The musings of a fourth year English medical student

Monday, 28 December 2015

A thank you to bloggers!

Hello everyone,

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful December holiday, whether you celebrate Christmas or not. I had and am still having a lovely rest! This year my holidays have been significantly reduced compared to what I had last year. For this year, my first term was 16 weeks long with no breaks/reading week. I have 2 weeks off for Xmas, 2 weeks off for Easter and then 6 weeks off for Summer. I am not complaining as I know that many people have much less time off, however I'm aware that most university students have far more generous holidays! 

I wanted to give a massive thanks to all those who regularly read my blog and who create their own fabulous blogs. When I began The Medic Journal, I wanted a platform to vent my own opinions. I didn't care about how many followers I would accrue. One thing I did not realise was the community spirit that exists within blogging. You really do get to know people, usually through our sassy Twitter feeds. I feel like the small little gang of mates I have made through blogging (and Twitter which has facilitated its proliferation) is so satisfying. It makes me blush and feel all fuzzy inside when I get nice comments about my writing. I find it hard to articulate how grateful I am for that praise, but try to via lots of exclamation marks and emojis. 

And so what is the future of The Medic Journal, and blogging? This page is never going to be big. What I write about is a niche category, and I write about what I want to write about. Despite my blog being very young, I have been following blogs for several years. I have watched it evolve from lots of witty people talking excitedly about their interests, to a very superficial form of blogging. I am not trying to slate those who make their living from blogging. I have a tremendous amount of respect for people who are passionate about what they do and pursue what they love. However, it has got to the point where I am so bloody sick of everyone having a white background and the same fonts, the same blog layouts. The same sponsored posts popping up. And some posts that are sponsored but the blogger fails to disclose this. I would really like it if we could go back to the early stages of blogging, where everything wasn't picture perfect. Hell, I would rather see the odd typo here and there and see real content and real opinions, than gaze at a blog saturated with advertisements and sponsored reviews. 

Okay, rant over!

Currently I am procrastinating. I don't want to do my revision. I just want to sit in bed and enjoy this last week of holiday and then go back to uni fully rested. I also need to start thinking about my systematic review understanding epidemiological evidence of and implications of physical inactivity. But I really can't be arsed. I recently got an electric piano to take to uni which I am very excited about! I am also going to start a French medical language course. 

I am excited for the new year, but right now I would rather sit in my PJs and watch Downton Abbey all over again. 

To all those who read this blog, I send you my love and thanks for doing so and hope you have a wonderful rest. 



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Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Birthday

Yesterday was my birthday as well as my Mum's!

We had a fantastic day relaxing and eating lots of lovely food. We both got our hair done and then I got my nails done a very festive red colour.

In the evening we had some pink coloured Mo√ęt & Chandon Champagne, and then went out for dinner. I had some fresh tagliatelle and bake well tart. But more importantly, the company was what made it so great. I love spending time with my parents and I feel so privileged to have them.

Next year will be my 21st and my Mum's 50th, so I need to start thinking of what to do for that!

I probably won't be blogging until the new year. In which case, have a very Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

Kate xxxx



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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Love is all you need

Within such a small space of time I have gone from such a low mood to now extreme optimism and happiness! Since writing my last blogpost I have given much thought towards my life and work and so on, so thought I would share.

One attribute that I really admire in my parents is that they don't place their happiness on their success. I really hope I can learn to be the same and appreciate that I am a good, happy person regardless of job status or academic success.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, lots of degrees and publications won't make you happy. I used to always think I would intercalate, but now I am much more open-minded. If I find a subspecialty that interests me then sure, but I'm not going to do it just for the sake of FPAS points. 

In addition, I need to get a hobby. In my free time I tend to just sit in my bed and watch YouTube videos or documentaries. And whilst that is very relaxing, I don't really get anything out of it. I hope to start going to my gym more often and get back into playing the piano. I would like to join a non-medical society but I am still undecided. 

