Today the latest edition of Oasis has come out. It’s Wake Forest School of Medicine’s publication (online) that they put out every 3 months for the students. This edition is dedicated to the Memory of Kaitlyn. It’s very nice and touching. There are 2 letters by students (there were more written, but they only could put a few in) and some poems Kaitlyn wrote and her self-portrait. It also has a nice opening at the beginning and mentions the fund that is set up in her name to help people seek help with depression, etc. I think it’s wonderful that they did that.
One of the letters is very moving, as one of her schoolmates is talking about how he did not know her, spent time with her in school during assignments but didn’t know her. He should have seen the signs of her depression and he feels bad that he didn’t, but he didn’t take the time to notice. It was a sweet letter, and I’m not complaining, but it makes me think that he is what was typical of her class. I don’t think she got to know one single person in her med school class. She, like me, was an introvert. However, with her, if you gave her only a few minutes, you would see the beautiful person she was inside and out and how special she was. Her closest friends outside of school loved her and knew of her specialness. But Kaitlyn is like me, hard to be able to join a group, so she probably could not reach out, and everyone else was so busy, no one reached out to her and she was alone. I thought med school would be a place where she would thrive to be with like-minded people, and she never complained to me about school, she actually told me she loved it. But she also said everyone went their own way in school. She lived in a town where she had no friends. All her friends were in Raleigh or Cary.
This just saddens me to think she felt so alone. A wonderful, gifted, talented, intelligent, loving person that all who got to know her loved, but yet a major part of her life she had to spend alone……and I think in being alone her depression grew.
There have been a few of her classmates, that soon after her death, messaged me and told me that the first two days of orientation they were assigned to do things together. These were two of her classmates, one was with her the first day of orientation for clinicals (they had orientation before they started their clinical rotations for 3rd year), the other was with her the next day. Both told me they didn’t know Kaitlyn at all before that day, didn’t pay her any attention, but both said after that day they both felt they had made a new friend and looked forward to her being their friend. That’s all it took. Just a little while to know her. She was a quiet soul, until she got to know you, then you knew her magic. No one had a chance to be her friend after those days, she was gone.
Please don’t think I think this publication is not great. I appreciated the time and effort and thought that was put into it, the memorial fund they have raised to make people more aware of possible depression in their school mates and perhaps people will pay more attention to each other. But I do feel bad that no one got to know her there.
A graduating woman from there, graduating this year, messaged me even though she didn’t know Kaitlyn (they were in different classes) that for her, med school was a lonely and isolating place and it was the worst years of her life and she is so glad to be leaving. Not that the school is bad, it’s great, but people do not pay attention to you. Maybe, in the wake of Kaitlyn’s death, and the letter this classmate in the Oasis wrote, maybe people will pay more attention to each other and reach out.
I am also not saying that med school had anything to do with her committing suicide. She told me in her last letter that she was sad all her life ever since she could remember and hid it from us and she couldn’t stand it anymore. But loneliness could not have helped.
Thank you to the class of 2015 and to Wake Forest School of Medicine for doing all you’ve done since Kaitlyn’s death. I hope there has been much awareness raised in stress and depression in people you would not think would have those problems.