On the fear of redundancy
I was humbled to realize just how much more there always is to learn, this in the first few weeks of my second final year. My worry, prior to starting the year over, was that I would drown in the redundancy of repeating the year. That the same lame jokes and boring tutorials would send me over the edge and I would succumb to anxiety. The worry soon faded when the first rotation started, and I found myself learning new material daily. This reminded me of one of the reasons I chose to study medicine. It is dynamic, ever-changing and anything but redundant. It is life in a microcosm. It grows, hurts, and moves like all of us.
On anxiety and insomnia
Speaking of, anxiety taught me a few things during the rotation. She is hard to get rid of. She creeps in during the early morning hours, and, once she gets in your head, fighting to get rid of her is a struggle like no other. I had moments, weeks before the exam period, when sleep would evade me. I would battle with heart palpitations and my restless mind would not surrender to my obviously fatigued body. I would wrestle against thoughts of failing and be reminded of my wars even in my dreams. My mantra, hard as I tried to meditate on anything else, quickly became ‘do not fail.’
On re-wiring thinking
However, I had to quickly learn to kill the anxious thoughts and replace them with thoughts of excelling. I had to force myself to believe I could achieve what I never managed. I had to tell myself that it was not good enough to ‘not fail’ – I had to push to exceed my own expectations. I had to show myself that I indeed was smart, and my failure was a lapse in my character, not a core feature in it. The anxiety never quite went away (does it really ever?), but speaking and meditating on positive thoughts went a long way in helping me survive, and thrive in, my year of redundancy.
Check out this post on not letting anxiety get the best of you: https://www.manrepeller.com/2018/05/anxiety-tips-for-getting-stuff-done.html
I cannot imagine life going any other way than it had in medical school. The lessons I missed in my first attempt became clearer with the second try, and, people I met in my latter year became some of the most important human beings in my life. I learnt to (read: I was forced to) switch negative ideas with positive thoughts to keep anxiety at bay.
I am thus compelled to believe that my life story was not meant to be written any other way. It was humbling, provoked anxiety, and oftentimes repetitive. Nonetheless, I left medical school wiser, more courageous, and more self-compassionate than I would have, had I been the author of my own story.
See my post on being affirmative and self-compassionate during my repetitive journey:https://blackandgoldblog.com/2020/07/20/a-letter-to-me-my-journey-through-medicine/