brotherbloat

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Hi there,

It's Friday night and I'm all alone, as usual. My hubby, a resident, is on call, and I feel extreme lonliness when he's not around. I've lived in my new city for a year and half, and despite my best attempts, have yet to make any good girlfriends here. I hate my job, and am looking for a new one, and feel worthless because I don't have a real career. Just wanted to post my feelings here, since I have no one else to talk to. :(

-BB
 

alison_in_oh

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brotherbloat said:
Hi there,

It's Friday night and I'm all alone, as usual. My hubby, a resident, is on call, and I feel extreme lonliness when he's not around. I've lived in my new city for a year and half, and despite my best attempts, have yet to make any good girlfriends here. I hate my job, and am looking for a new one, and feel worthless because I don't have a real career. Just wanted to post my feelings here, since I have no one else to talk to. :(

-BB
I'm sorry, sweetie. I feel your pain. It's a dark and gloomy winter, isn't it?

Don't let your career define you. Try thinking of your job as just that thing you do during the day to pay the bills -- your life is what happens outside of those hours. Indulge yourself, pick up hobbies.

Honestly, I find that on-call nights can be really fun: I often will have popcorn for dinner, put on a LotR movie that DH could barely sit through the first time, take out my knitting and stay up late without worrying about the dishes in the sink. :) Yeah, once in a while I'll manage to coordinate going out to the coffeeshop with my one local female friend, and during his next clerkship (surgery) I've got plans to go out a couple of times with my guy friends. But really, I mostly enjoy the time to reconnect with ME, have a glass of wine and soak in the tub, read, veg on the Internet. :)

When I was married, and even before, my MIL (an MD's spouse) could not suggest strongly enough that I learn to be self-sufficient because a doctor husband will NOT always be around to entertain you. That advice has stood me in good stead. :)

Be you...do what you do...Dr. Pepper...oh, wait, that's just a jingle. :laugh:

Still good advice, though. ;)
 

Law2Doc

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brotherbloat said:
Hi there,

It's Friday night and I'm all alone, as usual. My hubby, a resident, is on call, and I feel extreme lonliness when he's not around. I've lived in my new city for a year and half, and despite my best attempts, have yet to make any good girlfriends here. I hate my job, and am looking for a new one, and feel worthless because I don't have a real career. Just wanted to post my feelings here, since I have no one else to talk to. :(

-BB
Your prior posts all seem to have a common theme, depression and issues with self worth both in your marriage and career (give or take the occaisional post about your fear of getting stuck with a needle if you ever get into med school). Surely there must be something positive in your life -- or some hobby you can get excited about and throw yourself into. It almost sounds to me like you may really need to talk to a mental health professional rather than post your (always extremely negative) feelings of angst onto an internet board. You could have some chemical imballance that could be easilly remedied, but more likely you need a professional sounding board.
 
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brotherbloat

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Hi there,

Just wondering--how do you guys seem to always remember my posts--needlestick and career? I never seem to remember who posted what. How is that? Just wondering.

Anyhow, as to the career, I've always had a hard time separating my self-worth from my career activities. I don't know why, maybe because like Alison suggested, I don't really have much of an outside life out of my job at the moment, since my hubby is so occupied and I haven't made many friends here (just acquaintances.) I've tried so hard to make friends, I've posted lots of posts on Craig's List, right now I'm trying to organize a women's running group, but it just seems that most people in a particular city already have support networks in place, and it seems rare to move somewhere (like I did) not knowing anyone but your partner.

Anyhow, what do other people do to cope with the lonliness when their spouse/ partner is on call? I guess I haven't been very good lately dealing with the lonliness, esp. since I don't have any good girlfriends to go out with or talk to at those times. Plus, my job is so mindless that it doesn't occupy my thoughts either at work or afterwards. I'm trying to find a new job right now, but, it's really hard, since I'm applying for jobs in areas I'm not trained for (I used to be an artist, now I'm looking for jobs in science.) Like swimming upstream, sometimes.

I know I often only post here when I have something negative to discuss, like needlesticks, etc. :) but I'm a really fun and interesting person to be around. I just wish I could find some female friends to hang with or, like someone mentioned, a consuming hobby. My current hobbies aren't very consuming--reading, movies, hanging out at Borders, playing with our many animals, interior design, cooking. What would be something more consuming, that's not a sport, that could take up lots of my free time (because I have way too much free time.) Or maybe I should get a second job--one full time plus one part time job to get me through the remainder of residency?

What coping tactics to other spouses/ sig o's of residents use? Esp. when they live in a city with no family and just a few acquaintances? Do you ever feel lonely and if so what do you do about it? By the way, I'm a recent newlywed.

Thanks,

-BB
 
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brotherbloat

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Oh by the way, I thought about talking to a counselor but it would be too expensive, and I don't have the money. Health ins. wouldn't cover that, would it? Also, I would never take any sort of depression drugs--no way. I do wish I could talk to a professional or a friend about this but I don't have any. :(
 

alison_in_oh

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brotherbloat said:
it just seems that most people in a particular city already have support networks in place, and it seems rare to move somewhere (like I did) not knowing anyone but your partner.What coping tactics to other spouses/ sig o's of residents use? Esp. when they live in a city with no family and just a few acquaintances? Do you ever feel lonely and if so what do you do about it? By the way, I'm a recent newlywed.
This is why residency programs have spousal support groups. Ask at your husband's program. Remember, this is something that most spouses and partners of those in medical training will understand better than anyone: the uprooting, the floundering in a new location, the long hours of work and call.

In addition to "in-person" support groups, don't forget about the virtual support group at medicalspouse.com/forums.
 

