Monday, February 9, 2009


As I travel through third year, rotating from service to service, hospital to hospital, my life is filled with a barrage of unfamiliar faces, strange new computer systems, new keypad codes for new supply rooms... and I search for the slightest bit of comfort, something that I already know, something that I don't have to figure out... and that thing is usually candy.

Wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, I always make sure I know where the nearest candy machines are, which ones charge only 75 cents for the candies, which ones try to get away with charging a dollar fifty. I know which soda machines sell diet coke in a can (Pepsi isn't the same thing, and diet coke in a plastic bottle isn't the same thing...) and I know which ones are generally well stocked, which ones take the crumpled dollar bills...

So, as my life spins out of control, I can sip Diet Coke and nibble on Starbursts as I jot down new supply room door codes, try to memorize the new names and faces that will be evaluating me, and try to figure out the new computer system.


MissMyMania said...

Being a medical student is a miserable existence. Unfortunately most residencies are worse. You are not alone in your feelings, though no doubt you are particularly sensitive.

I hope you finish and achieve your goals, and you will do so despite your training and not because of it. I just wonder if the end result is worth it. I am in practice over 10 years, bipolar and wishing I chose a different career.

Anonymous said...

This is really a well laid out website. I like how you have presented the information in full detail. Keep up the great work and please stop by my site sometime. The url is

Christine said...

I just happened upon your site and it strikes a real chord with me. I am just finishing my first year of PA school and I am also bipolar II. Your descriptions of depression and hypomania are so accurate. Thank you for sharing.

At times I have wondered whether I am the only person attempting something so challenging while so unstable. This past year has been witness to great emotional tumult, moments of near suicide, and a parade of ever-changing medications and side effects. More than once, I have wanted to take a break or quit all together. I haven't excelled, but I have made it through.

The concept of the clinical year schedule horrifies me. I'm living in Suffolk County, but most of my rotations are an hour away in Mineola or Queens. We'll be pulling the same hours as the 3rd-year med students. I worry that the stress of working that much and the stress of pimping and exams will do me in. I am sincerely afraid that it will prompt a mental meltdown of epic proportion (again).

Only time will tell.

Thank you again for sharing. You haven't written in a while... I hope everything is okay.


Anonymous said...

You are a courageous person who has nothing to be ashamed about. I had a nervous breakdown in college and was scarred to apply despite setting the curve in many classes, perhaps it could have been a different story if I found competent care. I wish the general media would communicate a balanced view on the efficacy of medication, lifestyle seems to be an important factor in mitigatting this disease. I have often laughed at my own pointless misery, at any rate keep your chin up and don't let any idiots tell you it can not be done. Lots of people have accomplished greatness in a state of utter misery.