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Depression in medical school

Discussion in 'Current Medical Students' started by dalgora, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. dalgora

    dalgora New Member

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    Thank you for all of the help :)
     
    #1 dalgora, Apr 29, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
  2. Elly by the sea

    Elly by the sea New Member

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    Hi Dalgora
    I wish I could offer you some words of wisdom, but what you've been through would turn anyone's life upside down.

    I am studying on my own at the moment, aiming for the gamsat exam. What I'm doing is not at all as hard as med school, but I understand how intense studying can be very isolating, let alone everything else that has happened to you over the past year.
    I think you must find other people to connect with. I've made an effort to keep in touch with my most important friends (even if it's been a while since you've been in touch with them (it had been for me) send them a text/letter/facebook to say 'hi' and 'what's up?'), and I've joined a jive dance class (while I'm there I'm so distracted that I don't have brain space to feel sad, and I've also met some lovely people through it).

    So basically, what I'm suggesting is to reconnect with people matter to you, and to find a social past time (where people who do it seem happy and kind, and also where the thing you're learning in new to you, so you're totally engrosed). Rock climbing, dancing, and singing are all things I've tried that have made me feel happier about life.

    Big hug through the internet to you. You're doing so well!!!
    X
    Elly
     
  3. Elly by the sea

    Elly by the sea New Member

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    Hi Dalgora
    I wish I could offer you some words of wisdom, but what you've been through would turn anyone's life upside down.

    I am studying on my own at the moment, aiming for the gamsat exam. What I'm doing is not at all as hard as med school, but I understand how intense studying can be very isolating, let alone everything else that has happened to you over the past year.
    I think you must find other people to connect with. I've made an effort to keep in touch with my most important friends (even if it's been a while since you've been in touch with them (it had been for me) send them a text/letter/facebook to say 'hi' and 'what's up?'), and I've joined a jive dance class (while I'm there I'm so distracted that I don't have brain space to feel sad, and I've also met some lovely people through it).

    So basically, what I'm suggesting is to reconnect with people matter to you, and to find a social past time (where people who do it seem happy and kind, and also where the thing you're learning in new to you, so you're totally engrosed). Rock climbing, dancing, and singing are all things I've tried that have made me feel happier about life.

    Big hug through the internet to you. You're doing so well!!!
    X
    Elly
     
  4. whatnow

    whatnow New Member

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    Oh I feel for you, you poor thing.

    You're obviously having a horrible time and doing a lot of sensible things, like eating properly and exercising. I second the advice about staying in touch with your closest friends. I'm also going to give you the advice you don't want to hear; see you GP. I too am just studying for GAMSAT but I had the same problem at Oxbridge and took the same approach, i.e fight it alone. It's one of the most foolish things I've ever done and I suffered so much more than I needed to, for YEARS. I had a chat recently with my GP about whether my crappy medical history of years of depression will be a barrier to becoming a doctor. She'd had a similar experience and stressed that it wasn't an issue PROVIDED I show that I accept the problem and treatment. Doctors get mentally ill too, you just need to be responsible and show that you get help when you need it.

    Lecture over. It sounds like a reactive problem that can be quashed with the right help, not I lifelong curse like mine! Please don't suffer more than you need to. PM me if you like.

    Take care of yourself.
     
  5. whatnow

    whatnow New Member

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    Oh I feel for you, you poor thing.

    You're obviously having a horrible time and doing a lot of sensible things, like eating properly and exercising. I second the advice about staying in touch with your closest friends. I'm also going to give you the advice you don't want to hear; see you GP. I too am just studying for GAMSAT but I had the same problem at Oxbridge and took the same approach, i.e fight it alone. It's one of the most foolish things I've ever done and I suffered so much more than I needed to, for YEARS. I had a chat recently with my GP about whether my crappy medical history of years of depression will be a barrier to becoming a doctor. She'd had a similar experience and stressed that it wasn't an issue PROVIDED I show that I accept the problem and treatment. Doctors get mentally ill too, you just need to be responsible and show that you get help when you need it.

    Lecture over. It sounds like a reactive problem that can be quashed with the right help, not I lifelong curse like mine! Please don't suffer more than you need to. PM me if you like.

    Take care of yourself.
     
  6. whatnow

    whatnow New Member

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    Ooops, SSRIs clearly make you forum incompetent...
     
  7. House Jr.

    House Jr. New Member

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    I'm really sorry to hear about what you've had to go through, but you shouldn't let this depression lose you your place at medical school, especially after coming so far. If you're reluctant to speak to the counselling services/your GP because of fear of jeopardizing your career then there really isn't any need to. You medical school isn't using the counselling services to find all the students with problems so they can kick them out, it's there to help. If you do try to cope with this on your own and it gets worse instead of seeking help, then that will actually jeopardize your career. By going to the counselling services, even if you feel that it didn't help, you can have them support your mitigating circumstances appeal should this depression have an impact on your exams. Best of luck, and I really do hope you decide to get help.
     