Dentist2B'sGF

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I understand...well I am about to understand.. I am not married yet.. but my sweetie will soon be going away to dental school... I know it will be hard/lonely... but I am prepared. The one plus that I have is a lot of friends/family where I am currently living. I did consider moving to be with my b/f (we've been together 4 yrs) but I decided to stay here because he wants to move back here after it's all overwith.. and I have my career very well established here. So, I do have that going for me but at the same time... I have a whole list of things that I want to do "for myself" during the next few years..Maybe you could try something like that.. make a list of things you want to do for yourself.... like maybe you've always wanted to take dance classes... or start a book club.. or whatever it is you may be interested in.

Also.. if you feel that your depression may be helped by a psychologist.. look into your health insurance plan. I know that some plans do cover a certain number of "mental health" visits. And all you have to pay is a "copay" That may be a good place to start.

You need to be happy with you... and do whatever you have to in order to get there.. good luck.. and you DO HAVE FRIENDS.. WE ARE YOUR FRIENDS!
Kristen
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Mike84

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Volunteering somewhere really works for me. Pick a volunteering program that you'd be passionate about e.g. reading to kids, sitting on some kind of board, etc.

You'll feel good about helping others and you'll probably meet other volunteers with the same interests.
 

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Moving to a new city with no support network is tough. Military wives go through something similar all the time. If you don't get along with the spouses group, you don't have a support system. Are there other resident's spouses in the same situation? Maybe you and they can get together, helping both. Or take up a new hobby that involves meeting people. Take a class. I met a lot of people taking a TPR MCAT prep class.

Good luck. It's tough if you're not super social.
 
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brotherbloat

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Hi guys,

Thanks for your responses. Though I think the taking a class to meet people or volunteering is highly overrated. How many people who already have their support networks in place are really willing to take the time to get to know a stranger? I do yoga, and I can honestly say that no one has ever made small talk with me, nor are they interested in hanging out when I approach them. I also volunteer tutoring adults in an inner city program, and there are no people my age to hang out with in that situation either. When I've taken wine tasting classes, etc. for fun, same deal.

The bottom line is that for me, the only thing that has remotely worked is Craig's List. My hubby's residency program doesn't have any sort of spouses group, he's already looked into that. I just find that in general, people are not open to making new friends because they already have their support system in place. Maybe if there were some way to find people who just moved here and no know one, like myself, that would be good--but how would I find such a group?

Also, I think it's hard to make friends when you're looking only for friends of one gender, and also preferably around the same age. Many times when I post on Craig's List I end up with 20 year olds emailing me, and I don't think that would work out.

For those whose spouses/ sig o's are residents, how do you deal with the call every four days, or whatever, and how do you deal with the lonliness/ lack of time you can spend with your partner? Because it really gets me down sometimes.

Thanks,

BB
 

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Alright, darling, time to get some help,

Most insurance companies will cover sessions with a therapist/psychologist, sometimes you have to get prior approval, or sometimes you need to pay for the first session and then they'll reimburse you after the dr. has made a diagnosis (which to me sounds v. similar to adjustment disorder or even a major depressive disorder.) But there is no price to be put on your mental health. That's what doctors are there for, so use them! And don't be afraid to use your insurance either to get the help you need; studies have shown that people who are happy and well-adjusted are physically healthier than those who are not. So get thee to a doctor - call up a few, ask if they take your insurance, and then start looking for a more stimulating job. Hell, for right now maybe you should take a job in a coffee shop or retail sales or at a bistro or bookshop - something that has a bit more social atmosphere. Or do what I would do - try to get a job at Tiffany and Co! How could you not be happy surrounded by those sparkly things all day?

Not to make light of your situation, my dear, but really, your husband married you because he thought you were great, so there are others besides him in that big city that will think you are great, too (as friends, of course!)

SO
1. Professional help
2. New, fun job! (Even if it's only temporary - it doesn't have to be your career!)

Good luck.

-AH
 

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I feel the same way. I too am a resident spouse who has been living in a new city for a year and a half. I find myself feeling lonely quite often. I hate my job as well and am searching for something new. I don't feel like I have much in common with most of the people I work with and work seems to be the best source of new friends for people past a certain age. I was unable to finish my BA before leaving home because of my husband's residency therefore my job choices are quite limited, and the expense of the city where I live limits my returning to school. It's tough to be a spouse of a resident because life revolves around his job, it dictates where you live, when you can take a vacation, when you see each other, and to some degree when you can start a family etc... I suppose it will be worth it in the end and 5 years is really not all that long. Although I do wonder at times why any sane person would put themselves through this. I cope by flying home to visit my family every 3 or 4 months, staying in touch with friends through e-mail, and like you hanging out in bookstores and coffeeshops. Thank God for books! And of course my two cats keep me company. Thank you for sharing how you feel. To know that I'm not the only one who feels this way makes me feel better.
 

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brotherbloat said:
Hi there,

It's Friday night and I'm all alone, as usual. My hubby, a resident, is on call, and I feel extreme lonliness when he's not around. I've lived in my new city for a year and half, and despite my best attempts, have yet to make any good girlfriends here. I hate my job, and am looking for a new one, and feel worthless because I don't have a real career. Just wanted to post my feelings here, since I have no one else to talk to. :(

-BB

I went into a field with no call specifically so that my significant other would be able to spend time with me, but guess what...I have no significant other! The joke is on me. :laugh: So instead of being productive on a friday night, I either get drunk with the local loser crew and hit on overly pretentious women or stare at my walls. I should switch with your husband, does he have any interested in pathology?
 

f_w

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This thread highlights an interesting phenomenon. Spouses of medstudents/residents who drop everything they do to follow the 'significant other' to wherever they go.
The woman I spend my life with is very independent and highly educated. Her career is as important as mine. We have never compromised if there was an educational or professional opportunity for either of us. Granted, we racked up some frequent flyer miles doing that. The knowledge that she is satisfied with her work (and will be able to fend for herself and the kids if I tip over with a heart-attack) is worth it. This is definitely not for everyone, but I think you don't have to go to the other extreme: sitting at home in some collegetown and get bored out of your brain.

