miserable in medicine

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    I am a practicing radiologist. I finished my residency in 2000. I stayed at my first job for a year, but then quit because it was too stressful, buzy, a lot of call, etc. I now have a part time job which is only 2 days a week.(long days)I have no call or weekends. But I still find it very stressful when I’m there and I stress out the nights before I have to work. I have had severe chronic insomnia ever since going back to work after I had my first child (now 2)- I think because I didn’t want to leave her and I don’t enjoy my work. ( I wouldn’t become a doctor if I had to do it again) My husband is a stock broker and he is hardly making a living these days. I make much more money than he does even in good times. He pushes me to work. If I listened to him, I’d still be in my first horribly stressful job. I have thought about ways to leave medicine for years, but never had the courage or know how to figure anyway to get out and still make out well financially. So here I am pretty miserable in medicine, but I have a relatively good job (part time, 2 days) which is very well compensated and a husband who doesn’t make much money and pressures me to work. All I really want to do right now and for a while is BE A MOMMY. It seems that all I do is search for opportunities to get out of clinical medicine on the internet, books, etc. I am sort of obsessed with it. I feel very depressed and trapped. I just feel like I really dont want to be doing this for the rest of my life. What I really like to do are creative artistic type things. (But there is REALLY no money in that kind of stuff in general) Should I just give in and continue my very well paying job at 2 days a week that gives me no enjoyment and stresses me out A LOT ( I have to take an antidepressent to sleep) or quit and be a lot happier in one way, but live with chronic stress about money concerns and probable marital tension. (There already is a fair amount of marital tension, because I am so angry with my husband for putting such pressure on me when he knows how unhappy I am and that I have been suffering for so long with terrible insomnia from stress and depression related to my job. Its a tough situation. I’d appreciate any insight and thoughts. Thanks.


    Hey, thanks for sharing so openly. I’m sure you’re not the only one who is frustrated, but sometimes it’s hard to admit after we’ve worked so hard to get through residency etc. I hope you have an aggressive psychiatrist who has gotten the depression and insomnia under control, although I know stressful jobs can be sustaining factors for depression.

    I’m wondering if you could add some time in the artistic/creative area of life — if 2 days a week gives you enough money to live on, why not add some time on the other days either volunteering or doing something artistic and creative? Do you paint or draw or do needlework or pottery or something? I am hopelessly unartistic but I have found that on my day off when I meet a friend for lunch and have time to do the things I need to do for me (Weight Watchers, go to bookstores, SIT) I feel so much better and am much better in my mommy and wife relationships. Do you have any friends locally who you can spend time with? Just to vent? I hope you can find an outlet for all that wonderful creativity — ideally, one that would pan into a career so you could either dump radiology altogether or so you’d have fun in your art and that would bleed over into having more fun in your work. Take care …


    I think I can relate to some aspects of your situation. One thing that is hard for me is the competitive/male sort of attitude that is required at work, at a time when one has young children at home and really is yearning to live out that mommy-role to its fullest. So I/we have to go in to work and take those digs and sometimes even deliver them (the baseball jargon, one upsmanship and so forth) when I really just want to be with my little people coloring with crayons or out on the playground, helping them accomplish a tiny task. I’ve had to take on a new attitude at work, one that is like “Well I’m me with all the limitations that being a mother has given me, I work at a molasses sort of pace sometimes (where I accomplish ten things in 5 minutes, and nothing over the next 2hrs) and you’ll have to take me as I am (pages answered with children’s whining in the background, that kind of thing).” My husband and I are also having stress but are trying to transition toward a situation that better suits our needs. To me, it sounds like you need to do art, take on your artsy self with a zeal, outside and even on the job, as you work toward a solution. Maybe cut back on your work further until your child(ren) is/are in school or you find alternative work you like better, such as the options presented in the SAHM post. Your kids are only young once, and you have your whole life to work, another mom once told me.


