Tonight my daughter shared with me her concerns about not having enough time to do everything, and even compared herself to a friend/peer, stating “I don’t know _____ does so much and still has time for fun!”

My heart sank.

She’s 9.

So we talked.

1/
We talked about how it’s normal to feel anxiety when there’s a lot going on, or even when there isn’t a lot going on.

It’s not hard for me to talk about anxiety with her because I’ve lived with anxiety disorder for 20 years.

2/
We talked about prioritizing must-do items (school work, rest) and what can be put off for next week.

I shared with her how I can help her open space during the week to help her feel more comfortable with her time.

3/
I told her that the other activities that would need to pushed back are not gone, just moved around, and they would be waiting for her when she was ready and had time and space to approach them.

4/
She told she wished she had “more time to do everything”.

Yep.

I told her how common this feeling is. And that just means she likes a lot of things and that’s ok!

But that her efforts on a few at a time doesn’t mean the others would disappear or wouldn’t be possible later.
We talked about the beauty of doing just a few things and feeling good about them.

And how rest is so important to feeling good about our day and our work.
We talked about comparison.

How mommy struggles with this ALL. THE. TIME.

How we can’t peer into the lives of others and know “how they do things” and how we are all different and that there’s so much beauty in our differences.
She told me how it was hard to sleep thinking about all she had to do this week.

We talked about our mind focusing on the present, the thing we have to do right this minute (which for her was ease into her cozy bed) and tomorrow would come and we would tackle it then- together.
She settled in and went to bed after a few snuggles.

I left her room feeling like she would be OK for the night.

But I am shook. My little girl shared a feeling that I am all too familiar with, that many of us are all too familiar with.
I was shocked to see how this grind and toxic perfectionism and comparison culture is seeping into our kids’ mindsets at such a young age.

But boy am I glad she shared her vulnerability with me.
I always hated that I had anxiety.

Hated that it affected me in so many complex ways.

Hated how it made some times in my life nearly unbearable.

But tonight, I looked at it for the first time in a completely different way.
Tonight, my daughter, by bravely sharing her own fears and concerns, gave me a gift: the gift of acceptance, I dare say even pride, in what we perceive as our faults.

She listened so intently, so openly, so lovingly, to what her momma had to say about anxiety and how to cope.
She listened without judgment, and maybe I helped her, maybe I didn’t, but what I know is true is that what I said to her mattered.

And she didn’t feel alone. Or shamed. Or lost.

My experience w/anxiety allowed us to form a bridge for us to connect over shared vulnerability.
I really wanted to share this experience because there is so much extraordinary that happens in our everyday, ordinary moments.

Tonight was one of those moments.
Instead of feeling despair at what V told me, I can hold space for our conversation for exactly what it represents: the gift of connection, of acceptance, of open & honest dialogue bw me & my daughter.

And I really believe that is extraordinary in the most ordinary of ways.❤️

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More from @SBowersMD

10 Sep
My heart 😭❤️

It has been a touching & powerful experience to read all the replies/messages to this post.

There is so much kindness & solidarity overflowing from here.

THANK YOU ALL.

There is also much pain & hurt.
These replies are a glimpse of some of it.

1/
One day on this app and you will likely come across numerous examples and threads on this topic. We have the data too. Countless journal articles addressing 📉 in HCW health and well-being and published escalating attrition and suicide rates.
What. We. Are. Doing. Is. Not. Working.

We need advocacy for the health of our healers. And we need it NOW.

Every day is one more day that someone leaves our profession permanently. This hurts my heart so so much. I’m no stranger to those thoughts either…
Read 4 tweets
9 Sep
Tip for junior faculty (or anyone):
A professional CV is not just about titles & publications.

Keep a detailed record of all those amazing things you do, usu uncompensated.

Website/blog/podcast contributions
Comm engagement activities
Committees/tasks forces

They ALL count.
All the medical student talks, round table discussions, advocacy sessions, volunteer groups, mentoring activities- THEY ALL COUNT.
The quick IG Live Q&A you did on personal statement tips- COUNTS

The article you peer-reviewed for a journal- COUNTS

The professional development seminar you attended to develop your teaching and leadership skills- COUNTS
Read 7 tweets
8 Sep
Today, I started 1 month of medical leave.

I’ve been hesitant to share but I
believe there’s much value in sharing our personal challenges.

My health & wellbeing have suffered these last several years. I decided I’m not waiting to be broken in order to address my healing.-1
I reached burnout.

Yep.

The reason are complex and aren’t as simple as “academic medicine”.

Yes I know I’m a dermatologist and people will likely judge that - how does a dermatologist get burned out?

Truth is, it can happen to any of us.
/2
But the reason I was hesitant to share was because of guilt.

Guilt that my colleagues who are on the COVID frontlines have experienced and still are experiencing unimaginable trauma.
Read 11 tweets
8 Sep
It never ceases to amaze me how academia wracks its institutional brain re: how to ⬆️ diversity yet continually ignores +/or fails to address internal psychological safety, accountability, transparency.

It should not be this hard to create safe, loving & inclusive environments.
It should not be this hard to look within either before or at the same time as we look beyond.

It should not be this hard to not condone professional gaslighting.

It should not be this hard to look at the academic exodus of women, esp WOC, ESP Black women, and say FULL STOP.
It should not be this hard for women to have an answer when they ask “Who do I talk to? Who will help me?”

It should not be this hard for organizations to keep those who harm others accountable for their actions and then be transparent about it all.
Read 5 tweets
3 Aug
Last March, we stopped having sitters.
Once the COVID vaccine was available, we only used sitters who were vaccinated.

One of our favorites was a no. Said she wouldn’t get it but missed our girls dearly.

We just talked, at her request, bc I was insistent on vaccination.
/1
We talked about the way the COVID vaccine works. I compared & contrasted it to other vaccines.

We talked about the personal & public health implications.

We talked about her concerns given her medical history.

We talked about how science and “holistic” healing can coexist.
She has a friend in the ICU. Even that hasn’t been enough to sway her concerns.

Bc her concerns were based on all the (mis)information she was being told by others.

And she couldn’t square it all.

Her feelings on “natural” healing made it harder.

And she’s scared.
Read 19 tweets
15 Mar
To M4 #medicalstudents participating in #Match2021, a message:

For some of you, this week may be one of the happiest of your lives. Trust me when I say we can’t wait to see your posts of well-deserved, hard-earned celebration!

For others, this week may look very different.
/1
Whether this is because you find out you did not match or perhaps you found out a result you were hoping would be different, this week can be hard and painful.

I know. I didn’t match into dermatology my 1st time. It was not my first “failure”, but it was my hardest one.
/2
I’ll never forget the feelings of disappointment, sadness, isolation and unworthiness that I had that week.

But I say “failure” in “” because, hindsight being what it is, I know now that the results of that match week 2004 were just another turn in my journey of success.
/3
Read 17 tweets

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