I have to go to class early tomorrow morning (actually in like 4 hours)… but I can’t sleep. I haven’t written a long, drawn-out, pointless blog post in a while (for many reasons)… but tonight, maybe I just need to get a little bit of this weight off my chest (Buddha-willing). Warning: I am extremely fragile right now (as I have been for the past forever) and this post will probably ring a lot of alarms. Normally, shit like this that I write goes on my blogspot where only a few people can read it (but those few people never read it anyway—which is probably a good thing), so if you don’t have the time and/or would rather not delve into this gigantic mess that is my life right now, I’d suggest you stop reading right now.
Let’s talk about school. I’ve been doing well. Actually, I’ve been doing really well — a lot better than I ever expected to do in medical school, and it has been a lot better than first year. I see what those before meant when they told me that second year at OSU-COM is much easier and more laid-back than first year. I can remember around this time last year, I was scrambling and struggling in all of my classes just to make a 69.5 and pass. I was under a lot of stress. I felt completely unaccomplished and undeserved to be in medical school, and it was every day that my grades kept telling me that I was not cut out to be a doctor. This year, I mean, I’m not making 100s (or even 90s for that matter), but I have to say that I have all Bs and As. Not one single C. (We’ll see how long that lasts after finals.) I’m trying really hard not to brag… but I’m just really pleased about it, mainly because I worked really hard this first semester of my second year of medical school. I hit the ground running as fast as can, studying from day 1 and trying every single way to keep up with my classes. Even with the MFGD frustration of having an idiotic man as a course coordinator for Pathology who does not even teach us jack squat (literally, the MF doesn’t even want to have class and just sends us off to “self-study”), I still managed to prove myself and push myself to higher expectations, and I have to say, this is the one thing (and probably only thing) that I am happy about this year. I’m not failing any class. I haven’t failed any tests. I’ve been keeping up with all of my classes. And I’m actually feeling like I might be able to do this doctor thing after all. I’ve had multiple patient interactions and practice with doing things that doctors have to do (like injections and intubation, reading CXRs and EKGs, interpreting lab results, talking to patients and taking a complete history and physical), and I have done pretty well at those things. Not perfect. But those are all things that I’m extremely excited to keep on practicing. So… second year of medical school has been going well for me, I should say. (Aaaaand cue in the other shoe…)
But I think the biggest contributing factor to my doing so well in school is that I have, as of recently, pushed everything else aside—family, friends, fun… everything and anything that used to define my life, I’ve been pushing it all away. I haven’t seen or talked to any of my friends back home for three months now. That’s the longest I’ve gone. I don’t return my parents’ phone calls unless their voicemails sound urgent, and I would only call them back to reassure them that I haven’t killed myself. They always know something’s wrong, though. Just by the sound of my voice, they can always tell. Hell, I’m pretty sure the homeless man that sees me everyday by the school knows that something’s wrong with me just by looking at me. But still, I push it all away. Like, only three of my friends back home have texted me over the three months I’ve been completely gone. I wanted to reply. But I didn’t. I’m pushing them away, too. I don’t ever want to go home because (1) I don’t have a bed to sleep on anymore; (2) I’m always going to run the risk of another intervention, and Buddha knows how the last one screwed me up really bad; and (3) because I don’t really feel at home in that place anymore. I know that that is so wrong and so unappreciative and so… oh, what’s the word… what Vietnamese call “mất dạy,” meaning disrespectful and selfish. I feel that way. I’m stuck. I’m terribly stuck. I miss my grandparents and parents and my brother and sister so, so much… but I can never bring myself to go home. What’s even worse is that I don’t even make any effort to go home anymore. On days that I’m free, I just go ahead and keep on studying. And on the other side of things, I don’t even go to sinh hoạt with my GĐPT anymore. I don’t feel like I belong there, either. I’ve drafted this long letter to my leaders telling them that I want to quit, and it has been sitting in my draft box for months now (along with a whole mess of other goodbye letters I’ve written and have saved onto my computer). I can never bring myself to send it, because, again, I just feel like it is the lowest and most disrespectful and unappreciative thing I could ever do for an organization that basically raised me and helped me get to where I am today. But the dynamic is so complicated… maybe I’m making it complicated, but it’s how I feel… and I just feel like I don’t belong there anymore. My heart just isn’t in it anymore.
