“Before every doctors appointment, I was petrified that this time they would put me in a mental hospital. I wasn’t scared of getting treatment. I was scared of going in and never coming out again!”
MAKE A GP APPOINTMENT
If you think you might be depressed or suffering from any sort of mental illness, your first point of call should always be your GP. Admitting that you are ill then getting medical help and advice is the first step to recovery. Treatment will depend on your stage and type of mental illness but it is often some form of counselling and/or medication.
Many doctors are now very understanding and knowledgeable about mental illness but you may have to push to get prompt treatment. When you’re depressed, pushing is the last thing you have the energy to do, so take someone with you to help you do this and to remind you what was said during the consultation.
Going to your medical appointments can be really scary, so again having someone with you to help keep you calm and rational is beneficial. I used to get terrible panic attacks in the waiting room.
If this happens to you try to focus on your breathing and remember that your doctor is there to make you better and act in your best interests. The medical profession are there to help you. If it is too unbearable sitting in the waiting room, ask the receptionist to let your doctor know that you are waiting outside, and wait there instead.
It is a good idea to keep a daily diary of all your feelings and worries. Write down all your questions and thoughts before your appointment, and take these with you.
You may be offered some sort of counselling or therapy to aid your recovery from mental illness. It could be a psychiatrist, psychologist, mental health nurse, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) or something more specific like drugs, alcohol, debt or death counselling.
If you don’t gel with the counsellor or style of treatment, ask to try something else. There are also online courses and support offered by the NHS and mental health charities that may help you during your mental illness.
Remember that depression is an illness and, if you need medication, take it. This can be such a hard thing to accept. Try to think of it like if you had a headache you’d take a pill to fix it, so if you are suffering from mental illness, you might just need to take a pill to fix that too!
When our mental health is in decline we all want to feel better straight away, but unfortunately, it isn’t always a quick fix. Don’t be despondent when anti-depressants don’t work overnight. You’ve taken this step to recover from mental illness, so you are heading in the right direction.
If one type of medication isn’t agreeing with you, ask if something else might be more suitable. What works for some might not work for you. There are different types of anti-depressants and other mental health medications available. Consider St Johns Wort for mild depression after taking medical advice.
I hope that this will help someone out there – please let me know if it does or if you’ve got any tips to pass on regarding getting medical help.
SELF HELP FOR MENTAL HEALTH TIPS
1. SELF HELP FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH
2. THE FULL STORY OF MY MENTAL ILLNESS
3. MEDICAL HELP
4. LEARN AND ACCEPT
5. A MENTAL HEALTH DIET
6. SLEEP & DUVET DAYS
7. PANIC ATTACKS
8. SUICIDE AWARENESS
9. TALK SUPPORT
10. QI GONG & TAI CHI
11. MEDITATION, HYPNOSIS & RELAXATION
12. ADVICE FOR CARERS & FRIENDS
SEE PART 1 FOR LINKS TO PROFESSIONAL & CHARITABLE ORGANISATIONS