Monday, 24 September 2012

Just be grateful...

"Just be grateful"

What a ridiculous thing to say.

Of course I’m grateful. I’m grateful for everything, even the depression because it’s made me a much bigger, better person than I was before.

I'm grateful for having a wonderful education, for having family who love me, for never having to worry about where I'm going to get the next mouthful of food from, for having a roof over my head and clothes on my back. 

"But you can’t be grateful if you feel like that. Look at the people in Syria who are dying because of a stupid civil war, or the children in Ethiopia who can’t even get clean water, or the countless other people who don’t have what you have and for whom every day is a struggle."

I am grateful. I’m grateful for so much. And yet I’m still hurting. I’m hurting despite the grateful-ness. I can’t make it stop. I can’t control it. And you saying “just be grateful’ is making it worse because now I feel bad for feeling the way I feel, I feel bad for feeling bad, but I can’t control it, I can’t stop it, I can’t help it.

And please don't ask "why?" either. Because I can't form it into words for myself and everything I say you don't understand and you're not a good liar so I can tell when you don't even if you say you do. 

I know you're just trying to help. 

And I shouldn't get so upset about you trying to help. 

But you're just making it worse. 

But I will never tell you any of this. Because you already feel guilty for me having depression even though I've told you it's not your fault. And I'm scared any extra guilt will just eat you away even more. 

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Importance of Being Lexie...

Earlier I tweeted this:

When I first starting blogging about four years ago I was completely anonymous. In comments people used to call me Despondent Medic (based on my first blog) or It’s Complicated (the title of this blog). At the very most I put “A” in the name box on the Blogger profile. But then one of my readers (I think it was Rosie) said that I needed a real name, an on-line persona, something concrete they could address me by. And so, Lexie Bellafonte was born. “Lexie” is one of my all-time favourite girl’s names, although I’m not sure if the Grey’s character or my love of the name came first; “Bellafonte” was the surname of the protagonist in the book I was reading at the time (The Passage by Justin Cronin, in case you were wondering).

Before Lexie I never felt like I was a completely different person on-line. I was still me, I just talked about personal stuff that I couldn’t vent about in real life. That’s why I blogged – I needed a place where I could document and talk about things that were happening that I couldn’t really talk about with my family or friends; I was anonymous so I wouldn’t offend anyone. And that’s not to say that now Lexie-me and Real-me are completely separate people. That would be crazy. But I do feel like there are a few differences between Real-me and Lexie-me.

Lexie-me is more outspoken that Real-me, although like Real-me she doesn’t like offending people with her opinions :p Lexie uses the word “hun” a lot; she lols and is capable of sarcasm. She doesn’t trip over words (obviously ‘cause, you know, typing).

And I don’t think that we are separate people. However I do feel that I’m more like Lexie now, as opposed to Me, whilst still being me (if that makes sense). What I think the issue (if you can really call it an issue) is, is that I’m not the person I was four years ago. And that’s not just because I’ve grown and, hopefully, matured; it’s because I’ve changed since the depression and it’s been change for the better.

This post sounded so much more intellectual in my head.

Over the past year or so the line between Lexie-me and Me-me has blurred. I almost started blogging under my real name (see this and this). When that fell through I made sure to put my real name at the bottom of the poems I posted to my blog and I now chat to a reader (and very good friend) on Twitter as Lexie and on Facebook as Me. Through Medicine Unboxed I’m known by both names. I follow people on Twitter on my course who know who I am in real life. I even went into the Uni branch of Waterstones today and asked if I could see the lady who manages their Twitter feed because I wanted to say ‘hi’.  
I want to be Me-me online. I want to be able to say to my friends “I have a blog”. I want to be open, honest and, most of all, proud of who I am. But…and we’re back to the Who I Am blogpost.

And now, like I tweeted, people who I know in real life who don’t know about a) my online presence and b) my “complications” are appearing as suggestions on Twitter.

Even in my head I don’t think there was a natural conclusion to this blog. I’ve been through all that with ‘Who I Am’. I suppose part of me wants those lines between on-line and reality to become blurred so I have to be me…Well, have to acknowledge that I’m Lexie as I do prefer Lexie-me to Real-me. Maybe I’m just trying to convince myself that I’m proud of who I am. I am proud of who I am. I am Lexie. Lexie is me.




Thursday, 13 September 2012

My First Hospital Placement...

