Overwhelmed, Underwhelmed and Somewhere In Between

I came across this photo recently and couldn’t summarize life better so I thought I would share it.

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While I know this statement seems to be simple, it overwhelmed me with its frank accuracy. It literally applies to every single life situation. Which leads me to my next thought.

Overwhelmed. Medical school is tough- that’s why they always say “not everyone can do it.” I realize this. The general public realizes this. But some days I can’t wrap my mind around the fact that 1) I’ve made it this far (I’m almost done with my second year, and therefore all classroom time) and 2) That I have so much farther to go- I am only beginning. It’s more than just the overwhelming amount of material we are expected to learn in a short period of time- its the emotional turmoil, the late nights, the sleep deprivation, the friends you make because you’re going through hell together.

It’s all just very… overwhelming. I don’t say this to make anyone feel sorry for me. I feel incredibly blessed for the position I am in. I remember seeing medical students while I was interviewing and thinking to myself “I would give ANYTHING to be where those students are!” And I would’ve.

There is just no way you can prepare your mind, heart, or spirit for how much you will change through the process of medical school. I love what I’m doing, learning, and experiencing everyday. I am constantly amazed at the capacity I have to learn and the opportunities I have because of the school I chose to attend. But that doesn’t make it less difficult when I get stuck in a rut, feeling lonely and helpless, and have an exam the very next day. Which was the case on Thursday night.

To add to my stress, my birthday was last Sunday. I turned 24! It was wonderful. Never have I felt the warmth and love of my friends and family like I did this year. I don’t think it was lacking before, I just think I was more aware of it because of my recent emotional state with school taking its toll on me. My two closest med school friends surprised me and took me to an alpaca farm. (I love alpacas and llamas.) I also got to go on a (somewhat) spontaneous trip to Chicago to visit one of my closest friends from undergrad. It was a great weekend getaway, but I couldn’t shake the feelings of guilt I had about not studying for two days. I got to celebrate again with all of my med school friends a few days after my birthday. I received multiple cards, handmade gifts, and get to look forward to my two family birthdays I will celebrate during this next week.

But no matter how great my surrounding support system is, I am still overwhelmed by my present life situation. We are moving in June to Phoenix and are currently looking for a house. I am studying for boards (June 6) on top of my school work. I can’t catch up in school and stick with my boards study plan, so one of the two is always lacking. I don’t feel like I’m good enough to have earned the name “Dr. Beeson” yet (I had a small panic attack in class last week when we had a sepsis discussion and the physician asked us what we would do as our patient is dying in front of us. I am in no position to handle that kind of stress yet! But I’m not expected to- that’s why there are so many hoops to jump through before that happens). I am training for a mini triathlon that is in a few weeks and a marathon relay my family is doing in April. I’m trying to be a good student, wife, friend, daughter, runner… I sometimes feel like I will crumble under the pressure of everyday life! I know everyone can relate, which is why I wanted to write this post.

Meanwhile, I am underwhelmed. Let me be clear: I am loving the underwhelming things in my life. If you didn’t catch it before, I am overwhelmed by most things at the moment. So anything that is less-than-stimulating is A-OK in my book.

Underwhelmed. By the simplicity of the lives of my friends and family back home. By the prospect of buying a house and how simple our realtor is making it for us. By how normal and unchanged life is when we visit home (Tulsa, Oklahoma). By how effortless my husband makes our relationship (most of the time… hehe). By how loved I am from people literally all across the world (shoutouts to you, Aubrey and Becky!)- wait, that actually overwhelms me sometimes. Anyway, you get my point.

I could go on but I will wrap things up by reiterating the photo at the top of this post. It always seems impossible ’til it’s done. Then you realize you did it! Up until this point, we have all made it farther than we thought we would in one way or another. And when it’s done, there will be other delightfully challenging things (careers, children, marathons, the list goes on!).

I keep trying to remember, and I challenge you to as well, that anything of value cannot be had for nothing. It’s gonna be worth it.

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