Sumiyah is from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and she is aspiring to be a writer and poet. Her current goal is to graduate from medical school with an outstanding GPA and to be able to publish her own words. Sumiyah said, “Five years from now, I see myself as an Ob/Gyn resident at Queen’s University”. She was diagnosed with and still suffers from burnout. She said, “I’ve put myself under a lot of pressure in the past three years to get into medical school and it may have backfired.”
Sumiyah kept it to herself thinking she has it all under control. She said, “I had a hard time coming to terms with it, let alone talk to anyone about it”. Sumiyah also said, “I couldn’t get myself to get out of bed in the morning. Falling asleep was effortless, but waking up was extremely difficult. When I wasn’t sleeping, I was in trance. I did most things absentmindedly. I felt apathetic towards almost everything that was going on in my life. The more colorless my days seemed, the more futile I felt.”
The lack of sleep made her tense and angry, lashing out on the smallest things. Instead of counting the days she missed class, she counted the days. Sumiyah said, “I tried to limit the effect of the negative energy I was radiating and so I avoided friends and family members. I stopped working out and began to make unhealthy choices, which made me feel worse about myself.” Not only that, but she started to question if medical school was really worth her physical and mental health. Sumiyah said, “I’ve thought about dropping out so many times but since I was skipping college, I couldn’t even execute my decision.”
Thankfully, Sumiyah never considered suicide, but did hoped to get into a car accident on her way to university. She said, “I always thought about how it would all be so much better, to everyone, if I weren’t alive. I no longer feared the idea of death.” Since Sumiyah isn’t an expressive person her family believed everything was normal. When she would skip class, she would tell her family that class was cancelled. When Sumiyah wasn’t with them, they thought she was studying. She said, “Everything seemed just fine. I was at a strange place with my friends, since I wasn’t seeing them nor talking to them about it. Even though I was deliberately detaching myself, I still felt so distant and alienated.”
Due to this Sumiyah feels confined and helpless. Unfortunately, she hasn’t reached a turning point, yet. She tries her best to keep herself busy and distracted so she doesn’t have time to think about it. Sumiyah said, “Although I isolated myself from everyone, one person’s presence has helped me greatly. They were the reason I got out of bed on my good days. Their company was the one thing I looked forward to. They made me want to be better. They were both my purpose and my audience.” Before she started college, Sumiyah was content with life, and was appreciative about everything.
She has learned has learned to appreciate the smallest things by writing three things she was grateful for at the end of each day. Not only that, but Sumiyah learned to express her feelings in a way that does not involve vocalization. She now works alongside her feelings, instead of resisting them. She is now more patient, with both people and herself. And most importantly, she has learned to have hope.
This is her advice for those of you in similar situations:
Don’t resist. The sooner you come to terms with it, the sooner you can start to recover.
Baby steps. Take it one day at a time. Progress is not a straight line.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.
Sumiyah, still has a long way to go, but she is taking the firsts steps. Hopefully she receives the help she needs to recover. Help me make a difference by sharing your story. If you or anyone you know needs a safe place to vent out and recieve advice feel free to become a member of the Mental Illness Recovery Series Group on Facebook.