Like many medical students, I’ve always been quite used to having a lot on my plate. The year started off with the usual demands of all my other years of med school, balancing my grades with my social life and looking after my physical health. There was a bit extra with running some extracurricular activities and starting a research project, but I figured it would all be fine with a bit of time-management.
But then life threw a spanner in the works. Between family emergencies and relationship problems, suddenly things weren’t so easy to manage anymore.
Suddenly, I wasn’t able to concentrate. I constantly felt down, and found it hard to keep up conversations with others. I started to rely on alcohol to boost my mood.
Part of me knew that there was a logically a lot waiting for me, and that things would eventually get better. But the other part of me was constantly thinking about running my car off the road.
Eventually a friend of mine worked out I wasn’t coping, and told me that I should get help. I initially ignored their advice, thinking that things would just get better with a bit more time. I pushed through it, made myself go to morning ward rounds, and compared myself to my patients – ‘look at what these patients have been through and they just get on with it, why shouldn’t I?’ But when my grades started going down the gurgler, my mood was getting worse and I was up to my third crisis counselling phone call… I finally started asking for professional help.
I want to end this piece with something inspirational; a ‘happily ever after’ message, a magic fix, or a line about how much stronger I’ve become as a person. But that’s not the case.
Things still aren’t great. But hopefully they’ll get better over time.