This is what anxiety feels like.
We had our mid-course feedback with a senior resident and the clerkship director today. They had mostly good things to say, with a few (useful and not wholly unexpected) constructive bits of feedback for me. I don't know if it was their expressions, or their tone of voice, or what it was, but somehow even though they were saying reasonable and mostly good things, I still felt sick to my stomach. I still felt that gut-punch of rejection.
This was toward the end of the day, and after work I went to a cappella practice and really threw myself into the music. I've missed the last couple of rehearsals (somehow, they seem like too long a commitment after a full day on L&D) but being there made me happy and lifted my mood.
Even with that, though, leaving the distraction behind me let my simmering emotional state break free. I got home and made a quick dinner, watched a little TV, and hauled myself into the shower. Something about the warm water raining down on my face always prompts tears, even when they're hiding behind a chin-up attitude. I let the water beat down on me and for some reason I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed.
Every day, I find myself mulling over the mistakes I make on rounds, or the stupid things I say, or when I do something silly or betray some essential lack of knowledge. I guess I never had a rotation that I cared as much about how I did as I do on this one: of course I have tried hard on all my rotations, but none of them were what I want to do with my life, and the weight of that seems to accentuate all my fears and insecurities.
I delivered a baby by myself on Sunday night (okay, 90% by myself. The attending helped with the head, a little). I love this field so much: the babies, the surgeries, the controversies, the history of it. All of it. I want to do this so much and the fear that gnaws at my insides is the fear of failure, of not matching, of not being wanted by someplace enough that they would train me.
I know most of this is irrational: after all, an objective listener would really have said "But they said reasonable and nice things. They just pushed you to push yourself." But the fear is still there.
Ugh. Now I can't breathe, because my nose is running. (Thanks, lacrimal ducts-nasal passages-sinuses. Intelligent design, my ass.)