2 and a half years of depression

Another day. Another day, wasted away.

It took me about 1 hour to get out of bed. In addition to feeling emotionally overwhelmed, I didn’t sleep very well last night, so it was particularly difficult to muster up the courage to get up. I’m the type of girl (woman?) who likes to dress nicely and look good. But lately it’s been proving difficult to have any initiative to do that. I put on some “lazy clothes” and barely did my hair and makeup.

Today I had to go to a pediatrician’s office in a town about 1 hour from here and pretend like I was interested. Smiling like I meant it. If only they knew…

I wasn’t at all interested in the patients, was even crossing my fingers so the doctor wouldn’t leave me alone to take a history and physical. But she did, on two occasions, and they were both awkward and tedious.

Tomorrow I have to go to gastroenterology clinics. Smile like I mean it. Pretend I’m interested.

Lather.
Rinse.
Repeat.

I spoke with my sister MM earlier today. Finally. It was difficult to tell her that I’m not in good shape, that M almost hospitalized me, and that I still have suicidal thoughts. I don’t want her to worry about me too much, but I guess it’s too late for that. I mean, I appreciate her being worried about me, I just don’t want her feeling guilty or powerless.

I’ve been thinking that M should have definitely hospitalized me. I shouldn’t have reassured her. But I’m so afraid of how getting hospitalized will affect my career. It would probably mean getting held back at least a semester, not graduating with my friends, and prolonging this med school hell. Also, the fact that I (apparently) want to be a psychiatrist does not help. I’ve already been way too exposed to the residents at my school’s psychiatry program by seeing M weekly. Wouldn’t want to know what they would make of me being hospitalized.

But, damn it, I wish I was brave enough to speak up. I wish I would’ve told M “Yes, admit me”. Now it’s too late, and I’m left to fend for myself until she gets back on April 8th or later.

I hate medical school. I hate medicine. I’m only marginally interested in psychiatry right now. I don’t know if that’s me speaking or depression speaking, so I’m keeping at it with the hope that when I’m mentally sound I’ll like it. I’ve been thinking of escape routes, alternate careers. But really, I’d have to start over right from the bottom. I feel trapped, but I feel like I’m too far in it to go back now.

I feel like any other medical student could have written that last paragraph. I don’t know how many times I’ve read those same sentences in forums and discussions.

Why does medicine make people miserable?

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12 comments
  1. Anonymous said:

    Hi! I'm the anon who was thinking of a nickname for herself (it seems there are several of us anons commenting now). I think I'll call myself Azure. Anyway, maybe it wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to allow yourself to be hospitalized? Yes, it might be embarrassing to explain to the other residents, but I think that if something's meant to be, it's meant to be, so if you're meant to be a doctor, you'll get there either way. And if you're not meant to be a doctor, maybe there's something better you're meant to be, that you'll discover while taking some time off. I actually had to leave a prior job due to mental health issues but ended up discovering a new career path that I liked so much better. In retrospect it was the best thing that could have happened even though I didn't think so at the time.
    Go easy on yourself–finishing a program on time isn't worth your health.
    You don't have to wait til M gets back if you want to be hospitalized do you? Can't you voluntarily do it?

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  2. Wow. Sounds so much like me right now. I
    I agree with Anon. Hospitalisation might not be the worst thing. I've had friends leave and come back and then medicine made them much less miserable because it was as if they were more ready for it… I might have done that if only it were a financially viable option for me (it is not).
    One bit of advice I can give you is this: you are NOT stuck. Just because you study medicine does not mean that you have to go into clinical medicine. You can do research. You can go into academia. You can scrap all of that and work for the WHO or the UN. You can do anything you want with a medical degree. Realising that made me feel a bit better, because I'm in my final year now and can't stop now.
    We have a lot in common, except you are more honest with yourself – well done. You can get through this.
    But I certainly think that if you are in a really bad place, voluntary admission will be worth it.

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  3. Anonymous said:

    I personally think you don't need hospitalization please don't it means you give up and i know from your older posts that you're strong enough and you won't give up …
    I think there's something wrong and you need to fix it may be family or friends ,if you don't know the reason for your depression -I doubt that-search for it and try to solve your problems because if you fail that med school it means you give up and then i too will give up mine šŸ˜¦ !

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  4. Hi ,

    I am sorry you are feeling this way, and trust me, my friends and I are all too familiar with this situation. I personally believe medicine makes you feel miserable because it makes you feel the dumbest you ever have in your life and the road is so long and tedious. However, as you probably know, the more people have to sacrifice for a goal, the more people tend to value it. When you get to the end you will be so proud of yourself. And you deserve to be!

    I know that there are days where you wake up and the act of brushing your teeth and doing your hair seems like an insurmountable feat. But no matter how you feel, please please don't ever stop moving. Wallowing in bed makes it worst (trust me, I would know), and acting depressed makes people feel more depressed. And I know talking to patients and doctors and other students seems so incredibly agonizing and painful, but just remember that you can do it and it usually ends up being better than you thought it would be. AND look how lucky you are – there are so many people who would love to be in your position but couldn't make it that far. We are privileged to be in such a respected and noble field šŸ™‚ Don't ever forget the positive aspects of your academic life. Furthermore, as barefoot wrote, there are endless possibilities with an MD degree. If you don't want to treat patients there are so many other things you can do. You don't have to decide now! You are testing the waters. See where life takes you!

    Please let me know how you are feeling now!