    I’ve been going through some similar feelings, although not as bad as you. It definitely helps to get involved with a good psychiatrist who understands what you are going through. I figure I am pretty well compensated for the small amount of time I spend on the job (now 3 1/2 days/week) so I look at it as more of a luxury that I get to spend more time being a mom than my other professional girlfriends. I spend time gardening, cooking, playing the piano, started doing karate with my kids, teach sunday school, lots of things that make me happy and remind me what like is all about. There wil always be ups and downs, but when you are in the trough of a wave, it is hard to remember there is always a crest coming up.


    I’m sorry you are having such a hard time of it all. :grouphug:
    I agree whole heartedly with what the others have said, therapy…take time out to do the things you enjoy (although when you are depressed it is REALLY hard to do this)…aggressive psych meds…

    One thing I haven’t seen mentioned yet is to talk with your husband about his looking for something to help the ends meet. For better or for worse…and you guys are having one of those “for worse”times right now. You have taken it upon yourself to change jobs while maintaining an adequate income and it soulds like you are still searching for an alternative occupation. Sounds like you guys need to pull together and make a joint effort at this difficult time you are having.

    Although I am not married (only in a long term relationship for now) one quote that I have always liked…probably from Oprah lol…

    In order to have a relationship that works…only one of you can be crazy at a time.

    Lord knows I have learned a lot over the last couple of years by trying to live by this.

    Good luck to you.


    Originally posted by ellie:

    In order to have a relationship that works…only one of you can be crazy at a time.

    LOL – I second this!


    I can definitely relate to these posts. It almost seems as if someone has taken the blinders off of our eyes when we finally finish our grueling training and then what we are left with is…. more grueling work at payments that can barely cover our debt and living expenses.

    I am psychiatrist, mother of a 2-year old and a stay-at-home mother wannabe. There are some solutions to this problem. One of them is finding ways to make money from home as a physician. I did post a reply (under my former login name of vlcmd) under the SAHM post on this board.

    I am currently quickly finishing up a book I have been researching with lots of resources to help physician moms who are looking for flexible career options to allow us to spend more time with our children. (People are really desperate for this information so I am going as fast as I can with a 2-year old underfoot!). It will be available as an instant download ebook so once it is written, the wait will not be too long.

    In the meantime, check my previous post and some of the other great replies on that board.

    But most of all hang in there and remember that beautiful child you want to be there for.


    Wow, Victoria! I am looking forward to your book — please post how to download it when it’s ready.


    Thanks everyone for your replys. I also wanted to reply to a private email I received from amee1016. You mentioned that you have an MBA and an MPH–what are you doing with them or are you still practicing??

    Dr JudyDr Judy

    I too am tired of medicine. After almost 20 years in ob/gyn, I am tired of malpractice, demanding patients, insurance etc. But i also am kind of bored. The women in my fmaily live to their 90’s so i figure given the stock market I need to work for a LOONG time. I can’t see delivering babies at 3 am when I am in my 70’s, so I want to do something else, but still maintain a good income.
    Any ideas as to what else you would do if you didn’t do this??


    As a former OB/Gyn, you could make a killing in medicolegal work either as a consultant/expert witness or actually get a JD and practice medical law. Another option is to do a 3 yr residency in psychiatry and then specialize in women’s psychiatry particularly pregnancy/postpartum/lactation/menopause issues. What about the Berman sisters and issues about sexual education and treatment? Would you enjoy dropping the OB and routine gyn and focusing on sexual issues for women? Just brainstorming …


    Funny you should mention consulting work. 🙂

    I am the medical director of Belli Cosmetics– a new luxury body care line for pregnancy. Our products are firmly ground in medical research but also use the holistic benefits of aromatherapy, massage therapy, and even taste therapy to address the common concerns of pregnancy.

    We are currently sold at Pea in the Pod stores, select Nordstrom and Ritz-Carlton spas, and many other prestige maternity boutiques across the United States, and we are growing rapidly.

