The words were like bitter candies that I had been sucking on, hoping to come to a sweet center. I had walked the hallways of the hospital holding them in the silky pocket of my cheek for weeks. Finally, afraid I would choke, I spit them out into the middle of the dinner table.
“I think I’m depressed.”
My career in medicine is something I am proud of. I was the first one in the family to enter the field of medicine, and I have navigated the maze of my medical education and training often blindly, without footsteps to follow. I have built a career in which I am both passionate and successful. From the outside, it is an incredible accomplishment. But it has not been without sacrifice – and those sacrifices have impacted everyone who loves me.
A while back, I had a really rough week at the hospital. It was a combination of many things: lack of sleep, working at a site away from home, and a string of very sick patients that culminated in one of the hardest patient deaths I’ve had to handle so far in my career. I happened to mention some of this in casual conversation with a family member and it stopped them dead in their tracks.
“How do you do it?” they asked.