If it makes you happy 

This training year is coming to an end. But I’ve forgotten how to relax, how to be happy. With the loom of exams finally over, I still think that something will crop up. If I’m occupied with something, then I usually don’t think about it. But if I’m not, or even during any “myself moments”, my mind starts to wonder. 

It particularly dawned upon me when someone told me that if I didn’t know how to be happy now, then I never will be. I realised that I needed to remind myself how to be ok again, how to stop overthinking and how to let go.

Now it’s usually train journeys that I get quite reflective on. But when I came back to London this time, it was on the underground that I was listening to this song. It was one I hadn’t heard in a long time, until the day of my resit exam. It was playing in the hotel as I was getting ready to check out, where I stayed there the night before my exam. So as I listened to this song it wasn’t just that event that was playing in my head, but also the thoughts I was realising about me. I listened to the lyrics (probably more intently than normal, against the background tube noises), and for some reason one tear came to my right eye. It really shocked me but I shook it off before anyone noticed. I realised there that I had to change.

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The Little People

Since coming back to work, I feel like I’ve been getting more frustrated with things, situations if you will. I think it all kicked off the day after I came back. I was pretty home sick with missing my baby nephew (and still am) and getting back into the work force was no treat. As everyone’s deadline for finishing off assessments was coming up, it didn’t surprise me how angry I was at the outcome a trainer gave me for one assessment. I didn’t know where it came from or the reasoning behind it, but being my nice little self I didn’t retaliate. I just did something way more productive instead-stayed in a bad mood all day.

I came home and it was still bothering me, and then it dawned upon me. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in this job, it was that it’s ok to be nice, but it’s not ok to be a pushover. So I wrote back, explaining why I wasn’t happy with my grade. I didn’t expect anything from it, but I just couldn’t keep quiet.

The next day I clearly bit off more than I could chew. Not only had I arranged my meeting with my main supervisor, but I also decided to do a compulsory out of hours shift that evening, which finished quite late. Coming home I was naturally exhausted, but I felt that I couldn’t take any time off-it was my fault I had arranged things in the last minute. But it was the next day that I was really hit hard.

After somebody declined to do an assessment with me, despite initially agreeing to do so, I was distraught.  Petty really, it was something so simple. But I realised that if you’re overworked and underappreciated, it can take just one little thing to tip the balance. It really upset me how there were just two of us that day including myself, who’d worked the evening before… yet I was previously declined time off.  I also did another late shift that day…like I said, I bit off more than I could chew.

I thought things were looking up by the end of the week. I suddenly received apologies that day for getting incorrect outcomes on assessments. I mean, I had to stand up for myself, otherwise who else will? It was at that time, when I thought that I may have finally earned a degree of respect. I didn’t think it was too much to ask for.

However, I realised that no matter how long you work in a place, some things just don’t change, and I think that got to me today. Things will be thrown at you, really some time- consuming things you don’t always have time for, but the man power is there so it’s used up. I hate being used. You know the system isn’t right, but you can’t change anything. You’re a junior doctor. It is how it is.

Yes this post is a bit of a rant, but I thought I needed to write it all down pen to paper to try and figure out exactly why I was feeling this way. I learnt that you can have certain expectations of people, and one of them is expecting them to care. Only then can things maybe change. However this isn’t always the case. It may have taken me some time to realise but now I know, even after all this time. I have to constantly keep telling myself that as Seth Godin has said, ‘no one’s coming’. Now I don’t expect anything.

Can’t Knock Me Down

I’m back! And I’m so glad to be here. These past couple of months have been some of the most stressful, busiest and miserable, that I hadn’t dedicated as much time to writing as I’d like to.

Since the events surrounding my exam, it felt like for a while I couldn’t come back from it. After about a couple of weeks of feeling rotten and self pity, I realised that I had to get back on track if I had any chance of passing the exam next time.

The hardest thing for me was critiquing myself. Not only this but I also had to work on my confidence… this was seriously knocked off (more so). I tried to think about how should I go about this and then did what most people do when they’re stuck-go on YouTube.

I remember literally youtubing “how to be confident TED lecture” hoping there was something there I could learn from…and low and behold there was!

This video became part of my morning routine every day for two months. I had to keep reminding myself of this gold dust knowledge and whenever my confidence was affected at work (which did happen)…I’d keep this on.

I’d get emails from the deanery which almost felt like they were sending their condolences for my failure. It was heart breaking and non of which instilled any confidence in me. There was some talk about the deanery getting more involved to help me pass, as they’ve done with other trainees, but this never happened. I wasn’t expecting any miracles from them, infact the opposite…and this was nicely demonstrated by a harsh email I was cc’d in from the deanery.

