thewalrus

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Mar 4, 2005
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Hi all -
Ok, first off, a disclaimer: this is a serious post, I'm not a troll.
I actually post quite a bit in the various forums, but I created a new
username just for this post, so no-one could work out who I was or
whatever (yea I know, paranoid much)
So anyway, the subject line basically says it all. Are there any med.
students here (or lurking pre-meds even) that have/ have had an ED
(eating disorder) of any kind? If so, how do you deal w/ it in med.
school? Has the pressure etc. worsened your condition or has learning about
medicine made you more aware and eager to try and get help, work
through it etc.?
Any thoughts/ comments (serious only, please) would be much
appreciated. If you're uncomfortable posting here, feel free to PM me.
I guess I should give a little background to this:
As you may have surmised by now, I have an ED history. Basically,
have been anorexic off and on (as it goes) since about age 15 (am now
23, headed to med. school this year). Fairly standard story: I was a
competitive gymnast, plus a super-perfectionist in a well-known private
prep school and, subsequently, an ivy undergrad. And so on and so on. In any
case, I guess I'm just curious/ worried in terms of how this will pan
out at med. school because obviously it seems like med. students,
doctors etc. should "know better" but, even though I (scientifically
or academically, at any rate) "know better" right now, I'm still
struggling with this. I guess I'm just wondering if there's anyone else
out there who can relate to this at all, or if I'm some lone hypocritical
psycho who is about to embark upon a career that involves caring for others
and impressing upon them the value of taking care of themselves and their
health when I clearly am not so great at taking care of mine.
Wow, that was long. Sorry :rolleyes: Thanks for reading (if you did!) :)
 

erin682

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Oct 21, 2004
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I haven't had an ED personally (I have the tendency but as I'm hypoglcemic I wouldn't make it long before I got to sick to continue) but given the personality type of most people in med school I would suspect that it would not be as uncommon as you might think. Most med students are very self-critical, highly disciplined and super perfectionists. So are most people with eating disorders. My little sister was a purging anorexic for several years. She's recovering now but as you know its one of those things that always lurks under the surface. She's going in to nursing. I don't think going into health care fields with an experience like yours is hypocritical at all. You have had an experience that has allowed you to feel and hurt in a way that many people don't understand. This will allow you to empathize with your patients in a real and meaningful way.

That said it is important that you have your ED under control before going to med school. Med school is a stressful a situation as it gets and as you know stress brings out all those things that lurk under the surface and can make them even worse than before. I would suggest getting a therapist at best or at least someone who you trust that can keep you accountable to eating at you med school.

Feel free to PM if you want. I could probably get you a response from my sister if you want.
 

Termwean

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Apr 18, 2004
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Yeah but "medical" people have all kinds of problems....some are etoholics, some SMOKE(*******es) some do illegal drugs...some steal drugs from the pt's they are supposed to be helping...so eat too much...some have extra-marital affairs.....even thoughthey know better....so why would ED be any different. I am a respiratory therapist...almost every day someone I take care of dies of complications of smoking....yet half of my co-workers smoke, why?
 

care bear

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i would guess that the % of female med students who have struggled w/their eating habits is much, much higher than in the general population, for obvious reasons. (perfectionists much?)

at my school, i know for a fact that there are students who are currently struggling with this.

i would agree that getting it under control before starting med school is a good idea, b/c med school is bound to exacerbate it, just like erin said.

good luck. don't beat yourself up over this. :)
 

Lara

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May 25, 2002
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I'm a big fan of activities where eating disorders tend to be prevalent (ie. gymnastics, ballet, figure skating) and wish you best of luck in working through this. I'm sure it's not as uncommon as you think either.

The good thing is that while med school is a stressful environment, hopefully you won't feel anywhere near as pressured with regards to your appearance. I'm in third year and everyone looks like crap post-call...it's understood. And being at the hospital by 6-7AM or earlier isn't exactly conducive to taking the time to look nice...or wearing scrubs for that matter! Even in the first two years people just don't care as much compared to undergrad. You'll have more than enough to occupy you. It *is* important to let go of being too perfectionist in general though, because otherwise you'll truly be miserable and drive yourself nuts in med school. Also, once you reach clinicals you'll need all the stamina and energy you can get - if you don't eat you won't make it standing through surgery or even medicine rounds. Being healthy really is crucial for your own sake.

Best of luck! :)