A Black Female Medical Student

Depression. It happens.

Posted on: March 20, 2012

You know… I thought that I would be the last person with mental health issues. I have great insight, I’m totally laid-back, a healthy self-image, all of that. But everyone reaches their limits.

Its been piling up. I have some stuff going on with the family, some stuff going on with the finances, school is as demanding as always, and now, I have to start preparing for residency application. After Match Day, after I congratulated my friends and celebrated their accomplishments, it kinda hit me. They’ve been stressed out for a year, and now… they’re not. They get a 3 month respite until the time comes for them to start their residency. I get nothing.

Nothing about my home life has changed or become less stressful, the only think I can look forward is a financial situation that’s even worse than the one I have now, after I finish this degree I’m going straight back to medical school with barely a break and on top of all the stressors I have going on now, I have to add on something else. Putting together a kick-ass app for residency.

I don’t know. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t imagine adding on anything else to my plate. So I shut down. Bit by bit, I’ve been shutting myself down, to the point that I was just numb. I couldn’t even get stressed out anymore, over the past 2 wks, its like my body had become completely desensitized.

Even so, I didn’t think that anything was *really* wrong with me. I thought I just needed a vacation, and then spring break came and I didn’t feel better. I saw my friends, and I didn’t feel better. The weather changed and my mood didn’t automatically lift the way it normally does. I just didn’t bounce back the way I normally do. I couldn’t get motivated, I couldn’t get excited, all I wanted to do is just lay in bed and continue to not feel.

But even so, I didn’t think that anything was wrong with me. I’ve accepted stress as a permanent component of my life. I’ve spent my life pushing past…. whatever. Be it fatigue, lack of sleep, financial difficulty, challenging workload, too many obligations, whatever it was, I sucked it up and I did it. And I thought that I could just suck it up and push past this slump, but I couldn’t. Its like my body was betraying me, my own mind had betrayed me.

And the funny thing is, nobody could even really tell that anything was wrong. I had everyone fooled. Even me. Looking back now, there were definitely signs. I stopped dressing up for school, stopped wearing makeup, stopped enjoying myself when I went out, I was handing things in late, avoiding my friends, laundry was piling up, I dunno it was just all bad.

I still don’t really know what’s wrong with me. It might be depression, it might be anxiety, it might be both. But don’t allow yourself to be fooled. Like one of my mentors told me, you don’t have to feel this way. And if it you manage it appropriately, its temporary. So tomorrow, I’m hitting up Student Health Services. I’m probably going to get put on medication. Which I *really* don’t like the thought of. But I want to get out of the slump, I want my life to improve, I want to get back to where I was.

So… I’ll let you know how everything goes.

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