  8. blueberrypie

    blueberrypie Member

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    Oh this isn't nice to hear :( Its so hard when relationships breakdown, and I am the worlds worst, for letting them stay in my head for too long. Depression is never easy either, but you are in uni, and all the med schools I know have counselling services and you would be amazed at how much you benefit from counselling. If you don't want to take the medication route (and this isn't admitting defeat, by any means), then counselling is going to be your next best bet. Until I saw a counsellor, I was a sceptic. Once I had bawled my eyes out to my counsellor several times, and him help me see things in a different light, I couldn't believe how much better I felt about so many things. Admittedly, at the time, my counsellor did ask me to see my GP who put me on Antidepressants, but I 100% recommend speaking to one. Feel free to PM me if you want to chat, scream or just moan, its cool. Uni will generally support you all the way. We all have bad times, and 1 in 4 people suffer with depression. Your depression hasn't just occurred out of nowhere, you have a reason for it, and sometimes things get too much. Don't be alone. I hope it all works out for you.
     
  9. sian_wood

    sian_wood New Member

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    Dear Dalgora,

    What you are going through, the depression you feel, is an entirely natural reaction to the situation you’re in. You’ve essentially suffered a double bereavement and are mourning not only the death of your father but the end of a relationship with your girlfriend and her family. Getting over a long term relationship, especially if it wasn’t your choice to end it, can be a horrendous experience and I’ve heard people say that it’s arguably more stressful then an actual bereavement because at least there is a finality with death. And then of course, you’re doing an exceptionally challenging training and it’s all got too much. With so much on your mind and so many preoccupations, it’s not surprising that you feel lonely and unable to connect to others. I don’t think there’s anyone I know, myself included, who wouldn’t feel broken at the prospect of going through what you are.

    As with other’s who have replied, I really think that you should see your GP or contact your local or uni bereavement or mental health services (e.g Cruse Bereavement Care ). Seeing a professional is not an admittance of defeat, it’s an opportunity to face your worries straight on and work through them. It’ll probably be horrible to start with and very painful and you’ll have to fight with yourself to keep going but having someone just able to listen to you or help you put together a plan will hopefully let you work through your worries. The thing with bereavement of any sort is that it’s not going to magically go away one day. These things take time – in some cases, a long time - but you might start feeling ‘better’ or coping sooner with the help of someone else, someone objective.

    Far from being a barrier to being a doctor, I think this experience, if you can harness it, only strengthens your position. Being a good doctor is about being able to understand what it is to be human – and this encompasses an individual’s reactions to hope, failure, disappointment, joy - all of which contribute directly or indirectly to an individual’s physical and mental health. You’ll have a unique experience and an increased capacity of empathy because you will have seen rock bottom and climbed up.

    Please don’t be hard on yourself.

    Good luck,

    Sian.
     
  10. grub

    grub New Member

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    HI dalgora,

    I dont think it matters where you are, at medical school, in school, at work, on holiday, wharever. You have realised how you are feeling, and that means you can get better. how you get there, be it through talking to professionals, talking to this forum, talking to friends, taking antidepressants, is an individual choice, that only you can decide. taking antidep, is not a sign of failure - i know people who take them and it has changed their outlook to be less down, it hasnt changed who they are, and maybe you may only need them for a little while to get yourself back on track. just keep telling yourself that things will get better, you are doing medicine, how amazing is that?! You will meet someone else, once you are ready, and you will have loads of opportunities to meet someone special and make good friends now that you are at uni, and then on the job. Stop worrying about that and you will be more relaxed and approachable too. take the pressure off yourself by considering talikng to uni about it, so that they can offer support should this affect your studies, in the meantime. Just give yourself time to grieve and accept. Immerse yourself in your studies and interests to take your mind off your own mind.

    All the best
     
  11. SkarletK

    SkarletK New Member

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    I'm not sure if it's full on depression you're experiencing but maybe, natural human emotions related to bad experiences? You've done really well to keep going. I commend you for being strong and brave enough to talk about it on here. If depression has developed as a result of what's happened then try and remember that you're doing everything you can and no one can take your achievements away. Despite how you feel now, with time everything will get better and you will deal with new challenges just as you have done in the past which will make you even stronger. Best of luck to you and keep going as I'm sure you're doing an amazing job.
     
