closertofine

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Hi all...I'm a first-year and doing OK academically, but beginning to really question whether this is the right career for me, given my personality (long story...well, extremely introverted kinda sums it up). I've talked to the counselor at school, who agreed that this may not be the "best fit" for me...

And a while back, I mentioned my worry to a long-time friend, but he basically laughed it off and told me it would be fine.

At this point, I'm not sure who else to talk to (if anyone) or how to figure this out. There isn't another career that appeals to me more...it's just that it seems like this one will be a constant uphill battle against my "nature" and might not make for the happiest patient-doctor interactions either (although I can manage to act OK, it just takes a huge amount of energy and anxiety).

I'm embarrassed to tell this much about myself on here...but seriously, I'm not a troll...although I'm also very depressed (mainly about this), if you haven't already noticed, although that is a chronic problem for me as well.

Has anyone else struggled with this? If so (or even if not), any ideas on what to do?

Edit: I do realize I should have figured all this out before now...I did know I was introverted but thought that it would be easier to overcome when I had to.
 

randomlogik

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It's common to have doubts about you're career choice. That doesn't mean you should give it up. There are specialties in medicine that do not require as much patient contact or you could pursue a research oriented career. These options may be better suited for someone with your personality type. 3rd and 4th year won't be easy, but just think of them as small hurdles that you can get through. If medicine is truely something you think you will enjoy, don't give up now.
 

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closertofine said:
Hi all...I'm a first-year and doing OK academically, but beginning to really question whether this is the right career for me, given my personality (long story...well, extremely introverted kinda sums it up). I've talked to the counselor at school, who agreed that this may not be the "best fit" for me...

And a while back, I mentioned my worry to a long-time friend, but he basically laughed it off and told me it would be fine.

At this point, I'm not sure who else to talk to (if anyone) or how to figure this out. There isn't another career that appeals to me more...it's just that it seems like this one will be a constant uphill battle against my "nature" and might not make for the happiest patient-doctor interactions either (although I can manage to act OK, it just takes a huge amount of energy and anxiety).

I'm embarrassed to tell this much about myself on here...but seriously, I'm not a troll...although I'm also very depressed (mainly about this), if you haven't already noticed, although that is a chronic problem for me as well.

Has anyone else struggled with this? If so (or even if not), any ideas on what to do?

Edit: I do realize I should have figured all this out before now...I did know I was introverted but thought that it would be easier to overcome when I had to.
You'll be fine, just go to a field without much pt care. You can go be a pathologist or a radiologist. You can also do academic research. This will allow you minimal pt conact and allow your introvert nature to shine through. Good luck.
 

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Also consider anesthesia. You won't have to talk too much in that one. Or how about neonatology where your patients can't communicate verbally. A non clinical research job may work as well.

The important thing is to deal with the depression and then the world of opportunities available will be clear to you.
 

Dr Who

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Hey its ok to have doubts, medicine is not easy in and of itself. Med students tend to suffer from depression so you are not alone. Take it easy and tough it out.
Medicine might have carrer paths that might be more of a fit for you. try to look into academic medicine and research or maybe medical careers where patient contact is limited such as rads, path or anesthesia.

Just take it nice and slow, one day ant a time and you'lle be ok. You are not alone in this, trust me on that. :)
 

thackl

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Or you can work on developing the non-dominant parts of your personality. Go get a Meyers-Briggs test, then set up a plan of attack. Lots of people overcome this sort of thing.
 

chitown82

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skypilot said:
Also consider anesthesia. You won't have to talk too much in that one. Or how about neonatology where your patients can't communicate verbally. A non clinical research job may work as well.

The important thing is to deal with the depression and then the world of opportunities available will be clear to you.
I'd imagine that in neonatology, you would need to have extremely good communication skills and strong interpersonal skills. While you might not be taking to the patient, you most definitely will have to talk (a lot) to the baby's parents and other family members.
 

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Though I don't think my experiences are as hard as yours but I'll share a story. As a freshman in college I took a class to become an EMT, got my license and then got a job at an ambulance company. I showed up the first day of work and realized, "shoot, I actually have to talk to patients?" I had a really hard time of it at first. And it's really uncomfortable when you're sitting in the back of the ambulance right next to someone and you have nothing to say for 20 minutes. I realized that this was a problem and it wasn't going to work for me unless I changed. So I spend a lot of time observing how my partners at work conversed with patients and I started forcing myself to do it. I

t just took me a long time to get to the point where I realized that I'm not going to be thought of as stupid if I say the wrong thing. I was brought up with the principle that you should let people think you're stupid rather then open your mouth and remove all doubt. But now I realize that as an EMT and in the future as a doctor I will be in a respected position and that I don't need to worry about what I say because people will not think of me as stupid so it has become easier to talk to patients.

The point is that if you really want to persue medicine, don't get discouraged if you have trouble talking to patients. Somebody out there thought you would make a good physician since they let you into med school and they are probably right. You might have to work more at it but there is nothing wrong with that. Good Luck.
 

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I too am a very introverted person, and I'd like to make some observations. Firstly there is significant value in being introverted in medicine. Our society seems increasingly infatuated with extroverts - hey they are the life of the party. I believe introverts, who spend considerable time reflecting on their experiences and feelings are well placed to be able to understand and respond well to patients in times of crisis.

When you begin practicing, you (and all the rest of us) will have to do lots of stuff many people would find intolerable. In my past life as an icu nurse, I have seen and been involved in things that the general population would find ghastly (both physically and emotionally). People say, oh you're a nurse I couldn't do that ... blah blah blah, so what is it that allows us to debride festering wounds, to wash patients incontinent of melena, or to explain that no your son will really never wake up... it's professionalism. You are there to do a job, and do it you will, whatever comes your way - and that is why you would (and I have) coped just fine as an introvert.

