One hard good-bye

So this weekend, after ages, I drank quite a bit of alcohol. I got drunk to an extent that I was vomiting and passed out. I can’t remember the last part of the night. All I remember next was waking up in my friend’s flat.

I honestly have not got that drunk in ages! I have actively been staying away from alcohol for some time. I drink small amounts when I go out for meals, but that is about it.

Honestly, this experience has been an eye-opener (no pun intended). I feel embarrassed, and that feeling of what could’ve happened when I was completely out of it, gives me anxiety. I’m getting mini-panics every time I think about what others would’ve thought about me. I know these thoughts of what others think do not define the person I am, but I cannot help it can I?

I just thought to write about my thoughts and feelings. In the past 2 days, I have been doing a lot of self-reflection about what I want out of life. Alcohol is not on that list anymore. Having fun with alcohol is definitely not a priority for me. I have realized that I have so much to achieve and accomplish, and alcohol is proving to be a hindrance to that. It is slowing me down. Most importantly, it is the biggest barrier to my current spiritual growth.

I am not against alcohol at all and I will definitely have a glass of wine socially with a meal. However, drinking to get drunk and have fun is definitely not me. I’ve been there, done that. I’m turning into a different person, and I’m proud of this self-reflection and awareness of my spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

Him & I

My boyfriend and I went through a rough patch recently. Living 200 miles apart, working so hard on our individual goals and ambitions, working on completely different shift patterns, on top of trying to schedule in some social time for ourselves and each other. IT IS SO DAMN HARD.

I’m grateful that we never let our difficulties get the best of us. We always try to work as a team on our problems. It’s never me against him. It is us against the problem.

Recently I taught him about Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages. We discussed what we wanted. The conversation was such a spiritually enlightening and eye-opening experience . It is crazy that what we both want is ‘Quality Time’ with each other, more than anything else. The irony is that we are so busy building our individual dreams we do not have the time to spend quality time together. We talked about this and I’m glad we are always able to have such conversations and come up with solutions. The world truly does work in mysterious ways and I’m grateful that I have chosen him to experience life with.

I feel motivated to be a better version of myself every moment I spend with him. Yes it is going to be tough, but when we both know we are working so hard for our future, it makes it all the more worth it.

No one told me it would be this hard

It is so difficult to focus on this present moment when I was programmed all my life to think about the: ‘what if’, ‘what next’, ‘how will it’.

I sat down to meditate today and I really struggled to hone in on the Now. I had a flood of thoughts about what I had to do next, and what I had to do tomorrow. I felt like I was physically fighting my way against thinking these thoughts which drained more of my energy.

Accept it. Don’t resist it. What I had learnt today is my thoughts do not define me. I cannot start judging myself for not being present. Actually thinking those thoughts was my present. The more I resisted, the more I hated myself for resisting. I just have to accept that that is what my mind is thinking of at this moment, be at peace with it and continue. I believe that slowly that will help to calm my mind down.

I can see that this journey to awareness and presence is going to be a long one, but I know I will get there eventually.

Silencing the thoughts

Today I practiced 12 minutes of uninterrupted silent meditation.

I initially put a timer on for 15 minutes, and aimed to continue meditating for all 15 minutes. However, my thoughts started to waver and when I opened my eyes to check the timer, 12 minutes had passed. I gave myself the credit for the 12 minutes I had practiced for, and stopped there for the day.

My ability to quieten my thoughts has improved significantly since the first time I sat in silence. This time round, I focused so much on my breathing and its rhythm, that I mentally could not divert my attention to anything else. Nonetheless, during the 12 minutes, I had visions flash before my eyes amplifying my feelings of anxiety and fear (related to my current orthopaedic job I completed a few days ago), my feelings of jealously towards certain individuals I have come across, my feelings of confusion regarding how people may be judging me.

Therefore, I wanted to take this space to reflect on all three feelings.

1) My current job on orthopaedics gave me so much anxiety and every day I walked into work with the fear of what I may have screwed up at work, what I may have missed, what someone would say to me regarding any small thing I would have done. I was not myself. When I finished my last every orthopaedic shift on Monday, I felt a sense of relief. I felt like I could breathe and be myself again. Nonetheless, when I was meditating today, I had a flood of that anxiety creep up on me. It is going to take me time to get over those negative emotions I felt during that job, but I know I will get over it.

2) I have become quite obsessive over some individuals, especially some women (and on some occasions, men) on social media. I have somewhat started to develop some kind of jealously over their lives. I do think this has stemmed from my own insecurities about myself. When I can feel these emotions take over me, I always take time to remind myself of the good person I am at my core and the person I am becoming. Therefore, now every time I feel jealous or insecure over someone, especially on social media, I actually like their post, comment something positive and/or send them a prayer. This has really helped with my sanity and it has reminded me how important it is to be kind and send nothing but love. I am not going to judge myself over my negative feelings, but I am going to work to turn that negativity into something positive for myself and all those I may have been feeling that negativity towards.

