In case you missed it, I’m a dentist …. and dentists if you missed it I’m a personal trainer and coach.
This might seem like an odd combination but we’re all special snowflakes and for me I’ve had a lifetime passion for both health and fitness. My whole journey has being trying to combine two fields that I was always told were oil and water. Then you know what – turns out it was never the case.
So, I’ve spent a couple of years living two lives, dentist day job and fitness instructor/coach for fun. Grown up clothes for my grown up job and fluoro lycra to teach and feel 18 again. But as my role in the fitness space has evolved the two sphere’s have moved closer together and I feel I’ve come out to the fitness world as a dentist and out to my patients as a fitness professional. Although, if I start wearing fluoro lycra in the surgery, then friends- an intervention is required!
So this blog, which I stopped updating because it felt lost in the fitness space, I restart for the dental space. I feel there is a need, that we have a tough job that takes it’s toll mentally and physically. That it can be socially isolating and easily get increasingly negative. Any job that constantly involves pain, money and anxiety is a tough space to stay in too long without either an amazingly great run, a varied career pathway or some simple yet awesome coping strategies.
My story? Well I thought I had it all sorted, through my dental studies and beyond I kept up my sport, hockey for my University team and social football. I joined The Royal Navy and had 5 great years, where I played hockey and swam for the navy. My only blip in this was a year as a MaxilloFacial SHO, my only brush with the NHS where, I got my first personal encounter with bullying. A stressful year of work and study which was successfully survived although it put to rest any hospital based career pathway. Then, I took a holiday to New Zealand and next thing you know, finished up my naval career and went off on a working holiday to NZ.
I worked for a super chilled out boss in a semi rural private practice (most nz dentistry is private) and had I not met my husband, I might still be there. Career wise it got a bit bumpy from there, worked 9 mths in a practice that wasn’t a good fit. Then 10 yrs at a practice where I went through a lot, not just professionally: got married, had a miscarriage, bought a house, had 2 children, survived a series of devastating earthquakes, lost grandparents, lost a work colleague far too young and then my youngest was born. Endured earthquake repairs, working clinically through thousands of aftershocks and then after all this settled went through a terrible patch at work, a neck injury, a back injury, stressful complaints about things that came from and came to nothing. I burnt out, not from any one thing but just things mounting up in quick succession.
So, why tell you all of this? It’s not for pity, it’s not to blame others for my woes, it’s because I’ve been there at the bottom, thinking the darkest thoughts, with so little self worth. I thought depression was something other people had, I just saw failure and struggled to see my way out. Whilst it’s embarrassing to share my story, if the lessons I’ve learnt through it can help just one person avoid this or find their way back up then that’s enough.
It didn’t have to be this way, but through picking myself back up I have learnt so much. Particularly how unprepared I was for this. But I didn’t have to be, I had unintentionally isolated myself from other dentists which was part of the problem. We should be talking and sharing, supporting and helping us all see the big picture. I will be writing about ways to help, there’s no one way for everyone, but there’s a way for you. The first step is recognising where you are and where you want to be ( or don’t want to be) and starting your plan from there.
I look forward to connecting, follow me on twitter, like my Fang Farriers Facebook page and join the associated group. Let’s change it up a gear from surviving to thriving a full career in dentistry.
You got this!