    I am a board certified family practitioner. My wife Annette is the president of the company, and has past experience with Clinique Cosmetics as Account Executive for the Pacific Northwest region.

    In the current atmosphere of decreasing reimbursements, physicians are starting to look towards alternate revenue sources to supplement their incomes. Dermatologists have done this successfully for the last decade. Similarly, Belli is now starting to approach OB-Gyns about retailing directly through their offices. We offer counter-displays, educational materials, training materials for receptionists and nurses, and many free samples to help introduce your patients to the line.

    We are also searching for a few OB-Gyn consultants. Initially, the position would involve critiquing our products and our educational materials, but over the next year could expand to writing articles for our website, fielding general questions from customers, giving interviews to magazines, and even representing Belli through television appearances on shows like Oprah, Good Morning America, and the Today show.

    If you are interested in becoming a retailer or consulting for us, please contact Annette or myself at (425) 313-5878. You can also preview our products online at http://www.bellicosmetics.com.

    Thank you, and I look forward to hearing from you!

    Jason Rubin, MD
    Medical Director
    Belli Cosmetics


    Wow! I haven’t read this site in a while mostly because I never had time to wait for it to download and have the time to actually type a reply. I have been in the same practice for 13 years and Friday is my last official day. Cleaning out my office has been like cleaning out the last 20 years of my life since med school-I had that much accumulated junk! You kow, those papers you keep for your own education and those you keep for your patient’s! I started thinking about leaving my job over two years ago-there have been a couple of things that I have done that have really helped me make this decision. You may want to look into one or all of these-first Meninger puts on a program called Physician in Transition-its for physicians and their spouses and really gets into the reasons why people are unhappy and in a surprisingly small amount of time-gets you to really think about what’s important to you. Second, if you live in the midwest area there is a Bush Fellowship that you can get after 7 years of practice that will allow you a stipend to take a sabbatical-although I didn’t use mine to the fullest, because my husband was unemployed and ironically, we didn’t have medical insurance- it made me think about what my options were and how to approach them. Thirdly, the University of Minnesota Center for Spirituality and Healing has a program called the Inner Life of Healers. You can attend a one day seminar(which I hear sell out regularly-you are not alone!!) or you can attend a retreat series which is what i have done over the last year and a half. It’s 5 3-day weekends at what used to be an Aveda Spa in Wisconsin-I was surprised at how many women and men in medicine are fed up with the atmosphere we have to practice in. I am fortunate that I can tap into my retirement fund to take some time off-I know that that’s not the best option-but it’s better than staying at a job that I was finding too frustrating and depressing to deal with. I also found that I needed to separate out what it was about my job that I didn’t like-it wasn’t the work- or the patients , as much as it was the corporate nature of my position and not having any say about how my job was to be done. What’s next for me? I’m not sure- I have three kids ages 17,14 and 9-my husband is working and has health insurance and my priority is take some time off being a mom and wife. My house sure needs it-I’m surprised at how fast time has gone by already just working on my house and being available to my kids-I really did have two jobs. I keep remembering that my life is a work in progress and that I am not alone in my frustration about the practice of medicine. When I had hesitations about leaving my practice, one of my friends asked me what my nine year old would say about it. I told him, he would tell me that he loved me and that it was ok. Follow the path that your heart needs-it;ll make you a better mom and a better doctor.


    Congrat tiger@princeton!

    Enjoy your family and the new stage of your life.

    Good for you. :yes:


    To Dr. Judy: I have a friendly former OB who now does wound clinic only… No nights, no call, no weekend, reasonable cash. I have a friend who simply learned how to invest in all the surgicenters she could. I do not have the same investment risk profile she has. My sister works only 2 days a week as an internist and does not do call. My clinic president is a former critical care MD and now full time administrator. How about running away and becoming the Club Med doctor?

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