Archive for Fear

Motivation

What motivates me?? That question makes me LOL because my motives have changed throughout the years and sometimes sound a little ludicrous to me. 🙂 Initially, I was motivated to go to undergrad both out of ideal beliefs that I could save the environment from the soils of society. I was motivated out of fear, believing if I didn’t go to college, I wouldn’t be happy , have enough money. And I went to college simply because “It was what I was supposed to do” since I was always in the college-prep classes in high school due to my “exemplary intelligence”. I quit college after 2.5 years, motivated by fear and discontent and intrigued by the thought that I COULD quit and steer my life in any direction I wanted. During the winter after I quit school, I worked at Pinkham Notch and met J. After a year in “the working world” aka working at Pinkham notch, on a farm, cafe and greenhouse, I did one semester of adult education at Vermont College, realizing how much I LOVED organic chemistry (I had one semester of it before quiting) and that Vermont College was not were I was going to satisfy my nerdy desires. 6 months later I was enrolled at UNH for a degree in Biochemistry and my eventual disillusionment of the scientific community as the place where all questions could be answered. It was also at UNH where I learned about osteopathic medicine and I thought it was the perfect combination of medical knowledge/practice and an openness to the more spiritual side of healing. Today, my motivations include

1. A desire for basic medical competence to gain/maintain respect by my peers, my patients and my educators as well as for me to feel grounded in the workings of medical practice

2. Enhance my palpation and osteopathic treatment skills to boost my confidence and ultimately help to alleviate the suffering of my patients

3. learn as much as I can about myself and my own health in order to assist others to fully realize their own health. This includes spiritual and physical health.

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Self-love

I believe honesty is at the heart of love – love to self and others.  I don’t want to be one of those people who outwardly professes to have complete self-love and contentedness.  Inevitably there are going to be times when I get frustrated with myself or find myself slipping back into feelings of self-loathing.   However, I am in the process of going through a honest shift or perspective.  Thanks to the many hours of driving and listening “The Art of Happiness” with the Dalai Lama and “The New Earth” by Eckhart Tolle, the wisdom of these books have embedded themselves into my daily consciousness.  I’ll be talking about different aspects of my life and relaying the teachings as I incorporate them into my life.  This entry is about self-love.

The Dalai Lama was shocked to discover there is such a concept as self-loathing when he talked with psychiatrists and psychologists from western culture.  It amazed him so much because the discipline found in Buddhism is there to keep buddhist desires in check because they love themselves too much.  He goes on to conclude that even people who have self-loathing, in fact, love themselves by following the argument: we want people we love to be happy (i.e. not to suffer) and we want ourselves to be happy, therefore we must love ourselves.  I’ve also heard from another source years ago that depression is actually selfish.  In fact, it is down right ridiculous.  If we want ourselves to be happy, why do we become depressed?  A very good friend says it is part of the corporate monsters that control our lives and I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the primary cause.  HOWEVER, we can still be happy if we:

1. Realize depression is selfish- it is helping no one and makes other people suffer because they see how sad you are and want to help, but don’t know how.

2. Find a goal outside of ourselves to pursue and achieve.  It is best if the goal is to help others rather pursuit of other selfish gains like money.  Although money is of importance, it should not be the primary goal.  If you live to help, the world will help you.

3.  Be comfortable with who you are.  Body image can  play a huge role in diminishing self-confidence.  I have been playing this game for 20 years (1st ten years don’t count).  I realize I’m never going to have a perfect body, but I can take care of the one I have.

4.  Have gentle discipline with yourself.  Having no discipline (couch potato) is almost as bad as having too much (burn-out). Excessive goals (running a marathon after never exercising) are unrealistic.  Small goals have the power to transform you (jogging 1 mile almost every day).   Relaxing with friends or family or meditating is just as important as studying.  It is amazing that sometimes I feel like I do not have enough time, but when I relax, I realize time is a bizarre concept.  Like Eckhart Tolle likes to say, “All we have is right now”.  No fretting over the past, no worries about the future.  NOW.  Live completely in the now, doing quality work and preparations for the future will take care of themselves.  Once you’ve fixed the problems that occurred in the past when you were not living in the now, you no longer have to worry about the past because living fully in the present makes the past obsolete.

