I have been intending to use this blog as a travel diary, I am sure I will get around to it at some point (I’ve been to some cool places so I need to do it) but right now I just need to talk about the kind of ~emotional journey~ that I have been on.
As I have said before, my decision to move to America was quite sudden, I had entrance exams for schools booked which I ended up cancelling. I am not sure what I expected when I moved here, I hadn’t really had time to think about it, but I didn’t expect to become depressed.
I had been observing other people’s experiences on placement, and they seemed to contrast mine. Everyone seemed to be having fun, going out socialising and drinking yet I just felt I was by myself. I didn’t move to a big city, I moved to a small working class one, unlike Seattle and New York it felt extremely alien to me – I was out of my depths with no family or friends. It became difficult for me, I assumed my depression was due to loneliness but I came to realise this wasn’t the case.
I decided I wanted to go to medical school at the start of my second semester at university, I have always been a pretty good student but I never had to work hard to achieve things. I knew this was going to be an uphill battle because I wasn’t raised to focus on my academic ability. I discovered once I got to university that I was actually smarter than I thought I was, that might seem big headed but I didn’t really struggle where others did. Ever since that moment I started beating myself up for my past ‘why didn’t I work harder in GCSEs’ that sort of thing, I just wished I had realised my passion for learning sooner, as this would be a lot easier.
So from this point I poured every piece of me into gaining these skills which would benefit me for my medical school applications, I studied whenever I could, I ran a stressful medical society and I worked every free moment I had at the local hospital. I worked as a ward receptionist 3 nights a week to begin with, but then I got a job as a health care assistant where I started to work 12 hour days. How the hell I managed to work that much whilst at university i’ll never know. I helped other people get jobs at the hospital, I set up workshops to help people with their dream of getting into medical school. I kind of wish I was more selfish at that time, I constantly had people asking me about work experience and their CVs but I was happy to do it. I finished the year with all firsts in my modules and was given an award by The Microbiology Society for academic performance, which is good, but I didn’t have anything else to show for the year other than my solid relationship with my boyfriend (thank god he was so supportive of me)
When I got this job I started to have free time, I could come home at the end of the day and relax, watch tv, read a book or whatever. I had NOT been able to do that in the past 2 years because I was so consumed with trying to be this version of myself I so badly wanted to be, that I had become uncomfortable with not working myself to death. I mean, thats kind of fucked up. I became depressed BECAUSE I had free time, I became depressed BECAUSE I no longer had anything to prove to myself or anyone. I started to realise this only a couple of weeks ago.
This past weekend I went to Seattle and I was HAPPY just doing things at a slow pace. I ate cinnamon rolls and drank coffee whilst overlooking the sea, I drank wine whilst overlooking the city, I went to an art show and mingled whilst drinking cider and I watched an awesome band and I just danced for hours by myself and I was so happy. I finally realised I was friends with myself, I was comfortable with myself and I hadn’t had this feeling for so long. I always required validation from external sources to feel happy and somewhat fulfilled.
It’s honestly so important yet so cliche that you need to be your own best friend and find fulfilment in the small things, otherwise – there isn’t much point in the other stuff.