Sunday, January 15, 2012

Back on Track, In Time for Exams

Okay I'm giving myself 15 minutes to clear my head before Anatomy time again...

I've got a pretty good hunch (according to how I know myself and my body) as to what was really going on with my body for the past three days: fatigue, or even burnout.  I've had stool exams, urinalysis, serum amylase, CBC, physical exam and all of them came out normal.  That was physically.  But in my mind I trying to solve a lot, trying to make the best of the current situation- my nephew with a history of febrile convulsions was sick in the hospital, the construction in the house delayed, taking care of my two grandmothers, coping with med school, basically trying to run the household (for the past 6 years now) and try to do well in school and feeling bad when I didn't get the top score- I guess it all blew up.

I can relate to what Dennis Portnoy, a Phychotherapist said about addressing personality traits that foster burnouts- which had deep roots in childhood.  Here are some interesting quotes:

"Exaggerated responsibility often develops in response to difficult family circumstances. Kids who grow up in families where there is chaos or lack of predictability often cope by becoming super responsible..."

(This rang bells especially during my elementary years as the eldest of three- our Papa worked in Saudi that time and Mama was a night nurse in EVRMC so she was always tired.  By age 8 I walked to school by myself, by age 9 I was the one who enrolled my little brother in prep-school, before I was in high school I regularly woke up at 5am to prepare our baon.)

..."Your parents can be very caring yet preoccupied, causing you to rely on yourself at a young age to get many of your needs met. You may feel that it is your fault if problems arise and view your needs as further burdening your parents."

Like our father always told us, everything they did, they did for our best interest, and we always loved our parents even more for the sacrifices they made for us.  Still, the situation itself unconsciously formed these personality traits I had.

..."You learn to measure your worth and define yourself by being strong, competent and dependable. If you were encouraged to be strong and self reliant, being vulnerable or needing others may cause you to feel shame or less worthy. When you do not live up to a responsible self- image or if you let someone down, you may feel like a failure."

I guess having a sympathetic ear to listen (or a sounding board like this blog) does help, and recognizing my limits and realizing the need for other people and trusting them does help a lot.

Lastly, there's this quote about perfectionism:

"The pursuit of excellence is different from a relentless need to be the best. When you seek perfection and cannot measure up to your ideal, your self- esteem decreases. Developing realistic standards and self- compassion go a long way to counteract stress that leads to burnout... We live in a society that measures worth by what you do rather than who you are. We are taught the measure of success has more to do with your image and what you produce than on internal qualities such as honesty, humor, or perceptiveness."

I guess sometimes we are just too caught up in numbers- grades, ranking, achievements, that we forget that still, the most important thing in life is living it an honest, decent way.  Being a well-rounded person who possess a healthy relationship with people.
The 15 minutes is almost over so I'll close it now- human as we are, we really have those times when our strength fails and that's where faith comes in.  As the saying goes,"Work like everything depends on you, and pray like everything depends on God."  The Benedictine maxim- Ora et Labora.

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