Overall, I have realised that ticking off a list of achievements will never make me happy. Being with friends I love, the boyfriend I love and my family whom I love is all I could ever ask for. I had a pub meet up last night for my birthday and it was absolutely wonderful. Sometimes you don't realise how precious something is until you no longer have it. I am so bloody lucky and I feel blessed to know that I have people in my life whom I love and who love me back.

Merry Christmas everyone! 


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Friday, 18 December 2015

Ready to rest and recuperate!

Today is Friday 18th December and I am finally finished for Christmas! It has been a long 16 weeks of learning with no breaks or reading weeks. I should state now that if this blogpost seems a little erratic and rambling then it is a fair reflection of how my head feels right now!

I feel that second year has hit me like a tonne of bricks. I don't necessarily mean that in a negative way, but in terms of learning there has been a humungous leap. We've gone from simple memorisation of anatomy and pathways to appreciating the intracies of many diseases, the pathophysiology, how to do a differential diagnosis and then understand the diagnostic techniques and treatments. In addition, we have had hospital placements. Our communication training and clinical training is constantly scrutinised and has to be done on real patients in a real clinical setting. So many consultants have taken one look at me, seen the fear on my face and then torn me up, chewed me up and then spat me out. I feel emotionally and physically drained. I've had some doctors shake my hand or physically applaud me for my knowledge, and others who've asked why I'm even bothering with medical school.

I also feel fascinated. I feel hungry to know more. I feel the emotions radiating from patients; fear, pain, despair, joy and happiness. 

Currently I feel rather lost. I have two weeks off for Christmas and then go straight into mock OSCEs, which I know nothing about. My jaw is giving me pain still which really ruins my mood at times. My depression is like a roller coaster. One week I am euphoric, productive and loving. Another week I am crying on the bus, in bed, in a toilet cubicle on a train, in a toilet cubicle in hospital, in a toilet cubicle in the library (there's a pattern running here) wondering what I'm doing with my life. Why have I come to medical school just for doctors to take the piss out of me, truly borderline abusing me? And not even for any particular reason! You're damned if you have a go and damned if you don't. In order to refrain from destructive behaviour like drinking excessively or self harming, I have started binge eating occasionally. In the past I have had real problems with food. I used to deprive myself, then binge and then purge all the time when I was at secondary school. But sadly, right now binge eating seems like the least destructive coping mechanism. I don't want to do it, but sometimes I just want to feel nothing. I want to be consumed in something other than sadness or hopelessness. 

When I think of Christmas, I think of it as a time of so much joy and happiness. It's hard to have that frivolity and ecstasy when you know you have so much to do in so little time, whilst mingling with your relatives discussing all things trivial.  I am also scared of chatting to my parents about my depression, only because I want the little time together to be happy and joyful rather than me moping about crying, wiping my nose on the sleeve of a Christmas jumper wishing I had my life sorted. I wish I could no longer care. I wish I would no longer feel guilty and jaded about every action I do. 

I apologise for this rather sad blogpost. However, this is real. This is what being a medical student is really like (for me). I'm not saying every medical student has mental health problems, but studying medicine is hard. It is all consuming; you have so much passion for it and in return you must constantly aspire for a level of perfection that doesn't exist. It is hard, but I know eventually I'll figure it out. I'll figure out how to balance work and socialising, how to let go. I'll figure out eventually that medicine isn't everything, and appreciating that will make me a better doctor one day. 
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Sunday, 13 December 2015

DOES IT MATTER WHAT DOCTORS WEAR?

When I see my GP, she wears a long formal black dress, kitten heels and hair in a ponytail, almost no make up. She looks presentable, approachable and very professional. However, I can't help but think that the rapport I have with her would be affected if she didn't dress as smartly. 

