Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Keeping secrets

I don't try to hide the fact I have depression, which lead to two repeated years plus two deferred years when I was studying medicine. I don't feel ashamed I took longer than everybody else to get a medical degree. I knew I had problems and it wasn't entirely my fault.

Yet there are times I "bend" the truth. I don't exactly lie but the entire truth is not exactly revealed. The best example is when asked about my background. Due to my deep accent, I'm always asked my fellow staff about my upbringing. I always say I was born in Hong Kong but grew up in England. So there is nothing wrong there.

Yet there is always questions about duration and such. I'm always asked how long I have been back in Hong Kong. The real answer is ten years - five years of my medical degree plus the extra four years entailed plus my intern year. What most people expect the answer to be is six years - five years for the medical studies plus one year internship. So I never ever say an exact number. I always state I have been back for my university studies and have been so ever since. Not exactly the whole truth but not exactly a fib either.

So why do I "bend" the truth? Why don't I just admit to the fact I spent more time than anybody else to get a medical degree, just because of my depression? The fact is I got sick of explaining my life story every time this possibility crops up. Me explaining my life and my depression becomes like that game "Twenty Questions" when people try to narrow down the truth. At the end of the day I just want to simplify matters.

Occasionally I do have to get a sick leave when I go for my follow-up appointments. Then some parts of the truth do creep out. I'm always asked where have I been when I go to my psychiatrist. I usually say I just have to follow-up with my doctor and hope the questioning ends there but it never does. This leads to the inevitable question, "What are you being followed-up for?" which leads to me say, "Depression" and the barrage of questions afterwards.

I understand some people who keep secrets. It makes life a little more simple. Now I have some kind of understanding what schizophrenics and homosexuals go through. I would never say my predicament is exactly as does who are persecuted like gays and lesbian but some people expect you to conform the normal standards and if you have a deviance, you are most likely to keep it in check even if most people are willing to accept it.

No comments: