Holy cow. Just now reading an email from a couple of months ago (combination of being behind in email and avoidance coping).
For background, I tried to start 2 research protocols in residency. I spent about a month right before residency started writing up the first one. We lost the therapeutic capability needed for it as I was finishing it up and it went down the toilet. The 2nd one was a study to validate a screening questionnaire. I was going to recruit several hundred volunteers over the course of 3ish years to see if this screening tool worked. I was supported in both of these by an incredibly kind and patient mentoring doc who works for the hospital's research department. He held my hand every step of the way and never pressured me unduly.
This protocol went to the IRB multiple times. They shot it back at every step with a bunch of concerns, some of which were valid and some of which felt *very* much like contrived roadblocks to prevent anything but an absolutely *perfect* protocol from making it through. This protocol has been sitting on the back burner for the past year since graduating. I added a resident 2 years behind me and he has done just about nothing for the project. I haven't put in much more work because a) still *really* busy since graduating b) avoidance bias (see above).
I got an email from the nice mentor doc a couple of months back. I've tried to read it a couple of times but haven't been able to bring myself to do it. I knew it was going to say, essentially, that the protocol is dead. I feel like I let him down. I feel like I let the other attending whose idea this whole screener was down. I feel like I didn't adequately prioritize this work during residency (even though I *know* that I, like my classmates, was dying under the crushing load of residency and didn't have anything left to give).
So now I just opened up this email and started reading. It says pretty much what I thought it would in the same kind, supporting, non-judgmental tone I anticipated.
**And I am freaking the fuck out**
This feels like a low-grade panic attack. My hands are shaking. My heart is racing. My thoughts keep running to suicide, an oldie-but-goldie coping strategy; yes, I know it's bad and counterproductive and yes, I've been trying to work my way out of it over the past year, but holy cow did it ever come rushing back like a freight train. I am **amazed** at how strongly these feelings came out of nowhere. I don't really know what to do with it (other than the obvious answer of "go seek the mental healthcare that you fear will jeopardize your future").
Anyone else have any sudden flashbacks like this? Anyone else out of residency but still struggling with the weight of it? Anyone else wondering if they'll ever be able to have a "normal" career in medicine?
For those who read this far, thanks for listening. I'm honestly just typing this out because I feel like I need to put words down somewhere and it helps to feel like somebody's listening.
P.S. no, I'm not actively suicidal; like I said, an old inappropriate coping strategy that I recognize is bad.
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