Sigh.  Life is good.  I hope for the same enlightenment to dawn on all suffering people.

Conflicted

I’ve listened to “The Art of Happiness” at least 6-7 times now. It’s an audio book written by a western psychiatrist who is trying to relay the Dalai Lama’s wisdom to a western society in order to help people be happier. I could quote numerous stories or pearls of wisdom from the book, but I (myself) can’t seem to live up to these great words of wisdom. It makes me so happy to hear the Dalai Lama speak. I love his expressions, insights and hearing how people react to him (open up, feel inspired, etc), however, listening to him in and of itself is not going to change me. Ironically, I desire to listen to him and when I can’t, I suffer, which is exactly what he is teaching his audience NOT to do. He teaches desire as the root of our suffering. I know my next step is to start meditating and experiencing my higher self and understand universal truth, but I’m resistant, I’m lazy and now I’m grumpy. Hrumph!

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Love Hurts

I’m ovulating. I know it’s weird to share that information. Most men do not want to know these things, but I needed to share this because women’s behavior, thoughts and feelings change throughout their cycles. I remember learning in my undergrad endocrinology class that during the time of ovulation women tend to go out partying and dress up more often than during other times in their cycle.

Tonight I went to a “Dessert Party” for my friend who is putting together her third cookbook, which is a dessert cookbook. She makes all (or many) of the recipes in her books to have professional photographs taken and then invites people over to help her consume the dishes!!

I had the pleasure of hanging out with two incredible men in my life: an older swing dancing friend who’s house I’m staying at during colloquium and a younger friend I met because of our mutual enthusiasm for Osteopathy and our struggles with the Osteopathic Medical school system. Interestingly, I chose to wear a skirt and relatively “cute” shirt I usually only wear swing dancing. I had a lovely time talking to people and even had a chance to do a little dancing after the crowd thinned out. I’m not tired and as I was laying in bed I could feel tenderness in my LLQ (left lower quadrant). My last couple of periods have been very regular, the last one being exactly 28 days since the previous one. With this trend, I’m due to start menstruating on the day I take my COMLEX PE exam in Philadelphia (lovely!) and ovulating today would coincide with this schedule almost exactly.

Why am I writing such an extended analysis of my menstrual cycle? I think it has to do with a sense of unrest that I can’t shake. My friend who’s house I’m staying at is a good-looking guy, we get along beautifully and I love him dearly. The reason I hesitated to stay at his house was because I would have to require myself to suppress any romantic feelings I might experience. We are just friends and I like it that way. I’m comfortable, aside from suppressing some feelings of attraction. Remember the movie “When Harry Met Sally”? The whole premise of the movie was that men and women can not be friends without some sort of underlying attraction. The kicker for me is that I can’t imagine anyone being attracted to me. My friend cares about me and he always makes me feel comfortable. It’s weird to think semi-romantic thoughts about him because I don’t think he’d ever return the sentiments. But then I think, “What if he did?” How awkward would THAT be?? It’s really a no-win situation, which is why it is best to avoid these situations altogether. However, I’m here, I’m grateful for the place to stay and I enjoy his company. Sometimes I wish the pain would just go away, but love hurts. Its nice to know I feel connections with some people, even if they are a little twisted and not completely healthy…

Mood disorders

I read the chapter in my psychiatry textbook about mood disorders and I swear I’m an experiential learner.  My mood has been up and especially down during the last couple of days.  I’m trying to write an essay about Osteopathic history and it is hard to reign myself in when I start going off on my rants.  Its good to have a guiding topic to focus on to keep me in line.

