When I first joined university three years ago it was the first time in my life to feel homesick. As time passed slower than any other time of my life, the situation gradually worsened. Eventually, it turned into depression.
Back in my first year, I used to walk from the architecture building to the main building (700 m) back and fourth a couple of times per day. I climbed hundreds of steps and the elevator was never an option.
That was before the end of the 3rd semester, when by average we had two days of no sleep per week, excursions on Saturdays and Fridays (weekend in Egypt).
I went to school everyday. No naps. And sometimes no sleep at night.
And a total of 10 subjects.
My walking distance started to shorten, the number of steps lessened, and I started considering using the elevator.
The next semester things got even worse. My lost my appetite, and depression hit me, this time, harder than ever. I cried everyday for almost no reason, and I was as homesick as never before. I wanted this nightmare to end as soon as possible.
In the last week of the semester, with 5 submissions in 5 days, I slept a total of 15 hours in the 5 days. That is, an average of 3 hours per day.
When I went back home for summer holiday I slept up to 15 hours per day.
In semester 5, as my family moved to Egypt, I became much friendlier with my colleagues and less aggressive. But still, I felt dead, not emotionally, but physically. At this point I couldn’t take the stairs at all, I rarely walked and the elevator was the only option.
I couldn’t concentrate on any assignment or while surfing the web.
When I looked at myself in the mirror I didn’t know who that girl was anymore.
“They’re here with you, why are you still upset? You should be happy.” I told myself.
By the end of the semester, before a submission I stayed up for continuous 54 hours.
My mother said this would damage our brains.
She was right.
But it wasn’t really an option back then.
By mid-semester 6, my parents were sure something was wrong and took me for a blood test.
My hemoglobin was 10.
I was anemic.
And Vitamin D deficient.
The next couple of months the world became much brighter. I became much less aggressive, much more patient and able to concentrate. I listened to my friends and family. I laughed and joked more. And most important, depression was gone.
I became alive.
Although anemia is quiet common, especially in girls, I wanted to share this story because I didn’t know back then that I had anemia. I didn’t know why I lost my energy, patience and smile. But now, I came to know how important nutrition. When I loose my appetite as a result of stress and long hours of continuous work, I try to grab something nutritious to eat on the side.
Anemia can be a silent killer disease and it’s important not to ignore its symptoms.