My unsolicited advice:

- go to school, finish your degree. If you already have one, get another one.
- if there is no adequate job matching your skill-set: go to wherever that job is. If that means weekend commuting, so be it.
- don't hang around hoping for the big 'payoff' that comes after your hubby is done with residency, it might not be YOU who will benefit from it (you might or might not have heard this: Physicians have the nasty habit of dropping the friendly nurse who fed them through medical school and residency on average 3 years into practice)
 

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brotherbloat said:
Hi there,

It's Friday night and I'm all alone, as usual. My hubby, a resident, is on call, and I feel extreme lonliness when he's not around. I've lived in my new city for a year and half, and despite my best attempts, have yet to make any good girlfriends here. I hate my job, and am looking for a new one, and feel worthless because I don't have a real career. Just wanted to post my feelings here, since I have no one else to talk to. :(

-BB
I goes both ways...I'm currently overseas in the army as a physician...I have not seen my dear, beautiful, sweet, caring wife for severals months...I am in agony...each day that goes by I miss her more and more :( :love:
 

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My unsolicited advice:

- go to school, finish your degree. If you already have one, get another one.
- if there is no adequate job matching your skill-set: go to wherever that job is. If that means weekend commuting, so be it.
- don't hang around hoping for the big 'payoff' that comes after your hubby is done with residency, it might not be YOU who will benefit from it (you might or might not have heard this: Physicians have the nasty habit of dropping the friendly nurse who fed them through medical school and residency on average 3 years into practice)[/QUOTE]


I agree, this is very good advice for us all. Unfortunately my husband is in a preliminary position which leaves us a little vulnerable. After he finds a categorical spot next July I do indeed plan on returning to school. I'm not waiting for the big "payoff", I'm waiting for the best time to incur debt (school is expensive) and a time to not have to worry about dropping everything to move to a new location (which could be just about anywhere) My husband isn't the traditional late 20's early 30's resident and we have been married for over 7 years. I did not feed him through medical school and he is actually "feeding" me through his residency. I certainly don't want to live my life thinking that just because my husband's career happens to be in medicine that I will be dropped once he has established himself, that can happen to anyone. Back to your advice, your right it is important to not live life around your spouse's career, a person should pursue becoming a well rounded individual pursuing their own dreams otherwise you risk becoming dependent and boring to you spouse.
 

f_w

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I don't know you and your personal situation. My comments were meant in a more general sense.

> person should pursue becoming a well rounded
> individual pursuing their own dreams otherwise
> you risk becoming dependent and boring to you spouse.

Amen.
I could have added that, I agonized a while on how to write the post in a way that says the least: 'it's your fault'.
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
I don't know you and your personal situation. My comments were meant in a more general sense.
Your "general" comments sure did sound like they were extrapolating your *specific* situation to that of others. I'm really glad that you and your wife are happy, that you are successful at long-distance partnership, and that your need for an "educated" partner is being met. And I'm glad you're aware that the odds are you're going to dump your wife. :confused: But the solution for every partner of someone in a medical training situation is not to "go to school" nor to assume that he or she could be dumped simply because that's the nature of medicine.

You're posting your unsolicited advice to go to school and more school, to drop everything and follow a job lead, to let go her dreams of "big payoff", to a newlywed struggling to study for the MCAT and trying to pursue her own dream of practicing medicine. Whaddupwiddat?

Anyway. The assumptions and generalizations you've made are pretty mindblowing, but I'll stop there.
 

f_w

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> and that your need for an "educated" partner is
> being met.

It is not my 'need' that dictates this, it is the enthusiasm my wife has for her own work. On the other hand, I will do whatever I can to promote her work, in the end it benefits both of us.

> And I'm glad you're aware that the odds are
> you're going to dump your wife.

I think my personal odds for that are slim to none. But again, she doesn't sit at home and grows boring...

> But the solution for every partner of someone
> in a medical training situation is not to "go to school"

Hence the: 'it's not for everyone'.

>nor to assume that he or she could be dumped
> simply because that's the nature of medicine.

Well, if I live to 90, I have a high likelyhood of getting prostate cancer, that's just the nature of the beast, a statistical chance.
Anyone around in medicine long enough will be able to give you examples of 'martyr housewifes' getting replaced after a couple of years, typically with a younger version of themselves (men are mean, sorry).

> to drop everything and follow a job lead,

What do you have to 'drop' ? A career as stay at home nothing to do professional spouse ?
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
> to drop everything and follow a job lead,

What do you have to 'drop' ? A career as stay at home nothing to do professional spouse ?
And once again your mindblowingly ignorant assumptions raise their ugly heads. :rolleyes: Hi, I'm alison_in_oh, who the hell are you to judge my life? :) :laugh: Your arrogance...it tickles so much it burns... :laugh:

Oh, oh, this part's my favorite:

> And I'm glad you're aware that the odds are
> you're going to dump your wife.

I think my personal odds for that are slim to none.
>nor to assume that he or she could be dumped
> simply because that's the nature of medicine.

Well, if I live to 90, I have a high likelyhood of getting prostate cancer, that's just the nature of the beast, a statistical chance.
Have fun with those statistics, but handle them with care! :laugh:
 

f_w

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So many words, so much emotion, so few arguments..
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
So many words, so much emotion, so few arguments..
Emotion? I guess hilarity is an emotion if you want to look at it that way. :D And I'm not an argumentative person by nature. ;)


OK, do you know what's really got me amused? It's thinking about the homogeneous image you seem to have of people/women in my situation...as far as I can tell you're envisioning these dumpy tired housewives chasing around screaming kids, sitting at home watching soap operas all day and nagging their medical spouses when they come home: you don't blame the doctors and future doctors for cutting these dead weights loose!...and you're contrasting this assumption with your own life, with your strong brilliant wife whose accomplishments you love to brag on...but my own assumptions/extrapolations from your messages are painting me a picture of an arid long distance relationship and a home with none of the warmth brought on by a vibrant partnership working in tandem: a picture that contrasts most unfavorably with my own joyful give-and-take co-dependent romance with my life's partner.

