Update (Match Day!!)
Ahhh, we finally made it. I truly could not be more excited to announce that come July 1st, 2022, I will be joining the next cohort of Dalhousie Psychiatry resident doctors. Step aside Pops, there's a new Dr. Miller in town!!
For this month's post, I thought it might be neat to give a sneak peak into what was going through my mind as I tried to finalize my rank order list. This isn't a particularly vulnerable or courageous thing for me to share, in the sense that I got my first choice residency selection (which I do realize is a huge privilege). What is, however - or at least feels to me like it is - both vulnerable and courageous, is that I am sharing it through the lens of a check-in with my old therapist.
To be honest, part of me worries what people will think if I publicly state that I had a therapist (who was absolutely amazing, I might add). When I reflect on some of the people who have impacted me and my thinking most profoundly, however, I realized that one of the things I admired and respected most about them was their willingness to speak candidly about their own experiences with therapy and other 'hard things'. Any Glennon Doyle fans in the crowd?? As my girl Brené (who also sees a therapist) says, there is no vulnerability without uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure... so here we go.
March 17th, 2022. 1:50pm.
"Dr P!! Hello!!
I just wanted to say hi as I sit here at a restaurant in Little Italy in Ottawa a) by myself b) facing the inside of the restaurant and c) drinking a beer to mark St Paddy’s Day. I kick started my day with a long run along the Rideau Canal and through parliament, with no plan - just running towards whatever caught my eye. And then after that I decided to venture over here, and picked a restaurant on a whim without even googling it to make sure it would be good. Who even am I??
I spontaneously booked this quick solo trip to Ottawa because I was feeling some existential uncertainty (~drama~) about what to do with my life after finishing CaRMS interviews. I couldn’t tell if I was thinking I should move to Ottawa because I actually wanted to, or because I thought I was supposed to want to branch out and live in a new city (for 'personal growth' reasons). I also worried about whether I was just staying in Halifax because it was safe and comfortable. I think deep down I wondered if I could even make it in a new city. I am really glad I came on this whirlwind trip though because I found exactly the clarity that I needed.
As I sit here and reflect (without my book - though I did rehash ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ in trying to sort my feelings out about all of this), I now know that I ABSOLUTELY can navigate a new city on my own. I actually really am loving Ottawa and having so much fun exploring and navigating the city on my own. To that end, I've realized that staying in Halifax wouldn’t be just because it was the 'safe' thing to do. In fact, I feel perfectly capable of moving somewhere new... AND ALSO... I don't want to.
In the end, for me it came down to 1) Where do I feel I can be my most authentic self? and 2) Where do I feel worthy for just existing, without having to constantly hustle for approval? In the answers to those questions, I found my clarity: I know the Halifax program is where I belong and where I want to be. I feel the grounded confidence that I have here will allow me step into leadership roles in Halifax that I might not otherwise somewhere else. I am already brewing up plans for things to implement. And I am really excited.
Anywho, the Halifax program still has to pick me too, so we’ll see how it all shakes out on April 12th. I just figured therapists probably never hear about when people are doing really well, and I wanted to let you know that I am.
I do miss you though!!
March 18th, 2022. 9:54am.
What a delightful email. It is so nice to hear from you and to hear that you are doing so well. Thank you for thinking of me and for taking the time to write. You are correct. It is not often that I hear only the good news.
I am ever so impressed with you. The trip sounds like a great idea and I love your description of sitting in the restaurant by yourself, facing the inside, "sans props"…! Nice job! I am very proud of you.
I hope that you enjoy your mini vacation in our nation’s capital and I wish you the very best of luck with the residency placement. Any setting will be lucky to have you. I’d love to hear the outcome of the April match.
I wish you the very best of luck and good fortune in all that you choose to do. Do take care of you.
Your email made my day…!
With kind regards,
It was an absolute privilege to have been able to spend time with Dr P learning about myself and how my brain ticks, as was the personal growth I have experienced as a result. I am absolutely a happier, healthier, and more 'well-adjusted' (as my friends like to say) version of myself because of it. I hope sharing this was both insightful and refreshing, and that you know that even those of us who seem to have it 'all figured out' still need a bit of help here and there.
(Spoiler alert: anyone who tells you they have it 'all figured out' is lying to you).