The medical school I attend has introduced a uniform for my year to wear whilst working in hospital and during all clinical training sessions. It is currently a grey scrub top, and written on the back in capital letters it says 'MEDICAL STUDENT'. There are no scrub trousers, so we are obliged to wear smart dark trousers and smart shoes. We are literally half in scrubs, half in formal. The reception to this has been very negative, both from the students and the consultants we shadow. No other year has to wear them, we are the so-called guinea pigs. Currently the uniform is being redesigned, so that we will wear full charcoal grey scrubs and comfy smart black or white trainers.

What do people expect doctors, medical students and other health professionals to wear? As much as I love dressing up, I don't think fashion has any importance in the attire. I would say that different members of staff need to be clearly identifiable, smart and above all practical. I think all NHS trusts have the 'bare below the elbows' policy, in order to reduce infection risk. Doctors don't need to look 'better' than other staff members, but I have seen lots of patients getting confused with who is treating them, largely based on what they are wearing. I have had many patients introduce me to their family as a nurse, because currently my uniform is incredibly similar to the other nurses' uniform. And whilst that's not a problem in my eyes, it isn't good for the patient. The reason why it isn't good is that the patient needs to know from the beginning that I am a student, I am not yet a qualified healthcare professional. And despite me introducing myself as a medical student every single time I meet a patient, clearly the uniform isn't helping me to illustrate that.

Back in the day, doctors were famous for their white lab coats. These were scrapped largely due to infection control. So, from a hygiene point of view, doctors need to have hair tied back, no nail polish, rings removed, practical shoes that cover the top surface of the feet (preventing needle-stick injury) and bare below the elbow. However, you will notice that there is so much variation in what doctors wear nowadays: FY1s wear purple scrubs and trainers in all kinds of colours, A&E doctors wear scrubs too, surgeons wear scrubs during theatre and full suits during clinics, consultants wear plain shirts and trousers and brogues and GPs wear pencil dresses, and the shirts tend to be more creased (at least in my experience). 

Hygiene and practicality aside, I know that it shouldn't matter what a doctor wears to work. But we do make judgements on people because of how they look. Someone who 'looks the part' can give a patient much more confidence in their physician. Doctors who wear jeans just look like they shouldn't really be there, like they've been rushed in from home. 

I think the new full scrubs in charcoal grey could work as then we won't look too similar to any other healthcare professional. It's comfy, practical and saves time in the morning. I think patients will still confuse me perhaps for a nurse, partly because I'm a girl. Or maybe a surgeon  or anaesthetist because normally those are the staff you usually associate with scrubs.

What do you think a doctor should wear to work?
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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Still here

The lovely Katie asked me the other day how I was, given that I hadn't blogged in a while. Rest assured I'm still here, just snowed under with work!

Recently I have discussed that I want to put more emphasis on being happy rather than academic achievement. Well I've sort of failed doing that! We had our respiratory test yesterday and it didn't go well. It's not that I did badly, but that I had hoped for much better. I had written up every lecture and done well during my case presentation, and I found the block relatively easy. But that wasn't exactly reflected in how I did. I'm trying to use this setback as fuel to try harder and do better, but it's not quite working.

I know I could try harder. I could have less lie-ins and work till 10pm every night doing research and rereading textbooks. But I don't want to. So I'm stuck in this limbo of wanting to do well without sacrificing my sanity. 

What I find difficult is knowing that I am trying so hard to do better this year. I ask everyone how to revise, how do they learn content, what textbooks to use etc.. I try to meet up with friends for group study sessions, I ask for help when I don't understand something. I'm trying so hard to sort everything out and somehow I still end up two steps behind everyone else. 

I tried to not put too much emphasis on academic achievement, but I became very passionate with my studies. I really enjoyed the lectures and would write notes constantly, and actually concentrate! It's hard not to care about how well you do in something that you really care about. Is there a middle ground, a real balance? How can you invest so much of yourself into your studies and not be disappointed if you don't do brilliantly?

And then there's everything else. Gym, societies that I should join but haven't, talks I have to present, spending time with family, friends and boyfriend, my research project, finding time to play piano, spending enough time with my housemates, going clubbing for friend's birthdays, keeping in touch with my sister whilst she's travelling, preparing for OSCEs and formative exams.