Put on that cloke when you need to, and you can get through the tough parts.

My 2c worth

:oops:
 
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closertofine

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Thanks, you all...great advice, I appreciate it. Thinking about it, I guess my problem is not just being introverted (although I am)...I think a lot of it has to do with anxiety about social situations. Oddly enough, I worked in a lab for a few hours a week in undergrad, and I really disliked it because it was so quiet and lonely! So I guess it's kind of a catch-22...I don't like being completely alone, but get nervous when I have to deal with people I don't know well.

I do definitely enjoy med school, though, so my doubts have more to do with the future (and even 3rd and 4th years, as one of you mentioned) than with the classes now. But I'll try to take it one day at a time, as you all suggested, and work on becoming more comfortable talking to patients. I really do fine talking to a few friends of mine, but outside of that, it's very difficult.

JobsFan, I know what you mean about the "cloak" of professionalism...I find I can do that some of the time, on a very short-term basis, but it's very stressful and I feel like I still come across as awkward. The problem you mentioned about having to deal with difficult situations has worried me as well...I know that I'm really sensitive and prone to depression anyway, so I worry I won't be able to handle death and all the other problems I'll encounter.

I guess I've calmed down a little bit, though. I'd spoken with the school counselor yesterday, and her assessment that medicine is probably not the "best fit" for me made me pretty upset...along with her suggestion that my anxiety and depression are not likely to change anytime soon (since I've already been through pretty much all the treatments out there with little success).

OK, maybe too much info, sorry! :oops: I hope when they let me into med school, it wasn't based on an inaccurate first impression (but I get the feeling that maybe it was!). Oh well...at least I will try to avoid making any big decisions right away...thanks again...
 

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closertofine said:
I hope when they let me into med school, it wasn't based on an inaccurate first impression (but I get the feeling that maybe it was!)...
EVERY med student accepted into med school because of innacurate first impressions (i.e. admissions interview).
How many students profess a profound love and selfless respect for the human condition during the admissions interview only to be arrogant self centered A*sholes in med school.
Although from all your posts I dont believe this applies to you. :D
 

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closertofine said:
Thanks, you all...great advice, I appreciate it. Thinking about it, I guess my problem is not just being introverted (although I am)...I think a lot of it has to do with anxiety about social situations.
If the anxiety is disabling you, have you thought about an SSRI? Your med school should have counseling available with either a psychologist, phsychiatrist or psych RN/NP. Remember there are less intense areas, patient wise, in medicine: psych, anesthesia, pathology, and areas like health policy. Good luck.
 

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i would definitely not make a decision first year. it may be that you are just finding the courses boring and awful. second year is more interesting but then depressing becuase it's so much work. but at least you learn coool things. i just don't think that 1st year is indicative of medicine as a career. why don't you try to shadow some docs and see if you see yourself doing what they do.
 

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I think it may be helpful to try an SSRI for social anxiety. Social anxiety is the most common of all psychological conditions, ~4% of the population has it, I think.
 

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closertofine said:
Hi all...I'm a first-year and doing OK academically, but beginning to really question whether this is the right career for me, given my personality (long story...well, extremely introverted kinda sums it up). I've talked to the counselor at school, who agreed that this may not be the "best fit" for me...

And a while back, I mentioned my worry to a long-time friend, but he basically laughed it off and told me it would be fine.

At this point, I'm not sure who else to talk to (if anyone) or how to figure this out. There isn't another career that appeals to me more...it's just that it seems like this one will be a constant uphill battle against my "nature" and might not make for the happiest patient-doctor interactions either (although I can manage to act OK, it just takes a huge amount of energy and anxiety).

I'm embarrassed to tell this much about myself on here...but seriously, I'm not a troll...although I'm also very depressed (mainly about this), if you haven't already noticed, although that is a chronic problem for me as well.

Has anyone else struggled with this? If so (or even if not), any ideas on what to do?

Edit: I do realize I should have figured all this out before now...I did know I was introverted but thought that it would be easier to overcome when I had to.
Get into a non patient contact specialty if you still feel this way then. Talk to Yaah about pathology. Or look into research. Or radiology. Lots of stuff you can do.
 

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sapience8x said:
i would definitely not make a decision first year. it may be that you are just finding the courses boring and awful. second year is more interesting but then depressing becuase it's so much work. but at least you learn coool things. i just don't think that 1st year is indicative of medicine as a career. why don't you try to shadow some docs and see if you see yourself doing what they do.
I wonder if my school is that much different from the average med school. 1st year doesn't seem useless so far (we're doing neurology, psychiatry, ortho, a bit of pediatry). :confused:
 

Elysium

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I second the idea about an SSRI, but I would definetly try and talk to a board certified psychiatrist. Lots of primary care docs will prescribe SSRIs as a catch all for all anxiety/depression, but only psychiatrists are really trained in dealing with the intricate nature of psychopharmacology. There's more to it than just SSRIs (e.g should you add something like buspirone, or another SSRI, or Effexor, which is not an SSRI, etc, etc). So, don't give up the med route and certainly don't give up on the notion of hooking up with a good psychotherapist you feel comfortable with to maybe deal with some cognitive behaviour therapy. There are lots of solutions - don't give up hope. I know first hand that a lot of this is trial and error and that your mental outlook has a profound effect on every aspect of your life. It's like living in a fog sometimes. There is a way out, I promise.
 