Ironically on the day I got this email, I was introduced to the works of author and entrepreneur Seth Godin and what he said really struck a cord with me…

Don’t wait to be rescued, no one’s coming. 

I realised I was playing the victim. I was called “fragile” and though that might have been true, I hated being called that. That wasn’t the me I knew from university and that wasn’t going to be the me now either. I had to be the hero of my own story, I had to be a survivor.

I read the book the above YouTube video was based on. I also bought the wristband which the video talks about and wore it to work every single day (and still do). If I felt rubbish and lost focus, I looked at my band “my self affirmation” as Dr Joseph calls it and kept going. I persisted at work and studied at home. I almost isolated myself from the others, keeping myself to myself and my head down.

Over the past few weeks my trainer had dropped me for another trainee to help his needs. I tried not to let it bother me too much. Plus, I had better things to focus on. To a certain extent, it may have worked out for me.

It was this alternative trainer I was assigned to that introduced me into the world of “Mindfulness” i.e how to be in the moment and not lose focus.

I was introduced to this video three days before the day of my exam. It could have well saved me. I did this meditation on the morning of my exam and it made me look at the whole experience completely differently-instead of getting nervous I was calm. Instead of worrying what could happen I was quite excited about what could potentially happen instead. I pictured myself passing the exam and being a winner (like Arnie or Tony Robbins), not worrying about any consequences. I reframed the situation entirely.

Thankfully all these tips paid off and I passed my exam. So yes this week has been a good one, after so many awful ones. But I didn’t write this to brag. Far from it. It was to collate everything I learnt over the past couple of months and to share with you things which you may wish to benefit from too…especially if you’ve ever been knocked down.

Just some songs which I think people can relate too…I’ve been a little out of date with my songs of the month, so I’ve made up for it with two of my faves instead

Flambé time

Just to take a little twist on things for a bit, I decided to write about a dish we tried at home, towards the end of last year. Its one by the legendary Julia Child called Crepes Suzette…definitely worth trying. In the kitchen was me, my boyfriend and Mrs Whiskers.IMG_20171125_155357

 ‘What are we making today?’

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‘I’ll just make myself comfy over here’

You’ll need the following ingredients for 12 crepes:

For the batter:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs

For the orange butter:

  • The zest of two oranges
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons orange liqueur (we used Grand Marnier)
  • 1/2 cup orange juice

For the Flambé:

  • 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur
  • 1/4 cup cognac (we used Courvoisier)

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‘Well this looks rather interesting!’

Whilst the butter is melting, mix the flour, water and milk with a whisk. Once melted, add the butter to the mixture, followed by a pinch of salt and three whole large eggs. Mix well.

It should look a little something like this. Allow this to rest so the flour absorbs the moisture. We kept it in the fridge for at least 10 minutes.

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Brush a thin layer of sunflower oil onto your non stick pan.

Then begin making your crepes! It’s really up to you how thick or thin you want them to be, but it helps to swirl the pan to keep the crepes even throughout. Wait for about a minute until the bottom is just brown and then flip it over, to brown the other side for roughly 30 seconds.

Once you’ve made the crepes keep them to one side. Its now time to make the orange butter…

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Add the zest of two oranges to 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Blitz for one minute. Once done, add 1/2 pound of unsalted butter and continue blitzing.

I like fancy bottles 🙂 Add three tablespoons of the orange liqueur followed by 1/2 cup of orange juice to the mixture. And yes…just keep blitzing.

And that’s your orange butter done! Now we’re coming onto the final stage…The Flambé!

Add your orange butter to a hot pan and allow it to boil down, almost caramalising it into a syrup. This should take about 5 minutes.

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Next, bathe and baste your crepes in the orange butter. You should be able to fit about 12 in the same pan by folding them into triangles (i.e. half then half again). JC calls them ‘wedges’. Sprinkle on one tablespoon of sugar, followed by a 1/4 cup of more orange liqueur…followed by a 1/4 cup of cognac!

We’re up to the final cooking stage now! Be very careful to light the cognac…I clearly wasn’t brave enough to do this.

 

Almost done I promise! I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that no dessert would be complete without its cocktail.  This is called ‘Midnight in Paris’.

Add 25ml of the cognac (I wasn’t kidding when I said I liked fancy bottles) to ginger beer (however much you want really).  Add an orange piece and that’s it!

