The truth is that my parents never told me what I had to study, they gave me total freedom.
And since I liked studying and learning things very much, I was a good student.

When I was seventeen and had to choose a career, there were several options that appealed to me and I didn’t quite know what to do: Medicine, Biology, Psychology, Translation and Interpreting? At that age it’s not easy to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. In the end I chose Medicine, and I loved it.

I find it fascinating how the human body works.

Then it was time to choose a speciality, and although I also liked several, I chose Psychiatry. But why?

It is clear to me that I was strongly influenced, subconsciously, by my father’s imprint.

A great family doctor, highly educated, an avid reader and writer, he was passionate about everything related to Mental Health and the study of the mind and the brain. He used to talk to me a lot about the subject, and it really resonated with me.

From the library in my parents’ house I took out dozens of books on Neuroscience and Psychiatry. One of my favourites is the first DSM (American Diagnostic Manual of Mental Health), which I read when I was a teenager. In it, my father had made dozens of notes, underlines and bookmarks.

Such was his passion for Mental Health, that one day a week he spent one day a week in Primary Care attending exclusively to patients with mental disorders (if there were any serious ones, he would of course refer them to Mental Health), and in return, he was given more time for his patients.

He was known for his sense of humour and empathy, so much so that even though he had been retired for years, to this day I still get stopped in the street feeling grateful for how my father treated them, which makes me very emotional and encourages me to be at least half as good as he was.

It taught me to listen to others without judgement, to try to help others if I could, to be fair and to try to be humble and approachable.

One of his phrases that I remember most is:
“Everyone has something to teach you. Don’t think you’re better than anyone else because you have a degree. Keep your mind and your ears open and you will see what you learn from those you least expect”.

As you can see, I am very proud of him, and I believe that wherever he is, he will be proud of me too.

I can say that I chose psychiatry because of the undeniable influence of my favourite person.

Thank you, and a kiss, Dad.