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Hospitalization

Yes, still in disbelief. The news of my moving away soon to begin a new life will apparently sink in slowly.

I was thinking yesterday…after so much effort I’m finally here. I’m practically done. I matched. All I have left is graduation and continuing the journey. After 4 years of undergrad, 5 years of medical school, 1 mental breakdown, at least 3 serious episodes of depression, 1 hospitalization, the explosion of eating disordered behaviors, realizing I was abused, a leave of absence, 2 psychologists, 2 psychiatrists, countless exams, a diagnosis of depression and borderline personality disorder, 3 USMLE exams, 4 years of therapy and medication, 9 interviews, considering quitting a million times, thousands spent on traveling expenses and a visiting rotation…after all that, I’m finally here.

And to think, I was so worried I wasn’t going to get interviews or even match because I took a leave of absence.

I guess there’s an upside to thinking about all the effort I’ve put in and all I’ve been through. And yet, part of me gets scared when thinking about all that. I guess it’s good to think about the past, but only to a certain point.

Last night I got a bit scared thinking about whether or not I made the right decision. Having my friend match into the top program obviously got to me a bit because it made me think It could have been me. I could have had (insert Ivy league name) and all it has to offer,  plus the name on my diploma. It was inevitable. I mean, I had the choice of ranking the top program #1, but I chose the heart-mindblown program instead. Hopefully it will finally feel right once I start working. I guess I’ll just have to continue trusting my gut in the coming weeks. I mean, there’s no turning back now.

Either way, I’m incredibly excited. Yesterday I was google-searching what my white coat will look like at the heart-mindblown program and looking at the program website again. I was also taking a look at studio apartments for rent in the neighborhood I want to live in. I can’t believe I’m going to live the dream. And I certainly hope it doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare.

Meanwhile, my parents have been great about it all so far. They were incredibly happy and excited for me when I got the news and they’ve been supportive. Sad, but supportive. I saw a few tears well up here and there, but they celebrated with me and have made it clear that they are very happy for me. I just hope it lasts after the initial excitement wears off. That’s exactly what I need right now: their love and support.

Gosh, I’m in disbelief. I really hope other people get to read this and see that it is possible after all. Like I’ve always said, I have my ups and downs, but it’s still very possible to live the dream. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible. “Borderline”, “depression”, “anorexia”, “anxiety”, and anybody else I’m missing….they’re labels that serve a purpose, but they don’t define you or your future. Soon I’ll be a 100% doctor, but also a full-time patient. Yes, it’s possible.

My mind is all over the place right now. I’m thinking about so many things and still stunned at the same time. I can’t seem to organize anything, not even my posts.

Sorry! I’ll hopefully get back to my (usually) coherent self soon.

 

Well, I passed Step 2 CS…. Now what?

Off to do my Rank Order List, of course! (Or ROL, for short).

Did that sound like it’s exciting? Because it’s anything but. I tried to do it two days ago and it got me riding the haterade so much that I ended up taking a nap on the floor of my room after rant-texting. Then today I gave it another shot, and so far so good.

Granted, there is this teeny little detail that has helped me feel more focused on the goal at hand: mildly restricting.

Yes, strangely enough, not eating much today has helped me focus on the goals at hand: residency, and losing weight. And yet, I just had a snack and feel like a fat failure again.

I can tell I’ve gained a bit of weight (and by a bit I mean about 5lbs). And that’s really bugging me lately. It’s made the eating disordered voice speak louder. I’ve tried to restrict like I used to, focus on losing weight like before, but for some reason it’s gotten more difficult. Between my parents paying attention to everything I eat and my own inability to restrict like I used to, I just feel like a fat loser.

The last time I lost a drastic amount of weight was in 2014, around the time of my hospitalization and the kidney stone I had. I’m so frustrated that I’m even wishing I would get physically sick again just so I can jump-start my weight loss.

You know something that excites me a little too much about matching for residency? The way I’ll be able to control my food and just do whatever the hell I want, whether it be eating or not eating, simply because I’ll be living alone and controlling my own fucking expenses. Living with my parents messes up my eating habits. I end up overeating so they won’t suspect I have eating disordered tendencies. And you know what overeating results in, right? Purging. (Which I did yesterday, by the way. Thanks for nothing, Superbowl.)

Right now I’m at a place where I’m still listening to the healthy voice that says: Don’t restrict, don’t do that to yourself. I think back to the excruciating pain of gastroparesis that had me crying alone in bed one night in 2014 and I don’t want to go back to that.

And yet, the voice that says Do it, you’re fucking fat, your ass and thighs are huge and it’s only gonna get worse, keeps getting stronger each day.

 

 

I’ve been letting go of myself this week. Again. Haven’t been writing in my diary. Been neglecting the blog. I’m tired all the time. The trazodone is helping with my insomnia, but I still feel tired all the friggin’ time, although I can get things done. I’m pretty out of it honestly.

