My Burn-Out  by Yasmine Hareb, Algeria

It was almost a year ago. I felt terrible. I felt terrible, and I was in a dire situation. As a medical student, I am under a lot of pressure. My first year of medical school was hard, but everyone kept telling me that this was normal. The second-year was less difficult, but not at all easy. The third one, this last year, was the limit to my stress.

A few months after the start of the school year, I started to have panic attacks. I had the same type of panic attack during my first year of school, but now I was experiencing it every day, everywhere, and at all times.

One day I was sitting alone on the stairs at the university and crying like a baby. Tears were flowing from my eyes like rivers. My friends were calling me on my phone, but I didn’t answer. Instead, I chose to go home. On my way home, I ran into my friend Yanis. Yanis has blonde hair, blue eyes, and has a smile on his face at all times.

I greeted him quickly, hiding my face from his view. He stopped me, “Hey Yasmine! What’s going on? Where are you going?”

I told him that I was alright and that I needed to go to…but I started to cry, again.

Yanis replied, “What? Are you alright? Are you kidding me? Do you really think that I’d let you pass me with this face? Come with me. Talk to me, please. I’m here. Look at me. I’m here, and I’m listening.” But I couldn’t talk, I was drowning in my tears. I lacked oxygen. I wanted to scream, to shout, to hit something or someone. Yanis was there, facing me. He was mostly silent. The only thing that he said was, “Ok, cry if it relieves your pain, but at some point, you’ll have to stop.” However, I couldn’t stop.

We sat together for a few hours. I finally calmed down. Yanis tried to me make me laugh, to make me smile and he was good at that. I cried and smiled at the same time.

At one point, he put his hands on my shoulders, faced me and told me, “I may not be your best friend or your ‘boyfriend’, but I understand all of this. I also went through this. This feeling of emptiness may never disappear, but the truth is that you’re just growing up. Trust me, it’s a good thing. You are twenty-two, and you’re becoming an adult. Isn’t this a good thing? Take your time. You need time to find peace.

You beautiful girl, strong and smart. Look at you. This is not you, not what you want to be and not what I want you to be. I get it. You want to quit, but don’t ever think about it. You will do great things, trust me. You will be such a great doctor,. This is all worth it. If at any time you have evil thoughts, chase them away, do not hang on them as they will destroy you. Think positively and surround yourself with positive people. I want you to know that if I’m here. If I’m telling you all this, then I really believe it. I have faith in you, and I have faith in everything that you will do.

Now, go home and get some rest. Stop crying. Tomorrow is another day.”

Today, I don’t know if Yanis realizes that his words have stuck with me. I wish that one day I will be able to tell him how grateful I am.

It’s so important to have good people around us because human beings can not build the world alone.


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