Everyone else appears to be getting all their shit done and doing well. I'm trying, and I want it. I care so much about this course and my future career. But when is the effort and the stress going to yield anything?


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Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Finding inspiration

Last week was awful. For some reason my depression got probably the worst it has been in a while. I was still going to lectures and getting my work done, but internally I felt void and worthless. I was being passive aggressive to my loved ones. My sister was leaving for a 5 month work placement abroad and I didn't even get round to ringing her before she left. 

What I don't understand about the mind is how you can feel so stuck in a funk for forever and then all of a sudden you have an epiphany; you just get up and become productive. What makes people have these sudden realisations and bursts of optimism? For me, I was having a very low Saturday, stayed at home all day, and then woke up on Sunday with so much vigour. I was tired, but out of nowhere I had drive and I had motivation. 

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Thursday, 26 November 2015

What do we value most?

Recently I read both Katie's and Hannah's blogposts that are related towards being a perfectionist. To be honest, I think that every medical student is a perfectionist to some extent. That's the only way you can motivate yourself to learn all of the course content! 

When I did my GCSEs, I got 7A*s and 4As and I was so disappointed. I was predicted 11A*s so of course in my head I had massively underachieved. I did best in my year at my state comprehensive, got my name in the local paper. In some of my classrooms we didn't have the higher tiered textbooks or past papers, so I pretty much taught myself. But I was still so so incredibly disgusted in myself.

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Sunday, 22 November 2015

My Skincare Routine

Hello lovelies,

Today I wanted to talk about skin care. I am MAD about it! This is because I have had my own skin troubles for my whole life. I started getting eczema on my hands as a child and come out in flare ups each Winter. I was really bad at treating it though because I hated the feeling of sticky creams on my hands, so my mum used to moisturise them whilst I was asleep! In addition, I am allergic to most sunscreens (I haven't been able to pinpoint the exact ingredients) and used to have very oily, acne-prone skin. After being on Roaccutane, my skin is combination and slightly dehydrated. I only get spots when I am stressed or don't follow my skin care routine!

Through having these various skin problems I became obsessed with skincare. The NHS is often heavily criticised for their approach to skin conditions, partly because most GPs throw antibiotics at anyone with spots. And we wonder why there's so much antibiotic resistance, hey! I am now obsessive with reading the ingredients in skin care. Below is a list of good and bad ingredients (applicable to my skin) I have realised through my interest in skin:

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Saturday, 21 November 2015

Review: Benefit They're Real Tinted Primer

I received this exciting product as a sample through my subscription to Elle UK magazine, and it came with the December issue. Whilst I love Benefit as a brand, I was bewildered as to what the point of an eyelash primer is?! However, I was extremely impressed. 

First of all, Benefit are owned by the parent company Estee Lauder. Any Estee Lauder fan will know they recently launched their own eyelash primer with Kendall Jenner as the face, called 'The Little Black Primer', retailing at £20.00. I can't help but wonder if they are similar in formulation? 


As you can see, they have completely different wands but are made by the same company.

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

This may seem like a silly blog title. For many, depression is simply feeling low and being lazy. But today I decided that I wanted to discuss depression in more detail.

I think it's fair to say that in my friendship groups my friends are normally very comfortable confiding to me very personal information. My friends mean a lot to me and I always want to help. However, I have noticed that a lot of them find mental health diseases very bewildering. They always want to know what to say and what not to say to a sufferer of depression. How is depression something different to just having a bad day? 

To add more complexity to the disease of depression, each patient has unique symptoms. A common trend of symptoms will indicate depression, but not every symptom will be present in diagnosis. 


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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

LIFE ISN'T PERFECT

I don't even know where to begin with this post, but I'll have a go.

