Friday, May 27, 2011

sometimes, it just stinks

I called a few friends the other day, you know, feeling like I needed to talk - feeling a little down.  Of course no one could talk, they were too busy, at friends' houses, at work, not answering their phones.  So, I turned on the tv for my two boys, pulled out a carton of mint chocolate chip ice cream and sat down to read a book I have been wanting to read about the failing attempts by international aid to alleviate poverty in Africa.

I felt immensely better in under two minutes.  It was an easy fix to a potentially lonely event and the possible invitation of self-deprecating or self-pitying thoughts.

I disagree with the common adage that doctors' wives are lonely; I think people in general are often lonely.  It's easy not to reach out to people around us.  My neighbors never talk to each other.  It's crazy.  I love talking to my neighbors and knowing what everyone around me is doing.  They look so surprised when I walk over to talk with them - just to say hi - while they are out doing yard work.

One way to combat loneliness is to form networks.  (This is superior to eating ice cream.)  We all know this, but it takes a lot of work to find, create, and/or strengthen these social networks that can meet our needs.

Some of my closest friends - wherever we live - are the moms of the friends of my children.  Often these women are drastically different than me and we share little else in common, besides our having children in the same class at school.  But I value these friendships so much.  Sometimes I think as we stretch ourselves to understand and relate with people that are very different than us, our love and desire to serve them allows us to forge alliances that become wonderful friendships.

But, I also have to admit that it is really, really nice to live near a friend who is exactly where you are (or rather, where your husband is) in the medical training journey.  Especially on those nights where you wish you had someone to call but you know - or assume - that everyone else is enjoying time with their families, or, more particularly, their husbands.

Yes, sometimes the medical resident's schedule just stinks.

So, what do you do to combat loneliness?  How do you avoid missing your husband like crazy during night calls?  I want, or rather, I need answers.


Liz B.B. said...

you're right, lizzie...
sometimes it DOES just stink.
and i really don't have answers.
sadly, it's "survival"...
i'm like you, though, talking to anyone and everyone...we NEED it. we DON'T have "normal" lives. or weekends or sundays or dates...ever.
this too shall what i keep telling myself.
love you. call me soon!

Wife of a Resident said...

Last night it was Ben and Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie (my favorite), and a book Hotel on the Corner Between Bitter and Sweet. So far it's great, but I am out of ice cream.

Jamie Lamb said...

I like your attitude, Liz--we're only lonely if we allow it! Too bad I allow it far too often... :(

When I'm feeling lonely, I write in my journal usually. I love to work out my problems and feelings there--it never interrupts, or assumes the worst, or spreads gossip, or falls asleep while I'm in the middle of a sentence...

I also love to talk to my sister or my mom on the phone--so good to laugh when I'm lonely! And sometimes I get to talk to my husband on the phone, too.

It really helps to read church conference talks, too. (! love !) It always changes my perspective to something more selfless--which always helps when I'm down. ...I should do that more often!

Jeff and ReAnn said...

I use the time to get things done... whether its blogging, laundry, cleaning, or just sleep. I don't have much time during the day because of all the little ones running around so I use the time at night after they are asleep. I need to get into reading though... Someday.

Liz said...

Thanks for the thoughts!

I can't figure out why the last few months have been harder for me! Before that, I loved not having to cook dinner, clean up, etc. etc. and enjoyed the additional time with my kids and for myself after they were asleep. Lately I am dreading the night calls! It's strange.

Thank you all for your thoughtful comments.

Molly K said...

I too fight the loneliness (unfortunately tonight loneliness won). But I often find myself reminding myself, I am not the only one that is in this boat. And medical families aren't the only ones in this boat. I think of my friends who have spouses in the military. Who don't have their husbands come home for months at a time. At least when my husband is at work, I know he is safe. My military friends have to pick up and leave friends so often, and while I do this too (with residency and fellowship), I know that I'm not the only one.

So I talk to everyone too. I call my mom. I talk to the neighbor, I talk to the person who is checking me out at the grocery store. Heck, I talk to the dog. Just whoever will listen.