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From Our Readers: What It's Like to be a Doctor Who's Battling Major Depressive Disorder
These are the struggles of a doctor learning to save lives while on a journey to save herself.
PHOTO SBS ART Naomi Torrecampo

Being a doctor is one of the toughest endeavors one can ever go through. It takes years of studying, even decades, while it eats away your life. You sacrifice every fiber of your being just to get those two letters after your name. You're the modern day hero trying to defy the impossible. You spend your whole life learning how to save a life but when it's your turn to be broken, who saves you? Surviving medical school is a difficult journey and it gets harder when your baggage is too heavy. 

MDD or Major Depressive Disorder is my reality now and it's my everyday battle. It's not like saying you just feel depressed because of something that happened. It's debilitating to one's functioning. I never said I don't want  to be a doctor but this life doesn't make me happy. Little kids would say they want to be a doctor when they grow up. I was one of them.

I still want to be a doctor but I don't want to be just that. I want to dance, write, see the world and make music and art. I want to live pursuing my passions and to save lives but medical school doesn't permit that. Med school is a selfish partner in life. It leaves you no room to think about yourself because other people's lives are on the line.

There are times when you'd want to break down but you have to be strong because your patient is dying. 

You get your heart broken every day and you have to choose to spend time studying than to do what you love, then you end up getting a mediocre grade because your efforts are just not enough. It's the constant pain of being away from your family and missing birthdays, Christmas celebrations, New Year's dinners, and every holiday you can think of because you have a duty to attend to. You end up just ignoring your family and friends because you're tired of explaining that you can't go with them when they ask you to. You feel exhausted but you can't give it up because you'll break your mother's heart, the person who worked so hard to get you to where you are despite suffering from cancer. 

There's this pain of not being able to express your love for art and being judged for your tattoos because it's not how doctors should be. They would always tell you, "How would patients respect you when they see?" It's when people get surprised when they find out you're a doctor because they say you don't look like one. They would usually look at you curiously because you don't seem smart in their eyes. 

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It's when people get surprised when they find out you're a doctor because they say you don't look like one. They would usually look at you curiously because you don't seem smart in their eyes. 

It's when people accuse you of being promiscuous because of what you wear and how you look but you're really not. Or when guys wouldn't take you seriously because you look similar to a particular type. It's just the pain from everyone you've ever trusted, but still hurt you just because they feel like you can take it easily and you looked like the strong one.

It's the one who broke you, coming back and promising you that things would be a lot better. Yet you loved that person unconditionally. It's when he tried so hard to regain your trust just to destroy it all again. It's when he would look you straight in the eyes and tell you he loves you so many times, but you'd catch him with someone else. It's screaming at each other while you hit him so many times because you want answers. It's you walking out the door with your heart shattered and your dignity torn apart. 

The pain tortures you, feeds on your soul, and drains your energy. It's constantly being in despair, yet you can't help it. It's wanting to be happy and doing everything to be but you just can't. It's waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air because your chest is too heavy that you cannot breathe. It's waking up crying over nothing and everything. It's waking up screaming because what happened haunts you still. It's wanting not to wake up anymore because reality is far worse than the demons in your sleep.

It's having so much to think and it drowns you in. It's so exhausting even when you are doing nothing. You don't want to move anymore, talk, breathe. It's crying in the middle of the day because it's too hard to bear already. It's talking to someone and you just get shut down. It's looking into other people's eyes and feeling sorry for yourself.

It's not being able to look at yourself in the mirror because you don't recognize yourself anymore.

It's the shame of telling your family and friends because they won't take you seriously. It's telling your friends how you are and getting nothing in return. It's being alone even when a lot of people are around you. It's wanting to see the people who broke you because you feel like they're the only ones who can fix you. It's watching your world crumble before your eyes and you can't do anything. It's when you feel down and all they'd say is it's going to be okay; you know they're lying.

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So here I am, acknowledging my reality a month before I graduate because the burden is too heavy already and I can't take it anymore. Here I am, the fallen hero, accepting the reality that I need help because the battle is already too much to bear. Because how can I save a life when I can't even save myself?

Are you going through depression or anything you think you can't handle? There's a safe space for you to talk about what you're going through. Call 804-HOPE (4673).

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