    Sending you lots of love,
    K

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  5. Oh my God – I totally forgot to tell you the news! I'm not sure if you were reading my blog because this happened while you weren't doing so well, but I didn't get my last choice of residency!! BUT I didn't get my first choice. I actually wasn't happy when I found out I got Emergency Medicine. I felt like a bit of a failure. If I had gotten Anesthesiology if would have been the happiest day of my life. But I don't find miracles like that happen to me. Ever.

    I wanted to thank you for all your support during that whole Match process šŸ™‚ Your words were very comforting to me and so very logical. I even told my therapist about your comments and he agreed! I am here if you ever have any questions about residencies or matching. But you have a long ways to go and try to enjoy your 4th year by doing rotations that you enjoy!

    xoxo,
    K

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  6. Hi Anon (possibly Azure, haha!),

    You are right, I don't have to wait til M gets back to get hospitalized. I just feel safer and less vulnerable if she's there to help me in the process. However, I'm feeling a bit better today, so let's see how things progress.

    Your story sounds inspiring. I really wish I had the guts to put my health first like you did, but I'm such a perfectionist and so hard on myself. I know it shouldn't be that way, so I'm trying to change that way of thinking. So, thank you for reminding me that health comes first šŸ™‚

    Take care,

    Like

  7. Barefoot,

    Just checked out your blog and added it to my reading list šŸ™‚ Thank you for reading and commenting.

    You are right, there is definitely a lot of things one can do with a medical degree. Wow, dare I say, you got me a bit excited for having chosen medicine as a career šŸ™‚ You see, sometimes I get stuck in this rut where I feel trapped and like I'm trying to fit my creative mind into this narrow, generic, box. It has a lot to do with the fear of ending up like my mother (hating life). So, thank you for reminding me that there are other options out there. Will definitely look into that.

    Take care, and hope to hear more of you

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  8. Anon,

    Thankfully, I'm feeling better today. Let's see how I keep up with things.

    To me, hospitalization wouldn't really mean giving up. I see it more like, putting my health first, which is something that I have to learn to do. There are definitely multiple reasons for my depression, which I've slowly been uncovering with the help of therapy. If it wasn't for therapy, I honestly wouldn't be where I am today.

    Out of curiosity, how did you find my blog? Are you a medical student too?

    Hope to hear more of you,

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  9. Hi K,

    Surprisingly, I'm feeling better today. I might post about it later.

    Ugh, why is it that medical school has to be the way it is? The culture, the attitude, everything? It makes me feel better knowing you and your friends have felt the same. And I sure hope I can finish this and look back and be proud of myself.

    And you are so right. In everything, really. What you said about behavior affecting thought in one of your comments really resounded with me. I'll be keeping that in mind!

    Oh hun, I'm so so sorry for not commenting more on your blog lately! But yes, I've most definitely been keeping up with your recent developments šŸ™‚ I'm so happy for you, that you matched, and at a place/program that wasn't your last choice. I know you would have loved to get into Anesthesiology, and that it makes you feel like a failure. But please don't feel like a failure, because you are anything but. Focus on the positives: you matched and you got into a specialty that you actually like. Now it's time to party and just relax and make the most of your free time šŸ™‚

    Wow, I can't believe your therapist agreed with me, haha! It's kind of funny that you brought it up because a few weeks ago I told M about this blog and mentioned you! And, thank YOU for all your support. I really can't believe you've stuck with me through all these ramblings of mine!

    How are you holding up? I know things have been difficult these last few days. Always remember you can email me or comment here or on your blog.

    Sending you lots of love and positive vibes,

    Like

  10. Anonymous said:

    yes i'm a med student and i found about the blog while searching for reasons of depression of medical students cuz that was what i actually felt the last few days but i guess it's getting better now šŸ™‚ happy to know you're uncovering !
    and by the way i visit your blog almost everyday ,i don't know why but it makes me feel better reading your posts and sometimes commenting to them šŸ™‚

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  11. Oh my God don't be silly – I can't believe you've stuck with me through my stupid guy “crises”, dumb medical school moves and general life failures. I always value your comments and input so much. Also, yours is one of the few blogs that I read religiously and I feel like I can relate to you on so many levels. I am so happy I found you!

    (I wrote a more detailed response to your comment on my blog)

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  12. Oops I just realized that you did comment on my blog when I wrote about my residency! Sorry! My memory is not what it used to be šŸ˜¦ I really appreciate that you still supported me while you weren't doing so well. I just read your latest entry and am so sorry that you feel like you are relapsing. And I absolutely know the feeling when there is nothing to look forward to. I have been there many times. Hmmm… what do I do?

    I make a list of things that I am grateful for in my life. I make a list of my goals, no matter how distant, to remind myself that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

    When are you done third year? Fourth year is a lot more relaxed in terms of studying! When is your next break?

    I don't know if this applies to you, but I feel like I must caution you about taking too much time off. I took a year off in my undergraduate years due to mental illness, and in truth, I think it wasn't a good idea. I had too much time on my hands and fell into a deep depression. I felt like I had no direction in life and nothing to work towards every day. Of course, your situation is completely different and I doubt you would take that much time away from school. But I just wanted to say that I believe working towards a goal, even if it's tedious and exhausting, is better than doing nothing at all for too long. Obviously intensive treatment is not “nothing” and you will be working towards a goal, and if you believe you need it, I urge you to go.

    Sorry this comment is a bit all over the place!

    Like

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