Psych, out!

Today I completed my 6 weeks of psych-ation, and boy was it sweet! While I will probably not miss the subject matter or the patients, I will definitely miss the schedule that allowed me to go to yoga 4-6 times per week, eat 3 meals a day,  and spend some quality time with my friends. In tradition of how I close every chapter of medical school – here is a few things I have learned over the last 6 weeks:

  • People crashing off Methamphetamine and PCP are NOT very pleasant to be around.
  • 80% (by my approximation) of patients hospitalized in psych hospitals have Borderline Personality Disorder.
  • Nothing intimidates you like having a patient with antisocial personality disorder posturing in the window of the resident room during rounds.
  • I have seen more fist fights on psych than all my other rotations combined
  • If you don’t have a relative with schizophrenia – you don’t have schizophrenia.
  • Don’t put your cat in the freezer.
  • Most psychiatrists operate on a scale between biological vs psychoanalysis in  terms of treatment. When a psychoanalyst heavy attending covers for a biological heavy attending over the weekend – it’s not pretty on Monday morning.
  • I don’t want to be the “bad guy” when it comes to patient care.

Probably the most impactful thing that I learned has to do with the concept of “dissociation”. Dissociation of something that well all do. It’s that thing that we do whenever we zone out while reading a book, going for a run, playing video games (for those that do that), or browsing social media. It’s something that we need, because it allows us those moments where we feel outside of our current situation. In moderation, it’s an essential thing and a healthy coping skill. When it starts to take over our lives and impede our social functioning – it becomes an addiction (and a really unhealthy coping skill because now you’re legit coping with nothing).

The point of this, is that I have been desperately in need of dissociation for the last few months. The overwhelming thing about medical school is that it tends to have the ability to consume all parts of my life, making distancing myself from it really challenging. Even my free weekends and evenings are shadowed by an overhanging cloud of anxiety.

So now that I am officially 1/2 done with my 3rd year of medical school(WHAT?! thats crazy! Let me just freak out for a second) it’s time for  me to embark on 2 weeks of “dissociation” from this medical school life. For the next 2 weeks I am not going to worry about picking a specialty, getting letters of recommendation, or deciding where to go after next year (these are the things all 3rd year medical students are currently having aneurysms over).

Goodbye Student Doctor Tessa – Hello Tessa, 24 year old girl traveling in Australia =)

Peace out, reality.


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