This blog first of all came about because of two things: I love writing and I wanted to help people. It's only just occurred to me how much it makes me happy when I know I am useful and that I have helped someone. And I have come to realise that you can't really help someone if you are not honest.

Time and time again I have mentioned Hannah from Pull Yourself Together. I mention her often because she has helped me so incredibly much. She has helped me because she is honest. She writes freely yet elegantly about her struggle with depression. Like her, I wholly believe we should shatter the misconceptions surrounding mental health. But I was a hypocrite. I wanted to help people, but I was lying to myself and lying to the people who wanted me to help them. I have often told Hannah in confidence that I admire her bravery to discuss mental health, but that I felt paralysed from doing the same. 


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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Good days

Today has been a really good day. I had two very enjoyable lectures, a good appointment and I did really well in my urogenital test. I am thrilled.

However, this week has still been up and down. Yesterday I really didn't want to go to uni; I was having one of those 'meh' days where you don't see the point in trying. But I persisted and actually really enjoyed my work. I then went to the library and really didn't want to revise for my test. Again, I forced myself and just got on with it. And it was so lovely to come home knowing all I had to do was chill out, eat dinner and catch up with my wonderful housemates. 


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Sunday, 1 November 2015

3 months after double jaw surgery

I cannot believe it's been 3 months!

Despite the operation being so long ago, I am still dealing with issues to do with my jaw.

I have pain on a daily basis. Most days it is only a mild discomfort when I yawn or eat, but on other days it can get quite bad. Pain relief doesn't seem to improve the pain. I can tell that my jaw becomes painful when I eat crunchy foods, talk a lot or yawn a lot. 

I cannot brush my teeth yet properly; it hurts to open my mouth wide so I cannot reach the inner surface of the teeth. Hence I am still using the Corsydyl mouthwash. 


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Saturday, 31 October 2015

Review: Real Techniques makeup brushes



Real Techniques has been around for several years now, and is available in the UK and USA. I didn't realise that RT brushes are way cheaper in America, which I didn't expect given the Chapman founders are British! Before Real Techniques I had never spent much money at all on makeup brushes. However, what is good about this brand is that it is the perfect compromise between price and performance. Some people will never deviate from MAC, but personally I don't have the luxury of spending £25+ on one brush. Most of my Real Techniques brushes I have had for 3 years and they still work just as well and I have had no problems with them at all. 

What's good about Real Techniques brushes?
- Cheap (compared to MAC, Chanel, Suqqu, Haku Hodo etc.)
- Synthetic hairs (makes them easier to wash, cruelty free, less/no shedding)
- Attractive
- Soft
- Easily available in UK/US
- Most brushes can be stood up on a counter

What's bad about Real Techniques brushes?
- Some brushes can only be bought as part of a set
- The more 'Bold Metals' collection is more expensive but no better quality, gimmicky even

I have bought Real Techniques brushes in their set form and also individually. I will review each brush below.

Real Techniques buffing brush 
I use this every day. Enough said! Great for applying liquid foundation quickly and easily. Can leave streaks. Purchased as part of the Core Collection Kit for Face (£21.99). This is by far my most loved brush. 

Real Techniques pointed foundation brush
Crap. Time consuming to apply foundation, leaves streaks. Purchased as part of the Core Collection Kit for Face (£21.99).

Real Techniques contour brush
Quite good for contour, this is great for placing the contour exactly where you want it but once you have applied the contour I think it works better to use a bigger, fluffier brush to blend it out and avoid any harsh lines. Purchased as part of the Core Collection Kit for face (£21.99).

Real Techniques detailer brush
This brush is great for applying dark eyeshadow close to the lash line. Apart from that, it is a pretty redundant brush. You could use it for pin point concealing, but personally I am happy using the doe-foot applicator of my preferred concealer. Purchased as part of the Core Collection Kit for face (£21.99).

Great brush. Love the silver metal design, but that isn't really important is it. This does exactly what you want to do, apply a dark contrast in the eyelid crease. Really recommend this brush if you like to shade your eye crease. I bought mine during the 3 for 2 offer at Boots, so look out for that!