Assumptions are funny that way, huh? :)
 

f_w

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- where exactly was I talking about you personally ?
- women with kids typically don't sit around watching oprah, they have enough at their hands to keep them busy.
- This thread was about spouses without kids, sitting in some remote town without family support, maybe underemployed and 'feeling worthless'.
- why the anger, must have hit a nerve.
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
- where exactly was I talking about you personally ?
- women with kids typically don't sit around watching oprah, they have enough at their hands to keep them busy.
- This thread was about spouses without kids, sitting in some remote town without family support, maybe underemployed and 'feeling worthless'.
- why the anger, must have hit a nerve.
I still haven't a clue where you're finding anger and emotion in my posts. Try re-reading them with all of the peppered emoticons intact, and realize that those emoticons are reflecting my true reaction: I am downright giggling at this point as I read this thread! :D

Thanks for the clarification, I see that your view of boring do-nothing wives waiting for a payoff that isn't going to come because they are making themselves more worthless with every day spent focused on their spouse, is different than I'd originally interpreted! :laugh:

You said your comments were directed "generally" and referred to "Spouses of medstudents/residents who drop everything they do to follow the 'significant other' to wherever they go." Thus, though indirectly, you're talking about me and those in my situation.

Unfortunately, we're not quite as homogeneous a group as all that. ;)
 

f_w

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I didn't say that you are one of these 'boring do-nothing wives waiting for a payoff that isn't going to come because they are making themselves more worthless with every day spent focused on their spouse'. However, your agitated response to my (I believe measured) post lets me wonder.

I am still not quite clear what other motivations beside the elusive concepts of 'love' and 'romance' would make someone give up their life to follow their partner.
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
I am still not quite clear what other motivations beside the elusive concepts of 'love' and 'romance' would make someone give up their life to follow their partner.
Ah-ha! Something worth discussing! :) Not that I'll be able to convince you of anything. Basically, I can speak for my own situation by saying that we've both made our decisions according to our priorities. Our priorities have included being happy in our personal lives, and building a solid future for our family. We have weighed this against individual goals and we came to a workable solution. Following my husband when he came across the country to med school was not a matter of being led like a puppy -- it was the only logical choice, and I am so glad to be able to do my part to make his training successful while keeping my dear one physically close. The sacrifices (which include holding down a non-glamorous job and seeing my parents, who live four timezones from me, only once per year) are more than worthwhile because the benefits are immense. And no, I'm not talking about money. :rolleyes:

My partner IS my life, and after 7+ years of commitment I've concluded that sometimes all you need IS 'love'. :love:
 

beancounter

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I don't think that f_w's posts were meant to be inflammatory. I think he offered some great advice.

For some of us spouses, we need more than love. I am one of them. I have a career that keeps me busy, and my husband and I see each other when we can work it out. I think that everyone has different dreams and desires. I applaud f_w's wife for following hers.

As far as the more highly-educated, better paid spouse divorcing the other spouse - it happened to my mom. I learned as a small child that I needed to be able to support myself financially.
 

alison_in_oh

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beancounter said:
I don't think that f_w's posts were meant to be inflammatory. I think he offered some great advice.
Oh, I'm not accusing him of being inflammatory. I'm accusing him of having a preconceived notion, and I'm trying (pretty unsuccessfully and awkwardly!) to encourage a broader view of the population he's advising. ;)

For some of us spouses, we need more than love. I am one of them. I have a career that keeps me busy, and my husband and I see each other when we can work it out. I think that everyone has different dreams and desires. I applaud f_w's wife for following hers.
As do I, it's awesome when an ambitious and driven woman has the wherewithal to pursue her goals! Kudos to you, too. I love hearing about women who are successful in the arena where they put their priorities. I'm glad your husband supports you, too.

As far as the more highly-educated, better paid spouse divorcing the other spouse - it happened to my mom. I learned as a small child that I needed to be able to support myself financially.
It happens to a lot of people in a lot of situations. I just heard about one of my co-worker's sons-in-law leaving his wife and family. Apparently out of the blue, and the woman is left with a 2 year old and a very ill little 5 month old who's about to undergo open heart surgery. :( If I recall, the SIL is a doctor too.

But although the statistics don't lie, most of us don't walk around assuming we'll be the case study, you know? Just as f_w says he is pretty sure the odds are in favor of his marriage staying together, I too have every reason to believe we'll beat the odds. And even if we don't, well, I'm a strong and intelligent and resourceful woman. And I'd rather live my life fully and unfettered by societal ideals of what a woman in my situation "should" be doing. Maybe I "should" be racking up more education and/or building a career instead of a life, but I wouldn't be as happy doing that as I am living for the hours when I'm *not* working.

If my husband left me or conditions changed and I felt I needed to leave him, or worse yet if he passed away, I would have no regrets about the path I've followed to this point, and I have every confidence that I'd be able to rise to the challenge of changing my life around in the wake of such a tragedy. The way I see it, losing my husband would be the biggest problem in that scenario -- staying afloat financially is of comparatively small importance.
 

beancounter

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Okay, we are on the same page, now, alison. I didn't realize you were upset because you felt f_w was trying to "pigeon-hole" us. I still think he had some good ideas, but you are right in that those ideas may not appeal to everyone.