But I’ve also been incredibly busy. I’m back to taking classes this week. And I’ve also been going from office to office in my medical school and getting shit done. I’ve been incredibly efficient this week. But at what cost? I’m stressed and tired. I’ve got a lot on my med school responsibilities plate right now. Been organizing my fourth year schedule, etc.

And because I haven’t been writing in my diary, I don’t remember much of what I’ve been feeling this week. Bummer.

I didn’t sleep from Sunday to Monday. At all. I had never done that. But I had too much on my mind and I was on a roll. Was getting things done, and was pretty much euphoric.

On Tuesday I saw G. We talked about food. Meh. I’ve been eating like a cow, so whatever. She’s worried about my purging. I’m not. I barely do it and I absolutely hate doing it. It’s more of a “when I’m ridiculously desperate” sort of thing. I restrict. That’s easier for me, though this week I’ve just stuffed my face (aka: eating the amount that I know I should be eating). At least today I ate smaller portions (I think).

Fourth year of medical school really scares me. You have to get so much shit done, so many errands, so much mundane stuff, the Step 2 exams that you start taking around third year, the incredible pressure to impress every-fucking-one that works with you…then on top of that, you have applications for residency, interviews, traveling for said interviews, then the fucking match and all the shit it entails, from the rank order list all the way to that third Friday of March. It’s one of the reasons I got hospitalized last year. I couldn’t deal with the expectation of having all that on my plate. So far I’m doing fine on my second try, but I can still feel the stress and anger boiling inside of me due to all the bullshit fourth year of medical school entails. I hate bullshit….paperwork and a million pointless other things. It makes me incredibly angry. (And yet, here I am studying for one of the most bullshit-filled careers: medicine. I hope I don’t ever get tired of helping my patients and doing good for them, because if it wasn’t for that, I would run away from this career).

I have a headache. It’s driving me nuts. And trazodone-related dizziness. Yay. Dance class is a pain in the ass because of that. Can barely find my balance and I get incredibly dizzy when I close my eyes. Ugh.

I had two moments with my mom this week. One frustrating and one good. The first one was when I explained my fourth year schedule to her. She didn’t support me at all and just focused on how my fourth year will affect her, how the empty nest is coming soon for her. Nothing new there, but it still hurts every time she does that. Then the good one was yesterday. Spent an hour or more just talking with her about stuff, had a few laughs. I loved it because I felt I had the mom I’ve always wanted. Felt an incredible desire to tell her about the abuse, yet couldn’t get myself to do it. I don’t know if I’ll ever have the strength to tell her that and I piss myself off because of it. I want my mom to know. I want her to protect me.

I was supposed to have a conference given by a lawyer today. But I skipped said conference. Left after about 10 minutes in the room because it was such an incredible trigger. Anything having to do with law triggers me immensely and takes me back to The Ex. The way lawyers talk, their vocabulary, how they behave, etc….those things are the death of me.

And I made a huge mistake today. I facebook-messaged that guy I went on a date with in January, the one from another med school. I told him “Long time no see”. He didn’t answer. Granted, he doesn’t seem to use facebook much (and neither do I lately…good riddance). But I was so angry at myself for giving in. I got desperate. Why? I’ll be honest here….sometimes I like being single but today was not one of those days. I need some love in my life today. I want to cuddle, or just watch TV or some mundane crap like that.

But I can’t. I just have to do stuff on my own for now. Deal with my stress on my own, deal with medical school bullshit paperwork/stuff on my own. I have an ache in my heart, as corny as that sounds, but it’s true.

I was just venting on this post. Rambling. I admire you if you got all the way to the end.

April 7, 2014: I wonder if I’ll ever be happy. I don’t think so. And that’s why I prefer to just go to sleep and never wake up.

Exactly a year ago, on April 8th, I voluntarily spent a week at a psychiatric ward. My diary entry the night before described suicidal thoughts, although not in extreme detail, and it ended with the sentence above. I didn’t have a step by step plan of what I wanted to do, just a general idea, and I had the tools and was more than willing to pull the plug on myself just to make the pain go away. I’m the type of person who can’t plan things to an extreme, or else I’ll never get around to doing them because I get stuck over-analyzing. It’s proven to be of use at times, though, and last year, ironically, it was useful as I ended up in the psych ward instead of….well, you know.

I flipped a few pages of my old diary to see what I had written after being discharged, and I came across the picture they took of me upon admission to the psych ward. I remember one of the nurses asking me if I wanted it on the day of my discharge, and without losing a beat I said yes. I wanted to see my progress. I’d seen dead bodies before. I’d been to funerals and took Gross Anatomy first year of medical school. However, nothing had prepared me for what I saw in that picture the first time I got around to seeing it. My face was pudgy from all the weight I had gained, my eyebrows lopsided, not a single trace of a smile was evident, and finally, my eyes were completely empty. There was no life there. I had never seen a dead person before.

