Surviving a Pandemic

Monday, November 23, 2020


    After an utterly exhausting week that left my cortisol levels reaching new peaks in this interview season there was a long and hard crash. I felt exhausted and almost as if I would blackout from the sleepiness and nothingness filling my brain with black. So I let my body steer me in the direction it needed to go and succumbed to the fatigue. I slept for half a day and all night. But now, I am ready to take on what comes next. If I forced my body to continue in the condition it was, I would have crashed or remained in a state of perpetual exhaustion which would draw out my agony for a longer period of time and reduce my efficiency and motivation, anyway. I decided to take a break from everything to enable myself the chance to get back up on my feet and feel some semblance of rejuvenation or peace of mind. Alas, I feel that I will be unable to feel at peace until I hear some more news of any kind. But what can I say, I am going to accept that this is my life for now. During this time I pondered and mused over what I could possibly share with my readers in the midst of my mental crises. There is so much to say and so many more stories to tell but I want to wait it out a bit. Talking about the difficult periods in my life while undergoing a mental breakdown is probably not the healthiest of ways to cope at this time. So I started musing what could be motivating and inspiring to me in a time like this. Perhaps I need to branch out a little bit more in my desire to talk about everything. So much to think about indeed but let's start with a story from today.

Closed Doors and Open Hearts

Monday, November 16, 2020


This month I feel anxious and the sense of gloom and defeat washes over my senses as I gaze out into the gloomy, rainy weather outside my window. I am warm in my blanket cocoon, but my heart races, and I feel the cool clamminess of my feet as they touch each other under the blanket. My body is in fight-or-flight mode despite no sense of current impending doom. Yet it is all around me, washing over me. This residency interview season, already delayed due to the pandemic wreaking havoc over the globe, changed the rules of the game in ways that were both good and bad. My interviews this season will be virtual, good, and bad. The trickle of rejections weighing out the interview invitations seems to be crawling at a snail's pace, bad. I don't know what to do with my time and I hate not knowing. The wait until March will be filled with sleepless nights going over the mistakes I made during my Zoom interviews. There is no escape for my mind because the world needed to shut down for a while and slow its pace so that it could recover and breathe. But my breathing rapidly progresses and I pace across the room until I decide it is too cold to walk around without my blanket shroud. 

    My mind cannot stop reminding me of my mistakes during my recent interview. Why did I not mention my strengths more often? I wondered if the program director thought my excitement and pleading eyes bordered on desperation. I sigh as I continue to stare out into a grey world cut starkly with the green of the cedars and pines lining the front yard. The stoic serene quality of their straight trunks extending to the sky normally brings a sense of calm over me but today they loom over me with foreboding, blocking me from the outside world. The slow pattering of the rain hypnotizes me and I dissociate into a different realm of everything and nothing. I am transported to my past achievements and failures, failures mostly. I don't know what I would do if this doesn't work out. What if I cannot continue working on becoming a physician, what will I do with my life? Nobody would be surprised if I didn't make it, everyone already doubts I will match anywhere. My own faith in myself wavers and oscillates over the day, week, and possibly month. 

Self Respect and Battling "Log Kya Kahenge" (What will people say)

Monday, November 9, 2020


Sometimes, it is important to take things a little too seriously when navigating the quirks of life and  when the people around us are always reminding us that this life is no joke. Focus now, work now, marry now, the list is endless. Some of us are unable to enjoy the small moments in life because of the bigger problems we may face on a daily basis. We all have our whims and desires that are an offshoot of the personalities we desperately attempt to nurture in order to show and become who we are. Nevertheless, our culture and religion play a huge role in molding us and can define our tastes, subconsciously sometimes. From an early age, we begin to gauge our worth by what others think of us and behave according to what will make those around us happy. There are many people we encounter who influence us in our lives, directly or indirectly. They will have an impact on our decisions and the way we handle ourselves in situations in a subtle manner that builds over time. 

    Our parents are our nurtures and caretakers from the moment we enter this world until they take their final breaths. We look up to them for everything and imitate their behaviours so that we can become functioning members of society and learn how to interact with others around us. They teach us what is good and bad according to their beliefs and experiences. They become our first point of reference when we make decisions and lay our own foundations. Their influence on our actions and desires is inevitable and built into our system whether we like it or not. They hold the very fabric of our being in their hands and they have the power to shape us to their desires and wishes to a significant degree. Sometimes, their insecurities and worries become our own burdens because we watch them fighting their demons and internalize them so we begin fighting them too. Everything depends on our relationship with them. In my personal experience, our mothers can become entrapped in a cycle they have been a part of since their own childhoods. Submission holds more value in our society than outspoken and bolder behaviour. It still is a man's world in their eyes and the easiest way to survive and navigate it is by causing as little trouble as possible by diminishing our existence around the male figures. Although this is widely changing, there is a lot of pushback from women who are the mother's of sons. They want their sons to continue to enjoy the luxury of their privilege even though they know how painful it is to be the unwelcomed member of a family. This discord continues to breed the unhealthy lifestyle and integrate it in the next generation which grow up observing the toxic dynamics found within their homes. 


Friday, November 6, 2020

My life a mess of endless mistakes
Yet every step proves to be
The mistook adventure
Of the perilous side of me
Is the design to
Which a human fate
At times, must resign to
Is the world to
One who behind falls
Untouchable and diminished
Where only solitude calls
Take me where I
Must go for I
Know no more where I
My face can show

Handling the Unexpected

Monday, November 2, 2020


The year 2020 really took us all for a roller coaster ride. Any plans I may have had this year washed away with the tide of pandemic frenzy. My anxiety rose steadily as the year went on because of isolation, uncertainty, and mental exhaustion. I made so many plans for the beginning of a new decade. My to-do list filled with goals I wanted to achieve and places I would visit. My life never followed the timeline or sequence of events I planned for it. Something would always take me by surprise when I set my mind to a certain task. I used to look at my peers and friends and wonder how they could easily follow their wishes and whims when mine enjoyed taking me down complex winding paths on which I never know where I will end up. 

    In situations like this, the best approach is to learn how to handle changes because the destination might be better than what you intended for yourself. My life is an example of how to navigate situations when luck is not on your side. Nevertheless, I would change nothing if I knew it would lead me to where I am today. If you asked me during high school where I wanted to end up, I would have excitedly told you I wanted to graduate as a doctor by the age of twenty-five and marry by twenty-seven with kids at thirty. Knowing what kind of headspace I was in during my early twenties, pursuing such an intensive degree would have been very difficult for me even if I got in then. I failed one year of my courses in undergrad because of the stress I was facing at that time. If I failed out medical school because of my problems, I could never forgive myself for not giving myself the time to heal. What I didn't realize at that time was I needed that time to relearn how to focus and put myself first. I did not anticipate any of the delays, even though some of them were consequences of my own actions. 

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