Monday, February 27, 2012

Roller coaster life

Working with depression feels like this sometimes:

You're never quite sure what to expect. Sometimes, you feel great and you think, "Hooray! My depression is gone forever! Good job, antidepressants! Time to go save the world!" and other times you think, "I have to shower? Booooooooooo."

But if you're lucky, like me, you know deep down that there's sunshine on the other side of the storm, because you've got great family and friends supporting you through it. [/cheesy]

So even though it feels like my progress seems frustratingly slow... it is progress. And that's a good thing.

Friday, February 24, 2012


The college experience, year by year:





Thursday, February 23, 2012

You must be this tall to ride

Everyone is short for at least part of their life. Some of us just don't grow out of it.

I generally get two reactions to my stature. One is the classic insult:

The other is being smothered in gooey adoration.

Let's face it though, my height kinda DOES make me more adorable. And there are certainly perks to being small, like giving others service opportunities,

getting to practice neck flexibility at the movie theatre,

and retaining a child-like perspective.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Guess I have brain problems!

When I was in elementary school, my dad created little slips of paper for my teacher to fill out that would reward or punish me depending on whether or not I focused in class. Apparently, I tended to drift off and make random noises while the teacher was talking.

I have since come to learn that I wasn't just a strange child who didn't care about school. I have ADD.

I recognized my problem the first time I saw the list of symptoms. High on the list were forgetting what I was doing, fidgeting a lot, getting easily distracted, and walking away while people are talking to you.

When I finally got diagnosed and started treatment, my focus improved drastically.

On the other hand, even after trying several medications, I still struggle with the side effects. The medicine that I'm currently using, although so far the best option I've tried, gives me one of the worst possible side effects a busy premed could have right now: anxiety.

Within a half hour after taking my morning pill, I start to feel like my life is going to transform into a whirlwind of chaos and destruction if I don't do everything exactly right every second.

Sometimes I feel this deep sense of dread, like something fatally terrible is about to happen.

Usually, I manage to convince myself that everything is going to be okay, and I can handle my anxiety.

Some days, however, my anxiety becomes so unbearable that I drown completely. A tidal wave of nervousness breaks over me and washes away, leaving an empty void of apathy in its wake.

On these days, I begin to understand how Dria feels. Nothing is exciting anymore. I don't feel like being productive, but I can't even stand the thought of wasting time with temporary diversions that would help relieve stress in normal situations.

I get irritable, cynical, obstinate, and passive-aggressive. I hate everyone (even though I know I really don't).

Today has been one of those days. Fortunately, listening to fun. and drawing these silly pictures has helped my mood a bit. I think I'm gonna try a different medicine, though.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Swim rebellion

In elementary school, I took swim lessons. They were fantastic! After nearly drowning when I was seven, my new-found ability to not drown in the deep end was something I enjoyed.

In the third grade, I was in one of the advanced classes that got to swim in the deep pool. After one particular lesson, my teacher promised us that we would get to play a game... after we did the front stroke across the pool and back.

This didn't sit well with me. I was tired and didn't particularly feel like getting water up my nose and getting more tired. Plus, I always seemed to swim lopsidedly, ending up far away from my intended destination, so it was a bit awkward for me.

So I did something I had never done to an authority figure before (except for parents). I said NO.

The swim teacher asked me why. I said I didn't want to. She asked me to do it in a politer voice. I said no. She told me to do it. I said no. She threatened me with punishment. I took the punishment.

While the other kids played sharks and minnows, I sat on a swivel chair beside the pool (still not sure why there was a swivel chair right next to the pool), shivering in my wet swimsuit. When my mom picked me up, my teacher told her of my rebellion and I was further punished at home.

I can't remember if I continued with swim lessons or not after that. But since that day, I've hated front stroke and avoid it whenever possible.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This will probably make you sad

I've been taking a lot of risks lately. I've written about things that are personal to me, things that I don't really talk about with people. I have a fear that no one will understand, or that they simply won't care. But as I've shared these thoughts with others, I've discovered that there are other people out there just like me; people with questions, people with heartache. I'm going to take another huge risk and talk about something that only Jordan, God, and a few assorted doctors know about. The purpose of this post isn't to ask for sympathy. I feel like I need to put my experience out there, so other people won't feel so alone.

In December, I had a miscarriage.

It happened during finals week. Well, probably. I'm still not sure when exactly it happened, which was why it was such a shock--there wasn't any warning. My body acted like the pregnancy was going along as it should. But when we went to the doctor for an ultrasound, he told us the worst possible news. There was no baby. It had somehow stopped growing.

I couldn't believe it. It seemed unreal. How could the baby that we had already named and already loved just be gone? Why would God give us the green light to have a baby and then let it die? Had it ever even been alive, anyway? Was it ever a person, or just a clump of cells that never grew properly?

