My whole life is organized into boxes. (ie, my blog name). I like to compartmentalize, keep work and home life separate, keep public me and private me separate, emotional me and getting-through-the-day me separate. Usually, this works. I can be the happy, relaxed, fun loving mom I want to be to my kids, efficient and professional at work, and contemplative when I’m by myself on a run or on my own. But recently, I have not been able to figure out who I want to be or who I am when I’m with my husband. The problem, I think, is that I want to be all of me for the one I love and built a life with, but I’m having a hard time putting it all together in a cohesive, not unpredictable, way.
A lot of what we as physicians see daily gives us perspective, and makes us confront our own mortality. It’s heavy stuff, if you let yourself think about too much. So I try to leave work at work, keep the danger stories or cool saves to share with my family, and compartmentalize. With the kids, it is easy. But it is sometimes hard to explain to my partner the intensity of what I do and see daily. I want to share, but sometimes I can’t begin to explain or unpack my feelings. I have never been an emotionally open person and keeping things inside and putting on a happy face is how I have been able to overcome a number of difficult periods in my life. It has worked for me before, but now it is creating an emotional void between me and my partner that I don’t want to get any deeper. As I write this, I realize more that the problem is that since I can’t try to explain, I don’t. I simply shut it down. And then, eventually, pandora’s box opens and all spills out.
For those of you with non physician partners or partners whose days look very different than yours, how do you balance? Any resources that you have read, or used, to help me feel more comfortable expressing myself and verbalizing my thoughts?
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