Wednesday, 26 December 2012

I think it's time for this.

I'm barely focusing on revision. When I do it, I do it. I get it done and I'm happy doing it. But I'm not really motivated. It's not laziness or apathy. It's just not my focus.

I feel fragmented. I've felt out of touch for so long, like I'm in a waking dream. And it's insular and safe.

I feel like I'm in a bubble and everything in it is safe and slow and measured. It's fragile and naive but it's static and just outside it is something that isn't. Something that's going to hurt. I'm waiting for it to hit me actually and I suspect it dances to the tune 'life goes on'.

I made mistakes this semester, personal ones, that have fragmented my life into pieces. Falling apart doesn't even begin to describe how the last three months have been for me. I worked so hard to get into medical school, sleepless nights, scary nights, lonely ones where I couldn't imagine a life where I was not a doctor. I built my life around it and made it the centre of my universe, suffered for it and earned it. So when I say that I lost all interest in it on and off for three months solid I want it clear what that means, how bad it was, how badly I needed help.

I wanted to leave. I wrote up course withdrawal letters and deleted them. I told next to no-one. I stopped talking altogether. It wasn't the course, the course is fine. Excellent even, brilliant, amazing, one of the best in the country. It's tough but it's wonderful as a course. I want it clear that it wasn't medicine, it was my life.

A number of things contributed to the events of the last few months. Being completely away from family who were depressed by their own problems as well as the imminent war in Syria (have now lost an uncle leaving behind his widow and six children, lost a ten-year-old cousin; another three uncles injured, one of whom is in a coma and the other two shot in the chest and arm), away from friends, somewhat burned out from three years of biomed, somewhere new, somewhere relatively lonely and scary for me, accommodation miles away from the university, bad and barely-there diet that I couldn't find a way to control, things that happened whilst I was on holiday in Syria, meeting someone wonderful and involving them in the biggest mistake of my life, the daily schedule, the bitter cold, the feeling of inadequacy, of stupidity and redundancy.

I have been depressed for over three months now. Unfortunately I'm the type of person to self-punish. It's stupid and accomplishes nothing but I did it anyway. After the mistakes I made I became ill. I refused to go see anyone for help, I refused medication, refused rest and sympathy. My immune system was in shreds, I wasn't sleeping. The nightmares didn't let me rest for more than a couple of hours. The sleep paralysis came back; I was having hypnogogia episodes up to three times a week. When I woke up there would be a terrible pain, like something had been ripped out of you from your throat down to your gut and where it was was an empty pit with boiling walls. I would run every excuse in my head to not go into university. I'd look through the lectures and tell myself I knew it from biomed. I'd ignore calls, texts, e-mails and facebook messages from family and friends. I wouldn't eat, I didn't care what it did to me, I ended a very short term relationship - if you can call it that - in Syria.

Worst of all was the feeling of rejection and abandonment. My mother couldn't forgive me for or help me with what had happened; in fact she made things worse, unbearable. During and after every phone conversation with her I felt like my heart was going to stop beating, like my muscles would collapse and I'd suffocate to death from emotional exhaustion. My friends often found me like that, having a panic attack. Countless times I wondered that it would hurt less if I just stood in the middle of the road and waited. I felt like I had turned my back on my faith and in turn my God had rejected me, like my faith didn't want me, like I wasn't good enough.
I'd beg not to be left alone. It was pathetic and I said so when I was finally made to see how bad things were and to go see my personal tutor and student services.

Naturally little work was done. I functioned well at university but pretty soon everyone on the course noticed things weren't ok, everyone was talking. I was lost.

Week after week I'd cycle through depression and something vaguely resembling normalcy. By the end I'd tried everything; cutting myself off, being around people, avoiding people, talking to family, talking to friends, talking to student support, asking to move groups, begging for respite from my mother's inability to cope whilst begging her to help me feel like half a human being again. The things I said, the thoughts I had, they felt and sounded like complete break down.

It's over now of course. I've done what I can. My father helped me, gave me peace again and forgiveness despite my going against everything he's ever taught me. My mother was never very good in a crisis.

The saddest thing is the wonderful person involved in my mistake, the person I have to ignore my feelings for and vice versa. He stayed with me and he is still with me, with more understanding and integrity than anyone I've ever met save my father.
If you ever read this, if you ever see this, I want to thank you. I want you to know that without you I would not be recovering so quickly. The things you did for me no one would have expected you to do and anyone would have understood had you walked away at any point. Thank you for not leaving when I or anyone else tried to make you, thank you for being more human than anyone I've ever met. And you're right, we'll be the greatest friends we can be, as close as we can and it's not second best, just another way to be with someone.

Sometimes you know what lessons you learned from your mistakes, sometimes they leave scars or memories you wish you could un-sully. For me it has been all of the above. What I did did not come from a bad place, it wasn't rebellion or malice. It was love. Irrational and naive - stupid, even. But it was love.

I'm idealistic enough to be sorry that that's not enough and old enough to understand why.

Thank you, to anyone who read this.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Rose :(

    It sounds like you've been having a really tough couple of months - I think most people would end up losing motivation for studying, especially the highly structured and rigid form of studying and learning which is par for the course in medical schools.

    Going from somewhere vibrant and convenient like London where you've become accustomed to and made friends in over the years to a relatively small city a hundred miles away is a pretty big deal - and if you add a new course, new method of learning, family worries and relationship problems to the mix, it's no wonder you're stressed out, you're only human!

    By the sounds of the end of your post it sounds like things are slowly looking up however - I really hope that's the case. You're clearly very committed to medicine, that much is obvious in the year or so I've known you, please keep hanging on...most of life's issues, the unfamiliarity, feelings of being overwhelmed and so on will resolve themselves with time, I'm confident of that much.

    Hope this has been of some small help.