So instead of sharing the exciting news with our families as we had planned, we were left with nothing. The holiday passed in a daze, and we returned to our empty, lonely apartment, not understanding why life had been so cruel, or how we were supposed to survive the next few weeks. We had to pick up the broken pieces of our hopes and dreams and simply press forward, fervently clinging to the hope that things would be okay, someday.

I don't feel as sad about it as I used to. It's hard to be surrounded by babies and pregnant women in Provo, but I still like babies so it's not so bad. I know I'll get to be a mother someday, whether it's through having my own children or adoption. But I think a small part of me will always miss the baby that I never got to have, and wonder if it was ever really a person, and if I'll ever get to meet him.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The barbecue

When I was eleven, a mountain right by my neighborhood caught fire.

My mom woke me in the middle of the night, told me to get dressed, and said the mountain was on fire. That was enough to jolt me awake.

A fireman had been going door-to-door in our neighborhood, telling everyone that they needed to be prepared to evacuate in case it got any worse. I couldn't imagine the fire being any bigger, but I prepared in my eleven-year old way, throwing my favorite toys and diary together, in case we had to drive away.

While my mom turned on some cartoons to distract me and my brother, my dad was talking with the neighbors. I thought originally that they were coming up with some sort of neighborhood defeat-the-fire plan, but he was really just at a barbecue, watching the fire with our neighbors. Apparently he wasn't struck with the sense of terror that my brother and I were feeling.

Happily, the fire never made it to any houses, we didn't have to evacuate, and everything was okay. The worst thing that happened as a result was the mountain looking even drier and browner than it had before.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Weekend adventures

We visited my family this weekend. My mom complimented me on my beautifully even, well-kept hair.

(And gave me a haircut. Love you, Mom!) We went to my cousin's wedding reception on Friday night. The thing I'll remember most about it was what Alexa said as we ate dessert.

It's hard to be an eight-year-old in a sea of adults.

I also ate more cookies than was strictly necessary.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lesson in depression

Maybe you've never had depression, and you don't know what it's like. Here's a small glimpse:

It feels like everyone is happy but you.

It feels like everything is impossible and you don't want to try, because it's probably pointless anyway.

Being around other people feels like the biggest chore in the world. They're loud. They have "more important" problems than you do. You don't know what to say because you feel miserable and empty inside, but don't want them to pity you.

You're afraid people will judge you. You're afraid that they'll write you off as lazy, as imagining your illness as "all in your head", or that you're not a real Christian. Real Christians have faith and pray and get over sad feelings, right?

You feel guilty all the time. You feel guilty that you don't enjoy going to Church, even though you have a testimony and love God and care about other people. You feel guilty for not taking care of other people. You feel guilty for skipping class and making things difficult for your teachers and classmates. You feel guilty for being a burden for the people you love, even though they insist that you're not a burden.

You feel exhausted with all these strange emotions that don't seem to make sense, and you're ashamed that your emotions, not your logical reasoning, rules you 97% of the time.

Worst of all: it feels like it will never, ever end.

Disclaimer: Please don't be alarmed about the state of my mind. I really am working on this whole depression thing. I'm figuring out which antidepressants will work for me and I'm seeing a counselor. I just want to show people what it's like to be depressed. It's hell.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

More of that good stuff

It's been one of those weeks. I'm not 100% sure what I even mean by that. Depression does weird things to a kid. Or maybe I'm just weird anyway.

Paint. Who knew?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

one of us won't last the night

Sometimes, I feel like preparing for med school is like the most epic ninja battle ever experienced. I probably only feel like that because I've been watching so much Naruto, but the point is that every day is a battle between my sanity and finishing everything I have to do for school, research, MCAT prep, service, etc. Historically, I've dealt with this battle by procrastinating and ignoring the important stuff when it gets too stressful, and somehow that worked out for me. This semester, however, I have decided that if I really want to be a doctor, I need to get my but in gear and not procrastinate anymore!

On Monday, I worked my butt off--I did reading assignments for almost every single class this semester, including some reading that isn't due for several weeks. I watched 2 online MCAT prep course lectures and I can't even remember what else. Right before my 4pm class, however, I crashed. I was studying for our phonetics quiz, and I felt the most uncontrollable anxiety well up in my body, spreading out until it began to take over my mind like some sort of poisonous narcotic. I tried to focus on my studying, but all I could think was that I was going to fail at everything I could ever do that day.

So I watched Naruto for the last 8 minutes before class. I felt awkward watching anime in front of the whole class (since I was sitting on the front row), but it was all I could do to keep my sanity intact. Those 8 minutes probably saved my life (and maybe the lives of my poor classmates who would have been innocent victims of my mental breakdown). The quiz ended up being super easy (although I did make some really stupid mistakes on it), and I was able to get back to work when I got home from class that night, having some great experiences with my home teaching visits and finishing the day satisfied and content.

Tuesday was a similar experience, but I caught myself earlier on and took a break from studying until I felt ready to get back to it. So I guess I'm getting used to balancing my sanity and my assignments/studies, but I guess I'm just going to have to battle every day until the MCAT is over.

Wish me luck!