You are here because you're an achiever in life. Smart, accomplished, and with big dreams for your future. You’ve worked extremely hard to get where you are; yet, you might tell me that in the past, things have come fairly easy for your quick mind. Right now something isn't working out quite the way you expected and it's thrown you off balance.
You’re intelligent and a bit of a perfectionist. Your educational performance was stellar! Dental school was challenging but, once you got in, you had the discipline and brain power to do that too! You were eager to get out into externships and your first job. Your stress level started to kick up when you noticed procedures took longer for you to complete than it did others. You had some self-doubt but, as usual, you're pushing through anyway.
You’re an early career dentist. You’re dedicated to your success. You are used to competition and haven’t really worried about it that much in the past. Sure you’ve had worries, but you are not a newcomer to stress. For sure, dental school was stressful and you made it! Besides, you have always had some strategies for managing stress like exercising, reading, and spending time with friends or family.
Lately you’ve been feeling the impact of stress and this time you can’t shake it. You come home from the office and think about being burnt out but you’ve just started your dental career! Who knew it would feel so overwhelming? You’ve always managed before and you’ve done some tough things so what’s up? Your usual coping activities feel like such a temporary fix. Sometimes lately you feel kinda scared about these feelings and worried about your career. You worked so hard for this, you know you are good at this, you have a lot of student loan debt for this.
You are not comfortable telling others about how you’re doing. Your family has seen you succeed and they don’t get it - after all, you “arrived”. If reassurance made your worry go away then it would be gone because that’s what people offer. Your new colleagues seem to be doing fine and you find yourself comparing yourself to them - you know it’s unfair but you can’t help it sometimes
You are beginning to learn about the business-side of dentistry and the details are overwhelming. You did not study to be a businesswoman. One thing that’s clear now is that your income is related to the number and type of procedures you do each day and you feel such pressure. You are trying to learn all that you can. You’re trying to prove yourself - that you belong here. Sometimes the stress eats away at you and you feel so insecure. You wonder if you’re going to achieve your goals to be a partner or own your own practice.
Occasionally you think about talking to someone about all of this but it slips out of mind. Besides, you aren’t one of those people who need therapy - you know you aren’t crazy and you’ve pulled out of many tough moments in your life. But your usual coping strategies aren’t working right now. You’re demoralized, tired, stressed out, and feeling like you’re in over your head. You feel irritable, anxious. Sometimes you go into another room after a difficult patient and cry a little to release tension. You want your confidence back. You don’t like feeling this way at all and you want relief.