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closertofine

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Elysium said:
I second the idea about an SSRI, but I would definetly try and talk to a board certified psychiatrist. Lots of primary care docs will prescribe SSRIs as a catch all for all anxiety/depression, but only psychiatrists are really trained in dealing with the intricate nature of psychopharmacology. There's more to it than just SSRIs (e.g should you add something like buspirone, or another SSRI, or Effexor, which is not an SSRI, etc, etc). So, don't give up the med route and certainly don't give up on the notion of hooking up with a good psychotherapist you feel comfortable with to maybe deal with some cognitive behaviour therapy. There are lots of solutions - don't give up hope. I know first hand that a lot of this is trial and error and that your mental outlook has a profound effect on every aspect of your life. It's like living in a fog sometimes. There is a way out, I promise.
Thanks (to you and also the others who mentioned similar things). I didn't go into detail about meds in my earlier posts (partly because my history with them makes me seem like even more of a mess!), but when I said I've tried basically all the treatments out there, I was serious...name an antidepressant of almost any class, except the MAOI's, and I've almost definitely been on it at one time or another.

And I've seen a variety of psychiatrists and therapists over the years...I'm going back to see a psychiatrist this week just as a last resort. The doctors I've seen have also agreed I've run through the list of most drugs...my last doctor even put me on something not commonly used for unipolar depression to see if it might help, especially since I have had mood swings in the past (although nothing as severe as type I bipolar).

I've also done cognitive-behavioral therapy, and that's what the counselor at school was starting with me...before she told me it didn't seem like it was helping...I may try to keep up with that anyway, though.

So in summary, yes, I am generally a mess...although I have managed to hold it together for school so far, and I don't think many people would guess the extent of my problems. I can definitely relate to that feeling of "living in a fog"...I do hope that I'll figure something out for this.

Oops, this is getting long...but I forgot to mention...I am currently on an SSRI and a tricyclic, prescribed by a general practitioner for other medical problems (migraines, pain, etc), but of course also for depression. I'm on the highest dose I can be without having my blood levels too high (a psychiatrist once checked my levels)...and I am really wary of going off of them because I was really physically sick before I started taking them. I guess maybe there is only so much meds can do, though, so I guess the rest is up to me...
 

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closertofine said:
Hi all...I'm a first-year and doing OK academically, but beginning to really question whether this is the right career for me, given my personality (long story...well, extremely introverted kinda sums it up). I've talked to the counselor at school, who agreed that this may not be the "best fit" for me...

And a while back, I mentioned my worry to a long-time friend, but he basically laughed it off and told me it would be fine.

At this point, I'm not sure who else to talk to (if anyone) or how to figure this out. There isn't another career that appeals to me more...it's just that it seems like this one will be a constant uphill battle against my "nature" and might not make for the happiest patient-doctor interactions either (although I can manage to act OK, it just takes a huge amount of energy and anxiety).

I'm embarrassed to tell this much about myself on here...but seriously, I'm not a troll...although I'm also very depressed (mainly about this), if you haven't already noticed, although that is a chronic problem for me as well.

Has anyone else struggled with this? If so (or even if not), any ideas on what to do?

Edit: I do realize I should have figured all this out before now...I did know I was introverted but thought that it would be easier to overcome when I had to.
research, rads, path, you'll find something you like, you'll be fine.
 

Elysium

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closertofine said:
Thanks (to you and also the others who mentioned similar things). I didn't go into detail about meds in my earlier posts (partly because my history with them makes me seem like even more of a mess!), but when I said I've tried basically all the treatments out there, I was serious...name an antidepressant of almost any class, except the MAOI's, and I've almost definitely been on it at one time or another.

And I've seen a variety of psychiatrists and therapists over the years...I'm going back to see a psychiatrist this week just as a last resort. The doctors I've seen have also agreed I've run through the list of most drugs...my last doctor even put me on something not commonly used for unipolar depression to see if it might help, especially since I have had mood swings in the past (although nothing as severe as type I bipolar).

I've also done cognitive-behavioral therapy, and that's what the counselor at school was starting with me...before she told me it didn't seem like it was helping...I may try to keep up with that anyway, though.

So in summary, yes, I am generally a mess...although I have managed to hold it together for school so far, and I don't think many people would guess the extent of my problems. I can definitely relate to that feeling of "living in a fog"...I do hope that I'll figure something out for this.

Oops, this is getting long...but I forgot to mention...I am currently on an SSRI and a tricyclic, prescribed by a general practitioner for other medical problems (migraines, pain, etc), but of course also for depression. I'm on the highest dose I can be without having my blood levels too high (a psychiatrist once checked my levels)...and I am really wary of going off of them because I was really physically sick before I started taking them. I guess maybe there is only so much meds can do, though, so I guess the rest is up to me...

Oh hell, I am so sorry to hear about all that. That really sucks. I had no idea the extent of what you had gone through. I hope you finally find a solution that works for you.

Good luck and don't give up!
 

thewebthsp

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Do you have a second hobby, maybe like guitar playing? That can help. Balance is always good. Bah back to Brain and Behavior...

closertofine said:
Thanks (to you and also the others who mentioned similar things). I didn't go into detail about meds in my earlier posts (partly because my history with them makes me seem like even more of a mess!), but when I said I've tried basically all the treatments out there, I was serious...name an antidepressant of almost any class, except the MAOI's, and I've almost definitely been on it at one time or another.

And I've seen a variety of psychiatrists and therapists over the years...I'm going back to see a psychiatrist this week just as a last resort. The doctors I've seen have also agreed I've run through the list of most drugs...my last doctor even put me on something not commonly used for unipolar depression to see if it might help, especially since I have had mood swings in the past (although nothing as severe as type I bipolar).

