medullaoblongata
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I've recently started third year med and I feel so overwhelmed like my life force is being sucked out of me. I know everyone often feels that way, but when I get home in late afternoons/evenings, I have ZERO energy and struggle to get anything done. I just sit at my desk staring blankly at youtube/netflix, don't cook, or tend to basic things.

I'm known for being v studious and I can quite confidently answer questions on the wards most of the time, but I feel like I'm slipping in standards and not doing enough (I make a ton of notes but hardly go back to them). I've had days where I skipped important registered workshops simply because I couldn't get out of bed---it's as if my limbs are too heavy and I physically cannot move. It's so odd-I'm in good shape, sporty, no health problems, etc..

One night I felt so deeply sad that I couldn't sleep and rang up the Samaritans just to talk to someone....never felt that low before

My dilemma is that I wonder whether I should meet up with my personal tutor and tell him about how I've been. I should mention that this is not everyday, but enough times in the week to have an impact.
People describe me as a cheery person and always 'on it'; I'm scared of my PT freaking out about my mental state, and making a record of that in my portfolio.

Has anyone felt like this before (is this medical student-ism or should I be concerned and seek counselling)?

This is my first post and I would really appreciate honest answers. Thank you guys x
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Ghotay
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It sounds like you're depressed.

It's easy to say that it's not every day and things are not that bad, but that will not make anything better.

I don't know if this is patronising, but I would encourage you to take the PHQ-9 and put into context how bad your symptoms actually are: https://patient.info/doctor/patient-...ionnaire-phq-9

Yes you should definitely speak to your personal tutor and also probably your GP. They won't 'freak out' and although there will be a record made, that will not be to stigmatise you or prevent you from developing in your life and career. The purpose of your tutor and the pastoral system in the medical school is to support you through your struggles, not punish you for them.

I also don't mean to alarm you, but not addressing these issues may lead to them worsening and leading you to have to take time off and talk to your tutor anyway if you get to a point where you really can't cope. So ignoring things is totally counterproductive.

Source: Was depressed in medical school, had plenty of meetings with my tutor. Have been depressed as a doctor and had the odd meeting with occy health as well. Know lots of others who have been in similar situations at different points.
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lorry:)
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echoing Ghotay, sounds very much like you're dealing with depression, definitely go and have a chat with your tutor if you can and if they're a nice person to chat to - and if you can, make an appointment with your GP - you don't have to go in necessarily expecting a diagnosis and to start on treatment immediately (although there is nothing wrong with that either, many people find medication helps), but it may be helpful just to talk to a third party about it, and consider your options.

if you're feeling low enough to feel the need to call samaritans, i would also suggest exploring the student support at your uni - every uni has a counselling service where you may be able to access one to one counselling without needing a GP referral. it's not that stereotypical lie-on-a-chaise-longue, 'tell me how that makes you feel' therapy, it can be as simple as just having one person who is solely there for you to talk to about how bad you are feeling and to help you work out ways to manage these feelings and juggle medicine at the same time.

mental health problems in medical students is fairly common and your tutor is your personal tutor for a reason, if they're worth their salt they'll want to know if you're having issues.

context - also a med student, also have depression, my personal tutor handily was a psychiatrist and helped me realise i had a problem before i figured it out myself. have had a lot of medication and a lot of therapy, and am under occupational health too.

well done for realising you're not doing too well, and hopefully things will slowly start improving for you
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medullaoblongata
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Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

I did the PHQ-P screen and scored 17/27, 15-19 is classed as 'moderately severe'.

This is so hard to stomach. I still have and enjoy my hobbies... I get along with practically anyone. I don't mean to brag but lots of my peers sort of 'look up' to me and consider me to be well put together. I've been on psych placements and saw people with 'severe depression' I have no resemblance to them.

I don't want to have a label. I've always dealt with things by myself and I don't understand why I can't get over these feelings. I keep busy so in a way I don't get time to pay attention to my mood. Sometimes I think that it's better if I didn't feel at all. Not suicidally, more like being numb or unemotional.

I agree that I should speak to someone about it. I understand that at some point students (particulary those in medicine) struggle with their mental health. I never thought that it would be me....
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(Original post by medullaoblongata)
Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

I did the PHQ-P screen and scored 17/27, 15-19 is classed as 'moderately severe'.

This is so hard to stomach. I still have and enjoy my hobbies... I get along with practically anyone. I don't mean to brag but lots of my peers sort of 'look up' to me and consider me to be well put together. I've been on psych placements and saw people with 'severe depression' I have no resemblance to them.

I don't want to have a label. I've always dealt with things by myself and I don't understand why I can't get over these feelings. I keep busy so in a way I don't get time to pay attention to my mood. Sometimes I think that it's better if I didn't feel at all. Not suicidally, more like being numb or unemotional.

I agree that I should speak to someone about it. I understand that at some point students (particulary those in medicine) struggle with their mental health. I never thought that it would be me....
Might be worth speaking to close family/friends about things if you don’t want to speak to a GP or somebody at medical school. I can empathise, I’ve never wanted to speak with my GP/medical school about my mental health either, I think everybody is a little different as to how comfortable they feel talking to strangers, and how helpful it is to them. Personally I don’t find talking adds anything, and unless you’re open to the idea of an anti-depressant the GP may not add much.

Sometimes though it’s in your interests to speak to the medical school. If you are missing lectures and so on that could cause you trouble in the future (such as questions about attendance, struggling to complete assessments or exams), it’s best to tell them. I had to speak to the medical school once when I needed some time off following a traumatic life event and they were completely useless at helping me, and then actually caused me some problems by insisting on reporting it to the foundation school against my wishes (luckily it turns out the foundation schools also don’t really care about you unless you screw up, so nobody ever asked me)... but it did help me get the time off and to defer my exams and logistically it was the right thing to do. So if you’re actually missing things because of this it might be worth flagging and like I said, the foundation school won’t give two monkeys unless you yourself bring it up again in your career so nothing to worry about.

Random thought but if you’re female sometimes going on (or off) the OCP can change mood. It actually made a big difference to mine.
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Ghotay
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(Original post by medullaoblongata)
Thanks for the responses and suggestions.

I did the PHQ-P screen and scored 17/27, 15-19 is classed as 'moderately severe'.

This is so hard to stomach. I still have and enjoy my hobbies... I get along with practically anyone. I don't mean to brag but lots of my peers sort of 'look up' to me and consider me to be well put together. I've been on psych placements and saw people with 'severe depression' I have no resemblance to them.

I don't want to have a label. I've always dealt with things by myself and I don't understand why I can't get over these feelings. I keep busy so in a way I don't get time to pay attention to my mood. Sometimes I think that it's better if I didn't feel at all. Not suicidally, more like being numb or unemotional.

I agree that I should speak to someone about it. I understand that at some point students (particulary those in medicine) struggle with their mental health. I never thought that it would be me....
I don’t doubt you do have all of those positive qualities. Going through a rough period does absolutely nothing to detract from that. No one can be 100% on the ball all the time - that is not a failing, it just means you are human.

You don’t have to take on the label ‘depressed’ and you certainly don’t have to carry it through your life. Think about it like the weather. Right now you may be going through a depression. Soon enough the skies will clear, and those rainy days need not define you. But for now you need to take the practical steps to look after yourself. As the above poster mentioned, talking to your tutor will help a great deal if you find yourself missing things. View it as a purely cynical self-protective measure if you like, but it is definitely the sensible thing to do
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