I´ve been hesitating whether I should give this a try for several months now. Let me tell you I feel terribly awkward about this.
First, I would like to say I am sorry for my English. I am not a native speaker and am still learning.
I realize well that supporting someone via online crowdfunding might be quite risky – you never know how much real the whole reason and people behind it are. Therefore I´ve decided to also write down a little bit about my past and background in order for you to make decision about whether you want to support my campaign or not. Also, I have no problem discussing this issue more in detail either (including providing the documments from the faculty I used to study at and so on). I am not displaying the picture of my face directly with my campaign as the information here is very personal and delicate (however, as I said – the ´verification´ is no problem).
I am trying to rationalize this reminding myself that once I am graduated (I wish..), I would surely contribute to helping hundreds of ill people. I wish I could help many people both as a physician and a researcher. I wasn´t that lucky in my life and that´s why I am – after long months of actively trying to solve my issues on my own – here. Thank you for reading my story, I appreciate it.
I don´t want to sound like a whiny. I think I have strong personality and have always been working hard in order to achieve my dreams. But sometimes, if you miss the factor of luck in your life, life can be quite harsh.
I am sharing my story also because I would like to warn those who also struggle financially and dream about studying medicine, that sometimes no matter how motivated, hard-working or passionate you are, it might just not work out technically and might bring more pain than gain.
It would be also great if my story may perhaps warn poor and/or very young people about the risks of giving a birth to a baby if you are not well-off enough to even také care of yourself.
(In case you don´t want to read the pathetic story of my life and my background, please skip directly to the section number 2)
1) I was born 26,5 years ago. To a 19-year old mother who didn´t have a job, nor a place to stay. My father left me before I was ever born. My childhood is the reason why I support antinatalism.
As my mother didn´t have anywhere to go, we had to live together with my grandparents in a small flat (later also with my step-father). The flat was so small that I didn´t even have my own room. I had to share one room together with my sister and also with my grandmother. Even in puberty. I never had the chance to taste what privacy was. Having to live like this was hard. Not only couldn´t I ever invite my few friends over to spend some time with me, but also my family was having arguments on daily basis. Everybody in my family hated my grandfather (I´ve never found out why was that as no one ever spoke the truth in my family. Speaking the truth and having emotions were somehow banned.) I was not allowed to talk to him. He enjoyed alcohol and many times I saw him terribly drunk. Sometimes mortal drunk so much that he couldn´t even stand (and bruised his head as a consequence). Being drunk meant even more arguing, so naturally I´ve developed a hate relationship towards alcohol and have never got drunk myself.
As I didn´t know what was the terrible thing my grandfather did, I felt sorry for him seeing him so lonely, especially on occasions like Christmas. I hated Christmas (as much as any other day). How was I expected to be happy enjoying the Christmas table meanwhile my grandfather was sitting alone locked in his room just 2 metres away from me in the same flat?
The days when my grandfather and father argued were the worst. I had to listen to threats about how my father will strangle my granddad. Every time, I just cried and was shaking with fear what was about to happen the next minute.
When you are a child and don´t have rationality developed enough yet, when there is drama and arguments around, you feel like YOU are the reason behind why are others arguing.
No wonder I was a terribly anxious child. All this tension in my family and feeling the very deep depression all my members of family were constantly experiencing caused that I was always in a state of constant fear and tension.
I´ve always felt like a burden in my family.
Unfortunately, due to cowardice of my parents, I had to wait for 24 years to find out the reason behind this.
On the 1st March of 2000, I was asked by my parents if there is something I would like to get as a present for my upcoming birthday. I knew very well what I wanted. As I already said – I never had any privacy at all as I had to share the bedroom together with my sister and grandmother. I wanted so much to have the chance to bring my classmate over to my place (just as other children could) that I was really sad that I can´t. But because I was this anxious child who thought they couldn´t have any wishes whatsoever, I wasn´t able to tell this to my mother. I was scared. Scared of other possible argues. However, a few days later, I simply felt like I can´t be living like this anymore so I decided to write a letter about this to my mother. The letter was written during one night in my bed, under the blanket (so no one else would know about it because if it was during daytime, either my sister or grandmother would immediately find out as there was no privacy ever.