So let’s talk about my heart. For months now, it’s been broken… shattered. Maybe that’s why I’ve been feeling so disconnected from everything—because my heart is broken; so naturally, everything I love just falls apart, right? That’s what it feels like. The other day, I had “free time” and opened up an old manuscript of a short story I wrote a long time ago. Immediately, three pages in, I started crying and just slammed my laptop shut. I couldn’t read it. It reminded me too much of the biggest part of me that I feel like is lost. When I see pictures of my friends back home and they’re hanging out and having fun, the biggest thing I notice is that everything looks perfect, everything looks normal without me in it. And I start to think that maybe that’s the way that it’s meant to be… maybe I’m supposed to be out of the picture… maybe I was supposed to be out of the picture a long time ago. I kept this picture of me and my best friends by my desk. The other day, I locked it up in a box and put it in storage because looking at it every day just made me hurt even more.
Everything I see that reminds me of my family, my friends, my GĐPT… of you… it just keeps hurting me. I remember one Friday night I just finished studying and got on Facebook after weeks of not even logging on, and I see pictures of my friends at a wedding. At first, I smiled. And then I started crying… really bad. It lasted for hours. I don’t know what it is… but it literally feels like, somehow, I just stopped belonging, like I stopped existing. I don’t know if it’s me or them… (I’m pretty sure it’s just me…) but how do I fix it? What the hell do I do? What, do I just come back and expect everything to be normal again? I don’t think that’s how that works. The saddest part is that I feel like things are never going to be normal again. It’s always going to be in the back of my head that I can’t be normal ever again. And I feel like if I come back, if I try to reintegrate into life, it’s just going to make things terrible again, like I’m going to ruin every single picture I’m in. Everyone is going to see that I am in this state of perpetual heartbreak and pain and they’re going to tailor what they say and do (again) so that they don’t make it worse… and in doing so… it’s just going to be worse. You wanna talk about selfish and inconsiderate… well, there you have it. That’s what I would be doing.
This past Wednesday, I went home for the first time in months for Thanksgiving, and when I told my parents that I would be returning to Tulsa after we have Thanksgiving lunch, they immediately shifted into intervention mode, and at that point, I put my anti-intervention mode into high gear. My parents told me that they just wanted me to come back and that they just wanted me to be happy. And to this, I told them, word-for-word: "Maybe I’m not meant to be happy."
And the one person who I thought cared about me the most, the one person who promised to always take care of me and to always be there for me has completely abandoned me. If the person who I still consider (for some rather hopeless reason) my best friend can’t even talk to me anymore and doesn’t even associate with anything that has to do with me… what is left? Our friendship is… well, I feel like it just isn’t anymore. You can’t call it a friendship if it’s not there anymore. And yet, I still hold on. I can’t even begin to bring myself to be angry because— …well, let’s not get into that. It’s just a giant mess… a giant mess that I created. I brought this upon myself, knowing very well what the end result was going to be… and well, here I am, completely heartbroken and on the verge of wanting to die every single morning and every single night because I can’t deal with the pain anymore.
So, I just push it all away. Because at the end of the day, it seems like anything and everything that I do is going to hurt people. So I just don’t. That’s it. I don’t do anything. I don’t act on any of these horrible emotions I’ve been suffering from since, oh, I don’t know, forever. I just push it away. I push it away, and I push everyone away. I don’t even want to get any closer to my medical school friends. I’m already too dangerously close, and I’d rather not destroy any of the remaining friendships that I have. …so I just keep my distance and push people away. And that seems to have been working for everyone else. Everyone else is moving on just fine. Everyone else seems perfectly happy. The only one who’s hurting is me, and at the end of the day… I guess if I can’t stop the fire, I’d rather lock myself in the room and contain it on my own so that only I will get burned… no one else. That’s my mentality. And I guess that’s always been my mentality. I’d rather be the only one going down than taking down anyone else with me.
