Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Who I Am (2)...

You're right. You're all right. Ultimately my family is more important than any war I want to fight. They matter more to me than anything, and if I can protect them than I shall. And it's not like I'm not making a difference :P After all, most battles are fought behind the scenes (yes that was an attack on the corrupt political system :P) One day, when it's right, I'll go all the way with this. But for now, you're just going to have to call me Lexie


Lexie :D

Who I Am...

I want to make a difference. I don’t want to be ashamed of what I am, or who I am, my religion, race, nationality or any illness that I’ve got. And I’m not. I used to be. And at times, in public, I’m still reluctant to admit that I have depression. But there will always be crap in the world, there will always be people who will look for the cracks in your life so they can stick in their sharp nails and tear you a new one. That isn’t going to change. And that crack could be a failed exam, or a divorce, or an illness. It doesn’t matter; if those bullies are that way inclined then it won’t matter if they find out if you once got a parking ticket or you’re on anti-depressants.

I posted my poem the other day. And I am so, so proud of it. And I put my name to it. And I posted it on this blog because this blog is me, sometimes more me then the way I act around real people. Same goes for twitter as well. And I have been thinking about dropping the anonymity. To be honest, if you look at my profile it wouldn’t be too hard to find out my real name. I was scared before, because of the depression. Because of the stigma. But that stigma isn’t going to go unless people raise awareness of depression, talk openly about depression, make people aware that it’s just like getting cancer – you can’t help it, you can’t fight it, you can’t just snap out of it and it is nothing, NOTHING, to be ashamed off. And unless people like me talk out about it then the stigma will continue and the next generation of mental health victims are going to suffer the same way that I have.

I was going to come straight out and just deal with the consequences.

What I didn’t consider was how certain members of my family wouldn’t be able to deal with them.

It’s the age old dilemma – protecting those close to you, those who have always protected you and raised you, and doing what you think is right to make a difference. I wrote the following line in a story the other day – sometimes you have to choose between what is easy and what is right. And I want to chose what I think is right. But...I don’t want to hurt those who love me, and who I love. Those I would die for.

I might be strong enough, but they might not be. It might not even be a question of strength, but it is still an issue.

And I don’t have the answer anymore.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Grandmother's Hands

I trace the reels of string
Beneath your autumn leaf skin,
Explore the mountain ridges
And the valleys where you began to dream.
They were strong hands once,
Raising children in a land where you couldn’t speak the language.
You would pound the water into the flour,
Bake chapattis and stir curry over the highest heat,
But you fed that old Singer
With the same tenderness you used
To stroke your daughter’s head when she was sick.

Now you wrap those same hands in strips of old cloth
And try to hide the pain from your family.
Now you cup your daily prayers
With the daily pills you take (almost) without question.

They show me pictures from a time before.
I don’t recognise you
Like the time I first saw you in a hospital bed,
Or when I caught a glimpse of a bruise
That seemed stained with iodine
And then another
And another
Like a djinn had walked on your skin.

I tried to read your notes
But even after a year of medical school
It was all still Arabic to me.
Those pages were your life
Reduced to symbols and numbers and graphs.
Your hands now acted as a pincushion
For the miracles of modern day medicine.

I was worried that the smile they had tried to stitch back onto your face
Would split when we took you home,
The same way your hands shake
After you’ve sewn too many clothes.

But the strength was never just in your hands.
It’s as much you as your left ear
Or the way you write the number seven.
You once passed it to the world through your touch
And example,
Now through your smile
And wisdom,
Always through your love.

The fabric will tear
But you’ll remain you –
Strong despite the stitches
Which help hold your life together.

(C) Sarah Ahmed, 2012

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Updating my Life...

Hi :D

So ages ago Rosie commented and said that I should post an update on my life. Ages ago. Since then most people have blogged at least twice. My most recent post was about the whole Kony thing and that was over a month ago. So, as requested...(warning, this may be quite long and very boring)

Revision Craziness and Exam Fever

There’s so much of it! Actually I shouldn’t complain. I was given an amazing opportunity to do this intercalation whilst externally resitting a module (cardiology) back at Birmingham, so I shouldn’t really complain. Most of the hols have seen with me trying to get my head around cardiac physiology, anatomy and pharmacology. Thankfully I’m been getting that beyond-amazing feeling when something clicks more and more often.

I’m scared shitless (excuse my French) that I’ll fail again. If I do fail then I’ll have to leave medicine and I probably won’t get credit for the intercalation either. But I was ill last year, and until that point I always got the highest grades. I can do this. Just need a little more faith!

The only problem is that I’m technically also doing the last year of a three year bachelor degree at the same time. I have 4000 words due on the 11th May (haven’t started writing yet, but I do have a few notes) and my 8000 word dissertation is due on May 25th (haven’t started writing yet, but there are a few more notes). The resit papers are on the 9th and 17th and I have a philosophy exam early June. Juggling the two utterly different disciplines is starting to take its toll, but hopefully I’ll get there.


I’ve decided to go back to Birmingham and do my third year. It wasn’t a whole hearted decision. It was more of an ‘I’m too scared to do anything else and deviate from my self-inflicted life path’ decision.  I am scared about going back. Petrified actually. Mainly about it turning into the same debacle as last year. But then I remind myself that I was ill last year, really ill, and that coloured almost everything. When I go back I’ll be in a new flat with new people, starting a new year with a new class and one of my best friends will be up the road. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as I keep expecting it to be.

However I have whole-heartedly decided that I’m going to do a MA/PhD in Medical Humanities (specialising in Literature and Medicine) at some point and then maybe go down an academic/teaching route after I’ve qualified.


I came off the fluoxetine on the 1st January. Yey! I then went back on the fluoxetine round mid February. I lasted something like 46 days but it got as bad as it did the first time round. But it’s all right. Things have been up and down a lot recently, and my insomnia isn’t helping, but I’m in a good place. So that’s good :)
Shameless plug, but I blog about my depression over here if you want to know more. That will also be updated...soon... :P


Apparently I write poetry now. Who knew :P I’ve been writing dribs and drabs since the start of this academic year, lots about my depression and lots around a medical humanities theme. We have to submit a creative project for part of the dissertation and I’ve decided to submit a poetry portfolio. Of course a single poem wasn’t good enough lol. It is more work but I wanted something slightly more...significant to mark this year by. If I can pluck up the courage I may post a few under my real name on this blog in the near future. Be critical if I do!

That’s it. I'm going to go read something for my dissertation and possibly go to a poetry slam this evening. Good luck to everyone doing exams at the moment.


Lexie (or Sarah. Either or :) )