A medical student, to whom I will refer as X, posted on their social media page they were going to kill themselves. Their letter was direct, raw and, as many suicide notes tend to be, apologetic. They explained they felt they no longer had the strength to keep fighting; it was simply “time for them to go.”
The year turns four. / April weeps: the vootery / Of a heart too weak / To hold the stifling tears until December.
When I applied for medical school, I knew I was signing up for hard work. I knew I would have to spend countless hours studying, that my sleep cycle might never be the same. But I had not expected this.
Congratulations, you’ve started medical school! The dream you have had since you were nine years old is finally coming to fruition. You’re going to be a doctor! Just … not in 2012, when you think you’re going to graduate. In 2018. I’ll get to that later.
I first met you at age 13. / You hid behind a / camouflage of naivety.
If you remember, about one year ago I had published a story about coming to terms with my mental illness on in-Training. Soon thereafter, I asked for the publication to be removed. I would like to re-publish my story with a very important addition.
One of the things that I have struggled with most in medical school is depression. Not learning to recognize, diagnose or treat it, but actually dealing with the effects of this condition. I soon realized that this problem is much bigger than myself, and needs to be talked about openly. This is my story.
It has been a little over two years since Kaitlyn Elkins, a second-year medical student at Wake Forest, took her own life. Her death stunned friends and family, who had been largely unaware of her protracted struggle with depression that was ultimately revealed in her suicide note. Kaitlyn’s mother, Rhonda Elkins, dedicated herself relentlessly to advocating for mental health awareness before succumbing to her own grief, committing suicide one year later.