Katie struggles. And she wants you to know you're not alone.

January 4, 2019

Normally you ask her for advice. But this time, Katie Adams emphasizes the importance of community and connectivity within the veterinary industry.

zdyma4/stock.adobe.com

I struggle with anxiety daily.  

On and off since my first daughter was born, I've battled depression.

Although I am a big believer of better living through pharmacology, I recognize that there are other ways to manage stress, anxiety and depression.   

Veterinarians have a high risk of suicide, according to the CDC study recently published in JAVMA. It's important that we acknowledge this. It's important to recognize that suicide is real. It happens in this industry. Frequently.

We judge each other. We judge ourselves, and we don't do it kindly. Over time, this behavior eats at the genuinely good things in our life because we feel that we are failing to meet obscure, impossible, unrealistic standards defined by others.

I want to share some of my struggles, because we don't talk about them enough. Oftentimes we portray ourselves and our lives like Pinterest boards, showing only the good, the bright and the wonderful while hiding the bad, scary, uncomfortable and dark in hopes that no one will see those sides of us.

Here are some words that describe who I am: mother, wife, daughter, sister, spouse, director, coworker, colleague, student, writer, author, speaker, runner, reader, pet owner, woman, human. Other words that I could also use would be: sad, confused, self-conscious, unconfident, scared, unsure, tired, exhausted, anxious, depressed, concerned, worried, competitive, manic, driven, time-constrained, workaholic.

I struggle-sometimes for an hour, sometimes for a day, sometimes for what feels like weeks on end. I struggle through it while still being a mother, wife, daughter and all the other titles I possess. It's hard.

We all struggle and have struggled. Some of us struggle more than others, but whatever you do, do not convince yourself that you're alone. Do not convince yourself that nobody will understand.

You are not alone. I will say it again. You are not alone. Reach out to a loved one, a colleague, a friend, a counselor, a mentor; heck, you can email me! As the late Maya Angelou says in her poem “Human Family,” “We are more alike than we are different.” You are not alone.     

If you're experiencing feelings of depression or suicidal ideation, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-TALK; 800-273-8255; suicidepreventionlifeline.org). It's 24 hours a day, seven days a week. No matter what problems you are dealing with, people on the other end of the line will help you find a reason to keep living.

Katie Adams, CVPM, is director of Curriculum Development at IGNITE Veterinary Solutions. Got a question for Katie? Email us at firstline@ubm.com.