I've also done cognitive-behavioral therapy, and that's what the counselor at school was starting with me...before she told me it didn't seem like it was helping...I may try to keep up with that anyway, though.

So in summary, yes, I am generally a mess...although I have managed to hold it together for school so far, and I don't think many people would guess the extent of my problems. I can definitely relate to that feeling of "living in a fog"...I do hope that I'll figure something out for this.

Oops, this is getting long...but I forgot to mention...I am currently on an SSRI and a tricyclic, prescribed by a general practitioner for other medical problems (migraines, pain, etc), but of course also for depression. I'm on the highest dose I can be without having my blood levels too high (a psychiatrist once checked my levels)...and I am really wary of going off of them because I was really physically sick before I started taking them. I guess maybe there is only so much meds can do, though, so I guess the rest is up to me...
 

scienceguy

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closertofine said:
Thanks (to you and also the others who mentioned similar things). I didn't go into detail about meds in my earlier posts (partly because my history with them makes me seem like even more of a mess!), but when I said I've tried basically all the treatments out there, I was serious...name an antidepressant of almost any class, except the MAOI's, and I've almost definitely been on it at one time or another.

And I've seen a variety of psychiatrists and therapists over the years...I'm going back to see a psychiatrist this week just as a last resort. The doctors I've seen have also agreed I've run through the list of most drugs...my last doctor even put me on something not commonly used for unipolar depression to see if it might help, especially since I have had mood swings in the past (although nothing as severe as type I bipolar).

I've also done cognitive-behavioral therapy, and that's what the counselor at school was starting with me...before she told me it didn't seem like it was helping...I may try to keep up with that anyway, though.

So in summary, yes, I am generally a mess...although I have managed to hold it together for school so far, and I don't think many people would guess the extent of my problems. I can definitely relate to that feeling of "living in a fog"...I do hope that I'll figure something out for this.

Oops, this is getting long...but I forgot to mention...I am currently on an SSRI and a tricyclic, prescribed by a general practitioner for other medical problems (migraines, pain, etc), but of course also for depression. I'm on the highest dose I can be without having my blood levels too high (a psychiatrist once checked my levels)...and I am really wary of going off of them because I was really physically sick before I started taking them. I guess maybe there is only so much meds can do, though, so I guess the rest is up to me...


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10-23-2004, 09:24 PM #1
psychedoc2b
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Join Date: Oct 2004 Med student with schizoaffective disorder

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
this is a post i found a few months back........u will find your answer, Do Not Give Up

-scienceguy


Hi all,

I'm currently setting up all of my interviews for psychiatry residencies and have received about half of the programs to which I applied. I've addressed my illness in my personal statement. I believe I will get a spot somewhere. I am trying to figure whether or not I should go to a "cush" program or an academic program. Given my illness, I know there will be questions about whether or not I can do the work as a resident and finish the program.

I have been looking for other people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder who are medical students but have not been able to locate anybody who is willing to come out. I'm sure there are others like me out there.


I think my perspective as a patient will give me a different perspective than others who have never experienced a serious mental illness. I hope my perspective will help those who suffer from similar type of illnesses.

I hope to go to a program that will accept me for who I am. I am tired of people making fun of the "crazy" people in psychiatry. I hate it when people think that a person like myself could never make it through a medical residency let alone medical school.

I really want to help other people with mental illnesses. It's where my heart is. I have a tendency to be drawn to others with serious mental illnesses like mine.

I have read some posts here asking about whether they should be open about their illness to their colleagues and to future residency programs. I only recommend being open about your illness if you can handle the stigma that goes along with having a mental illness. I have been told many times that I don't belong in medical school just because of my diagnosis. I hope those who read my message will be more tolerant of those who are different and not judge before they tell someone not to pursue their goals.

I don't have any regrets about pursuing medicine. I will finally get the opportunity to help those with mental illlness. I have alot to learn. I hope that there will be more people like me pursuing medicine.

Thanks for reading my message. Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

I posted this in the psychiatry forum also

psychedoc2b
 

labangel

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closertofine, please don't give up if you truly are interested in medicine. I also suffer from anxiety and depression and have been on and off meds for several years. Med school definitely pushes me to me limits at times, but now that I'm in 3rd year, I'm starting to see it was worth it. There are still times that are stressful, but there are times that are great too. For a long time, I was afraid that I couldn't make it here, but I have. I won't lie, there have been times where I wondered if it is worth it and why other people don't seem to have to work as hard as I do just to get through a day. I finally learned not to listen to the people who questioned whether or not I could do this. I decided that will not let this problem run my life and let fear keep me from my dreams. No one knows what you are capable of doing but you. Please feel free to PM me if you'd like to talk more. Good luck. :)
 

azzarah

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I had doubts about med school all year last year and I was depressed too. I decided to hang in there...i'm glad I did...second year is a lot better. :D
I am pretty sure I am going to go into surgery, because I hate writing long notes and discussing things too much...i'd rather just go in there and get things done.
Don't let it get you down....take each day as it comes. There are so many different career options in medicine. If being introverted is the only thing that's bothering you, I personally wouldn't worry just yet.
 

daveshnave

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I too agree with other posters.... DON'T give up! Especially based on the words of a medical school counselor. Only YOU know what's best for yourself, and you shouldn't be persuaded by someone else. Obviously you worked hard enough to get into med school, and that alone speaks of your desire to become a physician. I can offer two bits of advice re: your situation:

1) My father was a physician (although he passed away while I was very young). From what my mother tells me about him, he was very similar to you... he loved medicine, and had a passion for it, but he became very anxious when it came to dealing with patients or new people. The irony was that everybody who knew my father thought he was a great guy... it was only HE who didn't believe it. He started having severe panic attacks on a fairly regular basis. For himself, he decided pathology was the right specialty for him, and he never regretted his decision. He loved the study of medicine, but, although quite capable, he had a hard time dealing with patients.

