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Dr Dysthymia
Posted by medicangel
17th Feb 2014

So this is me 'coming out': I am a doctor and I suffer from depression and an eating disorder. Well perhaps when I say doctor, I'm being a bit premature. My med school finals are in five weeks. So here I am, sitting in a 'well know coffee shop chain' stuffing my face because if I go home I will sleep and eat and eat and sleep and eat again. I am writing this instead of studying because when I try to read, the words just bounce off the top of the bubble I find myself in (again).

I don't loose my appetite when I am depressed. I eat. And I don't sleep properly at night but I could happily sleep all day. There is precious little that I still enjoy at the moment except for food and hugs from my children (cuddles from my kids have an uplifting effect but only for the duration of the cuddle). I would happily spend my time wrapped in a fleece blanket on the sofa with my kids and an endless supply of pizza and noodles and cheese and icecream and crisps and chocolate. And not forgetting the fizzy wine that temporarily makes me feel as if nothing matters and it will all be fine, until it wears off and it isn't fine.

My personal tutor advised me, about a year ago, to seek help "but perhaps just tell the medical school you have family issues; you don't want depression on your record, it looks bad to future employers'. She's a nice lady and I know she meant well but, for the love of God (or not, if God's not your thing), how can medical professionals expect to educate people on mental illness if we cannot accept it in one of our own? It appears that the stigmatisation of psychological illness is alive and well within the medical ranks.

Tomorrow I am supposed to start three weeks of placement in the A&E department. I am meant to smile and examine patients and know what to do and I'm scared that I won't. I do know what to do but 'the bubble' seems to have locked five years of medical training away somewhere in my head and I can't access it, leaving me with a numbing grey haze and a rising sense of panic. My GP has increased my citalopram dose to the maximum but I've only just stared on the 40mg. Maybe things will improve when it 'kicks in'. I hope so because I have five weeks in which to find the key to that safe where my knowledge is stored (not to mention my self confidence). I'm off home now. I forgot to take my meds yesterday and again this morning. I'm a bad patient. I just hope I will be a good doctor.

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