense of duty and it told me to get better and get back to work. Your mother trusted that I would come to this conclusion on my own eventually. She supported until I pulled through.
I attacked the wards with an outgoingness. I spoke first and often. I did not allow myself to feel the judgement of others as I just unplugged from emotion at work. I got used to long bouts and long recoveries when I had time off. I adapted and found myself stronger for it.
During that month, I made a decision that could have greatly impacted my life. I could have quit and gone back to business, but I felt an urge to conquer my fears and win. I wanted to quit; I wanted to be absolved. Still I could not look myself in the eye in the mirror. There is an inner drive that makes you move eventually. If we strive and listen and pull together, nothing can stop your greatness.
If you succumb to what is easy, possible, or comfortable you will find yourself a nameless faceless person as you will not recognize yourself in weakness. I had a glimpse of ultimate defeat, and I do not want to experience it again. Defeat comes not from losing, but from giving up. Losing is part of life, but defeat is a choice. You cannot be defeated if you choose to get back up. Persistence will lead to victory. I do hope this begins the path to getting your legs back underneath you when you read this one day. I know you will.