The letter was written in a very rational way and I didn´t forget to highlight many times that ´I am sorry if my letter causes trouble and that I don´t want to upset my dear grandma and that she simply can´t be told about my wish.
Well, I would know in just a few hours what a terrible mistake I made when decided to share my wish. Naturally, my mother couldn´t do anything about it unless she would tell my grandma first. Well she was so angry with me that she just started yelling at me things like ´Because of you, I have to go to the old people´s home, thank you very much, I really hope you are happy now.´ and stopped talking to me for several WEEKS. I felt TERRIBLE. I regreted my stupid wish so much and felt responsible for upsetting my grandma. I couldn´t stop thinking about how much pain I caused her and the fact she wasn´t talking to me anymore was unbearable. At one point my grandmother even stopped eating and I didn´t know what to do. There was nothing I could do. From this day on I´ve started to literally hate my birthdays. I still do. The memories are too deep, too permanent to be forgetten. Since that day I haven´t celebrated my birthday anymore. I didn´t feel like I deserve it.
My 10th birthday was the first day when I started to think about suicide. As there was nothing I could do to fix the problems all around me, I had no other option. Every night I just cried until I would fall asleep. Unfortunately I wasn´t able to come up with a plan of how to disappear forever.
So much I regret I haven´t been aborted. So much.
Yes, I had to feel like nothing but a burden. Moreover, there has always been this weird relationship with my father. He never seemed to like to spend time with me. I´ve never felt like he liked me at all. He never played with me, there was no interest at all. I felt like I was annoying him. Naturally this made me feel very insecure and made me think I just simply am not good enough for anyone to like me. On the other hand, my father seemed to genuinely enjoy his time spent with my sister. Of course I was sad about it but what could I do. So I just started living kind of in my own world, distanced from the real world in order to protect myself.
I had to wait for 24 years to find out why I´ve never felt connection from my father. Well, I wouldn´t have probably found out if my father didn´t leave my mother (he cheated on her for the period of their over 20-years marriage and has several other children with other women) – because that (the period during the break-up) was the point were they both felt the urge to show to me and my sister who ´is the worse parent here´ - so my mother decided to reveal the secret to my sister – that my father isn´t my father. My biological father didn´t want me to be born in the first place (I wish my mother was the same opinion – words can not describe how much I wish...) and left my mother ever before I was born. Unfortunately (and as expected) my mother didn´t bother to tell this to her second daughter (me) so it was my sister who revealed this shocking fact to me. My sister doesn´t really care about emotions of other people either, so she thought it would be really funny just to talk to me on the phone 2 days before microbiology exam in the summer and saying ´by the way – out father is not your father´ (followed with burst of laughter from her side) prior to hanging up...
I assume I don´t need to describe I really didn´t like the timing she picked for sharing this with me. I could no longer concentrate on preparing for the very difficult exam.
(Fortunately I got A plus as I love microbiology and studied hard for several weeks...unfortunately I had no one to share my joy with. I ´celebrated´ this success tidying up my room and ironing laundry.)
The trend of great cowardice and trying to sugarcoat and hide every truth from anyone else has always been in my family. My family thought that hiding the truth equals ´protection´ and is the way to go (makes sense, right?) - at least that´s what they told me when I asked them why they never told me the truth.
So it wasn´t really a surprise when I had to find out my grandfather died (a few years later after my unforgettable 10 th birthday) – apparently they thought they could manage to hide this painful secret from me even despite the fact until his death my grandfather lived in the same 3-room flat, huh.
As I said – they didn´t bother to tell me my granddad is dead and I had to found out myself from the telegram placed on the kitchen´s table. I think I don´t need to explain to you how it felt..
Not only my family life was painful, even time spent in school was hell as I was a bullied child. They bullied me for 3 things:
- My appearance – especially my long ugly nose. I was called names like ´the pig-nose´ and ´Pinocchio´ and constantly reminded ´to be careful not to step at my long nose´. It was horrible. So much I wished I could afford a nose job. So much.
- I was clever. I had A-grades only and was doing very well in all subjects. Other children hated me for that.
