Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
In August 1995, I experienced a week of anxiety and sleeplessness followed
by a painful depression. Though my condition was apparent to me, my colleagues
noticed nothing wrong. I sought help. A psychiatrist diagnosed type II bipolar
disorder, a mainly depressive disorder, unaccompanied by life-disrupting mania.
With the help of my family, psychiatrist, and medications, my depression lifted
while I continued to work (though with less committee work). Two months later,
a medical student at my institution committed suicide. It was rumored that
he feared career stigmatization from using mental health care. The next morning,
at a scheduled lecture to the stunned class, I opened by disclosing my diagnosis
and telling the students that such problems were not incompatible with a successful
family or professional life—but that they must seek help.
Miles SH. A Challenge to Licensing Boards: The Stigma of Mental Illness. JAMA. 1998;280(10):865. doi:10.1001/jama.280.10.865