At the beginning of my medical training, I was a razor's edge from walking away. My wife was the one who held fast. Rough times, those. Heated exchanges took place. She believed there was a purpose to it. Call it a hunch. And in the end, it was fear that held me back. Fear of the weakness within me.....which is so rich in irony. To most people I come across as confident. And I've learned confidence for me is not absence of fear. It's recognizing your demons and continuing on anyways. That ain't easy. For me, my demon seems to be an inherent glitch in who I am. My upbringing was great and I never suffered any tragedies so nothing to blaim there. I only half jokingly tell my wife that I'm a genetic roll of the dice that comes up craps. Yes, I'm smart and yes I've been blessed with an ability to unravel complex problems. But in return I'm also afflicted with dark moods....and I mean dark existenstial angst. (More irony as my name means "laughter".) I've experimented with different approaches - psychotherapy, medication, denial, wishful thinking - and though some get me further than others, each runs out of gas at some point. When I finally decided to stick it out with my training, I now realize that I made my own deal with Mephistopholes. I will not run from them. Well, not so much that I won't, but I can't run fast or far enough anyways. I am forced to suffer and embrace those dark moods and in return, it seems I will know the dark nights of the soul that accompany a patient who is suffering. It's not sympathy as I seem incapable of feeling that emotion. It is a scar.
And so in response to my brother who says
But I have not thought of myself as brave in this situation. I am simply doing what I need to do to give myself the best chance of living. Who wouldn't do that? It seems like a natural response.
I tell you that not every patient has that strength to go on. I know what that feeling is to give up. If not for my wife, I would've given up with med school. No, that's not a life and death decision but to my soul, it was. I will forever be endebted to her. If I had given up, it would've meant giving up on all that is me. And if you listen closely, you will see others around you that have walked that razor's edge wondering if one more breath is truly worth it. Only by the endurance of those around them did they survive it. And sadly, some do not.