Here's My Story
I was Born and raised in Fort Wayne Indiana, midsized town of about 250k. It was at an early age, about the third grade, that I knew I wanted to be a doctor, but at this point all I knew was that you have to be smart and want to help people feel better. I got good grades in school. I had an excellent high school experience. I participated in multiple bands playing the flute and oboe.
I went to college at Purdue University. For the most part, had a great time. I worked a job and joined a phenomenal sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I kept good grades and graduated. After I didn’t gain acceptance to medical school right away, I attended two separate medical enrichment programs in Chicago; and I attended a post baccalaureate program where I earned my master’s degree in Medical Science.
Finally, after all those years of hard work and support and encouragement of my loving family, but mostly never giving up on myself, I got into medical school! I took a journey to New Jersey.
Medical school is a trip! Typically first 2 years are spent in the classroom setting. Whereas the last two are clinically based. It is here in the clinical setting where you start to get a real taste of the life of a doctor without a lot of responsibility. Yes, stress is there, but its shared.
After medical school I went back home to my home town of Fort Wayne to do my 3-year family medicine residency. Here, as a resident physician and as the years go by, I am seeing patients, making decisions and overseeing interns. Yes, this was stressful, you have other people’s lives in your hands. But you are still fully not autonomous, you are still under the care of your attending. One thing I can say that I did to help with my stress load was get regular massages and pedicures.
So now, I’m finished with residency and I am recruited to a small rural community in West Texas to work. Now… it’s just me…Its all on me. Me!! As you can imaging, if you just think about it, that can be stress provoking… as it was.
Those who know me see me at work as a happy, bubbly person on the outside, and for the most part I am, but there was a time, in fact, many times where I felt stressed, unorganized, tired, sleepy, angry, unproductive, overwhelmed, and just not who I thought I should be. I really wasn’t myself.
At work when it got to be too much I would actually go into the restroom and cry. It was too much. All these things were multiplied by 10 when I was on call.
I finally had a breaking point when I was at work, feeling all those emotions.
One day I was sitting at my desk and my nurse aide came into my office and sat down in a chair across from me and asked: “Dr Gorman is there anything I can do to help you?” I looked at her and replied, “There is nothing anyone can do to help me.” She then replied how concerned she was to hear me say this, because this is what people say who want to kill themselves. I was kind of thrown aback and felt shocked! I thought for a brief moment and replied to her that I can actually see it! I can see where a person would just want to be done with it all. It was just too much.
Here it is that my mom is alive and still encourages me. I have my sisters who love me. I have my fiancé who is a support and I have my work family who is there as well. And not ONE of them really knew what it was like for me. I really didn’t feel like I could talk to anyone who would really understand. So yes, for that brief movement I could see how someone could contemplate suicide. This was really a low point for me. I really felt ashamed and embarrassed.
I did have faith to realize that through the lowness, must come the assent. I wanted to shift my mind to be positive. I knew the major reason why I journed into this dark space was multifactorial, but the whole foundation was that I was stressed and unable to relax. I didn’t manage my stress well. I was snapping at people for no reason, like my mom. Seemingly simple things made me upset. This was not me, again how ashamed I was.
After this moment I realized three powerful things. One is I never EVER wanted to feel this way again. I was tired of being stressed out and anxious about everything all the time. Even when I was not at work, I was thinking about being at work. Did I miss something at? Was I going to be called, even when I wasn’t on call? How many charts do I have to catch up on? I was upset on how the patient schedule was done and how patients were put in. It was a mess. I was a mess! No way to live.
Secondly, I had just returned from a conference in Atlanta where I had been given the opportunity to change the course of my life beginning with my mindset and learn how to get out in the world and fulfill my dreams, and I took it. I figured out thru this extraordinary shift in my life, If I want something different, I must do something different.
Finally, I discovered that one of my purposes in life is to help other stressed individuals in the work environment be made aware that not being able to get a hold on chronic stress is literally killing them. I don’t want any other people to arrive and stay in that dark place that I visited.
I had to get out there spreading knowledge that stress doesn’t have to kill you. In the work setting let’s just admit it, there can be A LOT of stress , but RELAX…I got you.
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