2) Although I am not like my father, I too consider myself an introvert. New social situations with people are not alwayst the easiest for me. However, I've trained myself to jump into these situations rather than to have an aversion to them. When I started medical school, I was scared sh*tless of interviewing REAL patients. Who was I, some dumb ignorant kid ACTING as a doctor, when these patients had REAL ilnesses and problems. As I progressed through second and third year though, things started to fall more into place. You get more comfortable interviewing people you don't know, and you start to learn the diseases well enough so that you know what questions to ask. None of this happens overnight though. It's a slow process, and you probably won't become completely comfortable with it for at least another year or two... but don't give up, because it WILL get easier. Don't let some stupid counselor tell you otherwise.

Recognize the reasons why you chose medicine as a career, and find a specialty that suits you... Obviously some specialties are more people intensive than others. After another year or two, you may no longer be intimidated by new patient encounters, or at least the intimidation level will be such that you can handle it, and you may have a completely different outlook than you have now... but please give yourself this chance. You've worked too hard to get where you are now to just give up. If it becomes unbearable, choose a specialty with minimal/no patient contact. Just give yourself some time to figure these things out... good luck.
 

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Sounds like maybe the best thing for you to do might be to take some time off. Maybe finish this year and ask your school if you could take a year for personal reasons and still return to a spot in the next class if you decide to return. I'm not sure exactly what you would choose to do with this year, but I think you might need some time to figure it out instead of forcing yourself to push on with something that is making you this uncomfortable and potentially making your mental state worse.

Everyone here keeps encouraging you to not give up, which is nice...but you are telling us that you truly think medicine may not be for you. Maybe you should listen to your inner feelings here, be honest with yourself, and quit forcing yourself to power on with completing med school just because you started it. Much better to take some time off to figure this out and even to leave med school now than to finish a few more years in misery and still decide later that you are unhappy with your options when you come out. Even if you choose a less-patient contact specialty, you still have to talk to patients 3rd and 4th year on rotations and often have to do a medicine intern year (except in path you don't). I have seen many introverted students seem to get through these experiences just fine (at least they make it appear that way) but if it's going to be that upsetting to you that you're really stressing about it already, why go through that.

What else can you see yourself happy doing? What reasons did you get into medicne anyway and what do/did you imagine as your "ideal job" in medicine in the future? Start picturing yourself in other careers and if you honestly think something else will make you happy and less stressed than medicine, stop making more problems for yourself by continuing to keep yourself in a situation that makes you more depressed. I'm not trying to confuse you, only trying to make sure you make your first priority taking care of yourself.
 

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fourthyear said:
Sounds like maybe the best thing for you to do might be to take some time off. Maybe finish this year and ask your school if you could take a year for personal reasons and still return to a spot in the next class if you decide to return. I'm not sure exactly what you would choose to do with this year, but I think you might need some time to figure it out instead of forcing yourself to push on with something that is making you this uncomfortable and potentially making your mental state worse.

Everyone here keeps encouraging you to not give up, which is nice...but you are telling us that you truly think medicine may not be for you. Maybe you should listen to your inner feelings here, be honest with yourself, and quit forcing yourself to power on with completing med school just because you started it. Much better to take some time off to figure this out and even to leave med school now than to finish a few more years in misery and still decide later that you are unhappy with your options when you come out. Even if you choose a less-patient contact specialty, you still have to talk to patients 3rd and 4th year on rotations and often have to do a medicine intern year (except in path you don't). I have seen many introverted students seem to get through these experiences just fine (at least they make it appear that way) but if it's going to be that upsetting to you that you're really stressing about it already, why go through that.

What else can you see yourself happy doing? What reasons did you get into medicne anyway and what do/did you imagine as your "ideal job" in medicine in the future? Start picturing yourself in other careers and if you honestly think something else will make you happy and less stressed than medicine, stop making more problems for yourself by continuing to keep yourself in a situation that makes you more depressed. I'm not trying to confuse you, only trying to make sure you make your first priority taking care of yourself.

fourthyear brings up several excellent points, that should deff be . sought out. However i get a sence that it might be her chronic problem with anxiety and unhappiness which is the main issue, in which case i would ask myself, "if i did not have these problems, would i be happy as a physician" if the answer is still yes then you need to find a way to work through it. You dont want to look back on this in 10-20 years and say ....WOW im feeling much better now then i was , and still want to be a doctor" but hey , worst case scinero even if you took years off to try and figure out your issues there in NO way is there anything wrong with then completing your dream and going back to medical school. Your health is #1 and i know you know this....no matter how hard the struggle, and your not alone. Every one takes differant paths in life and some still end up in the same place as originally planed.

just my 2 cents
 

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closertofine said:
Hi all...I'm a first-year and doing OK academically, but beginning to really question whether this is the right career for me, given my personality (long story...well, extremely introverted kinda sums it up). I've talked to the counselor at school, who agreed that this may not be the "best fit" for me...

And a while back, I mentioned my worry to a long-time friend, but he basically laughed it off and told me it would be fine.

At this point, I'm not sure who else to talk to (if anyone) or how to figure this out. There isn't another career that appeals to me more...it's just that it seems like this one will be a constant uphill battle against my "nature" and might not make for the happiest patient-doctor interactions either (although I can manage to act OK, it just takes a huge amount of energy and anxiety).

I'm embarrassed to tell this much about myself on here...but seriously, I'm not a troll...although I'm also very depressed (mainly about this), if you haven't already noticed, although that is a chronic problem for me as well.

