I'm a doctor and I want to die.

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Owen, Feb 5, 2015.

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  1. Owen

    Owen New Member

    Hi everyone,

    I'm having rough time. In fact, I'm having a couple rough years.
    I am a physician, finishing my training in a medicine subspecialty. I have utterly hated my life since…..well mostly always. Don't get my wrong, I have had nice periods for sure. I've been in love, I have had amazing friendships, beautiful experiences (even some at work). But I am plagued by the fear that I am being led off a cliff and am willingly participating.

    I hate medicine with a passion. I challenge any doctor to tell me that they really, wholeheartedly, feel that this field (at least in the USA), isn't the most vitriolic, unhappy bunch of people that exists. The sad part is that even though I believe most of us hate our jobs passionately, there is nobody you can express this to. Doctors are conditioned to not have personal feelings, complaints, needs. We spend our days sacrificing for our patients, not having time to even urinate or eat lunch, only to be threatened by a patient with a lawsuit because I was late (because I was listening to another patient patiently) or with death because I will not provide someone with prescription for the grocery list of narcotics they have brought me. I have been sexually harassed, punched, spit on and so on…..when I stand up for myself I am told that is the wrong thing to do because it does not benefit the patient. One must always try to do whats best for the patient…..even when the patient might be a piece of shit.

    I am often aware of the hostile environment towards doctors in this country. People don't like us anymore. I am reminded often of how little I have learned in the 24 years I have spent in school to get where I am by patients daily. Without a family, without a life. I have nothing to speak of what I have accomplished. I have no pride in it at all. My life has absolutely no point.

    I almost got married about 4 years ago. My fiancé left me 3 weeks before the large destination wedding we planned and ran off with another law student. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. They are married with a baby now. I remain alone and heartbroken. I know that this job had a lot to do with the destruction of that relationship and I am resentful of that.

    I find myself pretty incapable of expressing myself to anyone in my life. Doctor's are not supposed to despair. They are not supposed to have feelings. We work holidays, nobody celebrates our birthdays in the office, nobody cares if we work 90 hours and can't get home to walk our dog ever. We are not people. We know. It is almost like we should feel ashamed of ourselves.

    I walk around all day feeling hands clasped around my neck, on the verge of a breakdown. Desperately wanting any semblance of a life outside of my miserable, all encompassing job. But the truth is…..the job has destroyed anything I have outside of it. When I am not working, I have nothing. People ask me what I would do if I dropped out of medicine and the truth is….I want to do nothing. I want to lie in bed. I am stuck in debt, without options.

    I want to die most days. I fanaticize about it constantly. Mostly I haven't done anything yet because of my dog. I could not leave him. But he has been sick lately ( I am reminded that I have not only wasted my life but his…he would have had a better life with someone less busy) and won't be around forever (he is 9). I would like to die with him and feel like that is one of the most comforting thoughts I have ever had. A goal, if you will.

    I know I am weak, and a pathetic coward. I know many people don't understand this point of view. I know probably anyone that reads this cannot find any sympathy for doctors. But we are people. And many of us are suffering. I am one.

    Thanks for listening.
     
  2. DrownedFishOnFire

    DrownedFishOnFire Quieta non movere

    Remember you are a human being with needs and emotions before a doctor.

    I understand the medical field has become worst with unrealistic expecations a doctor is supposed to do in a day.
     
  3. Owen

    Owen New Member

    thank you for responding. I appreciate that you humanize us.
     
  4. greywool

    greywool Member

    owen, i have many friends who are doctors who tell of similar feelings, thoughts, expectations etc. i enrolled in medical school myself then realised it just wasn't for me - the passion and interest that i saw fade in some of my friends seemed to forebode a lot of what i didn't want to be.

    it sounds like you have a lot of resentment towards the field and how you feel it has ruined you, but in reality it doesn't define you. it may seem a huge part of your life of who you were/are and your identity, but it doesn't mean that you can't change. i am hearing that this seems all consuming and relates to all parts of your life, but there is time and space to change. many of us trained in a field that ultimately doesn't suit us, and have the loans to deal with etc. but if this is affecting you so much that you are considering taking your own life, i would think working in another field seems to be a first step? i would also recommend (as many/most of my doctor friends have) getting yourself a good supervision/psychiatrist/counsellor to help you break down what is really going on. this all could be not related to the job really, but to depression and anxiety, which if dealt to could really change your outlook and ability to deal with it.

