Dealing with regrets

Discussion in 'Odds & Ends' started by syke, Oct 26, 2012.

  1. syke

    syke Professional

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    Serious topic over here, that I am seeking advice from fellow TTers..

    I have a close friend who is going through a depression right now.
    She is currently dealing with a self inflicted injury that may impede her life long goal.

    Some background on her situation. All her life for the past thirty years, she has been striving hard to be a medical surgeon. Despite growing up in a dysfunctional family, and having to work to pay for her way through high school, college and med school, she never once back down from all these difficulties. She is an ambitious one, and she never fails to top her cohort in work or study. She simply does not accept being second best.

    Just a couple of months back, she injured her arm in a work related incident and despite trying all forms of remedy, nothing seems to work. She is worried this will be a chronic situation that will stay with her forever and that her dreams, goals and thirty years of suffering that is almost coming to fruition, will come to naught.

    I am not worried about the medical recovery that she has to go through but I am worried that she keeps going back into her hole of despair and regret. She keeps blaming herself for doing this unto herself and despite encouraging and getting her to look at things on the bright side, nothing seems to work. She is one of the most pessimistic person I have ever known.

    What other advise should I give to her? Seriously I am running out of ideas. How does Nadal go on winning tournaments after tournaments despite being diagnosed with a career ending foot injury at the age of 19?

    I am sure some of you here have lofty dreams of being a sports professional only to be let down by some injury or some unforeseen circumstances. How did you deal with the regret?
     
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  2. cluckcluck

    cluckcluck Hall of Fame

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    First off, I hope your friend finds the light at the end of the tunnel. Regret and depression is extremely challenging to overcome.
    As far as you, I suggest that you make yourself available if she needs you. There really is no advice you can give her, she's a grown woman and should be able to dig herself out of that part of her situation.
    Now, on the topic of your friends' injury, since it was an accident or something beyond her control, it's hard to regret it, because it was just that, out of her control. Can't regret something that you cannot control.
    I suggest that you encourage her to do her absolute best, no matter what.
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Disappointment is the one constant you have as you go thru life.
    Just not everyone succeeds period.
    In fact, very few do.
     
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  4. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    Your description of her is confused. You suggest "she is one of the most pessimistic person" you've known, but she "does not accept being second best." Something doesn't make sense here; pessimistic people never believe they can be the best. An arm injury does not prevent her from having a satisfying career in medicine, if she still wants that, though it may not be in surgery. Things change. People can learn to adapt. I practice psychiatry, and unless I suffer an eyebrow injury (that prevents me from raising them empathically) my physical condition should not be an issue.
     
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  5. ATXtennisaddict

    ATXtennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    Give her this quote. Let her know that she must find strength to re-invent herself because she's capable of being great at other things too.

    She is 30. If she's lucky, she'll have another 50-60 years ahead of her. It isn't the end of the world.
     
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  6. ATXtennisaddict

    ATXtennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    I actually live by a tennis analogy...every time something disappointing happens to me, I take a deep breathe and tell myself "Next point." Just like in tennis, we must have short memories.
     
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  7. Coach Chad

    Coach Chad Rookie

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    "She simply does not accept being second best"...this needs to be addressed. In my opinion, life for her will consist of a continuing quest to be "the best" at everything. I quit striving to meet goals I didn't even want trying to impress people I didn't even like. She needs to enjoy this wonderful gift of life...there is no shame in getting professional help...I have gotten therepy in my past, and am glad I did...I wish both of you the best; you obviously care for her a great deal.
     
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  8. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    I know several people that are bright ambitious and succesful in their careers yet pessimistic . I dont think they are incompatable at all , in fact , quite often a result of knowledge and insights and hard earned experiences.

    Look, life is trícky. Some people rush head on into studies and work and activities so as to succeed despite coming from somewhat or outright 'disfunctional' circumstances and hide in that , i.e. identify themselves solely with their performances.
    As a result , a pause such as an injury can cause , might create that space and place in which being busy isnt an option and depression due to lack of selfworth can ensue.
     
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2012
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  9. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    ^^ Never said that being successful means one can't be pessimistic. But being successful does not mean you believe you can be the best. Or for that matter that you even BELIEVE you've been successful, which is how pessimistic people tend to feel. Feeling YOU can be BEST is not consistent with pessimism, which causes people to feel that great things (like being BEST) can't happen to them.
     
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  10. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Very sorry to hear that.
    It is not easy to accept that all your handwork, effort, and energy may go wasted, and your dream may not come true. The dream or goal has probably become part of her identity, who she is, and life can feel pretty hopeless.
    Especially at the age of 30, which is not old, but doesn't make you feel young enough to start something new.