- I was the ´good girl´. Well-behaved, the one who didn´t want to go smoking with them and who didn´t enjoy alcohol (yes, there were smokers even at the age of 10).
Other sad thing is that this all just buried the talents I had as going to school was hell and unenjoyable ´thanks´ to those children who bullied me. I was a clever child and LOVED learning and wanted to attend a school without bullying so much.
I come from a very small village. An area with a high unemployment rate. Many other children had to grow up in poverty here as well. When your parents don´t have enough money even feeding you with quality food and not junk crap only and you are forced to bath in the water that has already been used bathing by the others member of your family, life is not that enjoyable, trust me.
I had almost zero friends as there were only a few children in my village and they ALL smoked, drank alcohol and simply just did bad things (one can not blame them when you think about what circumstances they had to live in, also feeling like nothing but burden). I didn´t want to end up taking drugs as them.
Even though I hated going to school, I also hated summer holidays. Every May, I knew the same scenario was about to come – spending whole 2 months nowhere but alone in our village. Have you ever been stuck in the middle of nowhere, on your own (moreover in the era without internet connection) for more than a week? Well, that´s what all my holidays looked like. Having no money as a kid, I couldn´t do different. Naturally it made me depressed. The fact that I wanted to get back to school – even when it meant the place of constant bully – so that I didn´t have to spend all days just with myself, does tell it all...
Obviously my mother felt a little bit guilty so she thought it would be a good idea to try and come up with something that could replace me the active life and mostly love I so much longed for. But because my mother was uneducated (and barely able to také care of herself), she didn´t realize that her ´good intentions´ being based on trying to bring me pleasant emotions with stuffing me with terrible amounts of sweets, potato chips, ice cofee and other junk food, only made my life worse.
You can not blame overweight children for being overweight if you are the one who made them addicted to sugar in the first place! My mother never taught me what it looks like to eat a healthy balanced diet. I didn´t eat vegetables and wasn´t into fruits either. I just hated the taste because I wasn´t used to it. Later I found out they started giving me chocolate even before I was 1 year old. Not a good idea, really. Every time I seemed being sad, my mother would bring me sweets. Even today, she thinks that dulling whatever pain for a brief moment with unhealthy foods is just perfectly fine and the way to ´solve´ your problems. Denial, denial, denial...that´s how I was brought up.
I guess I don´t need to describe much how much overweight she made me. I was becoming a teenager, being an overweight girl. Unfortunately I couldn´t even attend any sports classes, nor was I given the chance to learn to play any instrument.
Naturally, when your parents don´t show you that one should love themselves and that you don´t have to suffer 24/7 in life, you are going to have problems with self-esteem yourself as well.
Children see their parents as gods. That is natural. What is going on in your family, in the place that is supposed to be the safe place, is considered by the children as the norm., as what it should look like and is right. So for many years I thought it was just the norm to suffer all the time and that I might be responsible for my suffering.
By the time I was overweight, having no friends and no possibilities to do some interesting hobbies, where was I expected to look for motivation to exercise and lose weight? When the only thing that would change after that would be the numbers and my otherwise my life would just remain the same? So I just kept on overeating. Do I need to describe how great I felt when no one wanted to dance with me in the ´great ball´ (= the final ´dance ball´ that follows after 3 months of regular dance lessons during the 2 nd grade of high school – not obligatory, but 95% of people do visit those classes and so did I as I wanted to learn how to dance) – that miserable moment when all the eyes of all people of the town (during this ceremony, your family and friends come to see you) are on you and while everyone is already paired in couples to dance and waiting for you to be picked up buy any guy so that another 100 people can already start dancing? I must have looked terrible because no one wanted to dance with me. I felt SO ashamed. Standing there in the middle of the hall, waiting for any guy to do me the favour. SO humilliated. I just wanted to run away.
I was the only one person who didn´t go to celebrate with others after the dancing show was over. Instead, I spent my night crying in the bed, knowing that I can lose those kilograms. ´Maybe if I was perfect enough, people around might like me. Perhaps even my family.´, I thought.