    in the end, people do tend to put doctors on a level, but the things you said about your working conditions/how your job affects your life etc can be transferred to any number of other professions/jobs. i'd take a careful look at how you are casting this as your identity that is unchangeable. i have seen that pedestal make doctor friends decline/not seek help. one got to the point where she was put in an inpatient psych ward in order to get help she desperately needed, which could have been avoided should she have not let the stress built up and received help earlier.

    seriously, i'd definitely look for help in the forms or therapy, counselling and medication before you consider taking your life. you have nothing to lose, do you?
     
  5. flowers

    flowers Senior Member

    Owen, you are a human being with feelings. You have no less feelings than anyone else. Of course. You are not "weak" or "a pathetic coward", as you said. But I do think those feelings are common amongst many of us who post here.

    I wish I had a great answer for you. A suggestion. All I can offer is caring. There is a lifeforce that has been stolen from the medical field. Perhaps you are feeling this. Doctors do not get to practice the way they want anymore. Patients feel it. Its frustration all around. Is this what you are talking about? Things are out of balance all around. Patients who seek help are watching ads on TV. Doctors are allowed tiny slots of time to see a patient. And often must ask specific mandated questions.

    You may be a sensitive person, which is a great quality for a physician. But it may be very horrible, ney, excruciating to be a sensitive human being in this field of practice these days.

    I do not know if I am totally off base in what I am writing. But I just wanted to let you know that I believe things are going to be changing. And that people like you who actually want to care will be needed. As for your dog. I bet he loves you very much. I think dogs are quadruped angels ( not literally). They just want to be there for the person they love.

    Anyway, I am glad you are here. This is the best place to speak and be heard. I have a feeling that the world needs more doctors like you. But the way the medical profession is mandated to practice these days brings challenges for the physicians.
     
  6. Owen

    Owen New Member

    Oh,
    Thank you both for writing!

    Greywool-
    It is so sad to me that you have friends that feel like me. Many of them likely do not feel open to vent their feelings about the field. It is a broken system in the country for sure and there are many fields that are also frustrating (I used to work at a government laboratory for instance) I think the special pain that comes from being physician is the sacrifice of time that amounts to nothing useful. It is hard for me to hear that I should not use my job to identify myself. I used to have a personality and a social life. But even when I have tried to take classes such as yoga, there is almost always something that pulls me away (a page, a presentation, patient documentation or staying late in clinic). There are many nights I walk through the door, let my dog out to pee and fall into bed. Wake up, repeat.

    The coward part comes from being afraid to leave. This is where you are lucky you did not pursue medicine. The crippling debt absolutely steers you financially and I have trouble seeing a way that I can pay that back effectively if I start over in a different career.

    I have had therapists in the past. My last one I liked very much but our work didn't seem to go anywhere. Maybe I will give her call today and set something up. Thank you.

    Flowers-

    My, you hit the nail on the head. I am very sensitive and I love connecting with people. I almost never get the chance to do that during my visits. The art of patient advocating and healing is pretty much dead. I feel like a computer could do the job I do better. The skills I have to offer this field are no longer needed.
    This is the life-force you speak of. In the old days people had special relationships with their doctors. There was a mutual kinship and trust. I wish I understood how to find that or bring that to my practice. I do my best to go out of my way for patients but it certainly can be difficult to keep up with the added amount of busy-work we are expected to do now.
    My dog is an angel. He is the most special thing in the world to me.
     
  7. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Alumni SF Supporter

    Hi Owen, I RESPECT my doctors so much, I will admit I have had some rows with them but I have such a great bond with my general doctor that I often give her thank you cards, chocolates, flowers as I am always sick and I always thank her for everything. She does a LOT for me but I always take the time to ask her how she is.

    You are only human like the rest of us, I can't imagine what it is actually like to be a doctor so I'm not going to pretend I do but trust me there's a lot of people who couldn't go on without their doctors being there for them. You need to get some YOU time, that may be difficult but you do need it. I hope you can pull through this, I really do and I am really sorry for what you are going through, we are here to listen.
     