I think I strained the muscles around my hip during yoga a couple of weeks ago (so much for the peace of mind!) and I keep telling myself I have to sign myself up for a OMT session with one of the fabulous DOs at the clinic, but I so damn shy!!  Grrrr.  Then that brings up my shyness with patients and my anxiety about wanting to do OMT, but not trusting myself to be able to help.  Its ridiculous.  I go round and round until I get dizzy.  During the Tuesday when we have clinic I simply focus on landmarks, common diagnoses and “treat” with various modalities I’ve grown comfortable with, but I feel like I’m short-changing the patient.  I may be making a difference, but I’m not diagnosing the primary lesion/restriction, treat that and then move to the next.  I feel so inadequate.  It’s awful.  I’m such an advocate for Osteopathy but then I can’t even DO it!!  I’m a ridiculous oxymoron.  I know it just takes seeing lots of patients and I’ll get there eventually, but I wish I was there NOW!!

So impatient….and full of “buts”.  Oh lord.

I’m going  dancing all weekend!!!  🙂

Go Figure

I’m feeling better since my previous entry.  Funny thing is I got asked out today.  Of course, this trigger my intense fear of dating.  Not to mention he must be around 50 years old!  I didn’t see it coming.  We were chatting about dancing and he sounded interested in coming to Portland to swing dance.  He can’t come tomorrow, but then asked what I was doing on Saturday!  I flattered, and completely weirded out.  I wish he had just left it at going dancing the beginning of June.  I hang out with a lot of men when it comes to dancing, but to just go out on a date is positively out of the question with an older man who I hardly know (he works of the psych floor).  If I was about 20 years older, I might consider dating him because he seems to be a good, hard-working, patient guy.

Diagnosis (for me)- avoidant personality disorder with dating phobia!!

Fear of…

Fear is the basis of so many problems, possibly all the social problems of the world.  I have dealt with a significant amount of fear during my time as an Osteopathic medical student, however, my fear is rarely that of other students (passing tests, getting into a “good” residency, remembering a lot of useless facts so I can stand around and tell patients that nothing can be done, etc), so I often feel alone.

My fear and deep sadness is that Osteopathy will be lost in the US.  I also have personal fear of treating people because I’m afraid they won’t get better or I’ll make them worse (counter-argument: just touching is helpful).  I am getting better with this fear, but it still exists.  I have fear of treating patients in the hospital because I worry about liability issues.

Regarding the politics of Osteopathy, fear also plays a role in a subtle and sometimes not so subtle way.  The allopaths obviously feared Osteopathy and what it could accomplish where their skills were lacking.  In the adversity the early Osteopaths faced, they found strength to defend what is true.  The concept of finding health was emphasized in Dr. Still’s writings, which is why he was so successful.  He studied anatomy until it was literally pouring out of his hands.  Health created all the bones, blood vessels, nerves, muscles  and restriction in these tangible structures cause tangible disease.  So simple and elegant that many DOs feared they were not living up to their obligations as physicians compared to MDs who studied more, therefore they must know more.  My reply would be, “Yes, they know more bullshit”.  This basic fear is what eventually lead to the development of DO schools being just like MD schools with manipulation.

Guilt-ridden student life

On my drive hone this evening I was quite proud of myself for finishing up some paper work a week ahead of schedule that included my CV, which is sometimes fun to see what I’ve done captured on a piece of paper.  I also bought a new outfit for a swing dancing weekend I’m going to this weekend.  I NEVER go shopping because I have body issues and hate to spend money.  I was proud of myself for having the motivation to find a new outfit because that means I was taking enough pride in myself to buy some new clothes.  Also, I gave one of the nurses an OMT treatment.  Believe it or not, with all my ranting, I was very insecure about my treatments, but now I’m feeling confident that I can make a change.  I might not completely cure someone.  I’m not Yoda, but I can help.  So, I was feeling pretty good.