Immediately, I started to eat much less. And when I am saying ´much less´, I actually mean ´barely 800 kcal a day´. Plus I exercised for 60 minutes every day. Quickly I started to lose weight. I assume I don´t have to add that because I liked the fact that finally there is at least one thing I can control just myself in my life, my good intentions turned into another extreme. I became anorexic.
I was obsessed. Thinking about food all the time, feeling strong that I resisted all the tasty foods others were indulging in (yes, how stupid of me it was). I HAD to exercise every day, otherwise I would feel guilty. And lazy.
When I was the biggest, I weighted 205 pounds. In a few months I managed to drop to 95 pounds.
Of course I experienced all the side effects as brittle nails, falling hair, amenorrhea..But that didn´t stop me from that unhealthy behaviour.
Of course my family noticed how terribly thin I was and were trying to talk to me to change my behaviour. But that was, naturally, with no success as plain ´look at yourself, you look terrible´ wasn´t the way to go...Anyway – that´s exactly what I had to listen to in my overweight period.
Of course deep down I knew something was wrong with my behaviour and I longed so much for someone to come and save me.
As my body couldn´t také such abuse anymore, I started to overeat again (the problem was that even when I was previously starving, one might think I was eating a healthy diet, simply just not enough calories. Unfortunately that wasn´t the case. Due to lack of money, I kept on eating junk food (´food´, yeah), with almost zero fresh fruits and vegetables – so my body was starving enormously as I lacked all the vitamins and minerals – that´s why people experience yo-yo effects when dieting – due to lack of BALANCE and habits. So I gained lots of weight back.
What was I supposed to do without money? I developed kind of social phobia (as I was always just laughed at and reminded how ugly and terrible I am) and just decided to kill my remaining 2 years in high school playing PC games and reading lots of books.
(If it wasn´t for the PC-games, my English would be even much worse than it is because our ´English´ in high school consisted most of the time of ´ok, just do what you need to do, Im going to my office´ from our teacher.)
During the summer holidays of 2008 (there are 2 months off school during summertime in both elementary and high school in the Czech Republic), I was expected to know what I am going to do with my life once I passed the graduation exam in May of 2009. Until this point I dreamt about becoming a lawyer. I thought I had talents for that and that it would be very interesting to study law (well, I still think it would be, even today – as I ADORE to learn about everything). So when we had to decide which ´additional´classed in the last grade we would attend, I enrolled for philosophy and history. But then, one day..I changed my mind completely.
Throughout my teenagehood, my mother was experiencing health issues. She had to undergo many surgeries on her mandible. One day, I joined her for a visit to a hospital 150 km far away from us, in the 2 nd biggest city in our country. I immediately fell in love with the city. It had so many things I lacked until that point! There were people all around (even though I used to be kind of scared of people, this was different – I was anonymous and yet among people, so not feeling alone), there seemed to be no boredom and mainly I loved the hospital environment. There were tens of people in white coats everywhere and all I could think of was ´Wow, this does make sense, that´s how I could really help people, that´s how I could feel useful and make others happy! (As I love to make others happy.) - At that moment, I knew I was going to try and apply for medical school.
No one believed I could do it. I was in my final year of high school and until now I didn´t know ANYTHING about chemistry, nor physics (I got really bad grades in these subjects.). I decided to change the additional classes and switch for physics, biology and chemistry.
(We had an AMAZING biology teacher – she was terribly strict but that´s what I appreciated in the end – thank you, Mrs H, you were an excellent teacher.)
I knew that if I would work hard enough, I could do it. So I did work hard. I enjoyed learning everything from the scratch so much. For the money I got as a Christmas gift from my grandmother, I bought several textbooks and spent every single moment of the day (except from the time when I was sleeping) studying and preparing for the entrance exam.
