I was being interviewed for something today, and when the camera was briefly turned off and the interviewer was about to pack up, I decided to let down my guard. I was all smiles before that moment, as I almost always am. Even as I discussed the true state of the last two years, I continued to smile and spoke of it as if I was summarizing a book I had just read.
“These past two years haven’t been all smooth sailing for me. I’m not sure if you are aware of this or not, but I also suffered a traumatic brain injury at the time of my accident,” I said and discussed the extent of the injury for a few minutes. This is not something anyone can physically see.
“During my first year of medical school, of course there were times when I questioned if I should be there or not, if I was going to make it or not. Somehow I made it,” I continued. “There were times when I was really depressed. It was as if everything I had ever known was gone. I was a completely different person now. My mind worked completely different. I didn’t how to handle it.” I know everyone has experienced working hard and not having the results to reflect the effort, but I don’t know too many people who can say that they would have been able to get results before an unexpected incident occurred in their life. That now, they will have to relearn how to learn, relearn how to function, and relearn how thrive. It was like being born again. The frustration that came with this was almost unbearable. “Why can’t I just be normal, or at least the way I used to be,” I would ask myself.
I continued, “Second year, I was much more relaxed. But again, in the beginning, I was struggling. So I finally decided to get myself checked out to see what exactly was going on. It turns out, I wasn’t dumb. I mean, I wouldn’t be surviving medical school if I was dumb. I scored fairly well on all sections of the neuropsychological tests, but still there was something lacking. I had to make more changes. I took the recommendations that were given to me by the neuropsychologist, and now, I am seeing progress.”
I realize that I have mentioned this all on here before, but I don’t think I can truly express these thoughts in a way that can be fully understood.
Still. After so long, there are still some things that make me ask, “Is this real?”
I was watching a video of myself today and I couldn’t help but feel… somewhat embarrassed. That’s what happens when I see photos or videos of myself: I get to see myself in the way others see me. Do people even remember what I looked like standing, walking, running, exercising, and being crazy? I know I have a real hard time remembering. A lot of people I talk to now, including all my classmates, only know this current state.
I recently made another new friend and I realized I am embarrassed of my disability around her. Although I think I have a feeling I know why, I still do not like this friend seeing me transfer off and on my wheelchair from different places. I am also embarrassed by how skinny my legs have become. I saw my legs in the video of myself that I watched, and I was disgusted. I remember I used to do heavy squats and deadlifts because my relatively small frame and years of running left me with fairly thin legs, but my current state is enough to leave me self-conscious. Wearing shorts all day and stopping by the gym whenever I take a break from studying is something that will have to be postponed for a while.
Who have I become?
I had many plans for my life. We all know life doesn’t always go as planned, but I wish there was a way I could have anticipated this. I know everything I have ever experienced has prepared me, but now, like everyone else, I just wish I knew what the future will have in store for me.
Will there be more turmoil? Will more things be thrown at me?
I have to remind myself that this is who I am. This is who I have become. There is no way to reverse time. Everything in the past has passed, never to return again.