Now, I feel sick and nauseated from this incessant guilt that plagues me.  I read my school’s electronic monthly newsletter this evening.  The student profiles are supposed to inspire us (I guess): the trials an tribulations of various students before coming to medical school, what brought them to UNECOM and what they’ve done while here.  There were also sections where my classmates described their rotations and provided tips for the second year students.  I thought they would be nice ways to hear about classmates I have not kept in touch.  However, I found myself feeling disgusted with myself: my horrible antagonistic attitude at times, my lack of discipline to study, my enjoyment of an easy surgery rotation.

I constantly feel like I do not live up to my full potential.  I wanted to give swing dance lessons to my classmates during our first 2 years, but I didn’t because this awful dread overcame me, “What if no one comes?  What if they make fun of me?  I’m so embarrassed I don’t have a boyfriend/husband to teach with me.  I should have competed before coming to medical school.  Then I’d be proud of myself.”  I SHOULD be proud of what I did with the UNH Swing Club.  It is still going strong and I helped it for 3-4 years, including putting on a spectacular dance that I used as my “proudest accomplishment” for an essay.

That is just an example of how I feel: I get an idea or a desire and may not follow through, letting myself down even if no one else knows or cares.  What an awful place to be.  I’m starting to settle into who I am and accepting my limitations.  Then again, Richard Bach said in Illusions, “Argue for your limitations and sure enough, their yours.”  Then why do I have so much FEAR and HATRED for myself??!!!  I think I just need some sleep, despite a cushy surgery rotation…

Dam Life

 This is a rough draft of a short story I created today.  There are bound to be inconsistencies, grammatical errors and poor word choices, but it contains the essence of what I needed to get onto “paper”.  It is rather long.

“Mommy, look!”  Yana said excitedly as she pointed to sprays of water flying above the dam.  “I saw the Water!”

“Yes dear.  That’s nice,” Yana’s mother said half-heartedly as she tended to the garden.

“Where does the Water come from?” Yana asked

“The water comes from behind the damn,” mother replied

“Why?”  “Because that is where the Water is kept.”  “Why is the Water kept behind the dam?”  “Because if it was released, it would flod the land and wash us all away.”  “Why?”  “Because the Water is powerful.”  “Why?”  “Because it is kept behind the dam.”  “Would it still be powerful if it was not behind the damn?”  At this point Yana’s mother stood up and looked at Yana in disgust.  She was tired of the 20 questions and working hard in the garden.  Truth be told, Yana’s mother didn’t know the answer to her daughter’s question and this irritated her more than Yana asking the question.  Still, she replied with hostility, “The water is powerful because it is kept behind the dam!  Now run along before I get very upset.”

Yana ran from her mother working in the garden , slightly afraid she had angered her mother, but more curious than ever about the dam.  Instinctively she headed to her favorite hiding place, in the bushes and grasses next to the puddle that collects beneath the dam.  It was a cool and quiet place no one else seemed like.  Sometimes she would lay real still and listen to the Water on the other side of the dam, but more often than not she would play house with her pretend friends, inviting them to dinner and making a grand meal, never realizing that her location of play was so close to something so powerful as the Water.

On this day when her mother scolded her for asking too many questions, Yana ran straight to the dam and looked at it.  She looked at it in a whole new way.  She saw the gray cement smoothly plastered, wondering how thick it was.  She say the trickle of overflow that made its way to her puddle where she would pretend to fish.  She saw the sprays of water that occasionally flew over the dam.  And today she decided it was time to see the Water.

First she grabbed a stick and started hitting the dam as hard as she could, partly out of anger and fear from her mother’s scolding, but also out of desperation because she had no idea what else to do.  Since she made no progress attacking the dam directly, she started scraping at the dirt lying at the base of the dam, hoping that maybe she could tunnel beneath the dam.  Her little fingers began to hurt as the sun was going down and she heard a distant cry from her mother saying the dinner was ready.  Yana gave up her pursuit of the Water for the night, heading home with a heavy heart.