Of course I knew that if I was accepted to medical school, it would be very expensive as I would have to move far away from the home and there were other expenses as well. But my parents (as they liked the idea of me becoming a doctor, of course – I would be the 1 st person in our family who ever applied to study at univeristy – my mother only managed to finish elementary school.) reassured me that my father started to do much better in job and that we´ll be fine and I shouldn´t worry much. Well, so I decided (for the 1 st time in my life) not to worry much as I was told and trust them and just keep on focusing on my studying. Sadly, by that time, I couldn´t know my father really wasn´t my father (it feels really great to be reminded how much I should cherish how much he invested into me throughout my life even though ´I am not his own daughter´...yeah, thank you, mum, for giving me the chance to decide whether I wanted to be brought into this circumstances in the first place,...) and also didn´t expect him to ´produce´ other offspring with other women again, who he would have to pay for living, too...
For those 9 months of preparing for the entrance exams I couldn´t worker harder than I did. Even though I still had zero social life and was doing literally nothing but studying all days long, I never complained and was actually enjoying it (even though I was quite exhausted as I didn´t eat much and didn´t sleep enough). Mostly – finally, after 19 years, there seemed to be the light at the end of the tunnel that could make my life better. I would have a purpose, if I was given the chance to do what I would love. It was all exciting and I was looking forward to the exams.
There were 7 other people in my high school who also applied for medical school. In the end, I was the only one person in my school who got accepted to all the univerities they applied for, even though I was considered to be the loser who is the least likely to ever get accepted. According to the results, I performed really well, even in in person interviews.
Well, I was expected to be happy as my dream came true, right? Well, if only. If only.
Those 9 months of stress and hard work turned into ´ok, now I can have a few days just for relax´ - well, that´s when you have time to really THINK about things and your life. And deep realization hit me with such intensity that I felt nauseated (yes, psychosomatic medicine is a real thing!) and panicked – how the hell am I supposed to enjoy my life now since I look like 90-year old lady naked thanks to my mother feeding me up properly and thenlosing all this weight?! (By that time, I was thin and still am nowaydays as I LOVE vegetables, fruits and just the taste of healthy food and also sports)
It was (still is) traumatizing. Imagine the pain when you look well dressed, are asked out by a nice guy and then realize you have to say ´no, thanks, no offence´ just because of the stupidity of your parents?
Yes, I am almost 27 years old and even though there is nothing wrong with me, I no longer fear people or am overweight, I still have zero social life or nice MEMORIES at all. There is no point to living this way.
(In order to undergo a weight loss cosmetic surgery, it would require about 20,000 USD which I, naturally, do not have and am not even going to have in the next years because of my situation described below.)
What do you do when there is excruciating pain and problem in your life that you sadly can not solve? You turn into denial. In order to survive. Well, that´s what I did. I had to find a way how to DULL my feelings so that I wouldn´t feel emotions. There are many (silly) ways to do that. I chose (not that intentionally, of course) to starve myself again. My form of abuse. I ate just a little (and only junk stuff) so that I wouldn´t feel my pain. It was better to be in a state of feeling nothing at all than feeling constantly deprived of the normal pleasures in human life I couldn´t have (like sex life and human touch).
I was even thinner than back in high school. One day I almost died of heart failure as my potassium levels were so low that my heart almost stopped.
I think I just subconsciously wanted to die as there was (and still is not) any way how to obtain so much money so that I could afford all those surgeries.
(I am sorry, now I realize I may want to make my story shorter becuase it´s getting terribly long.)
Long story short – from the 1st day of my medical studies, I didn´t attend a SINGLE one medical party (and there were a lot of them), nor did I enjoy studying and the rivality in anatomy labs and all those things I was so much looking forward to. I haven´t been on a single date. Not only did I barely manage to get to school as I was anorexic, feeling ill and exhausted (like being alive and already dead at the same time), but another shock came soon – my family started to experience financial troubles so I had to start working while being in the 1 st year of my medical studies. The hell was just getting worse and worse..
As I had to work and study at the same time, I didn´t do well in school at all. My grades were terrible and at one point I was even kicked out of school and had to také another entrance exam after waiting for 6 months. At this point, I know I shouldn´t have applied again because it would just mean a miserable life again, but what was I supposed to do with no education and after so many months of nothing but hard work? I thought that if you, generally, work hard enough and are passionate, enthusiastic and want to help people and are a good person, nothing can go wrong – how terribly naive of me...