3) Today is the 27th November. Today marks Maaveerar Naal – a day when Sri Lankans Tamils come together and commemorate the lives lost during the Sri Lankan civil war, especially the lives of the innocent Tamils. This is also the same day that several members of the Tamil youth start posting and sharing remembrance posts on their social media pages. I was feeling the pressure to share my own respects to the innocent lives lost, and I also felt as if I would be judged if I did not post something. At the end of the day, I did not do anything; I did not see what purpose it was going to serve an image for the sake of following a crowd. I instead took the time to reflect on what I could do to make sure the lives lost were not in vain. I instead took the time to reflect on how I can stand out as a Tamil girl and ensure Tamils across the globe would also feel proud and motivated to carry on the Tamil culture and language for the generations to come. That is me paying respect to the lives lost. That is me finding the Maaveeran (Brave Soldier) within me. That is me falling in love with my Tamil culture yet again.

Silent meditation is really helping me break down and evaluate my thoughts. This is how I am going to silence my thoughts as well. Rather than judging myself for the thoughts I have, I have decided to analyse the thoughts that I am focused on and write about it to you. It is slowly giving me control over my thoughts, which is what I have always wanted. It is a work in progress but I am on this journey to healing my soul. Join me on this infinite journey of soul healing as well.

Distracted by the ‘Ping’

I was sat in ten minutes of silent meditation, before heading off to my night shift. I forgot to put my phone on silent. Although at the time I was annoyed at myself for this, I was glad that it happened the way it did.

My phone ‘pinged’ four times during the ten minutes. I did not once open my eyes. I tried my level best to consciously ignore it (the irony!). However, every time my phone pinged, I noticed a shift in my spiritual energy. My concentration diminished. My focus wavered. I mean, I have already been fighting against my uncontrollable series of thoughts, which is why I have started practicing silent meditation; but the phone going off every few minutes made me realise how my brain is programmed to respond to notifications. A small portion of my concentration is taken away from me every time this happens.

We do not realise how toxic our gadgets can be to our mental and spiritual growth. A simple thing like receiving notifications actually has a massive impact on our ability to be present and focus on the activity at hand. This explains why we struggle so much with mental health – we are unable to align ourselves to one state of being at any one time.

What have I learnt? Well, my mental health is important to me. For me to remain focused and present, I need to actively shut down all possible distractions. I need to learn to ‘Say No To The Ping’. This is going to be tough journey for me because I am physically attached to my phone and I have been using it as a way of diverting my mind away from my present moment negative thoughts, without realizing I am only making my situation worse. I do not know how I am going to break free from the distractions, but I know I am, and that thought alone is enough to make a start.

Silence

Today I decided to embark on the next stage of spiritual practice. The practice of silence.

I had one hour left until my night shift started. I therefore decided to sit down for 15 minutes in silence. After years of reading spiritual texts, today I decided to practice the first of many principles.

Remaining in silence was scary. I had to face all my thoughts. I became aware of how crowded my mind is with thoughts, predominantly about the future. Within the first minute of sitting in silence, I started crying. I became aware of my pent-up negative energy breaking down in the form tears. I focused on that one tear drop which rolled out of my right eye, down my right cheek, all the way down my neck, finally being soaked up by my jumper.

After the initial bout of crying, I started to calm down. I was still overwhelmed by how much I thought about the future. All my thoughts were about the ‘what ifs’, ‘what next’. I tried to calm my mind down by focusing on deep inhalation and exhalation. I managed to achieve around 20 to 30 percent stillness overall. Still got a long way to go!

What amazed me was how I got into the hang of sitting with myself in complete silence. I did not realize time fly by. I have gained the awareness that my state of constant anxiety is because of my thoughts about the future. By constantly practicing silence, and eventually meditation, I hope to calm those thoughts down, in order to create a space of stillness – the canvas for my creative growth and spiritual enlightenment.

How to start on a spiritual journey?

We are spiritual beings, already on a spiritual path. Our souls are united to the universe as one. Therefore, we do not need to search elsewhere to begin a spiritual journey. Our spiritual journey begins in the here, and now. We need to become aware and conscious of our thoughts, desires, feelings and emotions.

We live in a world right now where we love to talk and read about spirituality, thinking that this alone will grant us the right to call ourselves spiritually enlightened. The truth is that the desire to consciously embark on a spiritual journey must come from within. Books, podcasts may inspire us. That’s great, but to act on it is another story. Spirituality is an internal process, that cannot be confined to the limitations of words on a page, images/videos on social media. It is an inner awakening that occurs.

Behind this smile…

This smile holds so many secrets. Behind this smile, is endless days of exhaustion and tears; the number of days I have gone to sleep crying. I force myself to be a lot stronger than I actually am, for the fear that if I start to expose my tears, everyone/everything around me will crumble.

I always tell myself, it’s okay to cry. It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to have any sort of emotion so long as we know how to process it safely and appropriately. Why do we judge ourselves so soon for any emotion we feel? Why are we so keen to label every emotion we experience? I can feel any emotion I want. After all, I am a human.

I just pray we are all kinder to each other. Judge less. Love more. Live more.

Is it worth it?

I do not think my anxiety has ever been so bad. I’m currently on a FY2 rotation that is reminding me of how ego-centric some individuals in this healthcare world can be.

