Moving, eloquent, and a life-changing book that needs to be experienced…
Myers, a professor of clinical psychiatry at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, New York and the author and coauthor of eight previous books dealing with medical students and physicians, weaves a powerfully poignant account out of personal anecdotes from the wealth of experience he has gained over more than three decades in the field of psychiatry. Beginning with his roommate’s suicide in the first year of medical school, Myers found himself craving to learn more about physicians and their vulnerabilities and eventually shifted his focus from internal medicine to psychiatry. Drawing on his own experience of thirty-five years working with physicians as patients, he creates a taut and often heartbreaking narrative of physicians’ susceptibilities, which included patients and colleagues’ struggles with depression, various mental illnesses, alcoholism, burnout, suicide, and more. Their story also allows Myers to convey how the stigma associated with psychiatric illness in the house of medicine prevents doctors from seeking life-saving care along with dependence on self-diagnosis and the culture of medicine, which has a lot to do with being tough and strong. He recounts an array of stories, including that of a young female medical student who hauled herself to emergency after a failed suicide attempt, the third-year medical student who struggled with depression throughout his career, the first-year resident in surgery at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University who took his life, the prominent and universally loved orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine physician in Washington, DC who committed suicide among others. With unflinching honesty and candor, Myers adeptly weaves his own vulnerabilities into the affecting narrative—from growing up with an alcoholic mother to confronting the AIDS epidemic in Vancouver to mourning colleagues lost to COVID-19. The narrative flows smoothly, the prose is crisp, and the story shines with personality. Keenly perceptive and beautifully written, the memoir allows the reader to bear witness to the sufferings of physicians suffering from mental health problems. In stark contrast to the despondency of the theme, Myers’s deeply moving tale of physicians’ struggles with mental health problems is elegantly and evocatively written. Shatteringly heartbreaking, and yet wholly hopeful, the book offers an inspiring road map for anyone in the field of psychiatry; from early students of psychiatry to psychiatrists later in their careers will benefit from reading this memoir. This is a haunting and memorable look at the impact of mental illness on physicians.
Becoming a Doctors’ Doctor: A Memoir
By Michael F. Myers
Pub date September 7, 2020
Price $7.87 (USD), $14.99 Paperback