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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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Honeybadger40 Offline
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Advice on starting/asking for therapy - March 2nd 2019, 08:38 PM

Hi all,
So I've been struggling with my mental health for a while now. Ever since I can remember, I've struggled with low self esteem issues; feelings of inadequacy, worthlessness, uselessness, and just generally being unwanted and unloveable. I feel down and pessimistic about life in general quite often. I feel hopeless and alone, and I have little faith that things will ever improve for me. I sometimes feel that everyone around me would be happier if I were not around. However, I've always managed to keep up the strength to mask these feelings in public, and to continue with my day to day life. I think I've always felt that because I cope with the feelings that they're not really an issue I need to address. But the feelings have gotten worse since I split up with my boyfriend 5 months ago, and it's becoming overwhelming. I've grown tired of constantly being unhappy and constantly feeling low, and I want to get help. But I'm really scared...

I have been thinking about making an appointment with my GP to talk through what I'm feeling and see if I can get a referral for some kind of talking therapy. But I'm frightened of being seen as dramatic or attention seeking, as I am aware that outwardly, I seem fine. I have good grades at University, a place on a postgrad course for next year, I'm not missing classes or sleeping days away, and I'm still socialising when I get the opportunity. But despite this, the feelings of sadness and worthlessness still press down on me all day long, and I feel they are starting to consume me. But I'm worried that because I don't fit with many of the stereotypes about depression/mental illness, I won't be heard or acknowledged. I'm scared of not being understood. I find it so hard to articulate these feelings; I'm scared my GP won't give me enough time to explain, or will just dismiss it as attention seeking or normal mood swings.

Has anyone experienced anything similar to this? What are your experiences of therapy? Do you think I'll be able to get the help I want?
   
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Re: Advice on starting/asking for therapy - March 3rd 2019, 04:45 PM

Sorry to hear that you have been struggling with your mental health for a while. It makes sense that since you have struggled with low self-esteem and overall worthlessness that this would seem to get worse after splitting up with your boyfriend. But you do deserve help and support!

I definitely think it's worth while making an appointment with your GP. You shouldn't be seen as dramatic or attention seeking as mental health issues can affect us all and how we are on the outside might not reflect how we really feel on the inside. And it's how you feel that matters the most. Your GP should listen to you and screen you for depression- they may ask how you are sleeping, socialising and eating, but they should also ask how you feel in yourself eg worthless and how long you have been feeling this way. Your GP should then give you options such as medication, talk therapy, group therapy, self-help etc. Remember that professionals are there to help and you should feel empowered in making decisions for your treatment. If you feel your GP doesn't take you seriously, then you should ask to see a different one. You mention that you are at university and I'm wondering if it's possible to access talk therapy from there? Most universities have student support where you can get counselling or other help to meet your needs. That's another option if you are still concerned about seeing your GP.

Anyone, regardless of their life, can get depression. And while we may think of someone struggling with severe depression and compare ourselves to that, it doesn't do any good because any form of depression needs to be treated so you can live your life better. On paper, I seemed okay as I had graduated, was sleeping and eating fine, and occasionally met up with friends, but I really struggled too. My GP listened and referred me to group therapy as well as the options of having individual therapy and medication. While in group therapy, everyone else seemed outwardly to look 'fine' but we were all there because we struggled with depression. Your feelings are valid though as I felt similar about coming across as dramatic because on the surface, things were okay. But you've been trying to deal with things for a long time now, and I definitely think that if you approached your GP about these things, you should get the help you need


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Re: Advice on starting/asking for therapy - March 3rd 2019, 05:01 PM

Sorry to hear you're struggling. It's definitely hard when you're high functioning because you're feeling terrible but people don't always notice or "get it" or whatever, mental health stigma sucks, but I do think that more and people people are getting with the times and being empathetic and understanding to all the ways that mental health presents itself.

You should for sure go see your doctor. It's scary taking that first step and telling someone you need help because, like you said, there's that fear you won't be taken seriously, but there's absolutely no reason that your doctor shouldn't refer you to therapy. Lots of doctors prefer to start with therapy, and only prescribe drugs if the issues persist OR are if the mental health issues are so debilitating that it needs to be implemented right away. I can't imagine why your doctor would refuse a referral to therapy, it's not like you're asking to be prescribed potentially addictive drugs.

Frankly, you could probably just go to a therapist in your area that either works at your school or in your community and talk to them. At my university, you had to be referred by one of the doctors to see the therapists there but it was mostly only because there were only a few of them and it was just easier to have the doctors/nurses screen people, but most community therapists don't bother with that -- they'll take referrals but it's not a prerequisite. You could contact campus counsellors on your own and find out if you can get in or look for someone in your community. Definitely don't let your doctors potential response be a barrier to entering therapy because you can for sure go regardless. I've been to many therapists over the years and A) it was never a prerequisite for my insurance, but check your own insurance first and B) with the exception of the campus folks, I never needed my doctor to refer me.

Therapy is great, so do that you gotta do to get in.
   
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Re: Advice on starting/asking for therapy - March 4th 2019, 07:23 PM

Thanks guys!

I really appreciate the advice. It's so great to hear from people who understand that the outside doesn't always reflect what's going on inside.

I hadn't actually thought about seeing what I could access through my university. I'll have a look around student services to see what's available. But if there's nothing that really suits what I need on offer to students there, this has definitely given me the confidence to go and see my gp.

Thanks everyone!
Honey
   
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