So I beg my lifelong question: How do you fix this? You don’t. I don’t think you can anymore. I’ve been trying all of my life, and all I accomplished was getting my heart broken. My heart is so broken to the point where I don’t think it’s even salvageable anymore. Every day, I wake up wishing that I hadn’t. And every night, I go to sleep wishing that I don’t wake up. The only thing that is keeping me alive is the fact that I am literally pushing my life away and just studying for medical school. How the hell does someone get to the point where they stop living just to keep on living? That isn’t even supposed to make sense! Every moment, every breath I take, I just wish I could start over. Just scrap this life and start over. And the truth is… nothing is really stopping me. Literally, nothing is stopping me. Nothing is keeping me here. I’ve been feeling like this for months (probably years), now, and I feel like it hasn’t gotten any better. …so that’s why, ever since school started again, I’ve been studying every single day. I only eat when I’m hungry, and when I do, I read or watch something on my computer so that I stop myself from thinking. I barely go on walks or go running anymore because I would just end up thinking too much and crying in public. When I try and take breaks, I give myself some absurd task, like “take a picture for your 2013 portfolio today…” and in the end, it all just culminates into how terribly I’ve been feeling and it all translates into my pictures and I just end up wanting to hide them from everyone. I don’t even know why I still keep up with my 2013 portfolio. What’s the point? There has literally been nothing happy or exciting that has been happening in my life that is worth a picture. Why do I still leave breadcrumbs everywhere I go when nobody even bothers to follow them to find me? …I guess that’s kind of analogous to how I feel about my life right now. What’s the point? Why the hell am I still going where there is barely anything that is keeping me here?
It’s such a bad mentality to have. It’s frightening and counter-productive. On the really bad nights, I’d just end up laying in my bed or sitting at my desk for hours upon hours thinking and crying and weighing out my options over and over again and contemplating on ways that I can just quietly— … … …well, I hope by now you can understand why I’ve been pushing everything and everyone away. Everything reminds me about life. Life reminds me about family. Family reminds me about friends. Friends reminds me about you. And then you remind me of everything. And the vicious cycle continues. Everywhere I go, everywhere I turn, every time I pick up my phone, I’m hoping that it’s you on the other side. But then there’s really nothing there—just emptiness. And I’ve been feeling so suffocated by this emptiness. So I just push life away and focus on school. I mean, it’s obviously an impossible task, avoiding life, but I’m doing my best. …and maybe that’s why I’ve been doing so well in school. (Ironic, isn’t it?) My closest friend in medical school is always telling me to relax and take a break, and he’s always asking me why I’m studying all of the time. Well, buddy, here is your answer. Seriously, if I don’t study, if I don’t keep my mind off things that pertain to my life, I will start thinking again, and then everything will start crumbling and falling apart again. Literally, the only thing that comes even close to something that I “look forward” to is the fact that I am constantly studying for my ten-thousand finals, and once that is done, I’m going straight into studying for boards (which I’ve actually already started so that I can continue to push everything away), and then after I take my boards, I go straight into rotations, which I hope will schedule me to places far away from home and anyone I care about so that I can continue to just push everything away. And I’ll keep doing that, studying for boards, working on my rotations, doing extra rotations, studying for my SHELF exams until I get into residency, and then I’ll just keep working and working and studying. (…and then what? You see the flaws in my plan?)
I don’t really know what to do at this moment. I’m just lost. Completely lost. I’ve been so lost for the longest time. And I don’t even know what writing all of this down accomplishes besides scaring anyone who stumbles upon this. Someone’s going to read this, message me an “are you going to be okay?”, and then I’m not going to answer because it’s just going to keep the cycle going… and well, either way, the cycle is just going to continue. It’s going to take more than a “Hey, we need to talk,” to fix this. I think it’s going to take a lot more… more than anything that has ever been used to try and help me and pull me out of this. And I don’t think I’m willing to go there anymore.
…I guess that’s all. Well, that’s not “all,” but it’s all that I’m willing to share to anyone who bothers to read these things anymore. The year is almost ending. I don’t really know how long I can keep going like this. But hey… at the very least, at least I’m still here, and if there’s any positivity to come from that, it’s the fact that on some really miniscule scale, I’m still alive. And with that, even though every day seems to be filled with just darkness and sadness, there’s always a possibility to be happy, and maybe, some day along the road, if I can make it past this, I can start trying to be happy again. …if I can make it past this.