…..begins with a single step, according to Lau tzu. It’s been a busy few days, and reader, now that my exams are a fortnight away, and my hand-in for my research project a week later, you will need to prepare yourself for a broken-record sort of blog for a while.
On Wednesday I went to a clinic to hand out some questionnaires for my project. My supervisors (who volunteer to have students, by the way) have discouraged me from doing clinic work since the start, mainly, as far as I can see, because they couldn’t be bothered to show me the ropes. As I’ve been feeling generally ill and run down this week, I was dreading it – I’ve come to hate this project and deadline, that has really ruled me for the last few months, and caused so much stress. However, I was pleasantly surprised, as the specialist nurse was lovely and very helpful, and most of the patients were keen to fill out my questionnaire, and as it’s not a department that get many medical students (it’s a very specific subspecialty), a lot of them were really interested in talking to me, and hearing what I had to say. It’s given me a real boost – which seems daft, as all I did was explain my project and send them off with stamped envelopes to post them back to me, but it reminded me that actually, I’m quite good at what I’m learning to do, I’m good at connecting with people and I truly want to be a doctor who makes a difference. This project has a long way to go until it’s finished, but at least this week, there was something positive that came out of it, which certainly hasn’t been the case for a while.
Now that I’m in exam-mode again, it’s easier to see that I have come a long way since my last set at the beginning of February; I can actually sit and concentrate for a couple of hours, and retain something, whereas back then, I wasn’t taking in anything at all, and was just sitting and either staring into space, or crying. I’m still not sure how I passed as well as I did. Whether it’s because I’m doing specialties that interest me a lot at the moment, or just that my mood is finally lifting a little, I’m enjoying learning again, even though after putting in about twelve hours most days, I’m ready to put down the books and sleep. I love learning, and when I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t quite handle it, as so much of my identity revolves around studying and applying knowledge. It’s good to find the thirst for it again, even if I still have quite a lot of wobbles.
It’s pretty much a full year now, since I started sliding into depression, and though sometimes, I resent the time that has been stolen from me, I know that I need to look forward and not back. I’ve lost a year, so far, and I don’t want to lose more if I can help it. I want to enter my final year of medical school with a clean slate, without anything hanging over me. Feeling strongly enough to want something, also seems like a breakthrough. I still have my apathetic days, but just knowing that behind it all, I’ve still got that glimmer of what I was before this, a glimpse of what makes me who I am, is a relief. It’s good to be feeling 3D again after being flat for so long.
I’ve been in counselling for about eight weeks now, I think – I’ve managed to stick it out longer than the first time I tried, three years ago, and it’s strange how it’s become a part of my week – not precisely a welcome part, but there regardless. Sometimes I think it’s strange that it’s so much harder talking about something than living through it – it’s so much harder revisiting it, than being up against it in real time. And though I’ll never be a fan of pop psychology, I am learning from it, slowly, painfully but learning nonetheless.
So – it’s been an ‘ok’ few days, which I’m grateful for – here’s just hoping I get everything I’ve set myself to do, completed by the end of the weekend. The even keel is a nice place to be, even just for a little while.