Real Techniques blusher brush (Core Collection) £9.99
Brilliant blusher brush. Incredibly soft. Joy to use. Diffuses the colour really well across the cheekbone which is where I like to apply my blusher. Got this in the 3 for 2 offer at Boots recently.

Real Techniques powder brush (Core Collection) £12.99
Brilliant. Again, so lovely and soft! It makes you want to set your foundation. And does a really good job. Bought during the Boots 3 for 2 offer. 

Had a stressful week but really enjoyed celebrating my 1st year anniversary with my boyfriend and relaxing over the weekend. Hope you all have a fantastic Halloween! 
Kate x

Instagram: TheMedicJournal

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Friday, 30 October 2015

Recipe: Sweet potato and lentil curry



I'm trying to eat healthier but still keep costs down, so I took a look at the BBC GoodFood website for inspiration. If you haven't already used it, I thoroughly recommend that you do! I looked specifically in the 'cheap eats' section, and there were tonnes of options. I changed a couple of bits about the recipe to suit what I like.  Here is how you make it:

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red onion
1 tsp cumin seed
1 tbsp medium curry powder
100g red lentils
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
500ml vegetable stock
400g chopped tomatoes (I used a can and some fresh tomatoes)
1 lime
1 satsuma

Method:
1. Heat oil in large pan, add red onions and allow to soften

2. Add spices to onion, stir and then add stock, lentils, tomatoes and sweet potatoes

3. Bring to boil then simmer for 15 minutes

4. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, add the juice of the lime and rip the satsuma segments in half and add to the curry. Serve with either rice or naan. 

This meal was so filling but also really healthy. 

Here is the link to the original recipe

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

I've just made a new Instagram account for the blog, so give it a look if you're interested. @TheMedicJournal 

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Thursday, 29 October 2015

3 books everyone should read

Confession time: I hate reading. I have always been a restless person with a rather short attention span. Anyone who has sat next to me in a  lecture will find me extremely annoying because I can't keep still! I am also a very literal  realist person, in that I can find it quite hard to escape into a novel's story line. Consequently, after I finished my GCSEs in English Language and English Literature, I barely read any fiction at all. The only books I now read (and only occasionally) are non-fiction. 

However, in spite of my lack of interest, there are 3 books that have changed the way I think massively. Throughout life, traditions are forgotten, culture updates itself and society evolves new ways of being politically correct. For this day and age, the 3 books I want to discuss really help ourselves to see the world for what it really is, rather than how it is portrayed; the heresay and the stereotypes and the misconceptions. 

1 - Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

Every day we are bombarded with news. News from our towns, news about celebrities, news about crises across the globe. Stories come out, research gets published, and sometimes it's hard to tell fact from fiction. This is particularly true when it's shared by irritatingly inaccurate newspapers like The Daily Mail and The Telegraph. By reading Bad Science, I began to see newspaper articles for what they really are. Goldacre decodes and educates us to think twice and look closer at poorly mediatised research claims. If you read this book, Goldacre will explain many phenomena like the MMR vaccine, do anti-ageing creams really work, the lies of Gillian McKeith and a lot more. Once you read this book, you will never read a newspaper article the same way. His writing is easy to understand and concentrate on, and the chapters do not have to be read in order. He has also written another book called Bad Pharma, which I think every medical student MUST READ. It's all about the lies behind the pharmaceutical industry and a more complex sequel to Bad Science, and a bit trickier to follow. 

2 - How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran

Regardless of gender, everyone needs to read this book. Moran has no shame into delving into all the hidden parts of what it's really like to be a woman in scarily graphic detail. When I read this book, I thought "Thank God someone has actually made it okay to talk about this". When you read this book you will be angry that you ever felt obliged to shave your legs in P.E, and everyone will see why feminism still matters today. 

