I think the first practical bit of advice I have is to form a study group. Ideally, find people in your classes that you find interesting and who also seem to have a bit of a better grasp on the material, who can make you laugh and help you find new ways to learn the material. Socialize with people who understand what you’re going through - you can help each other.
Second would be, moment to moment, class to class, day by day. You are studying for a difficult, difficult degree. I bet it’s exhausting. Focus on what’s in front of you right now. If you look at the whole picture, you’ll lose before you start. You’re not going to be perfect at everything. You probably will need to take some classes more than once. That’s fine. The fact that your school has a mechanism for that should tell you that it’s not uncommon or devastating. You’re out of practice at being a student, so brush up on study skills. Expect to have to work harder than some of your classmates. Look for tips and tricks to help you deal with the material. Ask yourself how many times you think a patient’s life or wellbeing is going to hinge on you being able to recite all the technical names of the parts of the lymphatic system. Set reasonable goals for yourself.
Third would be, let’s talk about your meds. You’ve recently started on a beta blocker, right? Even after you get through the initial shock, you’re going to have less energy than you did before. It seems reasonable to me that you’re tired by the end of the week. Pamper yourself on Saturdays and don’t feel guilty about it. Who cares if you take a shower on Saturday? It’s okay to give yourself a day off.
Okay, that’s the practical part of this comment. Moving on:
For me, one of the things that helps me the most when I am depressed is to just realize and accept that I am depressed. To stop looking around for things I’m doing wrong and acknowledge that I have less energy and I feel bleak and it’s not anything I can fix by scrambling around and berating myself.
Think of it as a rainy day - things are grey and you feel cold and gross because the sun is hidden behind clouds and water is falling from the sky. It’s not anything you did wrong. You can still go out and do what needs to be done, you can even walk with your face raised to the sky and feel the rain on your face. Stop putting pressure on yourself to fix the sky, and just accept that right now, you’re gonna get a little wet. It can’t stop you from doing things that need to be done.
I think you assume responsibility for a lot of things that aren’t under your control right now. Parents are going to be parents. Sz is going to be sz. Med school is going to be hard.
And one thing that I have been wanting to say to you: I think you’re my hero. You know I recently had some shocking news about my job. I honestly think that if I hadn’t had you as my friend, I would have curled up in a terrified ball and died.
Minnii, you are so brave and so wise. I admire you so much. Look at what you’re doing: facing your diagnosis, taking care of yourself, pursuing a medical degree. You’re so brave. I think your example is what I needed more than anything to help me through what I’m going through.
I’ve always been so afraid of the future, but it’s like you’re my big sister. I watch you pick out the path in front of you and move confidently forward, and I believe I can do it, too. I’ve never had a big sister before. I wish I had.
I know you can do it. You’re the kind of person who no one and nothing can keep down.