Has anyone else struggled with this? If so (or even if not), any ideas on what to do?

Edit: I do realize I should have figured all this out before now...I did know I was introverted but thought that it would be easier to overcome when I had to.

Welcome to pathology.
 
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Wow, thanks, y'all...I really appreciate it...I hadn't been checking this board because I didn't think there'd be any more replies!

To answer a few of the questions...to thewebsp, I do have a few hobbies that I probably should pick up again, like photography, learning languages, yoga, etc...good idea.

Labangel, I can definitely relate...especially when you said it's frustrating to think about "why other people don't seem to have to work as hard as I do just to get through a day." I do realize that my problems are nothing in comparison to many others'...but I do often have a hard time. Thanks to you (and the others here) for the encouragement.

Daveshnave...your father does sound a lot like me...I'm glad you've made it through successfully. I hope I'll be able to do the same.

Hmm, guess I may make another post to answer the rest...thanks again...
 

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scienceguy said:
"if i did not have these problems, would i be happy as a physician" if the answer is still yes then you need to find a way to work through it.
Best advice here. :thumbup:

NS
 
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Fourthyear, I do think you make some good points. I will consider taking a year off, but the option really doesn't appeal to me since there is nothing else I can imagine enjoying. I did have a year off between college and med school (working a temp job part of the time, although I spent most of the year too sick to work)...and I couldn't wait for it to end.

I definitely agree that it would be better to get out of med school now if it's really not for me than to wait until I graduate. Even I'm not sure if this field is right for me, though...I'm not miserable now (well, I have been, but I don't think it was from the environment), and I find the classes interesting and challenging.

And the odd thing about it is that when I imagine myself in an environment where I don't have to interact with people much at all, I feel like that might be lonely and boring! Guess I just can't seem to win. I have been talking with my mom about it, and she thinks that I'll find my place eventually...I guess if I worked with a few people I knew, that might be OK...or maybe if I went into something like neurology (my biggest interest), I would be talking with patients more about their specific problems than having to make small talk :confused:

I've thought a lot about your question of what else I can see myself happy doing...and the problem is, I can't come up with much, if anything. I was pre-vet for most of college and do miss being around animals, but I had good reasons for going into human medicine instead, and I know vets have a LOT of human interaction too.

There are a lot of reasons I decided to go into medicine...the application of science, the chance to help people...all the typical ones, I guess. I'm not sure what my ideal job in medicine would be...well, as I said, I have always been fascinated with the brain (but didn't go into neuroscience grad school partly because I was unwilling to do animal experiments!), so maybe something neuro-related...or maybe psychiatry, which would be slightly ironic, but I've noticed I've had an easier time when talking to the few psych patients I've met...not quite sure why...maybe cause I can relate? :p

Thanks again for the thoughts...and sorry this post got so long! I'm beginning to think maybe my unhappiness may be relatively unrelated to med school (especially since I've been majorly depressed most of the time since age 17 or earlier), so I don't know that I would solve it by leaving. (I saw a doctor recently who adjusted my meds, and I have been feeling a good bit better, although oddly hyper at times, lately...so maybe once I get a better handle on the depression, I'll be better able to work on this other stuff).
 
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NotShorty said:
Best advice here. :thumbup:

NS
yes, I think that sums it up pretty well...also the similar idea of "if I were doing something else, would I be happy?". If I could lose the mood and anxiety problems, I do think I'd probably really enjoy medicine...and I honestly don't think that my depression would be better if I were doing something else instead. So I think I will try to work through it, at least for now.
 
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scienceguy said:
fourthyear brings up several excellent points, that should deff be . sought out. However i get a sence that it might be her chronic problem with anxiety and unhappiness which is the main issue, in which case i would ask myself, "if i did not have these problems, would i be happy as a physician" if the answer is still yes then you need to find a way to work through it. You dont want to look back on this in 10-20 years and say ....WOW im feeling much better now then i was , and still want to be a doctor" but hey , worst case scinero even if you took years off to try and figure out your issues there in NO way is there anything wrong with then completing your dream and going back to medical school. Your health is #1 and i know you know this....no matter how hard the struggle, and your not alone. Every one takes differant paths in life and some still end up in the same place as originally planed.

just my 2 cents
oh wow, that's just what I was talking about...sorry to repeat what you said! I think that's good advice...thanks.
 
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toughlife said:
Welcome to pathology.
haha, funny thing is, I just recently realized I actually *like* histology, although I try to avoid admitting it for fear of becoming a social outcast! :laugh: (well, more so than I already am!). I may seriously consider path (forensic path especially seems interesting), but my biggest interests have always been neuro and psych...hmm, maybe at least path is another option.
 

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Remember that the first two years are for most people the toughest.
Try to hang in there, who knows, maybe you will love the clinical aspect of medicine waaay more than you think you would.
 

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Hmm... I think I know who this is... as I watch trainspotting...

Yeah, the anxiety, where-is-my-floor feeling, the overwhelmingness of it all combiined with trying to keep in touch with people pre-medicine. I don't know what the "answer" is yet. it takes a while to get adjusted to these sort of things.
 