    I think one thing that she will need to learn is that being a medical surgeon is not the only way to live a meaningful and successful life. There are indeed insurmountable obstacles and challenges in life that you cannot overcome. (which I think is tough to accept at a young age, especially someone who has been successful in school). Instead of looking UP at the obstacle, you have to look around, to go around it. You may not be at the destination you hoped for, but it will just be as worthwhile..

    In my opinion, this is a process that takes a lot of self-questioning and pro activeness. Perhaps, you could help her asking these questions rather than give her a series of advice? Also, she needs to engage in experience where she can use her education, experience, and knowledge. Perhaps she can go into research area, etc.

    As hard as it is to accept, she needs to realize that there are variables in life that are out of her control, and there is more than one way to live a life - a successful and meaningful one.
     
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  11. the cat petter

    the cat petter New User

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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Look to the future.
    Learn from mistakes of the past.
     
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  13. UCSF2012

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    If she's going to be a physician, she'll have to come to terms with being 2nd best. Actually, she'll have to come to terms with the potential of working hard and still being #80 in the class of 100. Medicine's not easy.

    Medicine isn't about being smart. The healing arts is about working effectively with people. Encouraging a patient in order to heal her. Medicine's easy. It's about dealing with remembering an encyclopedia and having bedside manner.

    If she's concerned about her arm, I have a friend who just graduated UCSF medical with a bad arm. You don't need both arms to be a physician. You DO need at least one arm, because you'll have to do a pelvic exam 3rd year.
     
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  14. syke

    syke Professional

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    Thanks for all your comments. Yes, her personal well-being means a lot to me.

    I know it's hard to grasp how someone so pessimistic can have so much drive in her career.

    My only reasoning to this is, if it's something within her grasp, she knows she is the master of her own fate and she will pull out all the stops to excel in whatever she does.

    Coupled with her pessimistic outlook, she works doubly hard ensuring nothing fails.

    However, if the situation beyond her control, she feels helpless like a rudderless ship.

    She comes from a below average family. Even at a tender young age, she had to worry about bringing food to the table. Poverty has shaped her fears and she is depressed with the thought of going back to square one...

    The good thing coming out from this, she is now more sympathetic to her patients. It's funny how she used complain how annoying they can be.

    Because of this, I have been trying to get her involved in social work, maybe that could help her spiritually.

    BTW, keep those quotes coming...
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
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  15. chrischris

    chrischris Hall of Fame

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    On the topic of regrets , wonder if MR regrets his comment on BO stopping the waters from rising... Given the situation at hand in the NE right now.
     
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  16. junbumkim

    junbumkim Professional

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    Her situation is definitely understandable, and her fear (or whatever negative feelings) is justified.

    At some point, she will accept and deal with the fact that there are elements which are absolutely out of her control (just look at how many car accidents are out there). And, the only thing she can do is to do what she can do and let chips fall where it may. If she only fears and takes no action, then things will go back to square one - for anybody. But, if she goes out there and looks around, chances are that she will find something inspiring.

    I am in somewhat of a similar situation. I am 32, and recently came back to my home country after 13 years in the US. Now, I am having to choose a new career and live a new life. It is definitely discouraging to think about how much I need to prepare for a new career (or possibly go back to school). Also, I am not able to play tennis any longer, which was a huge part of me and my identity. I am trying to accept that I need to "let go" of my past and that I can be valued for being who I am.

    It's very cliche, but I found Steve Job's book to be inspiring.

    Best of luck to her.
     
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  17. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Lots of missing information on this 30 year old. Where is she in her training? Is she a Med Stud? A Resident? In practice?

    Sure she has accomplished a lot in her life, but then again that makes her stone cold average in Medicine. She better get used to not controlling outcomes... a lot. A whole lot.

    If whiney patients annoy her, it sounds like she is in the wrong field. Perhaps Pathology or Radiology, or better yet, research should be her focus.

    As far as the injury itself it is unclear to me if your (and perhaps her) concern is that it will somehow limit her ability to perform surgery. That is highly unlikely. Despite what TV shows imply, what makes a great surgeon is not dexterity, it is judgement.
     
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  18. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    She should definitely consult a psychologist. Strong superego (helps her succeed most of the time), but she has to soften it up a bit right now. She'll have to come to terms with being human after all and lower her expectations.
     
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  19. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    I practice psychology, and I see how "pessimistic" and "she can't accept being second best" don't seem to go together. However I think a very strong superego can explain things here. She has very high expectations, which she meets most of the time, but she can't forgive herself when she makes a mistake. This can seem like pessimism to the OP, but most likely it's her superego in attack mode: self-blame, fear of losing the superego's love, depression.
     
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  20. Fugazi

    Fugazi Professional

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    Feeling you can be the best may not be consistent with pessimism, but feeling you should be the best certainly can (strong superego, immature ego ideals, etc.).
     
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  21. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I would love to see ollinger and fugazi fight it out
     
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  22. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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