Mental illness has long been associated with shame and stigma. Although progress has been made through the efforts of global celebrities like Stephen Fry and many others to de-stigmatize mental illness -- many are still ashamed to admit to it, and the stigma is far from being annihilated. Nowhere is this stigma more entrenched than within the medical profession itself. A fact that should shock us out of our judgmental slumbers ...

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DearPamela

Dear Pamela, Question for you in regards to disclosure about mental illness. In every job that I have applied for, as part of the credentialing process, there are questions about felonies, treatment for drug/alcohol abuse and mental illness. Why are mental health questions still allowed to be on there? I have had postpartum anxiety/depression three times now, and I feel like it is ...

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I know your secrets. I keep secrets for a living. I know about the eye opener before your shift; the Adderall prescribed for your son that you take in the morning; the Xanax a colleague gave you for upcoming air travel that that you take at night; the near DUI that you got out of by showing your hospital badge, the letters "Dr." prominent on the left side; your wife who ...

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You could feel the air rushing out of her lungs and into your face if she was screaming at you. “STOP CALLING ME A WHORE! I AM NOT A WHORE, YOU DIRTY N-GGER!” No one, in fact, was calling her a whore. “DON’T LIE TO ME, MOTHERF-CKER! I HEAR ALL OF YOU CALLING ME A WHORE! I HEARD IT, JUST NOW!” Her best defense was a loud offense that included liberal use of racial ...

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As a mother of three daughters, I frequently find myself singing along to the catchy tunes of Taylor Swift.  Singer, songwriter, and overall superstar Taylor Swift is famous for penning undeniably captivating love songs. She is popular not only because she has the voice of an angel, a cutting edge look, and a fierce attitude, but also because she is honest and real. Taylor has an uncanny ability to put ...

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I am a licensed clinical social worker. And, occasionally, a mental patient. Today, in this inpatient psychiatric unit, I am more a patient than a social worker. It is Monday morning, and I am eating breakfast across from Owen, a muscular, flannel-clad, Paul Bunyan-looking patient. Little pieces of his scrambled eggs keep landing on his copper-colored beard. I sort of want to motion with my hand at where the eggs are ...

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2015 was a year to regroup and reassess my professional goals.  Immediately after residency, I did as most physicians do -- apply and hope to get a job that pays well and is in a good location.  Similar to the personalities of most physicians, I am a workaholic and overachiever.  Therefore, since graduating residency, I strove to perform well at my job, treated my patients to the best of my ability, passed my ...

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The woman in ill fitting snow pants and parka, as if there is such a thing as well-fitting snow pants and parka, clumps of blonde stuck-together hair poking out of her non-hipster cap, you know exactly what she looks like, stares at me from the sagging mid-century couch across the alcove in the café where I have set up my laptop, a scone, a huge cup of expensive coffee described ...

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An excerpt from Physician Suicide Letters -- Answered. When is a taboo topic no longer taboo? When is it OK to stop hiding behind euphemisms? When is it safe to tell the truth? The answer is now. This week I uploaded 53 chapters of physician suicide letters in a
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Some maladies that attract psychiatric attention are unequivocally brain diseases.  Huntington’s disease.  Brain tumors.  Lead poisoning.  However, these are not psychiatric diseases.  Huntington’s is a genetic abnormality diagnosed and treated by neurologists.  Brain tumors are managed by neurosurgeons and oncologists.  Lead toxicity is treated by internal medicine.  Indeed, a long list of medical and surgical diseases include psychiatric features: stroke, anoxic brain injury, meningitis, lupus, diabetic ketoacidosis, and febrile delirium to name a few.  One important ...

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