“Have You Tried Being Happy?”

By Adya Choudhary

“At the root of this dilemma is the way we view mental health in this country. Whether an illness affects your heart, your leg or your brain, it’s still an illness, and there should be no distinction.– Michelle Obama

I came across this quote the other day as I was scrolling through my Facebook feed. It’s an interesting idea, to liken a mental illness to a physical one. Depression and anxiety seem far removed from a broken arm or leg –  but, at their core, are they really that different? Continue reading

Do Better: On the pursuit of perfection

By Mary Crabtree

Do better. Be better. Think better. We are relentlessly slammed with this pressure to do and be and think better. It comes from inside our own heads, and from an illusion that medical students should be able to ‘handle it’. We are inflated by those fleeting moments of praise from a consultant or an inspiring patient encounter, but this feeling is too often swiftly replaced by an overwhelming sense of inadequacy.

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Memories from the Bed

By Conor McDonald
Preclinical Winner, Writing Competition 2017

Prompt 2: Tell us about an encounter with a patient that has significantly shaped your understanding of medical practice or changed your worldview.

-1-

My wife, Margie, sat to my left as we ate our dinner. A few grey strands peaked through her long dark hair. She had brown eyes and she was beautiful. Next to her was our 5-year-old son George. He looked a lot like me. Blonde hair, blue eyes and a chubby face with flushed cheeks. Our family filled me with pride. Whilst the ‘energy saving’ lights my wife had begged me to get made me feel like I was in a hospital – a place for the sick and dying – we managed to bring life to our cosy little home.

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Your One Stop Self-Care Shop

By Grace Scolyer

There was a stage last year where if I heard my therapist use the term “self-care” one more time, I would have actually screamed. It was such a vague, elusive term that brought to my mind bubble baths and facemasks, green smoothies and 5am runs – a bunch of things that seemed so beneath what I considered to be effective ways of dealing with my symptoms. I didn’t see how adult colouring books were meant to fix my cloudy brain, and I didn’t have the energy in me to give it a go, or the resilience to deal with it inevitably failing to cure me.

So if any part of that resonates with your relationship with the idea of self-care, perhaps this guide will be of some help to you. Self-care isn’t all 10pm technology curfews and yoga; it takes many forms, depending on your experiences, what your busy schedule permits, but most importantly, what you need for yourself.

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Rebuilding after burnout

By Rebecca Stone

Every medical student has a simmering pot filled by the stress of long hours, perfectionism, and a seemingly unscalable mountain of study to be done. So I guess it isn’t too surprising that every now and then we can let it boil over. This may result in the triad that any true acolyte of Hassed is well aware of: depersonalisation, emotional exhaustion, and lack of personal accomplishment. In short, the criteria defining burnout.

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On the merits of intermitting

By Grace Scolyer & Meg Kent

It is always difficult for medical students to admit they are struggling or not coping with the demands of the course. But it is even more difficult to admit that is has become necessary or important to take time off. We as medical students struggle with self-care, vulnerability and perceived failure so very deeply; where possible, we take part in self-care provided it doesn’t come at the cost of our academic progress. In this piece, Grace and Meg discuss why, sometimes, it is okay to take a break from medicine.

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In Your Head: Being a bystander to mental illness

Anonymous

Mental illness is a demon that exists only in the mind. The intricacies of this internal struggle can only be intimately known by the person experiencing it. To add to the difficulty of articulating one’s thoughts and feelings, the social stigma associated with it only exacerbates the situation, leaving many feeling isolated, silenced and trapped in their own heads. Mental illness is real, a living reality that many have to struggle with and accept. In Australia, just slightly less than half of us will experience a mental health condition over our lifetimes.

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The Finish Line: On the race that is medical school and where we go wrong

By Erin Stewart

From the moment we enter into medical school, we have entered a race. We are constantly achieving remarkable things, but do we ever really stop and appreciate them before the next stage of the race begins again? Where is there time to slow down and appreciate all we have achieved? Entry into medical school, exam results, fun clinical placements, an internship spot..?

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On Suicide: Let’s Start With Honesty

By Grace Scolyer

“If more people talked about what leads to suicide, if people didn’t talk about it as if it was shameful, if people understood how easily and quickly depression can take over, then there might be fewer deaths.”

-The wife of Dr Andrew Bryant, Brisbane gastroenterologist who committed suicide three weeks ago

I have only ever admitted to three people in the world the deepest extent of the depression. All three of them forced it out of me, asked me at points where I was too weak to lie, to scared not to admit it, terrified of how they would react but even more terrified of what I could do to myself if I kept it in any longer.

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