Pharmacy School After Depression

I recently got asked how I was motivated to finish pharmacy school after leaving because of my depression. I actually failed a couple classes, and the school decided that maybe I wasn’t the best fit there. I had left feeling so helpless, and definitely overwhelmed.

It took about 2 years to finally “beat” my depression, and no longer feel like a failure. I had met a lawyer through my NAMI (National Association of Mental Illness) support group, and he really fought hard for me to get back in. I had MANY stipulations added, which no other student had to go through. But, in the end, I got my Doctorate of Pharmacy, and Masters of Business Administration, and was able to give a mental F*** Y** to the pharmacy school administration that fought hard to keep me out.

So, what motivated me to finish school? I honestly do not remember. Part of the reason was my parents and not wanting to disappoint them anymore. They had already invested so much in me, and my education. Part of the reason is because since so many people spent a lot of time and energy helping me get through my depression and get back in, I might as well not waste their efforts by NOT finishing. Part of the reason is to prove to the pharmacy school that I CAN do this; that I AM a good fit at that school, that I CAN and WILL finish school. I guess there is really no ONE reason why I finished school after my depression.

However, the more I think about it, the more I keep asking myself WHY I went back in the first place. I didn’t have to go back to the environment that considered me a loser and failure. I could have chosen a different path, a different career, a different life. Why did I go back to pharmacy school? Was it because I was meant to be one? I AM a good pharmacist, and my current employer loves me and my skills. I have patients and colleagues that are grateful that I am able to utilize my skills and knowledge to deliver the best care possible. Throughout my career, I’ve encountered many settings and subspecialties, which makes me more relatable to newer pharmacists and students. I can impart my wisdom and knowledge from my experiences to help pharmacists that are now coming into the market. But, I wouldn’t have known all this back then, so why DID I go back?

The truth is, I simply do not know, or really, do not remember. I think it’s a combination of reasons,as explained above. Nevertheless, it doesn’t change the fact that I did finish, and walked on graduation day. I’m very proud of myself that I went back and got my degrees. NO ONE CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME.

However, it also made me think of why I got depressed in the first place. I was doing too much, even in pharmacy school. I kept spiraling out of control, until the feeling of being overwhelmed and helpless, and worthless just took over. Even after getting the necessary help, and unwavering support from friends and family, I still felt bouts of worthlessness. It made me think of what pharmacists are going through now. Many of them are overworked, doing too much, and feeling worthless. Many of them do not know how to get out of this spiral. And I know exactly how that feels.

I may not remember what motivated me during my pharmacy school days, but I know what motivates me now as a coach and mentor. I do not want ANYONE to hit rock bottom like I did. So, if I can help anyone, pharmacist or otherwise, before they feel so helpless, I absolutely will. All it took for me back then was to reach out and find the necessary people to get me through my tough times. I hope that those that can use my help and expertise will reach out to me.

Thank you, Facebook, for reminding me of that time in my life. The ceramic Spike the Bulldog is cute, right?