The next morning after breakfast Yana made a bee line for the dam.  When she say the stick had been using the previous evening and the tiny hole she had dug compared to the overall immensity of the dam, her heart dwindled even further.  Giving up her dreams of seeing the Water as a futile effort, Yana settled herself in the grass, looking up to the sky and closed her eyes.  The illusion of sleep crept over her as she lay there when she started to feel an energy or vibration about the air she had never experienced.  All the hairs on her arm stood on end, sweat pored off her body, her heart beat faster and every muscle in her body started to twitch in small fasciculations as if dancing to a tune with a rapid beat.  Yana was almost to the point of panicking, but something in the experience made her not feel alarmed.  She kept her eyes closed to see what else would come.  Slowly, she became aware of the smell; the warm moist smell of impending rain.  She noticed the gentle breeze of the morning gave way to the gusty wind borne out before a storm and finally, she opened her eyes to see the blades of grass all around her swaying in a frantic dance, partially blocking her view of an ominous sky.  The clouds were dark, yet they had a tinge of light still on them from the sun.  Yana sat up and simply felt the energy of the coming storm.  She felt comfortable, her hair tossing in the wind and yet her body staying securely placed upon the ground.

The first lightening strike was out of sight, on the other side of the dam.  The thunder that followed seemed to rumble up from the gutters of the earth and never really ended.  Then she realized the water behind the dam was making a rumbling of its own that partially masked the thunder.  She looked up at the dam and saw spray upon spray of water arching over the dam, misting her face.  Faintly, Yana could hear her mother calling to her, hoping to get her daughter to safety before the rain began.  Yet Yana could not talk her eyes off the dam.  The she had asked her mother too many questions about, the dam she tried to break yesterday, and, she thought of the Water behind the dam, churning and bubbling and sending droplets by the dozen.  The dam invoked a curiosity in Yana, questioning its very existence, yet it seemed impenetrable and it irritated her mother to be asking so many questions about it.

As Yana contemplated the dam, another bolt of lightening struck, waking her from her trance.   She turned away from the dam and ran towards home.  By this time the sun was gone and she didn’t really want to get stuck in the rain, no matter how connected she felt.  The wind blew stronger, almost blowing her off balance, but her little legs found solid footing.  Another bolt of lightening struck just as the first few rain drops fell.  A loud smacking of thunder immediately followed, which Yana had learned meant the storm was directly over her.  She ran a little harder.  The rumbling from the thunder continued, combined with the rain and wind, she was so disconcerted that she fell to her knees.  Before she rose to her feet, she felt the earth was shaking, which may have also contributed to her fall.  She wondered if there was also an earthquake occurring even though they were highly uncommon in her area.  She was getting close to home and could hear her mother still yelling for her, but her words were swiftly swallowed by the wind.  For a moment, Yana’s mother was quiet.  Yana thought it was because she saw Yana was almost home, but a second later her mother screeched horribly.  Yana looked up at her mother and saw she was looking past Yana.  Yana paused in her race towards home and comfort to look behind her.

The old riverbed below the dam was comprised of large boulders and trickles of overflow Water.  During rain storms and for days later it wasn’t unusual for there to be a significant amount of gurgling Water.  However, the reason Yana’s mother screamed was because the Water had already filled the riverbed after only minutes of rain and boulders that had be in they’re same places since Yana could remember were slowing moving down river from the force of the water.  Yana was once again mesmerized by the forces of nature, specifically the forces of water to be able to do move these boulders like marbles.  Yana’s mother grabbed Yana and pulled her towards the house as the Water breached the banks and began crawling over the lawn towards their house.

