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Wanted to share my story and the crossroad I have come to. I was a resident in psychiatry when I first experienced symptoms of multiple sclerosis. I had optic neuritis and had also developed overactive bladder. I was evaluated at the time and had an MRI of brain and spine without lesions so my bladder was thought to be due to childbirth. I knew in my gut that I had ms but everyone told me I was crazy and that I was fine. I also knew in my gut that I was ambivalent about practicing psychiatry and I felt that was the underlying cause of my ms. I shared these ideas with those close to me but did not feel heard or supported. I ignored my intuition and went about life. I had a second child and developed some arm pain that lead to another MRI which showed a lesion in my cervical and thoracic spine (that explains my bladder issues).

I now feel strongly that stress related to my job is the driving force behind my ms. I love working with people and solving problems but modern day psychiatry is medication focused. I know medications do help some but I worry so much about the negative effects these have on my patients down the line. The thought of causing harm to people is the source of stress. I have applied to return to residency to train in internal medicine this summer and have a spot if I wish to do so. What holds me back is the financial strain of returning to a low paying job and the strain it will put on my family. I have two small children who I hate to leave them for such long hours.

In a perfect world I would just quit medicine and focus on my family but financially this is not possible. There are also aspects of medicine I very much enjoy and if I didn't have children wouldn't have any hang ups about going back to residency. I think internal medicine is a better fit for me and is what I should've pursued originally but I was immature and didn't know myself very well back then.

Another concern I have is how I will physically withstand residency. On the one hand my spirit will be in better shape so maybe that will get me though but there is also lack of sleep and physical demands. I have left sided pain in my arm and leg but nothing major. My main worry is my bladder which is by far my worse symptom. It's terribly overactive and I get frequent UTIs.

I've been thinking about this decision constantly. I am leaning heavily towards retraining because I feel so strongly I need to heal my spirit in order to recover. There is a chance I won't be able to withstand it physically but at least I can say I tried and then I would just have to return to practicing psychiatry and try to somehow make peace with it. There is also the option of a sleep medicine fellowship.

I've spent countless hours beating myself up over getting on the wrong path and ignoring my intuition. I know this is fruitless so I'm just trying to figure out how to move forward.
Hi Emily

For overactive bladder botox injections now have fairly good results.
Also look at my post earlier on the forum about new discoveries on mylein.
I also know what it is like working under stressful conditions. Also in my case family stress was constant!
I really believe now is a time to really have hope for the future, and to really push our neurologists to take discoveries seriously!
Nice to meet you and we really are on the crest of a wave, we just need to learn how to ride it!


Be kind to yourselves!
Hi Valley -

Can you tell me more about the wave metaphor? Being on its crest and trying to ride it? Thanks for your insight!

Hi Emily

I believe change is really coming!
Maybe not a cure, but the next best thing, a way of successfully managing this for life!

I also believe we have to do our own research and demand to be listened to!
My neurologist is a nice man, but jaded by the system and institutionalized!
I treat him with respect, but go in armed with the latest research and breakthroughs!

As I said he is a nice man, but this is my life!
The crest of a wave I am talking about is the current breakthroughs, and the ones that are coming!
Learning to ride it is learning what to say, and feeling comfortable saying it!
This to me has also been like learning a new language.

As I said I really believe good things are coming!


Be kind to yourselves
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