Coming Out

A post by another GP who wishes to remain anonymous:

A Gay friend once described to me his experience of ‘coming out ‘ to his parents. His mum’s first response “What will everyone say at church?” He was in his late twenties and had kept the truth about his sexuality from his family since his teens.

Now in my mid forties I find myself fearing a similar response when I tell my family that I have decided to leave medicine. I fear the disappointment and shame of my parents who sacrificed so much to put me through medical school. I imagine the reaction of extended family and friends and anticipate embarrassment, pity and rejection.

Would reactions be positive if I had abandoned a high-pressured job in finance in pursuit of happiness? Sadly to leave General Practice at a time of crisis within the profession and the NHS seems like letting the side down.

My elderly neighbours don’t help. They always ask when I am returning to work and then proceed to tell me how hard it is to get an appointment or even register at a local practice. I’m sure behind my back they all shake their heads and mutter “what a waste”.

I have pondered what career or life options could justify leaving medicine to the general public. I fantasize about the conversation where I announce I am pursuing a new career as a human rights lawyer, founding a charity or returning to medical research to “find the cure for something’.

Having had my ‘sabbatical ‘I know that leaving is the right decision for me. There were times in my career when medicine was rewarding and intellectually stimulating. Unlike many jobs it was never boring or mundane. I will miss the insights into humanity and If I’m honest the self-esteem that my ‘Dr’ title provided.

What I don’t miss is the constant fear of making mistakes, the quality vs. quantity dilemma created by demand and workload, and the burgeoning bureaucracy encroaching on every aspect of practice. For me the stakes have got too high and now its time to move on.

I just need to figure out a way to ‘sell’ this first to myself and then the rest of the world.

Any suggestions welcome!

PS My friend’s mum has recently voted for her church to allow gay marriage and cried with joy when Conchita won Eurovision!

As before, if you have any thoughts or questions, or even a thank you to the author for sharing her story, please do comment below. It takes a huge amount of courage to share something like this. (You will need to sign in here to do so if you don’t already have a WordPress account).



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