[This was written in December 2010. This is not how I currently feel! I explained why I was feeling this way in my most recent blog post, "Two Years. The scars remind me that the past is real."]
Many of my blog posts have titles that are references to song titles or lyrics. People don’t usually catch them. I thought I would post a fan-made video of the song that is referred to in this title. Watch and listen to it afterwards if you like.
Almost every week in medical school, we come across a topic that reminds me of something. Occasionally, I’ll write about it, but I usually never finish the entry so I don’t post it. This past week we discussed something that I feel is important because I’ve seen it affect others.
Our case this past week was about a patient presenting with clinical depression. Depression is not being just bummed out about something. It’s not about listening to emo music and whining that nobody understands what it’s like to be a privileged middleclass adolescent.
Well, I don’t think I need to go into a full medical description of every single presenting symptom of depression. But as I sat in my small-group sessions listening and talking about this patient’s case, I realized the extent of the problem I had.
Bulletproof… I wish I was.
After my accident, there was a period when I was in denial. Just like everyone who has a spinal cord injury, I wanted to be that person who walks out of the hospital. As the days passed by, I grew weary.
Just like the patient in our case, I did not want to wake up in the mornings. In the case, the patient described it as she felt like she “should not wake up”. There was a neuropsychologist in the hospital that would perform assessments on me because of my brain injury. He would often ask me how I was managing, and I remember telling him every time that the mornings were the worst. I would wake up every morning not wanting to face the day. As the day progressed, things would brighten up and I would look forward to the afternoon and evening, because I always had friends coming by.
“Anniversary phenomenon” is when a rush of feelings is experienced on the anniversary of a traumatic experience. At the one year anniversary of my accident this past May, I really didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary. I felt like I should have felt more—felt anything—but that wasn’t really the case. I experienced anniversary phenomenon this past fall, just within the past several months.
Fall of 2009 is when reality set in for me. I saw the effects that this injury had upon who I was, my relationships with others, and my future. I had no joy in eating. Once again, whenever I went to sleep, I did not want to ever wake up. My closest friends saw this change in me. I usually love being around people, so one friend went out of his way to take me out and meet some of his friends. I got through it.
So, in fall of 2010, I started becoming restless again. Nothing I did made me happy. I did not find pleasure in eating or being around people. I hardly slept at night and I was losing weight again. At school, I did my best to look normal and smile. I was fully aware of my state, and I actively did my best to