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being a doctor - is loneliness escapable?

fish89

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10+ Year Member
Aug 16, 2008
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  1. Pre-Medical
    It seems like loneliness is a topic that is constantly recurring on the minds of premeds and med students... and on this forum. Most of the doctors I know personally have related to me feelings of loneliness in med school (one of my friends, now a doctor, said she cried everyday secretly at HMS)... hopefully she's an exception.

    But the reality is, in medicine and any other demanding, competitive career, one is bound to spend lots of time alone, maybe even most of most days alone. Working, clinics, doing career stuff. You're also bound to face a lot of challenges that none of your close friends (or even spouse) will understand - at work, in school, etc. So given the time crunch and the fact that its sometimes lonely at the top (or at least in a career field where most of your friends can't relate) are career-driven people doomed to loneliness? In life, marriage, and otherwise?

    Do you think two married doctors really make time for each other? Can one married doctor make time for a non-medical partner in a satisfactory way? Do professional demands necessarily get in the way of intimacy and relationship? Is it possible to create dynamic, vibrant relationships in the midst of life's tiring demands? What do you think?

    I'm not trying to be cynical, simply trying to weigh realistic factors. If you're not lonely as a premed/medical student/etc, what do you do to build relationships around you?
     
    Last edited:

    Asyouwereatrio

    Full Member
    Nov 30, 2009
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    Brooklyn, NY
    1. Medical Student
      It seems like loneliness is a topic that is constantly recurring on the minds of premeds and med students... most of the doctors I know personally have related to me feelings of loneliness in med school (one of my friends, now a doctor, said she cried everyday secretly at HMS)... hopefully she's an exception.

      Are career-driven people doomed to loneliness? In life, marriage, and otherwise?

      Can two married doctors really make time for each other? Can one married doctor make time for a non-medical partner? Do professional demands necessarily get in the way of intimacy and relationship? If so, why? And is it possible to create dynamic, vibrant relationships in the midst of life's tiring demands? What do you think?

      If you're not lonely as a premed/medical student/etc, what do you do to build relationships around you?

      None of the doctors I know are lonely or lacking a fulfilling life...in fact, they all have families and/or significant others...I'm no longer lonely in my life, simply because I have a SO who is supportive of my decision to enter medical school and is there for me, just like I am going to be there him whilst he is applying to grad school as I type this...

      In short, it's important to try and build relationships with people around you--as friends, lovers, etc. to prevent loneliness from encroaching on your life. There was a time when I was lonely, but it was more me being withdrawn and not wanting to interact with certain "types" of people than it was an inability to socialize due to lack of time. I think that especially when "times get rough" (because we lack time), it becomes especially important to increase social interaction with others!
       

      fish89

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      Aug 16, 2008
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      1. Pre-Medical
        To elaborate, I'm also worried about loneliness even in the midst of marriage - I've seen so many marriages where each partner is actually really lonely inside despite outward appearances. It takes time and chemistry to support one another's needs - as friends, as couples - and perseverance is often hard to come by in today's day and age.

        It seems that the physician (or professional) lifestyle isn't particularly conducive to creating a forum for that kind of understanding. Perhaps I'm thinking of my parents, who, despite having a healthy and long marriage, really don't hang out that much because they're so busy with their family and kids and jobs.

        Asyouwereatrio, maybe you're right that loneliness is a lifestyle choice we choose to make in the midst of the medical route, but it's not a byproduct of the medical route.

        Maybe it's really a matter of priorities - maybe we inevitably (accidentally) kick what's most important aside in light of other demands.

        Still I'd like to hear others' opinoins: can love, friendship, relationship, and professional success be simultaneous priorities? Does there have to be a trade-off?
         
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        omgyou8myrice

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        Nov 1, 2010
        163
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        MN
        1. Pre-Medical
          It completely depends on the type of person you are, and the commitment you're willing to put forth to avoid being lonely.

          Case in point - I have no problem what-so-ever being alone for long periods of time. My SO likes seeing me every day, sleeping with me every night - I would rather be with her half as often because I really enjoy my alone time. If you're the kind of person who craves attention from others constantly.. med school MIGHT be a problem for you.
           

          EpiIV

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          Apr 12, 2010
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          1. Medical Student
            Damnit, I am sick and tired of this thing eating my responses. Well, at least it gets shorter each time.

            It's not going to happen unless you put in the effort. You can't become dependent on other people to make your friendships for you. Sometimes there isn't going to be that one outgoing person to introduce themselves out of the blue, make all the plans, mediate disputes, and form the social mortar of the class. So you get one massive crowd of lonely people, all going through the exact same thing, all about the same age, all making the same ridiculous excuses.

            I don't know exactly why I don't consider myself a lonely person or what I should tell you. The best advice I can give you is not to focus on "escaping" anything. Focus on breaking down the prisons that are holding everyone else back.

            Oh, and bring food.
             

            ronaldo23

            The Truth
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            Jul 28, 2007
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              forever+alone+face.png
               

              gravitywave

              fourth year
              Dec 19, 2009
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              1. Medical Student
                you should also bear in mind that medicine as a career doesn't demand the kind of sacrifices that it did twenty or even ten years ago. Many practices/specialties are now open to doctors working part-time, or with a clinical/academic mix that wasn't possible in the past.

                Trade-offs still have to be made, but less so now than at any time in modern medical history.
                 

                georgearms

                i am a girl
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                May 26, 2008
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                1. Pre-Medical
                  Me personally, I like doing things alone. I love hiking and running alone. I like to go grocery shopping, I like to read, and I like to take naps alone. :D I'm surrounded by people when I go to class and go to work, so I love finding time for myself. I definitely know some people who can't survive more than 2 hours without talking to someone, but I have never been like that. I also don't get lonely because I have very good friendships. I spent a lot of time in high school and college developing solid relationships, and I know I will have these friends for the rest of my life. I'm sure I'll find great friends in med school, too. I don't know how I would have gotten through college being lonely .. that would make me really sad. :(
                   

                  georgearms

                  i am a girl
                  10+ Year Member
                  May 26, 2008
                  201
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                  1. Pre-Medical
                    Still I'd like to hear others' opinoins: can love, friendship, relationship, and professional success be simultaneous priorities? Does there have to be a trade-off?

                    I am POSITIVE you can have all of these in your life, as long as you have reasonable expectations! You probably can't work 18 hours a day trying to achieve professional stardom and expect to maintain relationships with your SO, friends, kids, etc.
                     
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