I know it’s been over a week since I last wrote but there’s been a lot going on. I had to finish my assignment that was due on Friday, and then my presentation got moved forward from next week to the same Friday, so I had to finish that, too. And some personal problems got blown up last week, funnily enough, that was triggered by my last post, though that was a long time coming. It has been one of the more trying times of the year so far.
I am finally free today and I am so glad to be done with all of that. There have been late nights this week which is the reason I slept at 9pm last night and woke up at 6.30am. I am shockingly still sleepy. Sleep debt has never worked for me. I need proper hours and no disruptions. I’m probably going to sleep at 9pm again today and get up about the same time tomorrow.
My case write-up was about a psychiatry patient who has schizophrenia. The guy I interviewed (well, my friend and I interviewed him together, but I took his case for my assignment) was pretty nice and really forthcoming with what he sees and hears. His drug abuse history was something he didn’t hide, which you would think would happen: clearly, there’s a gift psychiatrists have: being told the absolute truth about substance use. Well, most of the time anyway. So, that wasn’t too hard to write. I made it 200 words under the limit, luckily.
My time is psychiatry is coming to a close in the next week and I have thoroughly enjoyed it so far. While there have been instances where patients are very volatile, very touchy-feely, some reject you.. all in all, I have learned so much from the people I have come in contact with.
My first rotation of the four this year has taught me two things in the end:
1. Be very grateful for who you, who you have, where you are in life and what you have.
While I do admit that depression is something that’s fluctuant for me (good days and bad, bad days), I am grateful that I am not completely debilitated like the patients I have seen. I am able to force myself out of bed once the bad days pass, I have learned enough from counseling to cope most of the time. Counseling with someone you trust is highly underrated, people. I recommend it if you’re going through something. It can equip you with awareness and knowledge enough to control the way you feel. Being paralysed by an illness is the worst feeling ever. If you are in that situation, you can definitely get out of it, just make yourself get help.
Aside from that, I have support. Something that last week’s emotional upheaval showed me is that I need to see the people in my life, in every sense of the word. I have a great family who has been there for me every single step of the way, who love me and want what’s best for me. I have these group mates that push me to be better in order to keep up with them. I have a good network of people who help me see beyond my own little world. I am thankful for each and every one of you for making my world better. I am thankful for the positive outlooks we all strive to find when things are shaky in our lives. And I am thankful for the times that you’ve allowed me to reach out and metaphorically hold your hand, for my own sake.
There was this patient in the wards a few days ago who was unemployed and solely relying on her mother (who was also a schizophrenic patient who went off her meds) for financial support. When her mom lost her job, they were left defenseless and so, the mom went around looking for scraps of food behind restaurants. They would boil what vegetables the mom brought back with the minimal amount of salt and eat that without rice because they are that poor. Hearing something like that made me physically ill. I have never been more grateful for what material things I have, for the fact that I can choose to eat whatever I want because my parents can afford it. Hearing her story first hand has made me very conscious of the fact that I have been so blessed. (And in case you’re wondering, social services is helping her family out and getting in touch with her extended family. She will be okay).
2. Be brave and rely on yourself because you can do it.
I received some feedback from last year’s tutors last week about participating more in class because “you know the answers, but you’re always so afraid to try”. I have no idea why but my confidence levels have plummeted in the past few years. The fact that everyone in medical school used to be the top students in their old school has made me question my own abilities to be anything or to do anything as well as them. I used to be ‘good enough’ but when you’re surrounded by people who are ‘great’, it’s hard to see that you have the same potential, which is why you ‘got in’ in the first place. During one of our tutorials last week, my group mates pointed out that I have excellent bedside manners because patients usually open up to me, and somehow, that idea seemed so foreign to me. It’s silly how much my self-esteem has been reduced to that I found it hard to take a compliment. I need to learn to piece those parts of me back together. A few years ago, my mom said that I’m a shadow of the person I used to be before and it has taken so long for me to truly see that. I used to be better before I allowed my mental health problems take over who I am. I need to regain what I have lost because being the way I am now has caused so much strain on my relationships with others and especially, my relationship with myself.
On a happier note, I’m going to see Beauty and the Beast (the musical) on stage in Singapore tomorrow with my housemate and her boyfriend (third wheeling, ftw) and I am very excited. That’s what tomorrow night’s post is likely to be about. I hope you all have a blessed Easter weekend. And again, thank you. I am grateful for you.