And so, here I am, a year later, after encountering many bumps in my road to recovery and making a few leaps in the right direction. I have many moments where I have the wind knocked out of me again and again, but in general it’s been a decent climb uphill. I’ve come to accept having a diagnosis of severe major depressive disorder without psychotic features, recurrent. I don’t fight it anymore, but in my case that’s proven to be key in my recovery. Fighting it only kept me falling again and again in the vicious cycle. It’s a part of my life. I might have to deal with it more than I’ve already had to or I might get lucky and it’s the last I’ll see of this. I’ll just keep trudging on. It doesn’t stop me either way.

Meanwhile, I lost the Borderline label, saw my eating disordered tendencies turn into a full-blown eating disorder, and finally realized my suspicions of having been abused as a teen were more than just suspicions, they were fact. I feel like I’ve lived so much in so little time. Seriously, I feel older, and tired (but I think that’s just because my sleep sucks and I’m exhausted right now!).

Honestly, it’s been an interesting stage in my life, and as weird as this sounds I don’t think I would trade it for any other thing, ever. I spent 2 years just revving my engines alongside M, and now with R and G I feel almost like a seasoned veteran. Like I said, that’s not to say I don’t have my moments, like my crying yesterday with G (more on that later), but I think I’m finally finding a sense of who I am. I finally feel like I’m on firm, fertile soil again. I’m starting to get a sense of who that 15-going-on-16 year-old girl was, and trying to continue the life she wanted and deserved. And I’m excited to finally be able to make that life a reality. I’m scared, of course, but excited.

And so, today, I wanted to let you all know that in spite of my blog being mostly made up of the downs in this up-and-down journey, I don’t feel dead anymore. I have big dreams for the future and I’m in love with medicine again. So far I feel incredibly comfortable in my decision to specialize in psychiatry, so we’ll see if I actually get to become a psychiatrist in the near future. I think that 15-going-on-16 year-old girl deserves it.

I feel like I’m finally surfing those ups-and-downs in an acceptable manner. Sure, I’m still on Prozac, and I’m still having weekly therapy, but if a wave crashes down on me again, at least I know how to swim this time around.

191

I cried in my appointment with G today.

Might not seem like much, but considering I’ve been seeing her since May and this is the first time I actually have tears streaming down my cheeks during therapy with her, it’s a pretty big deal. Not that I didn’t want to do it many times before, I was just too embarrassed.

Why did I cry? I’ll elaborate…

I argued with mom again yesterday. Everything was going fine and dandy these last few days with her and then yesterday a nasty argument developed. One of the dogs peed inside the house and she got mad. I went to clean it up but she told me not to, that she wanted to do it. I insisted. She said “You don’t know how to do it!”, to which I sarcastically replied “Right, ’cause there’s only one way to clean up dog pee.” (Mom is a perfectionist and nothing is ever right unless it’s done exactly her way.) She started arguing about how it’s her house and she has all the right to demand things be done her way, then rambling about my doing it wrong. I screamed at her to please listen, tried to explain to her what I was doing and why I was doing it that way. She kept arguing. Finally, it ended with me screaming: “Screw you! Do it yourself then!” And I left.

She probably cried after that. I feel like shit.

Anyway, point is, I spent the night crying on and off since about 11pm all the way to 3am. Was very emotional, was *this* close to cutting (but didn’t do it), and very very very suicidal. So, that was the prelude to today’s appointment with G.

I was a mess. My eyes were still puffy when I got to her office and I was very worried and nervous because I wanted to talk to her about what I felt but was afraid she would consider sending me inpatient since I was in such a state. At one point she asked whether I needed a partial hospitalization (intensive outpatient). I said no, it wouldn’t fix anything. Finally the dreaded question I was expecting came along:

“What guarantee do I have that you won’t do something to yourself?”

Shit. I thought I was in deep shit right then and there. I thought I’d said too much, elaborated too much about my suicidal thoughts. It reminded me so much of M, because she used to ask me that all the friggin’ time.

But finally, I convinced her with the truth: no, I wasn’t going to do anything. If I hadn’t done it by then I wasn’t going to do it anymore. And thankfully she believed and trusted me.

We discussed my mom and her effect on me. She was adamant about my having to distance myself emotionally from mom. She seems to understand just how difficult that is for me, which is a good thing….but I still have to do it. I was able to do it these past few days quite fine, but I guess yesterday I slipped off my tracks.

At one point I turned my face away and paused for a second, couldn’t take it anymore. She asked “What are you thinking?” That’s when I started crying. I tried to hold it back. She told me to not be afraid to cry.

