If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume you’re happy to receive all cookies from the BMA website. Find out more about cookies
When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalised web experience.
Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.
These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms.
You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.
These cookies are required
These cookies allow us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information we collect is anonymous unless you actively provide personal information to us.
If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.
These cookies allow a website to remember choices you make (such as your user name, language or the region you're in) and tailor the website to provide enhanced features and content for you.
For example, they can be used to remember certain log-in details, changes you've made to text size, font and other parts of pages that you can customise. They may also be used to provide services you've asked for such as watching a video or commenting on a blog. These cookies may be used to ensure that all our services and communications are relevant to you. The information these cookies collect cannot track your browsing activity on other websites.
Without these cookies, a website cannot remember choices you've previously made or personalise your browsing experience meaning you would have to reset these for every visit. In addition, some functionality may not be available if this category is switched off.
Our websites sometimes integrate with other companies’ sites. For example, we integrate with social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, to make it easier for you to share what you have read. These sites place their own cookies on your browser as a result of us including their icons and ‘like’ or ‘share’ buttons on our sites.
Before I went to medical school I had experienced living with depression for most of my teenage years. But it was particularly bad in my early 20's when I graduated from my first degree with no plan for my life. I became pretty isolated as a consequence.
One day I decided enough was enough and I had to pick myself up or give up. I had learnt about endorphins during my first degree so I bought some trainers and went for a jog every day. Not a big one but one that pushed me just enough to get my blood really going. I did that every day. I decided that if my brain was broken, my body wasn't so I would borrow it to help fix my brain. It worked pretty well, it gave me the courage to join a knitting group after reading an article about "knitting yourself back together". It's pretty hard to process terrible thoughts when you focus enough of your attention on not dropping a stitch. Through that I made some friends at the group, who remarkably were all doctors and they reminded me of what I wanted in my life. I applied for medical school and here I am. So I use exercise and creativity to help me cope.
When I experienced anxiety having suffered PTSD during my second and third year, I used those creative and physical strategies again - I knitted a scarf, and I started exercising. Those experiences shaped me hugely, and I hope for the better. They make me more compassionate towards people I meet as patients, more understanding of colleagues who struggle with their mental health and more willing to take a second to consider how conditions or treatments will affect the mind, not just the body. If you've experienced mental health problems in the past, use them for the best. They will always have existed for you, but that doesn't have to define you. Make it something you can use to be a more rounded person and find some good in it if you are able.
There are days when it can be totally overwhelming make friends and be kind to yourself. Friends get you through those days when you just need a brew, a rant, a cry or a laugh.
A doctor who doesn't look after their own health first and foremost will be a detriment, not a strength to their team. During my second year of anxiety I was marched to the doctor by my boyfriend because I really wasn't OK and it probably saved my fledgling career. Asking for help when you are mentally unwell takes so much strength but it is not a weak thing to do. To admit out loud that you're struggling takes serious guts, but don't be afraid to do it. It won't affect your future as you think it will, but not asking and going to pieces really will.
This blog was written by a fifth year medical student in Nottingham
With thanks to Twishaa Sheth, deputy co-chair of BMA MSC and welfare lead, for sourcing and collating these brave personal accounts.
"A doctor who doesn't look after their own health first and foremost will be a detriment, not a strength to their team" so true - thank you for this
I have just read this after the BMJ student article; really needed to see a story like this. Thank You
I am sure that it is difficult when you have mental health problems to find positive sides. But when my condition was bad, I immediately went to another country for yoga and meditation courses - www.siddhiyoga.com/yoga-teacher-training-bali I believed that this should help me, and my mental health helped me reach heights
The most important thing is not to give up. It is very important to prioritize and understand that you also have problems, try to control it. I know that it is very difficult to concentrate at this time, but the right people or occupation will help you cope with all the problems. I often use outdoor activities with friends, for example, last week we rode the new kayaks from the site easy-surfshop.com/.../kayaks-inflatable
Such active rest, air and friends perfectly helps