“All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them.” -Galileo
There is a family friend who was suffering from depression and refused to seek help. When I asked him why, he gave the answer I was expecting; because he was a man and men don’t cry. I explained to him that just like he couldn’t wish away his atherosclerosis, he couldn’t make his depression disappear by thinking happy thoughts. It is a disease that must be treated through lifestyle changes starting with psychotherapy and with medications. After much more discussion, he agreed to be admitted to the VA hospital and seek treatment.
It was during this time that I was debating on which field in medicine was right for me. I have always been interested in human behavior and how the mind reacts to disease, but this was the first time that I had a clear vision for myself – Psychiatry. I made a connection to this man that others did not. I was able to help him see depression as a disease and not a negative stigma. While I have accomplished teaching people about systemic diseases like diabetes and their complications, nothing gave me the satisfaction that I felt when relating to this man.
Psychiatry stood out from all other rotations because of the rapport I developed with my patients. I never had a sense of uneasiness when talking to my patients about the intimate details of their lives. Like a surgeon, I enjoy seeing results in a short amount of time but like an internist, I want to develop a long term relationship with my patients. Psychiatry offers that specific type of relationship that I seek. Variety is another aspect of psychiatry that intrigues me. There are no two mental health patients that are identical which leads to a myriad of combinations of treatments, from psychotherapy to psychopharmacology. The last aspect of choosing a profession was ensuring that I would be interested in long-term learning. Whether it is through pursuing a fellowship, or keeping up to date with journals and the latest research, psychiatry is the field where I will grow for myself and can also add my perspective to the profession.
Once I have had finished my residency, I plan on continuing my education with a fellowship in Child Psychiatry. Children have always fascinated me, especially with how they develop emotionally and socially. Having children of my own, I often found myself enthralled with how siblings with the same upbringing can have such different personalities. This was further confirmed when I did my rotation in a Child Crisis Center. I felt as though I was able to relate to the adolescents with whatever issues that brought them to our service. I was an active listener and made a conscientious effort to not behave in any way that may be considered judgmental.
My desire to learn, ability to adapt to any situation, compassionate nature, and my flexible demeanor are qualities that will make me an excellent resident. I look forward to working in a program that provides me with a wide range of experience in psychotherapy and psychopharmacology as both are equally important. I hope that it will enhance my capabilities in becoming a great psychiatrist.