I have something I hesitate to post. But I will because it’s reality and a reality that should be changed. As I have stated earlier here, I used to look at a student doctor forum to keep abreast of what kinds of experiences go on in med school. I just always wanted to keep up with the life she led as stated by the medical students of this forum. As far as I know, she was not a member of it and did not post there. I had only posted about twice long before Kaitlyn died to asks questions. When she died, I felt this medical student forum should know that a fellow medical student, my daughter, took her own life and they need to look out for one another. They were all very supportive and kind.
One person posted that all med students with depression should seek help that it would not affect their medical career at all. Well, sometime later, I just saw it today, another resident MD posted something entirely different. I’m going to post the first posters words, and then the comment to it by the other resident. I have thought of this being the reason Kaitlyn never sought help. This is a horrible, horrible thing and no wonder people don’t seek help, especially in the medical profession, especially if you want to highly achieve in life. This is sad and it’s not RIGHT!!!
Originally Posted by Kablammo
Deepest sympathies to mom. Those of us with children can only imagine your pain. I hope you find solace somehow, you sound like a wonderful person.
We lost a good one to depression and suicide in my med school class- no one ever saw it coming. Gregarious young man, junior AOA, tons of friends, came from a family of docs who seemed supportive. Brilliant people are often able to hide their symptoms. This is a story which is all too common among high achievers in all of the health care professions.
To anyone reading this thread who suffers from depression- please, please get help from professionals. It WILL NOT hurt your career path as an MD/DO. Mental health is no different from physical health, and at no time in your career will you ever be forced to discuss your health with a potential employer. The worst thing you can do is ignore your symptoms and not seek treatment. Depression is a treatable disease like any other, and you CAN achieve true mental wellness and return to help others and lead an amazing life.
(this is the response from someone else to the above post)
First, I am truly sorry for what happened to your daughter. I wish there was something I could do to fix it.
But the above poster makes it seem as if getting a mental health diagnosis is just nothing to worry about. Nothing could be less true.
The stigma against mental disease in medical practitioners is extreme. State medical boards often require disclosure of specifically mental diseases, and harbor greater scrutiny for those doctors. Residency program directors are reluctant to rank students with mental illness. The list goes on.
So, for a student to be depressed and need help, she needs to basically make her career less certain and her credibility less solid. This is how it works.
I understand why she did not seek help, and why she did not appear to even need it. Doctors are good at putting up smokescreens of contentment and confidence. And then the poison thoughts become so unbearable that death is a better alternative than the shame of seeking help.
I am so disappointed about all of this. I’m sorry.