Detours

It sucks when you’re trying to get somewhere and there’s those orange cones glaring at you with “detour” all over the place. Traffic crawls and the turns seem endless to direct you away from your destination.

When I didn’t feel well over the weekend, I thought it was just a cold. I missed Monday of my second last week of practicum. Then Tuesday afternoon, things didn’t feel right. I couldn’t concentrate or read as my eyes kept jumping lines. I couldn’t think and my head felt weird. I went home for the afternoon and the lightheadedness wouldn’t go away. I laid down and felt lightheaded, I rested and woke up lightheaded. When I saw the doctor, my systolic blood pressure was 78mmHg. I ate more salt and drank more fluids than I ever did in a week and it didn’t get better. I’d hate sleeping because lying there while I felt like I was going to faint sucked. Being unable to make it go away likewise with my headaches. And as the days went by, I had to keep in contact with my preceptor and school. 5 days. That was the limit before I had to redo the whole practicum even with a medical reason. I felt so much pressure from my parents. And from myself. I really enjoyed the placement I was in and I was doing great there. On one side, I hoped so desperately for my parents to just tell me to stop and get better, that health was more important. But on the other side, I really didn’t want to disappoint them. Except I really couldn’t tone it down anymore. They didn’t seem to think it was that serious when I was unable to walk more than one foot-shuffle at a time. When I spent most of my time lying down because it felt so much worse when I was upright. So in the end, I missed more than 5 days and have to redo the 4 weeks next fall.

I won’t graduate this May like the other 200 people in my class will. I won’t stand a chance at the interviews they have during the school year. I won’t be able to take my licensing exam until next fall. I might even be the only graduate in my class next November. I don’t even know when to take my Artona photos. Or if I will be able to participate in what my classmates will take part in. There’s so much I can/will lose. Most of all, I’ll lose my pride. My “perfect” journey of graduating after 5 years of post-secondary as a professional and getting a job will be delayed. What are my parents going to tell others when they ask about my graduation. What if I can’t get a job because of this delay. All because of a medication side effect.

But since it’s Thanksgiving, let’s think about what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful that it was just a medication side effect and although I still have relatively low blood pressure, the lightheadedness resolved. I’m thankful that it’ll just be a few months of delay and that I can still graduate in 2017. I’m thankful that my parents ended up supporting that my health is most important above all else. I’m thankful that I’m able to do my next practicum without further delay this month. I’m thankful that I still have a chance to continue this journey. That it wasn’t a “stop” but just a “detour”. Detours might seem like a maze that never ends, but the destination can will still be reached. And that’s all that matters in the end.

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In the end, the biggest disappointment is in myself.

So finals are finally over, all 9 courses of Term 1 is done. But instead of joy and relief, I always tend to feel tired and depressed at the end of exam seasons. Well, being tired and drained is a given (and normally sick too) from all that energy spent trudging on with the endless mountainous terrain of exams, but the depression comes back at this time as well. I knew it wouldn’t be so easy to get rid of depression. Having just let it stay there for a good few years, it’s hard to get out of. And it’s so easy to go back. Especially when I grow older, realize more, and find more disappointments with myself. What happened to the old me? The me who would strive for the greatest and be able to achieve it? Now, my standards have dropped so low it’s embarrassing for me. Rather than be proud that I’m in pharmacy and passing, a future healthcare professional like how others may think, I still see myself as a failure. Is it the depression talking or just facing reality? I look at my marks and I’m barely passing. Is it because I’m actually stupid contrary to everyone’s belief or the effects of life has just made me more stupid? Heck, it might even be the medications I take everyday. Or the material is just too hard for me and I wasn’t ready for this. I am stupid either way, so why do people still look up to me?! Just because I’m in “pharmacy”. It’s so hard for me to accept that a pass is something to celebrate over. It isn’t. And I’m so disappointed in myself that I would even dare to think that way. But I just feel like with everything going on, I’ve already tried the best I can to fix and turn around this life of mine that I need to find the contentment with myself. If only it was that easy to turn back time and try again. To not let depression and anxiety cage me in like it always does. When will I finally be able to be content with my life and what I’ve done with it? To what degree can I try that it becomes good enough despite disappointing results? How can I forgive myself for being such a failure and disappointment in my eyes?

My parents know about my depression and anxiety, and they like to “reassure” me that they don’t want to give me pressure and for me to just do my best. I KNOW that they don’t want to give me pressure. And I now think that it isn’t the pressure that I’m feeling. Depression and anxiety ARE mental disorders after all. Schizophrenia’s a mental disorder. Ah maybe I should go for more counselling. But they just say the same things, and it’s always easier said than done. It seems like a lonely uphill battle, but people have gone through it and come out stronger. It’s scary thinking that I might become a bigger disappointment if I fail in this area too, but it’s scarier to think that I will be like this for the rest of my life. I guess I wouldn’t feel as much self-hate and disappointment if there weren’t such successes to strive for. And then I can hear the old me telling me that I’m still here, I still wish to do well and make my parents proud. And that voice is enough. Enough to put away my embarrassment and disappointment and to keep going. To fulfill that dream and bring the old me back. To just try my best again and continue through life. To remember that even if I think that I’m a disappointment, there are people who love me despite that and that I should love myself too. Because I’ve tried my best and it’s the best I could do. It’s okay.