Dublin. September 2010.
I’m a medical student.
A new opportunity.
A new country.
A new chance to start fresh and leave the past behind.
The first year saw a transformed me.
Gym. School. Confidence was rising. It seemed that everything was going smoothly.
First year over. No drugs. No alcohol. (except for my snus/snuff/chewing tobacco habit).
Summer of 2011.
I got really good grades. My diet seemed optimal. I worked out regularly.
Yet, as fucking usual, something seemed to be missing.
I was too scared to go back home. Why?
Because I haven’t accomplished anything in my life. I still considered myself to be a failure.
I’m only a student with no achievements while my schoolmates have moved on with their lives.
No more friends. No more laughs. No one to talk to. Everyone interaction in college is shallow; the “how’re you? I’m alright and you? How’s studying going? Oh man it’s shit. Haha same here, man ……etc”
So I started writing a “letter to myself” to read when I graduate from RCSI in 2016.
That “letter” was filled with hate and disgust towards the self.
Before the letter, I actually started a blog. Guess what I did to feel special? I bought views and visitors so I can feel that I’m getting traffic. In reality, though, I had no one.
Less than 2 months later, I deleted it.
I took a Spanish course. I joined the Writers Center. I visited museums. I walked. A lot.
I tried to do something in that summer holiday that would’ve made my father proud.
Father can never be satisfied, though.
Something happened, however, and I decided to go back home for the remainder of the summer. I was confident in myself “physically” – I was fit, I was flexible, I was athletic.
Through my best friend*, I began hanging around with a crowd that made me envious of their lives – a mixed crowd who had fun, partied, went out daily, laughed, and simply appeared to be enjoying life.
(*We now talk once every few months for 5 minutes. And it’s very formal.)
I wanted in. I wanted to be part of that group. I wanted to laugh and joke about things that don’t really matter to me.
Somehow, a girl came in the picture. Suddenly, I had a “girlfriend” (I was unaware of it at the time).
So I started drinking again.
I started getting high.
But, still, something seemed to be missing.
Early 2012. I was at my peak physical appearance. I was told that I looked good. (I never had the internal confidence to believe that).
I met my wife. I fell in love.
But I also began going to therapy.
I went to therapy because I couldn’t handle my thoughts anymore.
Therapy was not entirely useless, though.
The next 4 years saw a gradual decline in my ability to handle my thoughts, even with therapy.
My drug habit became my only friend.
My relationship with my future wife was fucked up.
During the course of those 4 years, we broke up 7432 times. And it always seemed that my mood was the cause.
I also slowly began hating my studies. My idea of being a doctor turned out to be an illusion.
I simply wanted to help people.
To do that, though, I had to fake a lot of things.
“Fake it till you make it” was the motto a lot of my colleagues used.
Pretend to care about your patient while taking their history, and then laugh about how stupid they are.
I reached a point where the only way to get up in the morning was knowing that I had drugs ready to be inserted into my system.
Drugs were my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Drugs were my life.
I took all my exams high.
I would write on the back of the exam paper things like “Am I just another white coat? Is there a point to doing what I’m doing? We are nothing but fucking statistics. A fucking number in the morgue ready to be stuck into a bag and shipped out of the hospital. Am I here to sit exams and answer MCQs? Am I here to become a copy of a copy? …etc”
I was almost expelled once for asking too many questions that consultants and administrators deemed to be wrong. It turns out asking about the meaning of life is a wrong question.
I was sent to multiple psychiatrists, and they were all too stupid to realize I was playing them.
You see, I have this talent of faking my body language – I can control my exterior world very easily. I made sure I appeared to be in a defensive position. Every psychiatrist asked the exact same questions – the questions found in psychiatry books, the DSM, the ICD – the same books I had in my apartment, the same books I read when I was high and alone.
I faked my symptoms so I can receive the diagnosis I wanted.
The sad part about it is that it worked every fucking time.