I’m happy to report that my first week on my hospital placement hasn’t been that bad. Well, I say week; I mean three days. We’re back in the medschool today and Friday for lectures and anatomy. But placement has been fun. Not overly amazing, but not terrible either. A few too many lectures and hardly any patient contact but we’re still in the introductionary phase. I did, however, take blood from a fake arm and lose my first patient. Start as you mean to go on etc. And talking of starts, before anything new (the first day, the first time I met a patient) I’ve been really nervous and anxious. Thankfully I’m fine after a few minutes and I’m not nervous the next time round. I think this can be called ‘progress’.
Next week will be a lot more hands-on. We have some bedside teaching planned, they want to teach us how to give injections and I’m aiming to be in for 8am on Monday so I can practice taking bloods. At the end of next week we can our proper timetables, which I’m nerdly excited about. We’re scheduled to do on-calls at some point and despite what people say about the dire nature of ward rounds I’m oddly looking forward to them. It’ll also be good to finally meet the team I’m attached to, and as I’m on my surgery rotation hopefully I’ll get to scrub up soon.
We also have to choose a self-directed learning project on a topic we know nothing about in the next few weeks. We’re meant to stay largely in the realm of Medicine or Surgery but we were told it would be alright if we did Paeds or A&E. Consequently I’m torn between doing something Paeds related (we don’t get a Paeds rotation till 5th year and it’s a speciality I’m very interested in) or doing Orthopaedic Surgery (I know nothing about it, the medschool will be happier and there may be more opportunities to get hands on). Thoughts? I’m leaning towards Ortho but I may wait to see which team I get assigned to – pointless doing Ortho if I’m allocated to an Ortho Consultant.


Update: Assuming I'm not placed with an Ortho team I'm going to go for Orthopaedic surgery. Acutely aware that the medschool already doesn't like me (for intercalating without passing 2nd year) and I don't want to stir the hornet's nest. 

Saturday, 8 September 2012

I Don't Like It...

#nowplaying Imagine Dragons ~ It's Time

I’ve been in Birmingham in my 3rd year for a week now. A very, very long week. It feels like I’ve been back for months, but at the same time I can’t help but feel that I’ve only just come arrived.

I thought it would be weird coming into a year where I didn’t know anyone, but thankfully it hasn’t been that bad. One of my best friends who resat part of first year is now in my year, and turns out loads of people intercalated so there are plenty of familiar faces. I don’t know anyone in my hospital firm but I’ve had anatomy with most of them over the past week and as long as I stop being a nervous wreck and try to join in, making friends shouldn’t be too hard. I just keep reminding myself that it was awkward with my group at the start of first and second year but after a few weeks it all settled down and we became friends.

Anatomy has been awful. I don’t remember anything. At all. And everyone else seems to remember everything. Consequently this has left me feeling very insecure and stupid.

Actually, I haven’t been enjoying it much. Actually I’ve hated it. I don’t want to be here. I want to be back in Bristol, or anywhere else so long as it isn’t home, or Birmingham, or on a Medical course. My mood has taken a drastic plunge. I know, I know, I should just give it time, try and settle in and it’ll get better. And maybe it will get better. But right now is hard, and I’m not happy. Well, I am now. Last night was the first night I went to bed happy. That was because today was Saturday and Saturday means I don’t have to go into the Medical School.

Placements start on Monday. I am simultaneously hopeful (because it will be completely different to lectures and hopefully I’ll enjoy it) and terrified (I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M DOING!!!!!). Also worried (I don’t know my group. What happens if they don’t like me???). Excited (I get to do procedures on real people). Petrified (I REALLY, REALLY DON’T KNOW HOW TO DO ANYTHING. I CAN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING.) Anxious (What if somebody talks to me and I mess my words up and they’re left thinking I’m stupid?).

And lastly, tired. Exhausted. Been waking up at 6:30 every morning. Now that’s not that early. I woke up at that time for high school. But last year I had 6 teaching hours a week. Getting my body back into sync with the medical world has been hard. On Tuesday night I took a sleeping pill, woke up on Wednesday morning unable to get out of bed, told myself I’d go back to sleep and didn’t wake up till 2pm. I didn’t go in, but I did miss Prosection (yay!). On Friday my alarm went off and I actually shouted ‘Nooooooooooooooooooo!’ at it.

So yeah. Mixed feelings, mixed emotions, mixed hopes, mixed everything. Just going to have to see how it goes. Alternatively I could get in my car and drive off like I did Tuesday night. I came back then. This time I’m thinking I could make it to France before anyone realised…. 

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Birmingham take 2...

I'm back. Back to medicine. Back in Birmingham. That is all. For now.