To survive repeating final year, I knew I had to be kind to myself. I could not afford to beat myself up and be self-hating in 2018. I had to tell myself that I was capable, that I could move any mountain I set my eyes on.
So, I wrote myself letters. Letters of admiration and support and letters of endearment. I wrote these letters during tutorials, in hospital operation theatres, at home on my desk, in the study room, everywhere. I mostly wrote them when I had a good day and was feeling particularly good in that moment. This was so I could read them when I had a bad day and didn’t feel good about life. They helped, and I will advise anyone going through a rough period to adopt this.
The letter below was my first ever letter of 2018, written during a tutorial in the Gynaecology block, my first block of the year:
“I told you that you would survive this. Look at you, flourishing like you did not suffer from depression just last year. Look at you, thriving where you thought you would wither. Look at God, keeping you sane when you thought you would be admitted to a psychiatric institution. Look at life, handing you flowers instead of the lemons you got so accustomed to. Look at you, waking up each day, breathing and being when you thought you were done for. I told you that you would survive this.
Now listen, it won’t always be easy, it won’t always be fun, you will have the nervousness, the sweating, the anxious waiting. But you got this. Always know that you got this. You’ve done this before. It is doing it with experience this time that will give you an edge. You know what to do, what not to do, when to give and when to take apart what you learn and give purpose to this opportunity to relive final year. See it for what it is, not for what it could or should have been. Learn all the lessons you possibly can but know that you will survive, and you will thrive. Oh, the light that so shines on you, the radiance that is waiting to brighten the paths of others from your ember, you have absolutely no idea my dear. What I want you to do now, is open yourself up to the experience sweetheart. See what you missed last year, or who you missed, or check that you did not miss an important step that can only be climbed in medical school. But whatever happens, remember this – I told you that you would survive this. You can survive anything. Look at you, flourishing even.”