Saturday, March 10, 2012

the stress of matching...a hairy situation

Monday I find out if I match into a residency program here in St. Louis. This has been an extremely stressful week for me, waiting and waiting to find out.

Saturday, I realized that what I was feeling was well beyond was straight up panic. My indicator? My trichotillomania flared up again. Yeah...I wish I was kidding about this one, OHHHH but I'm not. When I wasn't happily being distracted by Parker, like when he was napping, I found myself literally standing at the window, looking outside, and pulling my eyebrows out. I know, wtf, right?

Most people with trichotillomania pull out their eye lashes, so I don't know why I go for the brows. Just another neurotic thing I do, I guess.

So I'm standing there like a CRAZY person, staring outside....mooooooonday is coming....monday is coming...PLUCK...MONDAY is coming...PLUCK....FUCKING STOP PULLING OUT YOUR EYEBROWS.

Check facebook.

Monday is coming...PLUCK...

I try to make myself feel better by saying, Okay, I'll only pull out the raggy ones, not the smooth ones. But eventually I don't discriminate. I've had one other major trichotillomania episode in my life. It was in med school, and I pulled almost EVERY ONE of those fuckers out. It was SO embarrassing.
 Those brows were not shaped that way on purpose. It wasn't pretty, took a long time for them to fill back in, and they never looked the same.

I hope that blogging about this will make me aware that now that other people will be paying attention to my brow situation, I will stop doing it. Here's hoping. Anxiety is a bitch, people.

I might be less stressed about the whole thing if my family, bless their hearts, would stop pretending like there is no chance for me not to match. They have no idea how the process works. Much stranger things have happened. Lots of competitive people don't match. I calculated some stats...last year 10 people who applied to OBGYN ranked only 3 programs. 6 of them matched, 4 didn't. I figure that gives me about a 60% chance...maybe slightly higher.

This is the problem when you academically succeed your entire life (please forgive the egotistical nature of this statement)'re not allowed to worry about failing. This makes the anxiety even worse, because I'm not allowed to discuss it with anyone who isn't in medicine. And if I did fail, everyone's disappointment would be unbearable. Telling me, "Don't worry you'll always succeed," is the least helpful thing to say to me. It's actually kind of insulting. What's better is to say, "You'll find out soon, and if you don't match, have a plan."  Thank you friends who know how this process works. This is the right thing to say.

Other things not to say are "think positive thoughts.' My dad has been thinking positive thoughts about winning the lottery for decades hasn't panned out well for him. 

My plan for if I don't match is to book the next flight down to Gainesville so I can try to scramble into a medicine preliminary year here in St. Louis. And hope for some divine intervention that my adviser can make some calls before I get there. Having this plan makes me feel a little bit better. Hopefully it won't have to be implemented.


  1. "Telling me, "Don't worry you'll always succeed," is the least helpful thing to say to me. It's actually kind of insulting."

    Thank you. This is essentially what people said to me when I took the bar. IT'S FINE, YOU ALWAYS DO WELL, YOU'LL DO GREAT, AS USUAL.

    Or one of my favorites, THE MERE FACT THAT YOU'RE WORRIED ABOUT THIS MEANS THAT YOU ARE GOING TO PASS. That one is even less comforting than the first, because I am 100% sure that at least 99% of people who take the bar are terrified and panicked, and NOT 99% of people who take the bar pass it. So there. Just let me panic in peace.

    But yes. "DON'T WORRY YOU'VE NEVER FUCKED UP BEFORE" is not helpful. Maybe this is my first time fucking up. Plus the "EVERYONE EXPECTS YOU TO PASS" subtext is particularly stifling in terms of pressure. I dig it. Not fun.

    In the spirit of these types of comments, "IT'S GOING TO BE FINE! DON'T WORRY! IT'S OUT OF YOUR HANDS!"

    It had to be done.

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