I take it you are a stay-at-home mom. I do think his comment about "do-nothing" stay -at -home spouses was a little low. My sister is a stay-at-home mom, and loves it. I spent a few days with her this past Xmas, and went berserk. I ended up taking off to a hotel, and spending the rest of my vacation skiing. After the listening to Callioux (sp?) for the (I swear) the hundredth time, I lost it. :eek: If and when my husband and I decide to have kids, I think I will go the nanny route. If I had to stay at home, I think Child Protective Services might intervene!!!!
 

alison_in_oh

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beancounter said:
I take it you are a stay-at-home mom. I do think his comment about "do-nothing" stay -at -home spouses was a little low. My sister is a stay-at-home mom, and loves it. I spent a few days with her this past Xmas, and went berserk. I ended up taking off to a hotel, and spending the rest of my vacation skiing. After the listening to Callioux (sp?) for the (I swear) the hundredth time, I lost it. :eek: If and when my husband and I decide to have kids, I think I will go the nanny route. If I had to stay at home, I think Child Protective Services might intervene!!!!
LOL! I'm only an aspiring at-home mom but my capacity for patience is higher than most people's and it's one of the attributes that I think qualifies me for the job. ;) We're thinking of starting our family pretty early on in residency -- you know, after I drop everything and follow my husband around the country again. :laugh: Depending on timing and location I might start training for the profession I've *finally* chosen after a couple of years of soul-searching. But that profession is still not a vocation and I can't see myself identifying as a professional. I just wanna keep a comfortable home and raise my own kids. :)

And I'm STILL not upset! Not in the least! Just intrigued. :D
 
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brotherbloat

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Hello, the OP here.

So people haven't really been addressing my original question: how do you cope with feelings of lonliness and worthlessness?

My husband and I decided mutually to move to this city, where we knew no one, because our city is large and we thought it would have good opps. for both of us (we decided to move here before he started his internship year.)

However, moving to a city where you know no one is hard. It seems that most people I've met (all of them, actually) have their support networks in place, and it's taken me almost two years to make one good friend (who I met on Craig's List.)

Yes, I hate my job, but the problem is that I'm studying for the MCAT and applying to med school this summer, so my job is in the hosptial, b/c I wanted to get some full-time clinical exp. Problem is, my job is extremely boring and pointless, and actually I'm looking for a new one. However, when you have an MA in a totally different field plus a past career that has nothing to do with science/ medicine, it is very hard to get hired in a "good" job in your new career area. Currently I'm looking for both medical and non-med positions, but when you have a background in something totally different, it is very, very hard to get your foot in the door in a new field.

So I am just feeling very worthless, b/c my job is so completely lame, and I miss my hubby very much, and as hard as I've worked to make new friends, it's been a slow, depressing, uphill battle in that regard. Since I'm studying for the MCAT (2nd time) I'm trying to keep outside distractions to a minimum (i.e. hobbies.)

However, my question to you all is do you ever feel worthless and alone, or is it just me who often feels this way? When you don't get much quality time with your spouse and you basically have no friends, what can you do?

-Bloat
 

f_w

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This thread is getting better by the hour, you gals are far better going at each other without me.

-the original premise of this thread was a spouse (female), without kids, working a sub-par job, sitting in a town where she can't find new 'girlfriends'.

- nowhere in this thread did we talk about stay at home MOMS.

- my 5 cents of advice were:
don't sit at home,
don't go to a place that you can't find work,
don't make beeing a spouse your only career goal.

- the rest of the thread imho is a reflection of your own biases and maybe regrets.
 
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brotherbloat

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I think the concept of "identifying oneself as a professional" as Alison mentioned, is very interesting, and I thought I'd mention it here.

That's part of my problem. I am very wrapped up, and always have been, in the concept of "identifying myself with my career." Since my career, at present, is pretty un-fulfilling, and because of my art background it has proved exceedingly difficult to find a job in an area I'd be more interested in (non-profits, publishing, etc.) I feel pretty depressed and worthless most of the time.

I know it's not healthy to define yourself by your career but how do you avoid doing it? I'm not sure how I got to be this way, so wrapped up in it. My parents certainly were not like that. I also feel like since my husband is a resident, my ideal career, and since I'm struggling as a non-trad pre-med, that I'm completely unworthy. Does anyone else feel that way--i.e. worthless next to their spouse's career, that they also aspire to but is just out of reach?

-BB
 

f_w

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BB,
After I got chewed out for my last piece of well meant advice I will try to tread lightly here:

The glimpses of your mental life you give here are worrisome. It is a long time since I worked in psychiatry, but if you were anywhere in the circle of my friends, I would urge you to seek professional help.
 

alison_in_oh

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brotherbloat said:
That's part of my problem. I am very wrapped up, and always have been, in the concept of "identifying myself with my career." Since my career, at present, is pretty un-fulfilling, and because of my art background it has proved exceedingly difficult to find a job in an area I'd be more interested in (non-profits, publishing, etc.) I feel pretty depressed and worthless most of the time.
Sorry about the thread drift. I've never participated in a board so stringent about restraining the topic at hand!

If you received any graphic design training, that might be an "in" to these kinds of organizations. I'm actually doing things backward, with a physics degree I'm trying to teach myself graphics design (!) but in the process I'm learning a ton about the operation of a university.

My friend who was a painting major in art school is now deeply enmeshed in the publishing process, as well as getting to design some of the illustrations for the books he's working with, and his job sounds pretty cool.

I know it's not healthy to define yourself by your career but how do you avoid doing it? I'm not sure how I got to be this way, so wrapped up in it. My parents certainly were not like that. I also feel like since my husband is a resident, my ideal career, and since I'm struggling as a non-trad pre-med, that I'm completely unworthy. Does anyone else feel that way--i.e. worthless next to their spouse's career, that they also aspire to but is just out of reach?
I had a lot of struggles before coming to the concrete conclusion that it's what I do outside of work that truly defines me. My hubby and I actually came to the same conclusion to varying degrees, and one of our influences was watching his brother/my BIL work his fingers to the bone as a corporate VP and hardly have time for his wife and kid. His almost-unsuccessful app process, and coming to grips with the fact that as much as he wanted to be a doctor it might not happen, also helped to unhinge his self-worth from his career path.

