Choosing to become a veterinarian says a lot about you. At this point, we all know better than to go into this career for money, because it’s not going to get you rich. You might start off saying it’s because you don’t want to deal with people, but that is also unrealistic considering the fact that animals have owners. In the end, if you’re coming into this career, you have some sort of compassion in you.
For me, this compassion is my greatest strength and weakness at the same time. I care about people just as much as I do animals and while this is great for those around me, it tends to take a toll on myself. I attract people who need to be taken care of and I am an enabler to some extent because I don’t always realize when they’re taking advantage of me. It’s on those long hard weeks when I’m drowning in responsibilities and receiving constant updates and needs from everyone I know that I realize no one has asked me how I’m doing. And when I start to let on that I’m close to break. they tell me it will all be fine, no one wants to talk about it, no one wants to help. They brush off my pain and anxiety like it’s a joke.
But it’s not a joke. There are days where the anxiety, built up from years of pushing myself to be the best that I can be, is crippling. There are days where I can’t imagine getting anything done because there’s just so much to do. There are days where I just want to cry, where I’m exhausted, where my heart starts racing until I’m hyperventilating or pass out. But it’s all fine, right? Just relax. Just breathe. These are probably the most useless pieces of advice anyone has ever given me before.
It helps seeing a counselor who understands the physical effects anxiety has. It takes a lot to realize that most people just don’t understand how you really feel – they can’t. Everyone feels anxiety, so everyone thinks they have the answer to it. But not all people are the same and telling me to breathe only makes me panic more.
I haven’t found a solution that works every time, yet. It’s highly possible that medication is in my future, but I’m not ready to go that route yet. I’m starting to wonder if maybe surrounding myself with more people who return the compassion I give them might be the start to my answer.