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A Piece of My Mind
August 2, 2006

Heart Opening

Author Affiliations

A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 2006;296(5):483-484. doi:10.1001/jama.296.5.483

Like every rotation in medical school, my psychiatry clerkship ended with a standardized, multiple-choice examination. The test asked us to differentiate among the personality disorders, to recognize the medical conditions that induce psychosis, and to identify the risk factors for suicide. Short on time, I had crammed with a review book that neatly mapped the spectra of mental illness into highlighted lists and tables. On the day I sat for my exam, my uncle, 1500 miles across the country, took his own life by means of a rifle he kept in his garage.