Drum roll please. When my friend chose to take down her blogs, I never thought I would benefit so much. I mean, aside from the obvious financial and publicity motives, I can finally boast of having some class on my damned blog! Enough about me though, with no further ado, Ms. Kavuma Denise (Dr. Yes, the evil mastermind medical kind.)
I came close to quitting medical school today.
Well, as close as I ever come to quitting anything, which just involves joking about handing in my resignation letter and then forcing my mind to move on. It makes people giggle a little as they roll their eyes doubtfully because they “know” me and I would never give up just like that obviously, I am made out of the same stuff as the gods, after all (no seriously, even the bible confirms it; have a look). In either case, most of these people fail to realise that beneath it all, I really lack the ability to filter the more grave aspects of life.
You know that horribly jarring feeling you get, when you’ve taken a little too much toilet paper from the roll to wipe your soiled behind but the end dips into the toilet bowl water, so you end up getting a shock of wet tissue touching your 2nd most special place? No? Okay, how about the indignation that rushes through you when a Jehovah’s Witness knocks on your door and judges you, just because you are still in your pyjamas at 2 p.m. on a Sunday?
Well how about that soaring feeling you get when you’ve done something wonderful by yourself, like roast a juicy and delicious steak, or finished an adult-sized portrait of your mother just before her birthday, or even something as simple as giving your first dog his first bath? That you can relate with, right? Well imagine then that those lovely things happen and you think that perhaps the world could learn from you so you start a blog, or a podcast, or a vlog, or *insert here words that I cannot keep up with anymore because I’m clearly getting too old for that shit* only to find out that it can’t work. Either because you don’t have enough information, or because people don’t care about it at all, or even because perhaps you’re just not as good as you thought you are.
Now you’re getting the idea of that feeling, right?
That momentarily overwhelming feeling of humiliation that makes you want to give up, like the horse that finally realises that its life will always be about feeling people’s butts
and their boners on its back. The we’ll-never-talk-about-this-again feeling you get if someone else happened to be party to your little failure. That moment of regret and futility, when you realise that this is how far you’ve fallen.
Take that sentiment, pound it up (go on, get in there), and then spread it out and wear it as a second skin so that other people cannot see through and that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I felt like as a general doctor. Before we get into it however, there’s parable about a young lady with her future ahead of her who’s looking at a tree with all kinds of delicious-looking fruit she can pick. She takes way too much time to choose and in the end, the fruit falls down from the tree and rots before she’s had a chance to even taste a single one. I was never like that lady and I saw a gleaming, beautiful, ripe fruit that was easy to reach, picked it, and devoured it without regret. The problem with that though is that after my tum-tum was filled and my fat, round body sated, I looked back up at the tree and wanted all the other attractive fruits.
For me, medicine was my first pick since I was 6 years old. When it was all finished and I had finally doomed myself to a life of being a nameless slave who answered to the title ‘doctor,’ I realised that I’d set myself upon a path that led me through a portal and into a world where I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I suddenly found myself having to deal with fiascos and situations that I’d only read about in medical texts and finally coming to the realisation that this was all internal and no other soul in the world could help me (not that they wanted to anyway. I tell you, the easiest way to get ignored is to scream for help).
Whenever people ask me when I started struggling with depression, I always insist that it was during my medical internship. Granted I’d been battling the darkness long before that period but something about internship snapped me and out came these wisps of evil that wrapped themselves around my soul and have since then refused to let go.
Death, I’m talking about death.
We had all of half a lecture in medical school on how to deal with death (which I’m pretty sure I dodged because, I mean, sleep is the best thing in the world and I wasn’t going to give it up for mere lectures) and that was it. Therefore, when I would sometimes end up having to watch the life drain away from as many as five pairs of eyes in a night, I would try to filter it and ultimately fail. It’s unfortunate that there isn’t a support system in place that helps doctors deal with these hauntings and I know that mine failed.
You see, depression to me is like waking up in the morning and deciding that I like how I look that day and that I am definitely going to try and be that lovely each day, because I like it. I like how bouncy my hair is, the dark smokiness of my eyes when they’re lined just right, and the way my bra gives me that cleavage that makes me grin every time I glance down. Then two or so days later, I wonder why I ever thought I was worth anything at all. My smoky eyes are now haunted and not even my glorious cleavage can lift my spirits. I struggle with the idea that I am still alive; feel like I am stuck in an oven on high heat where all my fluids have evaporated but I’m still alive, burning. I wonder to myself what kind of cruel god would leave me alive in those circumstances and wonder why I just cannot stab that blade deep in my neck and be done with it.
Life is meaningless and mine even more so; I have no support system and how could I ask anyone to help me out when they have problems of their own? How selfish can one person get? In addition, all this time the pain in my chest keeps rising, never hitting a peak, as my mind races with thoughts. The fuck is I doing anyway? Aren’t I the worst person in the world? Heck no, that would make me special; I am worthless and of no use to anybody. It is cruel that others’ emotions are attached to my life and being. If I won’t stab then perhaps I can cut, right? That’s right sweetheart, angle that blade and cut; there you go. Do you feel that pain? You deserve no better.
Well at the very least, that’s what happens during the coherent times. Sometimes it’s like holding your poop in all day and trying to not mess your pants until you can reach home and let it all out. It was like that today. Other days, you have diarrhea and the darkness cannot be tamed; these are the days when I hurdle alone in a corner, refusing to take the battle outside because there’s only one way that could end. I see no point to this endless struggle and above everything else, I wish it would end, one way or another. Medicine certainly did not help.
I did find some joy though, I cannot deny that.
I have always been fiercely independent and even though a lot of my experiences were new, being left alone wasn’t and so I started to reach for those fruits I’d left on the tree. I wrote out the poison and painted it to tame it. Paintings that are skewed and just not quite right but that are more me than anything else out there. The fruits were already overly ripe and I wasn’t especially good with them but I picked them up nonetheless and finally named that monster that was devouring me whole; the ghost that was haunting me.
I cannot complain much about my decisions for I made them but I can say that school certainly never equipped me with the skills to handle this. I do have my work set up in random places (these places being my living room wall) and it is highly derivative but I like painting it nonetheless. I will fight through this, one non-school-equipped-highly-derivative skill at a time, until I win… Or fail (quite frankly, my money is on failing because dammit, this shit is hard to do) but until then, these paintings will be my therapy.