Update: I am still alive but the medical school dream may be over.
Turns out that despite being academically successful and with decent results in the basic clinical skills, I may not be fit for medicine. I am mentally fucked. So yeah, life can be a shit place when the thing that you wanted most is so close yet just out of reach. The goal and reality of becoming a medical student drew me out of my first deep, dark hole. It was the threat of being deemed not medically fit to study that drew me into my subsequent descents into darkness. Being a medical student had become an identity that I stole and wore, covering my fears, insecurities and the fact that I didn’t know who the fuck I was. I am vulnerable without that extra skin.
I even tried to mask my slowly disintegrating medical-student identity with alcohol, cutting and an increasingly passionate love-affair with the toilet (aka. bastardly bulimia). The medical community refer to my pattern of behaviour as a delicious combination of social anxiety, depression, alcohol misuse, self-harm, bulimia and suspected emotionally unstable personality disorder. It just roles off the tongue *note sarcasm*. I have reached out for help but, when you are so raw and vulnerable, the lost referrals, chasing-up professionals and being turned away by services, that you are told to turn to, hurts. That belief that you are unworthy of help is repeatedly reinforced. It shoves you in the small of your back so that your descent is accelerated and more withdrawn from people around you, because as you’ve learnt, they only let you down.
It’s easy to support someone with mental health issues on a good day because that support is mostly in the form of promises that they will be with you in the days that aren’t so good. People don’t often follow through with those promises.
At the moment I am lost.
Without that medical-student identity, all I have are my defects: dinking, bulimia, cutting. I desperately want to put the brakes on my self-destruction and so a few months ago (after waiting lists, being turned away, lost referrals) I found myself at my first appointment at a specialist personality disorder service. Three months on, I have relocated to be closer, tumbled out of medical school and put all of my hope of a future into the help that this service could provide. They had acknowledged that I drank heavily and relied on disordered eating and self harm. Last week at a second meeting, they informed me that in order to access help from them, I had to be first referred on to a separate eating disorder service and that they would likely not accept that referral given my drinking. I don’t think disappointed quite covers how I felt.
I don’t know where my brain is at this moment in time. I don’t know where my future is either. I have congratulated friends on graduating from University, making successes in their jobs that they started when they left school and on anniversaries of getting together with their partners. It stings when at 22, I can look at the last few years and see nothing to show for it: limited friendships, no romantic relations and a family who sees me as more of a burden than a person.
Anyway, that was an insight into an insignificant life.