  12. Hannes

    Hannes New Member

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    What you are going through sounds like it would get anyone down. You're in a difficult place and congratulations, you are a normal human being with normal emotions. If you had gone through what you have and still felt chirpy, I would have been more concerned. However, you are 10+ months down the line now and if you are still feeling this way you need to talk to someone. Your GP is most likely going to be your first port of call but most unis have a dedicated counselling service that is very good. Having a depression isn't going to affect your prospects of being a doctor, they couldn't care less to be perfectly honest. Not acknowledging it however is more likely to lead to problems.

    Being a doctor is about helping others, but to help others you need to be in a good place yourself and if you aren't you need to get to that place. If you don't see yourself being able to accept help, you are in deep trouble. Your working career will be fraught with difficult problems that will play havoc with your emotions and if you don't let that out you won't survive. Having made it past the hurdle of making it into medical school and being able to post a coherent message on here I can almost assuredly say you are going to be fine as a doctor, but only if you accept that you are human. How we deal with the emotions are individual, some become cynical (read house of god for that), some become unbearably nurturing, some become distant, some drink and for others there is no difference until the day they crack. Please don't be the person that cracks.

    You have to imagine yourself six years down the line when you are on a medical ward surrounded by vegetables. How will you cope with this? Will you shrug your shoulders and say nothing can be done or will you weep a little for the lost souls that are under your care. How will you vent your anger to see a lovely lady, 90 years old, who has come in with grade 4 pressure sores because her nursing home hasn't looked after her properly? If you won't accept help now, your problem may go deeper than your own personal life. You won't be shielded from your emotions because you have a new fancy title in front of your name and some new letters behind it. No matter how hard you try you will still be a feeling, caring person and never forget that.

    You are in a bad situation, no doubt about that but if you aren't getting anywhere on your own you need to accept that you need help whether it be professional or from friends. If we were to throw strictly professional terms out there a grief process lasting more than 6 months is pathological. Make of that what you will, no one is telling you what to feel but rather that you shouldn't feel the way you are. Losing a girlfriend can tear you up for years but it shouldn't make you feel as miserable as you are, losing your father I can't even imagine the pain but grief has its time and if you let it consume you what will be left?

    I would be more than happy to talk to you as someone whom you don't know, just let me know and I would be more than happy to give you my number. I'm not trying to be harsh on you but you are going to have one of the most emotional lines of work possible and having someone to talk to is normal and healthy. Maybe I'm just making assumptions here but if you find yourself wondering about these things, please stop to think about them. If you want to talk, I'm happy to.
     
  13. dalgora

    dalgora New Member

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    Hi everyone - I thought I would post an update as it seems rude not to after I have received such a great response. Thank you all for the replies and the private messages. They have been very positive and nice to read.

    Since making this thread I've had quite a few ups and downs. It's remarkable how my mood can change in one day. I normally wake up very positive (once I've properly woken up, that is!) and I become acutely aware of how fortunate I am to be a medical student and how what I am studying is absolutely amazing. I really can't believe that this will be my career.

    But, that said, I'm still struggling with my loneliness which, strangely enough, is usually worse when I'm around other people. I think it just reminds me of my recent losses and how ultimately I really am alone when it comes down to it. I've always been fiercely independent which is something that I am very proud of, but I just cannot shake off these feelings of sadness.

    I miss being part of a family so much. I just don't have that social support to fall back on or have anyone to chat away to in the evenings. During the day I'm buried in work, but it's always in the back of my mind. When I look around I see people engaging in meaningful relationships and they look so happy. I just don't seem to have that pleasure in my life and subsequently I feel very hollow and inhuman. I'm just terrified that I'm going to spend the rest of my life feeling this alone and I find myself daydreaming about how wonderful it would be to have a wife and kids - my own family to love and look after.

    At the moment I'm just trying to stay positive and not allow myself to slip into self-neglect although I have noticed elements of it creeping in every now and then (e.g. being unable to muster the energy to do food shopping or laundry). Although I suspect this largely has to do with the fact that my course is so intensive throughout the week.

    Again, thank you for the responses so far. They mean a lot to me.
     
  14. CannotCope

    CannotCope New Member

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    Im really glad you are feeling better. I would recommend working really hard to get gome tisp of things to avoid preciptating to avoid early crisis.

    I have struggled with depression for yeas and am feeling awful. I switching medications and I am having withdrawal sympoms. I am disconnected from the world, I feel no emotion and cannot understand the point of things. The world lives flows......

    I just about to carry my jobs as a 4th can, but with no enjoyment and ethusiasm. I am a horrible person to be around so must be awful for colleaues. This disease is has lost everything in life. I have lost the only person I loved and my lovely family

    I have trying to engage me in mental health teams which mixed success.
    I have taken enough medications according to PubMed searches. Ideally this post will help others who are similar situation and get help initially unlike me have to carry out the last act.
     
  15. elz

    elz New Member

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    as long as you get help, it doesnt have to stop you. occupational health can actually be really helpful too.
     

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