Recently I wrote an article on medical depression and suicide. It has been quite eye opening to realize that there are words to describe what I have been going through these past two years. Also its nice to see that I am not alone.
I have realized that there is this culture of medicine that has been engrained in healthcare professions from the start.
I have been trying to explain it to my family but they are unable to understand what I have been experiencing.
I suppose you have to go through it to truly feel what I have been feeling. And I do not wish that they experience it.
I wish it was as simple as the stress of studying and exams. But there is so much more to healthcare training. There is hazing, competition, judgement and personal battles that are so much more stressful than school alone.
In undergrad I was somewhat of a introvert, a loner. But I have had this huge culture shock of dealing with future colleagues. Its a bit like a sorority but here we don't compete for who can drink the most.
The competitions in school include who can be a "gunner", who can partake in the most social activities, who can have extreme participation in clubs and organizations. There is competition to be teachers pet. There is competition on most fit, prettiest, handsomest. You name it, we compete for it.
In a way veterinary school has stripped us of our identities. Before we were unique in being labeled smart, veterinary students that strove for the best. We had unique qualities such as hobbies, origins and qualities. But these get lost since here everyone is just like you. At school where we are all leveled out. Everyone here is unique in their special way so in a way no one is. Therefore in school you strive to find your individuality. You become a new self, stripped of your old self. You become "smartest", or "most outgoing", "craziest", "weakest", etcetera. These new labels don't necessarily have to be positive. The gossip that occurs in school solidifies your identity, whether it be true or not. These impressions will stay with your future colleagues, therefore you attempt to be best at whatever it is that you do. You give off the impression that you are able, that you can handle it all.
Yet according to the paper that I wrote many students suffer from imposter syndrome. Many suffer from depression or other mental illnesses. Many have suicide ideation and some go far enough to commit suicide. So why are we all pretending? Why does the culture of medicine continue?
Why are we unable to say, "I am scared, I am having trouble or I don't understand". And if you do why are you labelled weak or incompetent? Why is there this stigma attached to healthcare professions. We suffer from it yet it is self-inflicted.
I doubt it will but I genuinely hope it changes.