Once inside, Yana’s mother barred the door, shut the shutters, clasped her hands and fell to the floor mumbling s prayer.  Yana went to the window and opened the shutter to look at the Water.  Yana’s mother came over and slapped her hand and shut the sutter and went back to her prayer.  Yana sat by the window and listened to the rain, thunder and roaring of the river.  Slowly, she opened the shutter to peak at the Water.  She could hardly believe her eyes when she say the water was flowing over where the garden had been, with only a few tomato stakes left to remember what had once been.  Another 5 feet and the water would be lapping at their doorsteps!  Yana didn’t understand why her mother was on her knees praying when they should be doing something or going somewhere.  She started to panic.   She pulled on her mother’s sleeve, “Mommy!  What are we going to do?  The water is coming so high!”  Her mother continued to mumble a prayer with her eyes closed.  “Mommy!  We need to do something!  Don’t just sit there!”  “Quiet Yana.  When death is upon us, we need to prepare.  Pray with me.”  Yana knelt by her mother a began to say the pray she said before bed every night, “Thank you God for all that is good…”, but this didn’t feel right.  She didn’t want to die.  Why was her mother being so obstinate?

Yana looked around the room and started making a plan.  She would grab a bag with an apple and some bread, a blanket and her teddy bear and leave the house, trying to get to higher ground even if her mother won’t.  She gathered up her things and with out a word or movement from her mother, she left the house.  The water was up to her ankles and rising.  She slopped her way around the house, but she didn’t get far when her mother grabbed her elbow.  “Where are you going young lady?”  “I’m leaving.  I don’t want to just sit here and die.  I’m going to higher ground.”  “Higher ground is a mile away.  You’ll never make it.”  “But I want to try!”  “No!  I won’t let you!”  “Why not?”  “Because I’m resigned to die and so should you!”  “NO!”

A deafening roar was rushing towards the mother and daughter, paralyzed mid-struggle.  Looking upstream Yana saw a stampede of water rolling towards them.  Yana’s mother place one foot inside the house and one outside while still holding Yana arm.  Yana yelled, “Let Go!”  No sooner had she yelled, “Let go”, than she felt herself riped from her mother’s grasp by the torrent of Water.  It was terrifying, but also wonderful.  There was nothing she could do now other than ride it out.  Her lungs were already burning from lack of oxygen.  The tumbling sensation disoriented her to which way was up.  she lost hold of her meager bundle of food and comfort.

In time, probably seconds that felt like hours, the chaos eased and she was able to get her head above Water.  Yana hardly recognized her surroundings.  There was water everywhere.  She could see tops of houses that used to be her neighbors and tree tops that tickled her feet.  She had lost a shoe and felt rather whiplashed, but otherwise not discomfort.  The water was dirty from its trip down river and all around her floated trees and wooden boards torn from their houses.  Yana continued to float along, lying on her back, curiously unconcerned that her life had just been flipped upside down.  She thought of her mother and her probable fate of death from all the pressure of the water pushing her against the door jam.  Yana was sad for her mother because she didn’t let go and live, but rather held on to what she had and died.

My Mental World

Yesterday snow was falling and I felt good.  I came home early and cooked corn chowder, chunky pasta sauce and baked muffins.   I read 1.5 chapters in my William’s Obstetrics book that I’ve hardly cracked throughout my whole rotation.  Why can’t I feel like that every day?

I’ve always been shy, but it has become ridiculously painful during my OB rotation.  I feel like an abandoned medical student.  I could be the smartest kid on the block, but nobody on the OB floor would know this.  they never quiz me.  There were some days I shadowed an Obstetrician, but they enjoy talking to me (or even at me).  They have no idea what I know or how I feel.  At the same time I HATE learning from incompetent people and I feel like so many people are incompetent.  I might as well read on my own rather than become infuriated by incompetent people trying to teach me.  Yes, they are competent to a certain degree because they still have a job and manage it okay, but there are things they’ll say that I fiercely disagree with, but what the hell do I know?  I’m just a God Damned Medical student.  And then I turn around and doubt myself.  My solution is to simply say as little as possible, so those grading me will not see my rage and misery.  Let them think I am a meek medical student because I don’t push myself into learning situations.

It is an aweful place to be: where you don’t believe in your teachers and you don’t believe in yourself.

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