Anyway. I second the suggestion that you might need a counselor or therapist to talk some of this stuff over with in person. And I'll repeat my suggestion to join the support group at medicalspouse.com/forums where I know of at least two spouses, maybe more, that have been on the cusp of going to medical school but life, including their husband's occupation, swept them away from that.
 

alison_in_oh

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brotherbloat said:
However, moving to a city where you know no one is hard. It seems that most people I've met (all of them, actually) have their support networks in place, and it's taken me almost two years to make one good friend (who I met on Craig's List.)
Moving to a city twice the size of any you've ever been in, with an almost alien culture, a full day's plane flight (~4 hours, layover, ~5 hours) and four thousand miles from family, is definitely hard. You've got me there. It's taken me two and a half years to go on one excursion sans hubby -- with friends HE originally introduced me to. Oh, and he was mildly jealous afterward (bitter that he had to be at the hospital while I was having fun).

Yes, I hate my job, but the problem is that I'm studying for the MCAT and applying to med school this summer, so my job is in the hosptial, b/c I wanted to get some full-time clinical exp. Problem is, my job is extremely boring and pointless, and actually I'm looking for a new one. However, when you have an MA in a totally different field plus a past career that has nothing to do with science/ medicine, it is very hard to get hired in a "good" job in your new career area. Currently I'm looking for both medical and non-med positions, but when you have a background in something totally different, it is very, very hard to get your foot in the door in a new field.
You mean kind of like looking for a university position or with a bachelor's in physics? Oh, yeah, I mean if you were to try doing that you might find that the only job you're "qualified" for despite your years of hard and intellectual work is one a monkey could do (xeroxing and making coffee, whoo!)

When my husband was trying to find "clinical" positions after his first round of apps was rejected he actually ended up doing reception at a pediatric clinic. He got great exposure to the business side of medicine, and a little exposure to the medicine side of things, and as one of the hardest most conscientious workers they'd ever had at the front desk, the clinic loved him (and they increased their profits substantially while he worked there!)

So I am just feeling very worthless, b/c my job is so completely lame, and I miss my hubby very much, and as hard as I've worked to make new friends, it's been a slow, depressing, uphill battle in that regard. Since I'm studying for the MCAT (2nd time) I'm trying to keep outside distractions to a minimum (i.e. hobbies.)
If hobbies are a distraction, friends are a distraction.

However, my question to you all is do you ever feel worthless and alone, or is it just me who often feels this way? When you don't get much quality time with your spouse and you basically have no friends, what can you do?
Hmm. What can I do. Well, I can get up long after he leaves and hang out on the Internet until it's time for me to go. I can walk to work with my eyes wide open breathing deeply and looking for signs of Spring. I can putz around at my job, throwing myself into the tasks I enjoy and procrastinating from the ones I don't until lunchtime. I can go to the gym for most of my lunch break, then scarf down a nutritious lunch. Lather, rinse, repeat the putzing until it's time to go home. Enjoy my walk, come home and enjoy my pets, take care of chores around the house, fix an interesting and healthy dinner (I think it's lentils and brown rice with a side of Swiss chard tonight!), then read or watch a movie or knit or do needlework or play with my dog or hang out on the Internet (I'm going to avoid the latter tonight!) And by then it'll be time for bed.

Sounds like a plan, but I'd better get started! :D
 

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Dear Bloat,

Sounds like you are looking for your self worth in all the wrong places. Feeling worthless comes from your own perception of yourself, its all in your head. No "career" is going to change that. Any job can be interesting, its what you bring to it. Why do you want to be a doctor? seems like an important question to me. Is it because you love science and you are intrigued by the human body, or is it because you think that becoming a doctor will make you more valuable as a human being to society? Medicine unfortunately is not just about "helping people" these days. And from what I understand giving this as the answer to the question Why do you want to be a doctor? during a medical school interview is the wrong answer. I myself work in a hospital (10 years) Some aspects of my job are mindless and boring others are interesting and I see that with other professions within the hospital including my husbands (surgery resident) Do you really think that there is a "good" job somewhere in the hospital that you can do without the necessary training? Most of the jobs that you are talking about (I assume) require professional training. By the way what do you consider a "good job"?
It just seems to me from your prior posts that you are really not sure what you want to do. I suspect you feelings of loneliness and worthlessness stem from some kind of spiritual void (and I don't necessarily mean organized religion) If the medical field is where you want to be then weigh all of your options carefully, there are a lot of different health professionals working toward the same goal and they are all important. If the MCAT isn't working out, what about becoming a PA? The time spent in school is much less and the pay is pretty good for 4-5 years of school. Not to mention your prior college courses can be used toward the first two years. Anyway back to your original concern, coping with feelings of worthlessness. The way to cope is to not feel that way. That simple. Stop ruminating in your mind that you are worthless because you are not a doctor. Stop the thought where it begins, do not let it grow and overwelm you. After all we are what we think. Have you ever heard the saying? I'm not what I think I am, I'm not what you think I am, I am what I think you think I am. Loneliness is another issue, I deal with it often. The more comfortable I feel with myself, the more I reach out to others for friendship, the less lonely I feel. Maybe your feelings of worthlessness is preventing you from truly reaching out to others to create new friendships. Friendships take a lot of nurturing in the begininng in order for them to last, give it time. So stop whining already and feel good about yourself.
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
- my 5 cents of advice were:
don't sit at home,
Yep, got that one. Unfortunately as a working woman, I have too much to do at home not to spend most of my time there when I'm off of work.
don't go to a place that you can't find work,
Hm, I read your suggestion as being, if your spouse goes to a place where you can't find an ideal job, leave him/her and go where the work is.
don't make beeing a spouse your only career goal.
And it's your advice to give, but I offered some reasons why I as a medical spouse am rejecting it. And I am particularly rejecting your justification for this advice, which was that "if you wait for the payoff it might not be you who gets it". The materialistic payoff thing kind of stung, but was also the source of greatest amusement (and always is). It's just simply not relevant.

