Jordan W.

Jacksonville, Florida

Early in my childhood, I had pronounced ambitions to become a doctor. Though I was unsure of what my specialty would be, the desire had manifested itself inside of me. As a child, I'd always aspired to be a veterinarian. This occupation incorporated two passions of mine, animals and medicine, making it an ideal career. Later, however, in my early teenage years, I began to give up this vocational calling as I outgrew my affinity for animals. Most of my time became invested in a new pastime: reading. I devoured any and every book I could acquire, converting from a carefree tree-hugger into an erudite bookworm. During my quest to quench my insatiable desire to read, I came across a biography by Flora Rheta Schreiber entitled Sybil. As a teenager, I was uninterested in non-fiction; I preferred to discover new realities in fantastic stories, not relive another individual's existence. The summary on the back cover of this book, however, inveigled me to delve into the tale inside.

Within a few days, Sybil was finished and I was enthralled. The book related the story of Sybil Dorsett, who suffered from dissociative identity disorder, in which she held multiple personalities. Sybil knew something was amiss in between her sixteen alter identities, and beseeched her parents into letting her visit a psychiatrist. Her parents, in spite of her obvious disorder, refused, as this type of help countered their religious beliefs. Only after Sybil's mother died did her father relent and allow her to seek the help she needed. Sybil visited Dr. Wilbur, a female psychiatrist. Dr. Wilbur was in awe of Sybil's condition; never had Dr. Wilbur diagnosed a patient with such an extreme variety of separate personalities, including two male alter egos. With the passage of time and with the help of Dr. Wilbur, though, Sybil's split personalities diffused, and she transformed into a new, more hopeful individual.

With every page turn, the book captivated me. I had never known anyone to suffer from such an obscure disorder like Sybil had. I yearned to know more about Sybil's reality. Throughout my research, I discovered that a myriad of mental disorders existed. I was fascinated and immediately became attracted to a career of psychiatry. My interest was furthered fostered by my psychology class in high school and by reading other psychological novels. Once I was informed that being a psychiatrist would require years of schooling and a doctorate degree, my heart was set; I would become the doctor I had envisioned as a child. The occupation would fulfill my passion for academia as well as allowing me to provide aid to those with mental distress. I will always remember Sybil as the inciting incident for my interest in psychiatry, the book that enabled me to discover the career of my dreams.