Life in Grayscale - The Reality of Pain and Sorrow




Here’s the uncomfortable truth. Depression isn’t disappointment. It isn’t just an off day or a difficult evening. It’s so much more. There’s a depth of sorrow that depression brings. It’s immeasurable, complicated, confusing and frustrating. It pervades your every being. It’s more than a silly storm cloud stalking your every move. You drown, more and more every day. The sadness wraps a rough hand around your throat, and then there are no tears, only choked sobs and internal screams.

I wasn’t sure if I should write about this. When you tell people that you have bipolar disorder the instant thought is the mania. The excited, shopping, living "the best day of your life" mania. And I don’t blame them, it’s the advertised feature. But I have bipolar 2. I never get that high. I get productive, creative, energetic, I get hypomanic. I also end up with circling thoughts and dangerous impulses. Because I rarely ever have a hypomanic episode, however, I have a very distanced view of it. It’s still an ‘episode’, an ‘event’, it passes. The depression, however, feels like it runs my life. It envelopes my entire existence.

How do you plan your day when you don’t want to get up, bathe, put on clothes. When you can barely stomach the idea of breathing? It's almost impossible to function. Performing normal tasks, tasks that you do every day, suddenly require an immense effort.
You get stuck, stuck in a rut of pretensive happiness. Because you just don’t have the time to deal with the overwhelming emotions. Sometimes you can’t deal with the worry and concern of others. You can’t answer “Whats wrong?” because everything and nothing is actually wrong. You’re drowning on dry land.

When I’m slipping, I start wallowing. The sorrow then becomes both a burden and a comfort. I turn on “Nothing” by The Script (which I have played during every terrible moment in my life) and I soak it in. I soak in the disappointment, the failure, the hopelessness. I soak in the fatigue, the tiredness that comes with constantly keeping up appearances and surviving medical school with a malfunctioning brain. I retire, and I quit life.

I wish that I could tell you that it’ll all be okay, but the reality is that if you have depression that it often requires struggling to the end before you can see the light again.
At the end, it’s best to just keep breathing till tomorrow. Hold on to whatever you can. Let your fingernails drag you into tomorrow. Whether you or I can see it, regardless of if it gets better, this too ends eventually. You are not alone.
I’m struggling too.

The perks of having a mental illness in medical school

The mental truth, bipolar blogger, mental health, medical school

I know what you're thinking. Are you sure that title is correct? Are there actual pros to having a mental illness? But the truth is that there is a very shiny A in my behavioural science class that testifies to this very statement.
When I first got diagnosed with Depression four years ago, I spent all my time searching for information. I scoured forums and facebook groups and medical pages.

I rebranded! - Welcome to "The Mental Truth"


The mental truth, bipolar blogger, mental health, medical school

If you follow this blog, then you might have noticed that I no longer go by my own name. It is a strategic decision to avoid being ignored if I decide to do my residency internationally. The stigma of mental illness is real, and I am scared. I don’t want to be turned away because of my illness, especially when I’m sure that I could do an excellent job. I thought of coming up with a cooler reason, but I'd much rather tell you all the truth!

Stigma and Silence


I haven't been here for a while. Honestly, I've been trying to figure out the way to overcome my hesitation to continue this blog.
 I love writing. I love expressing my thoughts here and inspiring others to share their story and to strive towards accomplishing their goals. But, I am truly scared of the reality of stigma.

Diagnosis Dipping - When they can’t figure out what’s wrong


I wish it was a simple as the common cold. First, you get the weird scratching feeling in the back of your throat before it becomes sore. Next, your nose gets congested and it may begin to run. Coughing also often follows, dry at first, then productive. It’s simple. It’s easy. You have the cold. But mental illness is a lot more complicated. There are no biopsies, no blood tests. Though I have noticed the use of brain scans. Ultimately, the diagnosis is still very much at the discretion of your health care provider. And this is how I ended up with seven possible diagnoses.

Top ten tips for the first year of medical school

I just completed my first year of medical school, and I thought that it was only fitting that I gave some advice to the incoming students. Honestly, I am not yet where I want to be academically, but I do believe that I have managed to succeed in some areas, and this is the advice which I intend to share.

My top ten tips!

1. Get an organizer
Trust me! This is at the top of the list for a reason. I truly believe that a significant portion of your stress can be decreased if you are properly organized. There will be group projects, labs, assignments, quizzes and everyday studying to manage. Trying to do this without the assistance of an organizer is simply unnecessary. The resources are available, so use them! My personal preference employs a combination of paper and digital calendars. I use apple's iCal. This is useful because it syncs between my Mac, iPad, and iPhone, so I can constantly keep track of my schedule. It’s also useful for alerts! I always have alerts for every class and assignment so that I can be reminded.

top ten tips for medical school























My paper planner is then used for more detailed preparation. Medical school requires daily study, so my paper planner lets me know the exact textbook pages I’ll be reading, which sets of questions I’ll be doing, and which slides I need to go over.

Experimental Kitchen - The Breakfast Smoothie

Smoothie

I'm overweight. SO! Like any good medical student, I visited the doctor and a dietician to get my health checked out. The truth is, that the odds are stacked against me. The medication that I'm on is notorious for weight gain. However, I believe in doing as much as you possibly can to assist in the progress of your own life, so I've completely changed my diet. Over the next few months I'd like to share new recipes with you as I try them out. I'm calling this an experiment because I am by no means an expert. But, I can guarantee that I'll only share recipes that I truly enjoy. Anyway! Apologies for the ramblings. Here is my first recipe that I'd like to share.

Mental illness and success

mental illness

When I think of success, it's simple: accomplishing my short term and long term goals. The measure of success for people with mental illnesses, however, is sometimes changed to ‘accommodate’ our potential inabilities to achieve ‘normal tasks’. I say the above with a pinch of salt because I understand that for many, the measure of success is different and it should be. As a high functioning mentally ill person, however, I believe that these limits, while meant to be accommodating are often limiting.

Living with a mental illness


Mental illness is a funny thing. One minute it’s your sole identity and the next, it’s a chip in your shoulder that you can’t carve out no matter how hard you try. It’s a confusing balance, a love/hate relationship built on delusions and moods that are not your own, and frankly it’s tiring.

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