Hope this helps!
 

f_w

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From your prior posts it seems like you are perfectly content with your career as medical spouse. A couple of the other posters are not and that are the ones these 5cents worth of advice were meant for.

You read wrong. I never advocated to leave your spouse. I suggested to go to a place where the educational and professional opportunities exist and to accept a commuting relationship for a limited time. This doesn't have to be accross the country, but it might be a 2 or 3 hour drive away.
 

alison_in_oh

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f_w said:
You read wrong. I never advocated to leave your spouse. I suggested to go to a place where the educational and professional opportunities exist and to accept a commuting relationship for a limited time. This doesn't have to be accross the country, but it might be a 2 or 3 hour drive away.
Hee, sorry. By "leave" I meant only physically, not legally -- that's how I understood your comment. ;) Distance works for a lot of people. I know several medical students whose spouses and significant others are one to three states away pursuing some really great fields and opportunities. I also know non-medical couples for whom this worked (just got invited to a college friend's wedding, he and his fiancée commuted between Washington state and Arizona for two years). As it turns out though, physical closeness is a cornerstone of our relationship. When weighing pros and cons of such a move, it's basically an unacceptable loss to sacrifice our daily interactions in favor of something that we as a couple don't value quite as strongly (work and career).

Among the medical couples I socialize with, some feel as we do (non-medical spouse working in support of family life and financial responsibility in exchange for a little more freedom in her choices once the medical spouse is making SOME income) and some feel the opposite (non-medical spouse or SO pursuing a career track several states away) and some are in between (non-medical SO moved across country to be with her fiancé but found a career-advancing degree she could pursue in the same city; also travels frequently to reduce the boredom of an absent SO). All are equally valid ways to keep a relationship alive and permit a non-medical partner to find fulfillment in his or her own way.
 

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To the OP:

I think that you may be turning people 'off' with your negative vibes. People tend to gravitate to others who are positive or who have something to offer. I'm sure you have an interesting personality, skills, etc....but it all gets covered underneath the whole 'i hate my life' attitude.

on the other hand, i know how it is to be severely depressed.in your situation i see three reasons for your depression:
1. Career
2. Husband's Unavailabilty
3. Lack of Friends

#2 is going to be a constant for a while--but do focus on the positive side, and realize this is time that you can devote to your OWN goals. I think you should submit resumes for new jobs that you have interest in (try monster.com--it is wonderful) while continuing at your current job. And try to look at the + aspect of this job--it IS better than staying at home all day no?
You mentioned you are retaking the MCAT. Are you sure you want to pursue an occupation that has already brought so much unrest in your life? What other occupational alternatives have you considered?
 

johndoe2k5

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Wasn't sure if I should post since your last one was a while ago but here I go.
I'm in a similar situation & my wife is a 2nd year resident. The communication is poor between us & she doesn't spend time with me anymore only promise after broken promise. I also agree counseling & many of the organizations are overrated. Many individuals & couples deal with pressure & stress differently so perhaps counseling might be good for some. Unfortunately in my case my wife doesn't cope well with her residency & stress in general. I think our case is a little more difficult than others & perhaps the worst ever because we have both dealt with many obstacles from deaths in the two families to illnesses & occupation loss. In my particular case my occupation has been offshored & much of the jobs in it have vanished & I’ve been unemployed. At the tale end of my wife's 1st year in her residency I also discovered my liver was bad & it’s just been downhill ever since. I've lost over 30 pounds in the last 11 months & like many I am dealing with benefit cutbacks across the board & this makes it increasingly difficult due to finances to deal with a disease or cancer. I have a wife who constantly brings work home with her & doesn't want to talk about or do anything else but work related stuff. Her program is the most difficult and busiest in the country & has all these expectations that other programs like it do not!

We both are far from our parents & friends & with the rising cost of fuel & everything else it's becoming increasingly difficult to do the things we must to survive. If I am ever able to return and I am able to make it through all this I must do so without even haven't visited my family & friends once since we left! Her stinking program wouldn't even give her off when my dad passed away with cancer last year & I couldn't go to the service because the fares were really high that week & no one would help me pay for it.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I'm not looking for attention I just wanted to tell you it could be a lot worse! I know your lonely but hang in there and find some hobbies. I would always throw in old episodes of Cheers & watch them over and over because they made me laugh and smile. Everyone has something that grows a smile on their face.

Good luck. :)
Todd
 
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brotherbloat

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Hello, OP here. To the person who said I may be turning others off with my neg. vibes, and that's the reason why it's hard to make friends--I am very easily able to compartmentalize these feelings in my brain and not reveal them to anyone/ be able to be my usual chirpy self when meeting/ being with others. That's not the problem. The problem is how to go about a) finding friends when you're in a new city b) figuring out how to stop feeling like the unimportant spouse, particularly when my family completely devalues me, and c) try and re-build the self-esteem I had back in college. It was healthy then, it hasn't really been at such high levels lately.

For me, a lot of my identity is associated with my career and accomplishments. I don't know why, but it is. I have great body image and certainly haven't "let myself go" since getting married, so that's not the problem. The problem is that I want to feel like what I do means something, and with my current job I certainly don't. Also, with my educational background, it makes it very hard to find a new job (either my background makes me "overqualified" for the job or I don't have the right credentials.) I guess I also feel that until I'm a doctor, I won't personally be able to feel un-uninportant. Medicine is the only career for me where I'd feel that I was making a meaningful contribution, making good use of my brain cells, and that would be something where I could be a lifelong learner. Until I get that acceptance letter (which may not come judging on how dismal my '05 application season went), I probably won't be able to lift myself out of this depression. That acceptance letter finally = worth in my own personal perception. Kind of like the way one of my anorexic friends views herself--that she's worthless unless she's thin and can control her eating. With me, I'm worthless until I get an acceptance to medical school, and am finally on a personally meaningful career path. I know this is not a good way to think, but I can't stop thinking this way. What should I do? I don't feel that talking to a therapist is an option. I really don't want to spend the money and time. That's why I turned to you guys!

