May 2, 2022

Permission to burn the manual

"I started planning my escape in late 2020. I would find a way to quit health care, to cease being a practicing physician altogether. Living the life of a doctor-mom, I felt consumed with daily obligations and duties. Guilt plagued me for feeling...


"I started planning my escape in late 2020. I would find a way to quit health care, to cease being a practicing physician altogether. Living the life of a doctor-mom, I felt consumed with daily obligations and duties.

Guilt plagued me for feeling burdened by this life, for feeling it was a monotonous prison. The guilt soon transformed to anger. I was not showing up to my life in a meaningful way. I held many limiting beliefs that blocked me from change. How did I get here? A child’s dream of becoming a doctor sustained me into adulthood. The dream was an all-encompassing mass-like occupancy in my brain with space for few other dreams. Upon becoming an attending, my dream was realized, but I found myself with a huge void where this space-occupying lesion once lived. Now what? In the absence of childlike wonder, it did not occur to me to create new dreams."

Cathi Whaley is a hospice and palliative care physician.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, "Permission to burn the manual."

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