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As I sit here almost tearing, I thought that I was the only one with a psych. disorder who is medicine bound. Closer you mentioned bipolar I, well I'm close but no cigar (I re-read this and no pun intended). I'm a very very closeted bipolar II, and fortunately, a highly functioning one. You seem to be highly functioning too since you are doing well in school and seem to be respected at school. I have always done pretty well academically and professionally, very outgoing and friendly, and incredibly hardworking. I was misdiagnosed with ADD @ 8. Overmedicated and misdiagnosed...not pretty. I spent all of high school incredibly depressed (I'm sure I would have been regardless since it is a chem. disorder--but I also had a really sucky childhood of abuse) and all of college trying to prove myself as a competent and likeable person. Although I have really blossomed since high school--I still knew something was up. Some days I am VERY VERY resentful b/c I don't like the diagnosis. I feel like it makes me incompetent and a lunatic--but only on the anxiety-stricken days. But as people have said to me, would you be angry with yourself if you had diabetes instead? I realize that my life is going to be an uphill battle, but whose isn't?? I hope that I eventually am ready to talk more and more about this in these threads b/c it's something that I sometimes wake up panicked about b/c I fear that it will cause me to be a horrible physician and other days I think it adds character...I seem to have a whole lot of that!

I saw how supportive you all were in response to closer's posts and that post from that med. student with schizophrenia.. so I figured this would be a pretty safe place.

A little tidbit of humor: At both my Cornell and Einstein interviews I was interviewed by psychiatrists! :laugh:
 

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sweetpeamd09 said:
As I sit here almost tearing, I thought that I was the only one with a psych. disorder who is medicine bound. Closer you mentioned bipolar I, well I'm close but no cigar (I re-read this and no pun intended). I'm a very very closeted bipolar II, and fortunately, a highly functioning one. You seem to be highly functioning too since you are doing well in school and seem to be respected at school. I have always done pretty well academically and professionally, very outgoing and friendly, and incredibly hardworking. I was misdiagnosed with ADD @ 8. Overmedicated and misdiagnosed...not pretty. I spent all of high school incredibly depressed (I'm sure I would have been regardless since it is a chem. disorder--but I also had a really sucky childhood of abuse) and all of college trying to prove myself as a competent and likeable person. Although I have really blossomed since high school--I still knew something was up. Some days I am VERY VERY resentful b/c I don't like the diagnosis. I feel like it makes me incompetent and a lunatic--but only on the anxiety-stricken days. But as people have said to me, would you be angry with yourself if you had diabetes instead? I realize that my life is going to be an uphill battle, but whose isn't?? I hope that I eventually am ready to talk more and more about this in these threads b/c it's something that I sometimes wake up panicked about b/c I fear that it will cause me to be a horrible physician and other days I think it adds character...I seem to have a whole lot of that!

I saw how supportive you all were in response to closer's posts and that post from that med. student with schizophrenia.. so I figured this would be a pretty safe place.

A little tidbit of humor: At both my Cornell and Einstein interviews I was interviewed by psychiatrists! :laugh:

Closer and Sweatpea, and everyone else who has responded,

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your experiences here with us. I know it may seem like a pretty big risk to be so honest with a group of strangers, but I feel like maybe sharing this part of yourselves among your more "anonymous" peers could be even more therapeutic than talking with people who have known you for years. That's why I love these forums, anyway. I know many of us maybe can't relate to exactly what you are going through, but you can see from all of the responses that you are definitely not alone. Just remember when things get rough that we are all pursuing medicine for a reason and think of how far you have gotten already. Good luck and have faith that everything will work out!
 

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Med school sucks, especially the first year and a half. Just try to tell yourself that medicine does not equal med school. Nobody tells themself that they want to be a med student their entire life. The freaks that do end up as administration, and we see what they're like!

Don't like working directly on people so much? Just slog through it as best as you can and pick your Path or Rads residency. I'll see you there :D
 

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Closer and Sweatpea, and everyone else who has responded,

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your experiences here with us. I know it may seem like a pretty big risk to be so honest with a group of strangers, but I feel like maybe sharing this part of yourselves among your more "anonymous" peers could be even more therapeutic than talking with people who have known you for years. That's why I love these forums, anyway. I know many of us maybe can't relate to exactly what you are going through, but you can see from all of the responses that you are definitely not alone. Just remember when things get rough that we are all pursuing medicine for a reason and think of how far you have gotten already. Good luck and have faith that everything will work out!
:love: Loving you to pieces...

PS-W/ regard to my (psychiatric) interview at Cornell, he couldn't have though I was all that far gone b/c I just got my waitlist letter (if you knew my MCAT score you would understand quite why I am so pleased).
 

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Here is a secret no one ever tells you about medicine, when you start medical school. This is what I found out during my third year:

I would NEVER enter the VAST MAJORITY of medical specialties. I would quit medical school and open a bar in Tahiti rather than go into internal medicine, ob/gyn, psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, radiology, pathology, dermatology, neurology, or ophthalmology.

Career counselors type physicians/surgeons as one category. That is so not true! Some of us are elementary school teacher types; others are engineer types; still others are counselors, lab rats, artists/photographers, actors, businesspeople, and so on. There is no way that any of us could ever conceive of going into most or even many medical specialties; but there are a few that are a good fit.

Most of medicine is not for me. Maybe most of medicine is not for you either. But there are a small handful of fields that I actually liked and considered (general surgery, anaesthesiology, emergency medicine), because some aspect of them fit with my interests and personality. There is a good chance that something in medicine will suit you too, if you choose to stick with it. Doesn't mean you necessarily should (maybe medicine ISN'T right for you -- some people decide that too). It does mean that medicine is very diverse, contrary to popular belief or some career counseling advice, and there's something for all personality types.