What tips do y'all have for surviving the extreme and isolating lonliness that residency brings upon the other spouse? When hanging with friends isn't an option, and you're busy studying for the MCAT, etc. so you don't really have a chance to engage deeply in hobbies, what can you do?

Sad,

BB
 

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sorry to hear about your feelings. kudos to you for trying to meet new friends and partake in activities to keep you busy in a new city. that being said, surely your husband must have a few friends in his residency program who have wives/girlfriends that you might be able to meet and commiserate with about the trials of being a resident's spouse? why don't you ask him to organize a double date or host a dinner party with you? although my fiance and i do have our own friends through our separate acitivities, we do enjoy bringing crowds together and meeting the significant others. and don't let him give you the excuse that he's too busy or tired! i'm a gen surg resident, and i still had time to meet the fiance's friends over a few drinks or dinner.

on a different note, it sounds like you're really struggling with the issue of identifying your sense of self-worth with your career choice. you say that a letter of acceptance from med school will somehow solve this problem- while you'll probably feel some sense of immediate gratification, medicine/residency is no walk in the park. talk to your husband about this! and it's DEFINITELY not a reason to dedicate the rest of your life to a field that can often be brutal, demoralizing, frightening, and sad (trying to be completely honest). i'm totally not trying to burst your bubble if you feel this is the right path for you; just trying to say that it will not solve your problems with self esteem if you're not going into it for the love of medicine. even though i do love what i do most of the time, of course there are plenty of times when i just want to quit and become a deperate housewife!
 

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hello brotherbloat,

it sounds like you are having a tough time my friend. I can believe that you are probably a nice and normal person in real life. I think the internet has a way of allowing people to bring out their true feelings that they would not normally admit to anyone in real life.

That being said, maybe you need to find new hobbies? Maybe learn to play an instrument? get involved with your church? teach a class? Go to the gym? I am a single person, and I know for me that being busy helps me stay focused without feeling to lonely. I wish you the best of luck
 
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brotherbloat

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I like to think I'm nice in real life--in fact, just the other day a co-worker remarked that she thought I was an "extremely nice person with a great personality." That really made my day. Someone else said a similar thing this week as well.

Anyhow, of course I would never discuss these feelings with people in a non-online setting--I could never bare my soul as I do on this forum.

I think this is just a passing phase. Right now I'm putting all my energies into studying for the April MCAT. Once that's done, I'll be able to look into new hobbies, etc. But the friends issue still persists. I am finding it next to impossible to make friends in my new city in which I've lived for two years. I just wonder how many others have this same problem. I did not leave my apartment all day today and was so extremely lonely! I really wanted to have a nice dinner and go to a movie tonight as a study break but I didn't have anyone to go with, let alone talk to.

-BB
 

GenSurgSpouse

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Well Bloat if you live in the tri-state area (Conn.NY.NJ) I would be more than happy to meet a new friend. I too am married to a resident and spend a considerable about of time looking for something to do. I've been here in NYC for not quite two years and don't really know that many people.
 

SaraL124

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To BB-

It seems like you have a lot of issues going on here. The first one to address would be that you wrap up your self-worth in your career goals and accomplishments. This might be something to really consider seeing a therapist about. It is going to require you to really adjust the way you think and I don't think it's easy to do this on your own.

Your other issue is that you say you are lonely and have no friends, but when people tell you what to do to make friends you say you are too busy because you are studying for the MCAT. Well, if you are going to have a career in medicine, you need to realize (as I'm sure you can see by your husband's career) that you really need to concentrate your whole attention to your studies and work. This leaves little time to socialize and make friends.

That said in the free time that you do have, you need to invest TIME in order to make friends. You can't just expect people to want to be your friend all of a sudden. You should find a church or synagogue that you are affiliated with and join bible study groups, or sisterhood activities to meet other women. My mother recently moved to a new state becasue of my dad's job opportunity. She is 55 years old and joined a religious group and was welcomed in with open arms. Even if you are not religiously affiliated or observant, these groups welcome new members and can put you in touch with other women who have social networks established and make you a aprt of their networks.

If you join an art class or cooking class or something else that is long-term where you see the same people over and over week after week, eventually you will become friendly outside of the class. It only takes a little initiation to make new friends...ask your classmates to have a coffee after class, or to go for dinner. Explain your situation that you are new in town and would like to meet some other people who share your interests...often times when people realize you are in a new place they will make an effort to include you with their friends until you get your bearings. It takes effort to maintain friendships and it is something you need to work at.

I think the way a lot of people deal with the loneliness that is associated with a spouse being on call is by keeping themselves busy doing their own things. Start a project at home like scrap-booking, or arranging your photos in albums, rent movies you've been meaning to see, or even if your spouse's program doesn't have a spouse-support group, maybe you could work to start one!

I'm assuming the April MCAT is over now and you will have mor free-time on your hands to pursue things you enjoy doing. Especially since it's spring now, more people will be doing things outdoors and there are tons of clubs, and community centers that have new groups starting.

I wish you luck in your application process, but don't forgoet that there are many other career paths out there that are meaningful besides for medicine. If you feel you are unsuccessful as an appliucant, things probably aren't going tog et easier if you do manage to get accepted. What about your old career did you love? I'm sure there were redeeming qualities about it. Even if you pursue that as a hobby, you may have more in common with those people just to make friends with.

good luck with everything!