  8. MisterBGone

    MisterBGone Well-Known Member

    I think that there are a lot of people out there who take doctors for granted. In other words, they just expect them to be, so to speak... that is, flawless, on command, almost like a robot. Perhaps one of the things that makes it so tough on the doctors is that they seem to have so little time to spend with each patient. I don't know. I do know that it must be crippling to work in the industry, or hospital, and then face any type of mental illness. The pressure must be immense. But as I'm sure you know, depression & such does not discriminate. In any case, I see where you're coming from with the financial binds that the education puts on you. But if you're suffering this much, maybe you can find a way to do something that gives you a greater sense of meaning in life. Whatever that might be? Do you have any other dream-type job? One that you'd do if money were no object? I think that you've just got to get your spark back in life. It sounds like you had it in full effect once upon a time. This means that it can absolutely happen again. I on the other hand have probably never had such a set of fortunate circumstances. So there are no guarantees for me. But coming from my perspective, if I were in your shoes, I would have great hope. Obviously, it's very difficult to see such optimism in the face of such sadness. If nothing else, is there any way that you can take a little break from work? Try to catch your breath? And reset things... Possibly not, but the more you are able to open your mind to potential solutions (would you rather do research in a lab?) / (can you find a more productive therapist?), the greater the chance you give yourself to get out of this place. Best Wishes-
     
  9. aTALLmidget

    aTALLmidget Member

    Owen, I'm sorry to hear that. I may be able to relate in some small way in that I'm an EMT-B. Very basic in terms of medicine I know, but at least relateable in the basic ways. Personally I want to eventually become a PA or go for doc and enjoy EMS, and we may differ there, but someone told me some wise words (Witty_Sarcasm IIRC, thanks Witty, credit to you!) - treat myself as I would one of my patients. I would do all I can to help the patient in the back of my ambulance, be it a medical emergency, trauma, or behavioral emergency, to do what I can and in the case of someone feeling depressed, give them all the advice and caring I could. So far, in following that advice and treating myself in the same regards for someone under my care, it's worked out alright. Now I understand you dislike your position, but if you have had a patient you were passionate about helping and wanted to do what you could for them, imagine giving yourself the standards and breaks of that patient. Treat yourself as well as that patient you had and help yourself. It has, for now, worked for me, and it may work for you too. You're no coward nor weak, just down but not out.
     
  10. flowers

    flowers Senior Member

    Owen, I want to say again that I strongly believe the medical institution will be changing. I wish I knew when. I do not. But I do think it will be changing. It is quite broken. For one reason, it is dictated largely by insurance companies. This makes it so hard for Doctors with integrity to do what they want to do. I know.

    The thing is, we need people like you. People who care. People who ARE sensitive. But I can understand how the politics etc of it can eat someone up and spit them out. How people with integrity can feel beaten up. I have a great doctor. She's awesome. She runs a practice which serves the underserved. Because this is what she wants to do. Although people who have good insurance also go to her. Because she does have a high level of integrity. She also understands the system. while she prescribes, of course, she uses great instincts when doing it. So there are great people in the field. But I am sure it can get mightly lonely if you are practicing in an area where there are not others who think like you. Perhaps thats the key. My previous MD moved away. Because the politics of practicing here were so soul crushing at the time. He was not willing to succumb to that.

    I am going on and on. But what I mean to say is that we need good people like you. Perhaps it's a matter of finding where others like you are practicing. :flowers:
     
  11. InvisibleGirl

    InvisibleGirl New Member

    Owen, I can relate to so much of your post. While I am not a Doctor, I fully relate to the sentiment of: "Without a family, without a life. I have nothing to speak of what I have accomplished. I have no pride in it at all. My life has absolutely no point." I am struggling with these same feelings. Being an outsider looking in, I want to tell you to reconsider ending your life. You seem like a kind, sensitive, successful and obviously intelligent person- someone who could contribute something meaningful to this world. I suppose the same thing could be said for myself and many others who are feeling suicidal.

    I can't tell you whether or not you should end your life, but I hope you don't. I hope you can find a way out of this dark hole you are in.
     
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