This is a question I’ve been asked at just about every interview I’ve ever been to. It’s quite a fair question, because I reckon that a being a junior doctor is one of the most stressful jobs you could do. I’d say I’m a pretty chilled person most of the time. I’m very mentally tough but I’m very laid-back as well. It’s rare that events get on top of me or get me down, but there have been times when things have happened that have brought me to tears. I’ve had several sleepless nights when I’ve replayed events in my head again and again in an eternally repeating cycle like some sort of sick cinema viewing.
There have been times when I’ve felt all alone and times when I’ve just asked myself “Is it worth it? Is the job worth feeling this bad for? Should I just pack it in and do something else?” In short, there have been loads of times when I’ve felt stressed.
The Beatles once sang “I get by with a little help from my friends” and I’m lucky enough to have fantastic family and friends to help me through the dark times.
One of the other things I do when I feel things are getting on top of me is pay a visit to the streets. I pull out my trainers from under my bed, pull on an old t-shirt and tracksuit bottoms, set my iPod to shuffle and go for a run. I love it.
I love that there’s just me, the beat and the streets; and for the time I’m on the streets, nothing else really matters. The streets have been there since before I was born and will be there after I die. The streets won’t care if I don’t shave before I run. The streets won’t gossip about me and won’t assume that because they can’t see me, I must be in the pub or playing golf. The streets won’t attempt to undermine me because I took a different route to my destination. The streets won’t hassle me about protocols or breeches or bed-crises and will just let me get on with running. The streets don’t expect me to run on all of them at the same time, in fact they expect me to visit them one by one. The streets are always there if I want them, no matter how long it’s been since my last visit.
If I stumble and fall on the streets, it’s only me that gets hurt.