“It’s just….it’s embarrassing because I’m in my twenties and still thinking about this, but I just wish I had a mom. I wish things were more consistent and stable. Sometimes I think everything is going great with her and then suddenly everything just comes falling down and we’re back in square one. I want to hug her and feel like she’s genuinely hugging me back, not like she’s merely doing it because she feels obligated to do so. I realized just how important it is…the human touch. All I need is that human contact. I miss it.”

I think I’d been meaning to say that for quite a while.

I need a hug.

I hate BPD because…I want a tattoo.

I don’t know how many times I’ve said that and my body is still ink-less. In addition to a tattoo, I want to replace my wardrobe with clothes that actually feel like “me” right now (whatever or whoever that is). I hate my closet right now because I feel barely any of my clothes actually reveal my true nature: rebellious, edgy, non-conforming.

Again, I don’t know how many times I’ve gone through this in my life. I’ve changed my style so many times. Not in an obvious way, though. This time around, I want radical change. I spent almost $300 in online shopping this week alone (remember: I’m a student, so it comes from my savings account…meaning I’m spending money I shouldn’t be spending).

And I want to keep shopping and shopping, and buying and buying. I have 144 items in my wishlist in a certain clothing site I visit literally every day (down from 165 earlier today). I believe I have a problem with impulse shopping. Whenever my emotions get difficult, one of my many coping mechanisms (albeit not the best one) is online shopping. It’s not such a big problem right now because I obviously don’t make any money, but I don’t know how the hell I’m going to deal with this when I’m making my own cash.

I don’t know myself well; I don’t know my exact identity….so online shopping gives me the instant gratification my emotionally overwhelmed mind seeks. I fool myself into thinking I’m buying things that are more “me” than what I currently own.

I hate BPD because…I want to see more bones. Being so self-destructive I always think I want to be thinner, thinner, thinner, emaciated…dead. I feel like that right now. I look at myself in the mirror and I think: A bone peeking here, a bone peeking there….but it’s still not enough. 

But I’m not controlling my food much right now. Not since September. Ironically, it would seem I haven’t gained weight. But the fear of getting fat, of looking fat, of being fat….is always there. The thoughts are always there. You don’t have to be actively engaging in eating disordered behaviors for your eating disordered thoughts to torment you. However, I feel I’m soon to engage in behaviors again. It’s unfortunate, but after having mental illness for a while you become so tuned into yourself that you just know when things are going to get shitty again.

(Plus, the last months of the year -October thru December, and especially NOVEMBER- are my peak emotional down-time. More on that in another post.)

I hate BPD because…I get attached to mother figures. Or at least women who for one reason or another I feel a certain bond with. The reasons can range from something as mundane as I think I physically look a bit like this mother-figure to She gives me more attention than my actual mom.

I went to dance class today. Before my class, there’s an intermediate level class held in the same studio. Every time the students come out my heart skips a beat. Why? Because I hope and cross my fingers that the teacher who gives that class will notice me when she comes out of the studio. See, this specific teacher gave me dance classes when I was a kid. I became attached to her, and I was her best student. I thought of her as a mother figure. I constantly wished she was my real mom. Even after quitting dance back then, I bumped into her a few times and she still remembered me. Recently, she moved back to the city and is giving class at the company where I take classes. The first time I saw her walk by me I had so many emotions bursting through my chest and my brain….it was overwhelming.

Maybe she remembers me. Maybe she doesn’t. I don’t know. But my point is that in my 20s, I still have the same feelings. I haven’t gotten over this. Every time I see her I wish she was my real mom. And it makes me feel so horribly guilty. I feel like the worst daughter ever.

I hate BPD because….when R canceled last week’s appointment I had two bad days in a row and I’m still harboring slightly negative feelings toward her. When I was with M, near the end, I got pretty good at managing the emotions that were roused by canceled appointments (the feelings of abandonment and all that jazz). However, I know I’ve taken a few steps back in my road of progress since I started seeing R. The stress of building this new relationship has me acting out again.

I hate BPD because…R’s canceling an appointment wouldn’t have been as bad if I she didn’t remind me so much of the mother-figures I’ve gotten attached to in the past. She looks a bit like the dance teacher I mentioned previously and has a quiet demeanor to which I naturally gravitate. That constant reminder of my “mommy issues” coupled with a canceled appointment and all the feelings that involves does not make for a good combination.

I hate BPD because…instead of loving myself I hate myself by default. Instead of learning to love myself, I learned to hate myself.

But most of all, I hate how I don’t really hate BPD…because it has given me the chance and drive to be a better version of myself. I shake hands with my mental illness (or illnesses, or whatever). We agree to disagree.

I have a lot in my head these days. Too much in my head. It’s getting to be too much. A second hospitalization has crossed my mind a few times. But NO, it will not happen. I haven’t gotten to that point (and hopefully I won’t).

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