I can’t remember the last time I actually breathed properly. My breaths are so shallow and I constantly have a sinking feeling in my chest. I get stressed every time my name is mentioned in conversation. I am 5 days late on my period, which is freaking me out big-time. My skin is exploding with spots, even with clean-eating and skin care, which has never happened before.

I came into this profession in the hope of interacting with humans, and using the knowledge I have gained to help people. Instead, I constantly feel on edge that I’ve made a mistake. I am constantly judged by my seniors for what I do and don’t do. I was always seen as the most helpful individual; now I feel like I have shuffled to the bottom of the pile. I feel like I am a day 1 medical student, not getting the recognition I deserve for the hard work I am putting in.

I don’t complain that easily and I have a very high threshold to bullsh*t. For me to come to a breaking point where I can’t take this anymore, just shows me so much more that this particular specialty and its staff are not my kind of people.

I would like to believe that I am good human being who wants the best for her patients. I know I am safe doctor. However, I am being questioned left, right and centre for every single decision I take.

Enough of the stress. I am grateful for some of the lovely individuals I have met on this rotation who are genuinely the sweetest. I do not want the negativity of others impact my overall experience of this rotation, however difficult this may be.

Ever since the day I made the decision to be a doctor, as a child, I knew I wanted to be a GP. I was in denial all through medical school because of the stigma associated with being a GP. Those who decide to be GPs are deemed as lazy, not knowledgable and just generally boring. I, on the other hand, think GPs are one of the nicest group of humans you will find, who are so in touch with humanity and life, and they are so damn smart! They have a life outside of medicine which they are equally proud of, and that’s what I want. I strongly believe hospital medicine is the tip of the iceberg. All the hard work, to prevent the population from attending hospitals in the first place, takes place in the community by GPs and other community healthcare practitioners. Isn’t it something like 80 to 90% health consultants happen in the community? So for all those ‘stuck-up’ hospital practitioners (which isn’t everyone by the way, but there are few who think they are above all), it’s about time you stopped dumbing down community health-care.

I cannot wait for November! I will be so focused on my GP applications. And then from December onwards, I will be starting my GP rotation, which I genuinely cannot wait for.

Good things are coming Praveena. So for now, just be patient and remember to BREATHE. All the pain you are experiencing now is for you to appreciate the amazing-ness that is yet to come!

Situational Judgement – Do not trust too soon

So I haven’t blogged in a while.

I had a few incidences happen which has led me back to writing this time round.

For those of you who are new to my blog, my name is Praveena. I turned 26 last Friday. I am currently an FY2 junior doctor, working on my Trauma and Orthopaedic rotation. In addition to doctoring, I am also a dancer. I have put some emphasis on my career in Medicine just now because what I am going to describe is to do with my job.

For over the past year, I have been a very hard working individual. I am may not be the most knowledgeable at all times, but I work hard and smart to ensure everything is done for each patient, ensuring patient safety is of utmost importance always. Not once has anyone said I am anything less than hardworking, motivated and enthusiastic. In fact I know this for myself.

Last week I was on my night shifts. There was a trauma call so I was in A&E Resus with my Registrar. After a while, my Registrar told me to go back to wards and complete any outstanding jobs left there, and that he will stay on A&E and sort anything else out. I asked him whether he was sure, he said ‘yes of course.’ Therefore I came back to the wards and made a start on outstanding jobs.

My shift finished, I was off for the weekend. Today, I was meant to go in for work, however I was taken ill so I had to take a sick day. I caught up with my work colleague after she had finished work. We were just talking about the job and how it is going when she dropped into the conversation that the Registrar I was working with on my night shift last week, was complaining about apparently how I lazy I was, and that he had to do all the work in A&E and that I wasn’t there to help him out. This took me by a massive surprise because he was the one who told me to go back to the wards.

At the time my colleague disclosed this to me, I was fairly fine. Now, however, the more I think about it the more upset I am getting. Why? Because I am so hard-working, and I know it. I’ve worked really hard all my life and build a very good working reputation. It breaks my heart to think that one false accusation can really destroy it.

I have made a choice to be nice to everyone. I have made a choice to bite my teeth through any hardship. However, there is a very fine line. I am not here to be trampled on, and I am not here to stand and listen to people talk lies about me. I do not accept people use their authority to throw whatever garbage that comes out of their mouth at me.

I do not think of this as a failure. It is a lesson. It is a lesson for me to be more alert and aware of others. It’s not my job to please others. My loyalty lies with my job and my patients; not with the seniors who look down on their juniors. I will continue to be the lovely and grounded human that I am, because that is the best version of me. Sadly, however, I am also forced to be on high alert of anyone who is quick to judge me. If I hear anything of the sort again, I will have a low-threshold to approach them and address this issue with them directly, or even better, escalate it to my supervisors.

No junior doctor should be made to feel like they are peasants ever; sad truth is, there is a small group of Registrars who treat us juniors this way, and it is not on.

Just had these thoughts on my mind, and I was crying about it all evening. Wanted to just write about and and let out my anger, frustration and sadness.

Looking forward to work tomorrow.