When you lead a stressful life for so many years like I did, naturally your health gets affected. In medical school, I developed many health problems, that, in 2014, resulted in life-threatening food allergies. I almost died several times due to anaphylaxis. Words can´t describe how terrible it feels like to be choking.
It got to the point where my body was completely shut down and at one point I wasn´t even able to get out of bed and had to be hospitalized. With pancreatitis. I was looked at as a medical mystery in the hospital because I was young, slim, never drinking alcohol and yet I developed pancreatitis.
They didn´t help me much in the hospital and I basically get back home feeling the same. That was when I no longer could attend classes , nor job and started getting into debt which I still am...
I had to quit medical school this year after 4 years of studying. Due to lack of money.
I am already 100% healthy now and managed to get rid of ALL my allergies. I no longer have to live in fear (as for food) , carrying EpiPen with me and for the first time in my life I have healthy relationship with food which I didn´t even expect to happen.
(Not that it would matter now as my life basically has ended even sooner than it could begin..but at least it could help thousands of other people who also experience ANY food-related problems themselves as I´ve been studying the topic of nutrition, food allergies, the relationship between nutrition and psychiatry and many other things for almost 8 years now. I have lots of scientific knowledge (and mostly my own experience) in this field and am convinced I could help many people stop suffering. (That´s what I´ve been actually doing – offering my help-advice for free to show people that you can also get allergy-free and also slim and be in great mood – but I was only rejected as I do not have a diploma so I am not taken seriously.)
I wanted to become a surgeon (a traumatologist) and also a researcher. This is (was) my biggest wish. I LOVE medicine and science. I can not describe how sad and depressed I feel when I hear about my former classmates who are now enjoying their internships in fancy hospitals in the US.
Don´t get me wrong, I must sound like a pathetic chronic complainer. The truth is I am far from being lazy. I am far from being passive. The last months I spent looking for a job that could help me get rid of my debt and save money so I could continue my studies. I´ve travelled extensively (also to other countries) to find such a job but sadly without education and zero praxis, I didn´t find any job that would enable me to live without continuing stressing over whether I have enough money to ever feed myself.
As I feel very fit and physically healthy now, it is even more frustrating as I feel enthusiastic but it doesn´t help to get to a better place in my life as I lack opportunities.
The greatest feelings I´ve experienced in my life were those when I made someone happy, when I was able to help someone. But you can´t make others happy if your own life is miserable.
I feel terrible. I can´t live like this any longer. I am completely broke now, in a debt and there is only one logical conclusion left..
I don´t know what it is to live without constant fear of whether I´ll have enough money to pay the bills or afford enough amount of quality food. Or to have some social life or relationships.
Words can not describe how stressed (and sad, of course) I´ve been feeling. There are not many things that could make you happy in your life left if you have to think about money all the time.
To be honest, when thinking about how sweet it would be to be able just to fall asleep now and never have to wake up again, I feel GREAT relief. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I feel peace when thinking about it. No more struggle, no more false hope.
I´ve forgiven my mother and have always been trying to change her life for better as well even though she didn´t always treat me the best – I think every living being deserves compassion and anger wouldn´t help me anyway.I do not recall a single day of my life that was anything but stress and worries mainly.
I wish I could just give my ´chance´ to live to someone who can enjoy their lives but are dying – I would do it in a heartbeat.
Frankly..so much I wish I was aborted. There is no happy-ending awaiting me. There will be no big twist in my life, changing the hell I am living into something joyful. I am done trying. I am done sweating. For no reason. I just regret I have stayed so strong for so long. For no reason.
Of course (thanks to my life experience) I am not naive to think that telling my story might save me from the inevitable and that I could also taste what it feels like to be enjoying life instead. So why am I doing this? Probably because it´s been long and painful 26,5 years and until now I haven´t told anyone. I needed to get things of my chest, I needed to tell someone what I´ve been through.
And also – I hope the next time, before you judge anyone based upon what you can see, you may want to think about what background they may come from..
I feel terribly humilliated for launching a campaign and would prefer just to disappear in a minute. But sadly there are not many ways how to do this painlessly. (A free Dignitas voucher would be the best Christmas gift I could get, to be honest.)
Thank you for reading my story, I appreciate it very much.