3 - Depressive Illness, The Curse of the Strong by Dr Tim Cantopher

When I saw this book, I was very underwhelmed. Quite gimmicky book title and shitty cover art. But the content is brilliant. One of the biggest problems we have in society is the fact that so many people think depression is either a fallacy or not a real illness. Dr Cantopher studied medicine at UCL and is a psychiatrist. He knows his stuff. He explains depression thoroughly and accurately, and whether you have depression or not, it will teach you to be more understanding and empathetic. 
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Saturday, 24 October 2015

Medicine and Mental Health



This is a topic I have wanted to discuss for a long time, but sometimes it's hard to know where to start. 

First of all, I will show you the results of the Student BMJ's survey on 1122 UK medical students:


15% (167) of the survey’s respondents revealed that they had considered committing suicide at some point during their studies

30% (343) declared they had experienced or received treatment for a mental health condition while at medical school
From this group, 80% (276) thought the level of support available to them was either poor or only moderately adequate

I find this data both shocking and unsurprising. Almost one in three medical students receive treatment for a mental health condition. When we think of doctors we like to think they are wise and stoic members of society: robots even. We trust our doctors with information we may not even tell our partners or our family. Not just health problems, but love problems, money worries, housing issues. And sadly, there is something jolting and unnerving about thinking that your GP, your physician, your surgeon, has a mental health problem.

Why do we think less of people with mental health problems? I suppose in the past if times were tough you were told not to grumble and to have a 'stiff upper lip'. If someone appears unable to get out of bed, it is and has often been assumed that it is caused by laziness, not disease. In fact, it's easier to assume someone is lazy or selfish than having a true disease - it can be easier to cure sloth than a complex psychological problem. 

The combination of both ingrained negative heresay about mental health diseases and the tall order of being in the medical profession silences the many unhappy, stressed medics. Whilst a career in medicine is a great privilege and to pursue arguably the most satisfying job in both academic and altruistic perspectives, that doesn't make it any easier. In fact, it can worsen the burden. How do you explain to a colleague at hospital that you had to take a couple of days off because your anxiety was becoming unbearable without feeling guilty and inadequate? How does a medical student fill in an absence form and simply write 'depression' as the cause of absence? Are these problems really going to be accepted by the working professionals? They should be accepted, but currently they often are not. 

On top of this, there's the looming head of the quasi-legal GMC guidelines. Due to some of its ambiguity, many students and doctors fret that admitting they are struggling with a mental health problem means they'll be booted out. That is simply not the case. The NHS or the medical school does not need to be notified by your doctor until it reaches a point where the disease(s) spirals out of control, reaching into dangerous behaviour and unable to care for oneself. 

However, the truth is medical students should be precisely the ones admitting that they need support. Sometimes lovely friends and family are not enough. By engaging with the various therapies out there for mental health problems, ranging from medications to talking therapies, the student can accept they have a problem and be 'proactive' about it. Sometimes it can take years for someone to admit they have OCD/anxiety/depression/an eating disorder/etc.. I'm not saying it's simply a case of nipping the problem in the bud, but by making the time to take stock of whether they're coping or not will fundamentally improve their outlook. I have several friends studying medicine that have resisted medications and talking therapies like counselling/CBT for a long time, and once they tried it they kicked themselves for being so hesitant. 

It is worth noting that most medical schools do not do nearly enough to help their students. Most medical schools do have some contacts with counselling and such but often it is not advertised clearly to the students who want or need it. Instead of medical schools glossing over the problem or failing to address it, the  taboo of mental health problems needs to be obliterated and tackled head on. Doctors will always be around, and you can't change the fact doctors and medics will unfortunately develop mental health issues that are only exacerbated by their chosen profession. 

It is often said that doctors make the worst patients. However, medical students and doctors need to accept that by being attentive to any mental health issues they may have it will only help benefit themselves and help them to be better doctors. 

Here are some links I thought might be helpful if you are a medic (or not) with a mental health issue:
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