I thought I couldn’t do it but… here I am

First of all, I’m so sorry dear blog for having ignored you for months. Life got a bit too much for a while. But now, I’m again back in my tropical home country of the Philippines at my more relaxed and habitual state So let me tell you what’s been going on.

This semester, I think I really pushed myself to my limit. At least nearing the end of the semester anyway. As a hired part-time researcher and now hired in a start-up IT health company, I already had a lot on my plate outside of medical school. Luckily because of this, my wallet allowed me to do more things without feeling as guilty. However on top of this, I am also the Regional President of the Swedish Young Catholics of my region. I also was organising the wedding reception of two very good friends of mine (who got engaged in my apartment last year) a week after exams and lastly, I was preparing for the visit of a friend of mine coming all the way from Guam for two weeks. And again, I’m also a full-time medical student.

For the past few months, I guess you can say I was stressed. However as my exams came closer and closer, and the end of semester was coming closer and closer, my physical and mental health suffered.

As a transfer from the UK to Sweden, the layout of my medical program differs slightly from my peers. Long story short, I had three exams at the end of the semester (my classmates only had one) of which two I needed to pass to continue on to my next and final semester. I also needed to give the best wedding reception my friends could ever have because they deserve it, and I wanted to give my friend from Guam the best vacation and first visit to Europe he could ever have, considering the recent events in his life and that he just finished his tough military engineering training. All within a span of two weeks. Oh, and also reach all my work deadlines too of course.

I stopped eating and sleeping. I started having daily nightmares. I would wake up 5am no matter what time I slept the day before. I could also go an entire day and realise I hadn’t eaten. My colleagues in the office had to force to go on lunch break. They would also bring me snacks in the office to help me take care of myself. I have the best colleagues in the world.

As a previous sufferer of depression and anxiety, I noticed the warning signs. I know that I was reaching my absolute limit of my physical and mental capacity. However what could I do but to carry on?

The days of my exams were in a few days and I was stressed as ever. Then I receive a text from Guam two days before my biggest exam saying that he couldn’t come anymore. This being something I had been looking forward to for months as my award after these exams, and had been my voluntary distraction whilst studying, I was… disappointed to say the least. I cried for half a day until I realised, what can I do, I still have exams to go through. Thanks to a friend who was with me that day (who’s birthday is today actually, Happy Birthday Merlijn! :D) who encouraged me to just keep going I kept studying. The next day the day before my exam, suddenly I felt as if a weight just lifted because I realised, hey, it’s one less thing to think about for now at least. I just have to get myself through this.

The day of my biggest exam arrived and there I was sitting there discouraged and feeling unprepared, with thoughts of anger rushing through my head because of my friend who cancelled so last minute. I left the exam room knowing that I failed it. Then I came home thinking, damn, I have my exam to prepare for tomorrow I haven’t done any preparation for at all.

I talk to my mom and my friends and tell them I want to defer. What’s the point I’ll fail anyway. After some convincing, they managed to encourage me to go to my exam the next day anyway. So I pushed myself for one final evening and thought to myself, whatever, I’ll learn from my mistakes this time and I’ll redo it in August. I came to the exam the next day expecting to fail and left the exam room with the same expectation. But once I left that room I realised I’m finally free.

The week after my exams, all my time and efforts went to preparing for my friend’s wedding (as the main in charge for the program and as Toastmaster with another friend) as well as going to the Philippines straight after. I still wasn’t eating or sleeping properly but as I came to the Philippines, I automatically switched to my more relaxed state and now here I am. The wedding went well by the way. πŸ™‚

Two weeks later, our exam results came out and I don’t know how it happened but… I passed all three exams. I laughed out loud when I saw my results. How did I even do that?! Nevertheless, I was ECSTATIC. I am now assured to be able to continue on to my next and final semester of medical school, and I am graduating as Dr Sam in January 2018.

So what’s been going on these past few weeks? Well to be honest, the past few weeks have been hell. But those weeks are finally over and I’m now relaxing by the sea which I love best in the Philippines. And no matter what happens next semester, the end is finally near! So here’s to my final summer vacation and then final few months as a medical student until my real doctor responsibilities start! πŸ™‚

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