This photo is a lie.

This photo is a lie. I posted this photo collage on Instagram yesterday because everyone is posting photos of themselves in 2009 and in 2019. I thought – I have a great photo to post from 2009. I was on the cover of NJ Monthly along with 2 other doctors for their annual Top Doctors Issue. 

People seemed very impressed with this at the time. I got a lot of compliments and attention.

Now, 10 years later, I remember the photo and decide to participate in this trend on Instagram of posting then and now photos of yourself from 2009 and 2019. I did not think about it much other than that these are nice photos and would make a nice post and I would be participating in something that is trending on social media.

Less than 24 hours later – tons of likes and nice comments – more than any other post I have ever done!

Which is awesome, but ironic. I look so happy in 2009 and happy now. Not only do I look happy but I also look super healthy (good biceps! One of my friends compliments me specifically on the arm muscle definition, making me smile and chuckle). I look like a personal and professional success story.

But…. it is kind of a lie. I was a mess in 2009. My marriage was falling apart and so was my mental health. Physically I was not totally falling apart but not well either  – not sleeping well, higher than normal sugar levels, not getting much exercise at all, getting viruses and stress-related cold sores all the time. I was seeing both a psychiatrist and a therapist, trying to figure out why I was so anxious and depressed and maybe I also had adult ADHD?

I really enjoyed my job and I guess I was doing okay because I was a “top doctor,” but I was stressed and overwhelmed there as well. 

Today I am much happier and healthier but still struggle with the challenges of being a physician in a broken healthcare system and trying to treat patients when so many people are not covered for services in my field of expertise – reproductive medicine and IVF. I would like to help all my patients, but cannot, and despite my efforts to be informative, personable, and supportive to everyone, some people are still not happy. My kids and I are now doing better years out from a difficult and toxic divorce, where I was relieved to find out I was not really that crazy but did need to end a very negative relationship. They both graduated from wonderful universities and are smart, charming, and wonderful guys but struggle with where they are going in life. I know that it is not my job to help my young adults find themselves, but their angst can still keep me up at night.

So, nice photos, nice post, looks like I have an amazing and perfect life – but far from it! So the photo is a bit of a lie!

I feel lucky though, because I am comfortable posting nice photos of myself and comfortable telling you it is not as awesome as it looks. I am lucky also to have a community of friends and colleagues in person and online who listen with empathy and talk about their triumphs and successes but also their struggles and worries. Good to feel human, imperfect, and to be a work-in-progress together!

#grateful #asawoman #hatswewear #womeninmedicine #girlsinstem #ilooklikeasurgeon