I’m a medical student. I can do better than this. I can be better than this. I don’t want to be depressed. I’m just not a naturally happy person. Everything is OK. But it wasn’t.
I began spiralling at the end of the second year of my MBBS. I was meant to be studying for VIA and the EOYs. Except I wasn’t, I couldn’t. I was trying to. Staring at my notes and my computer screen and crying because I could not remember anything. Everything I’d learnt before it was locked up somewhere in a mind that refused to function.
I’m a medical student, I should be better than this, but I wasn’t. A part of me knew it was ridiculous and that’s what it was but depression feeds itself and it took hold of me. I was embarrassed and ashamed at my shortcomings. I should have known better and been able to cope with it but I was helpless and blind when it came to myself.
At the end of 2013 I spent more than 3 months unable to get out of bed. Getting up to eat felt like a triumph and yet made me bone weary. All the while it was hidden from almost everyone I knew. It seemed like depression had taken everything good out of my life and I couldn’t bear to let anyone know. Being an international student, it’s easy to isolate and lock yourself away. I’m lucky I have family here who love me, without them I might not be writing my story right now. Others might not be so fortunate.
Depression manifests in so many ways and across such a wide scale, it’s never just about checking ticks off the DSM. Maybe you’re not bedridden or have all the classic signs of depression – there’s help out there for you. There is a way out. I’m one of the blessed ones who responds well to therapy and medication and while some days still feel like a tremendous struggle, I know I’m not alone. I know its not my fault now and I’m learning to be open about my struggles. I might never be completely free from depression but it’s a start and I hope this sharing of my story can help others too.