Q: I recently took the plunge with an associate of mine to start a new practice. We left the safe haven of our clinic to begin, what I thought was a bright, new beginning. However, once the process began, I was in charge of almost everything. I did not mind because of the short time frame we had to move out, and my partner seemed to drag his feet. I took care of the majority of the set up. Before I knew it, I felt crushed, tired and like I made a huge mistake. I think this is when I started to have anxiety and felt depressed. I felt constant fear once I was in the clinic. I did not know what each day would bring.
I only lasted a month in the new clinic. I made the tough decision to go back to my old clinic where my career started. Initially I felt alright about the decision to leave, but now the same feelings are resurfacing. I think I feel this way because I was so close to my dream and I let it slip through my hands. I know the other clinic will do well but I let it go. Now all I can think about is how I missed the boat and I am back to where I started. I can’t stand to think of what I have done.
I feel I let everyone down and I am a complete failure. I am a failure to patients and to my associates. I have lost all hope it seems. I can’t eat, sleep or enjoy life anymore. My own kids don’t bring me joy when before I jumped at the opportunity to be with them and tell everyone how great they are. I feel like a failure to my family as well.
I took the Sanity and Depression Tests on the site and they tell me I am depressed of course. I would seek treatment but starting a new clinic and then leaving has left me “strapped for cash” and I have to take care of my family before myself. I guess I need some professional advice to direct me on what to do. I don’t know what to do.Bad job decisions
Bad job decisions
You already know that your symptoms are consistent with a diagnosis of depression. But I have another way of looking at how you are feeling: It may be that one of the ways that you are telling everyone you are sorry for letting them down is by being “down.” In the very old days, people would do things like walk on their knees for miles over cobblestones to demonstrate how sorry they were. People generally don’t do that kind of thing anymore but they do sometimes deprive themselves of things that are important to them as an atonement. You’ve offered up all the things that used to give you joy – good food, good rest, even fun with your kids – probably sex and warmth with your wife and good times with friends too. In a way, you seem to have been doing a kind of penance by suffering.
I think you are writing at this point because you’ve begun to feel that maybe you’ve suffered enough. The next step is to forgive yourself, to ask for forgiveness of anyone you hurt along the way, and then to use all you’ve learned to make some important life decisions. For example: You need to look carefully at whether you are cut out to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone is and there’s no shame in that.
Apparently you’re a good doctor or the old clinic would not have taken you back. To run a business requires another whole skill-set. If you decide to focus on honing your clinical skills, you can let go of the idea of your own practice and let someone else have those responsibilities. Your patients are, after all, seeing you for your clinical skills, not for your business acumen. If, on the other hand, you are convinced you want try launching a practice again, you probably need to figure out how to gain more administrative skills and how to contain the anxiety that comes with taking the attendant risks.
Although a therapist might be a good support for you, there are other paths out of your funk if you are strapped for cash. Some people are blessed with a wise and sensitive friend or relative who can act as a sounding board. If you are a religious person, your clergyperson might be helpful. Don’t underestimate your wife either. Meanwhile, do something positive every day. Take a good walk or run, eat right, and play with those kids. The more you take care of yourself, the more energy you’ll have to think through what is right for you.
I wish you well.