I was unsure if I should write about my experience when I applied for the 2020 match or not…but decided to after all. Maybe someone can benefit from it or it helps someone who is doubting that they can make it!
A few years ago I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and depression which unfortunately went unnoticed for a long time and made me take a year off medical school when it got completely out of hand. After getting treated I was absolutely sure that I wouldn’t want to be in any profession other than psychiatry and my passion for the field grew. Unfortunately, I knew that this might be held against me and I could be labelled as having had a “mental illness” forever and no program would want to risk taking me in case I’ll have to take time off again. I was told not to risk it and no one would take me unless I’ll hide it. I thought a long time whether or not to mention it in my personal statement and showing how this experience if anything strengthened my Dr-Patient relationship and making me able to relate to patients even more. In my gut it just didn’t feel right to hide it, especially because I was already doing awareness about mental health and it felt like being a hypocrite. So I decided to go with the truth and I believe that honesty is always the way to go! I was only able to apply to 40 programs and 1 of them gave me a shot to interview. I prepared myself to be asked lots and lots of questions on how I will prevent it from happening again. That’s exactly what happened and the program director at Maimonides was beyond AMAZING and she thought it was “brave” to mention my personal experience and what kind of psychiatrists would we be if we exclude each other based on something that can happen to ABSOLUTELY ANYONE! And if that didn’t match my personal message I don’t know what would!
I ended up matching in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in NY and I am so happy and humbled to be able continue spreading this message and hopefully be able to help as many people as possible!
If I could do it, you can too!