Also, just because you're introverted doesn't mean you'll end up in pathology or radiology. :thumbdown: Introverted people turn out to be great clinicians, patient advocates, and encouragers. On the opposite end of the spectrum, when I applied to med school I was all about empathy in medicine and totally into psychiatry or family medicine. I'm ending up in anaesthesiology. :love: I know very little about pathology and so can say nothing about it, but even in radiology, you see patients. It's not about WHAT you do or HOW LONG you spend talking to your patients. It's who you are and how you treat others even in the briefest moments that can impress a person forever. You can teach your patients something, as a radiologist. I chose Gas in spite of many people saying "There's no people contact," because I got to observe how some gas docs made a lasting impression on their patients, even if they never saw them again after discharge. You can be shy or outgoing, and you can treat patients acutely or long-term -- but there are few, if any, medical specialties that are either completely for extroverts or completely people-free.
 

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I often do wonder how many physicians that i come accross every day do or have struggled with mental illness. I recently met a 78 y/o psychiatrist who has delt with depression since he was 15, and kind enough to share his experiance. He is actually a fellow student of mine getting his MSc in molecular biology.......preety inspiring huh!!
 
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IlianaSedai said:
Here is a secret no one ever tells you about medicine, when you start medical school. This is what I found out during my third year:

I would NEVER enter the VAST MAJORITY of medical specialties. I would quit medical school and open a bar in Tahiti rather than go into internal medicine, ob/gyn, psychiatry, pediatrics, family medicine, radiology, pathology, dermatology, neurology, or ophthalmology....
Thanks, Iliana...you're right, that isn't something I've thought much about or that profs seem to talk much about...thanks for the post!
 

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Hi,

The good thing about medicine is that there are many different areas to work in. If you're introverted, look for areas with less patient contact, e.g. surgery, radiology (or "radi-holiday", as they call it). Actually, radiology has more contact with other physicians, so that may be a poor recommendation, but you get the idea. You could probably do a M.D./PhD and do research or maybe do research with an M.D. I expect there are many options...

Good luck!
 

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scienceguy said:
I often do wonder how many physicians that i come accross every day do or have struggled with mental illness. I recently met a 78 y/o psychiatrist who has delt with depression since he was 15, and kind enough to share his experiance. He is actually a fellow student of mine getting his MSc in molecular biology.......preety inspiring huh!!
Coping with my mental issues has been difficult, esp. to accept the fact that there is something "wrong" with me. Not that I'm infallible, but like many things in life it's ok for everyone else, except you. Sometimes I get angry, or horribly upset about my diagnosis and other times I have a general feeling of acceptance and control over my disorder. But, a good portion of the time I am embarrassed by it, perhaps especially b/c most other people don't know and can't tell. They just think I have a whole lot of personality and am peppy...which is true in and of itself..but my moods go far beyond that. With regard to your post, my psychiatrist has several other med. students with bipolar disorder undergoing treatment. She also has a orthopedic surgeon and several other mds just among her bipolar clients. That's just craziness (no pun intended) to me... I have been blessed I guess to have mild bipolar II disorder meaning I have hypomanic highs and lows as opposed to those typical of the bipolar stigma. And truly, the stigma is just so terrible. I am dreading filling out the med. history forms for med. school. Just dreading it...but I expect to be honest, even though now that's making me sweat just thinking about it. This is really difficult guys...and I really do appreciate people being so receptive to this. :)
 

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sweetpeamd09 said:
Coping with my mental issues has been difficult, esp. to accept the fact that there is something "wrong" with me. Not that I'm infallible, but like many things in life it's ok for everyone else, except you. Sometimes I get angry, or horribly upset about my diagnosis and other times I have a general feeling of acceptance and control over my disorder. But, a good portion of the time I am embarrassed by it, perhaps especially b/c most other people don't know and can't tell. They just think I have a whole lot of personality and am peppy...which is true in and of itself..but my moods go far beyond that. With regard to your post, my psychiatrist has several other med. students with bipolar disorder undergoing treatment. She also has a orthopedic surgeon and several other mds just among her bipolar clients. That's just craziness (no pun intended) to me... I have been blessed I guess to have mild bipolar II disorder meaning I have hypomanic highs and lows as opposed to those typical of the bipolar stigma. And truly, the stigma is just so terrible. I am dreading filling out the med. history forms for med. school. Just dreading it...but I expect to be honest, even though now that's making me sweat just thinking about it. This is really difficult guys...and I really do appreciate people being so receptive to this. :)

sweetpeamd,
I know EXACTLY how you feel, exactly....and the stigma if very unfortunate. its been esp hard for me B/C im a 23 year old male.......u never hear men talking about it, but i dont care any more, im the same flip flop, sandles, and surfboard kind of guy i always was......actually i feel now that i have one more thing to add and that is an understanding to people who have felt the way i have.......thats amazing about your Pdoc.......mine is a total TOOL, gave me 1 trial of medicine which did not work for me and put his hands in the air and said "well its all in your head"...that is the last thing i would ever say to any patients even if it was hopeless for a recovery. But i truely believe there is an awnser to everyones problems you just have to keep looking and trying.....its REAL incourageing to know that there are others in med school and med school bound who are in the same boat

and we will make excellent physicians one day
 
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being introverted would be a plus in medicine. in school, here, everyone is a hyper nerd with narrowly defined interests. no one would know what to do or where to go without school. As we know school is all about studying, alone. most socializing is about pre-figured topics, like tests.
School is ananthem to what is valued as "cool" in society, but school is a bubble and nothing applies here.
My school counselor actually said i was an introvert. "No, but this environment has made me one".
being an introvert in no way is a negative in medicine. it might be a plutsbecause introverts might not miss socializing as much. Talking to patients is easy. they respect you and have no idea of what is wrong with them. you could tell them anything and they would believe it.

the real question is why do we want to do medicine i am in my first years of school and dont like it. from what i hear of third year, i dont know if it would really be better. someone please enlighten me! also, why is internal medicine considered so bad? how hard is it to do most fellowships there?