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A refreshing assortment of drinks 🙂

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Et voila! As always, I hope you enjoy making this delicious dish, as much as you will enjoy eating it 🙂

The World Ain’t All Sunshine and Rainbows

This is quite a hard post for me to write. But I figured that if I did, I could overcome what has been an awful past few days- and just maybe put things into perspective.

The reason why I hadn’t blogged for quite some time was that I was hitting the books hard with a membership exam coming up. Books, study, practice and the like… Unfortunately it hadn’t paid off this time, and I failed.

Utterly gutted by a few marks off I was devastated and still am. The results came out on the Monday evening and once I found out,  I was terrified to go into work the next day. I wondered what people thought of me. Word had got around but everybody was very supportive. Having said that, as soon as someone came up to me to give me a rub in the back, arm around the shoulder or a holding of the hand, I’d wait until they left the room, only to burst into tears. I’d let down everybody’s expectations and in the one few times I tried to believe in myself, my faith was shattered.

Yes this may sound like an overexaggeration of things, but it’s just how I’ve felt and I know it’ll hopefully pass. I know I’ve done harder exams during medical school under much different circumstances-I was 18, I was in another country and I was at the risk of being kicked out (there were 90 medical students in the first year, 23 of us graduated). My family needed to remind me of this, and that it really isn’t the end of the world.

My boyfriend mentioned ‘We said that one day we’ll look back at medical school and laugh about it. One day we’ll look back at this exam and also laugh about this’. Are there times when I don’t do anything and my mind wonders back to this failure? Sure. But maybe everybody does that.

The thought of what others think about me runs in my mind still (so says the person who’s blogging about her failure). Helpful quotes have however, tried to keep me going.

Do your best, forget the rest –Tony Horton

Don’t care what the others (trainees) think, just give the world the finger-My trainer

This is a skill I still need to work on, not giving a da** of what the others think.

I don’t know why else I decided to share this really. It was probably just to put it all down in writing, and one day be a distant memory. Plus, I’m kinda used to blogging about the not so great side of life too…remember the burglary?

Every morning this week I’ve woken up with the thought-‘I failed’. Now that I’ll have to get back to it again, when my heart sinks (which I’m sure it will do many a time)…I will try and remember this:

I love Rocky 🙂

Song Of The Month

I thought long and hard about my song of the month, especially as it was the first one of the year 🙂

I found myself reflecting from the events of this week, both at home and at work. Coming back into the work environment did expose my vulnerability quite early on. However, having confided in the right people, I was reminded that it was ok.

I have also been following clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson, based at the University of Toronto. Having recently watched some of his YouTube videos, I came across this quotation from him which I wanted to share. I think it’s one which can apply to anybody, if they choose accept it.

“To love someone is to simultaneously accept their vulnerability, as a valid part of their being. Without this, there is no possibility of individual existence.”

Though I am not a Slipknot fan nor a total Stone Sour fan, this song by Corey Taylor has to be my favourite song right now. It’s touching and beautiful- and as always, I hope you enjoy this song as much as I do 🙂

Ocean Of Dreams

One of the reasons why I love to come back home is to relive some of my childhood memories. As I spend this week back home with my family, I have been reintroduced into the world of nature documentaries. I am reminded of the years when my dad and I would watch The Natural World every Sunday, with a cup of tea in our hands. Earlier today I was introduced by my dad into the new TV series- The Blue Planet II, narrated by the one and only David Attenborough. This programme blue my mind away.

This episode involved a team of scientists going deep into the Antarctic ocean, to find any forms of life. It was the first time anyone had made it to 1000 metres into the harshest ocean in the world, and I found it amazing to watch. All the footage they managed to capture was incredible…and some will stick with you forever. It brought back so many memories of what I used to think ‘discovering something’ would feel like. That thrill you get of finding something new, things which haven’t been unravelled yet.  A part of me will always want to be a scientist, that explorer. It saddens me that I haven’t dedicated enough time to this side of me. I need to try harder.

I had to remind myself of what Robert Greene mentioned before, always worth sharing again…

“First know what it is you really love doing, know what you are meant to do with your life.  As a child you would have been passionate about something, but because of the others around you, your parents etc. you found a career in something else.  You had passions at such a young age but you don’t remember them, or don’t think they are relevant. Figure out what you loved as a kid, and then decide how to incorporate this into your life’s work”.

Imagine your greatest dream, but listen to this soundtrack as you do (as if I couldn’t pick up more magnificent things from this programme)…

Now you tell me you still don’t want to do it.