Stories of Patients Who Moved You – and Who Moved Us to Tears


We are about to publish the winning essays from our first-ever writer's contest. We hope you'll find them as moving and memorable as we did.

©Jeremy Richards/

©Jeremy Richards/

Psychiatric Times has held its first-ever writer’s contest. We invited you to send us your story of a single memorable patient who stood out along the way. . .  the patient who taught you a valuable lesson-the one who ultimately helped you become a better psychiatrist.

We know how busy you are, so we were surprised by the number of entries we received. We heard from young and mature alike. What we didn’t quite anticipate was how extraordinarily moving your stories would be. Many of you wrote about patients you remembered from decades ago. . .  the close encounter with a lonely man dying of HIV and cancer; the alcoholic vet whose near-death painfully recalled the demise of a young psychiatrist’s own mother from alcoholism; the intoxicated patient who came late to a psychotherapy session with a loaded handgun bragging that he had just killed his wife; the struggle to connect with an immigrant patient who shared your language but who wouldn’t talk to you; your painfully insecure schizophrenic patient whom you impulsively called “crazy” and – just for a split second– the world stopped spinning.

Your stories tell of bonds forged between doctor and patient under extraordinary circumstances. Ultimately, these are tales of deeply human connections.

For those of us on the Psych Times editorial staff and editorial board who read your essays, judging the “best” of the lot wasn’t easy. I, for one, spent a fair amount of time clutching my Kleenex.

We thank every one of you who shared your remarkable stories and hope (and sense) that the writing was catharctic.

The 3 winning entries will be published in our July issue; honorable mentions will appear in August and September, and many equally deserving and inspiring tales will appear in the coming months.

We hope you’ll enjoy these poignant tales as much as we did.

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