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Telling Your Doctor About Your Depression Symptoms For The 1St Time


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#1 MEH180

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 08:41 PM

Hi all, I'm a new member here at DF and wanted to hear a few opinions/ experiences with this. I briefly mentioned some of this in my intro post on the New member forum.

I'm finally planning on telling my family doctor about how I've been feeling for a long time. I'm a little scared, nervous, don't know how to bring it up and don't know what to expect.

I'm 25 yrs old and I'm fairly sure I have had some form of depression for at least the last 12 yrs. I've always been a down, gloomy, pessimistic person. I had issues with self harm up until about 2 yrs ago. I keep trying to kid myself that I'm fine, overreacting and my moodiness is just my personality. There's too many other things going on for that to be the case. I generally always feel bad but it's been much worse the last few weeks. The lack of energy is astounding, I have a lot of difficulty getting to sleep earlier then 2 am unless I fall asleep before that from exhaustion. Getting going in the morning is really difficult but I manage to at least get out of bed because of my dogs pleading eyes requesting breakfast. I dread going to work everyday and have been going into work late quite a bit lately (not that it is noticed as time of arrival at my office is very flexible). I've found the last couple weeks I've been zoning out and getting distracted at my job. I avoid going out a socializing as much as possible.

I've been putting off going back to school for years. I know I'm smart enough to succeed but I get into this weird thing where I wont do assignments at all if I don't think I can do it perfectly. I since I'm very negative and lack self-confidenece thats often. My one passion in life is horses and I ride competitively but despite being a good rider my brain even gets in the way there. One day I can ride amazingly and the next I can ride horribly. Today was such a day despite having no reason to be nervous I kept messing up in front of the jumps and ended up pulling up my horse to a stop instead of letting him do his job. My trainer was quite puzzled to say the least.

I have difficulty expressing my thoughts a feelings to people and don't know how I will be able to express whats going on to my doctor.
One person suggested on my intro post to make a list of all the symptoms bothering me to bring and give him if I have trouble talking about it. I don't know what I'm more afraid of, being told I do have a form of depression and having to start treatment or being told theres nothing wrong with me and I'm overreacting. I have a big fear of the unknown and don't know what the process will be once I start telling my doctor about this.

Any thoughts or experiences from the first time you brought this up with your doctor would be greatly appreciated.

#2 Guest_lucyvp_*

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:04 PM

Hi all, I'm a new member here at DF and wanted to hear a few opinions/ experiences with this. I briefly mentioned some of this in my intro post on the New member forum.

I'm finally planning on telling my family doctor about how I've been feeling for a long time. I'm a little scared, nervous, don't know how to bring it up and don't know what to expect.

I'm 25 yrs old and I'm fairly sure I have had some form of depression for at least the last 12 yrs. I've always been a down, gloomy, pessimistic person. I had issues with self harm up until about 2 yrs ago. I keep trying to kid myself that I'm fine, overreacting and my moodiness is just my personality. There's too many other things going on for that to be the case. I generally always feel bad but it's been much worse the last few weeks. The lack of energy is astounding, I have a lot of difficulty getting to sleep earlier then 2 am unless I fall asleep before that from exhaustion. Getting going in the morning is really difficult but I manage to at least get out of bed because of my dogs pleading eyes requesting breakfast. I dread going to work everyday and have been going into work late quite a bit lately (not that it is noticed as time of arrival at my office is very flexible). I've found the last couple weeks I've been zoning out and getting distracted at my job. I avoid going out a socializing as much as possible.

I've been putting off going back to school for years. I know I'm smart enough to succeed but I get into this weird thing where I wont do assignments at all if I don't think I can do it perfectly. I since I'm very negative and lack self-confidenece thats often. My one passion in life is horses and I ride competitively but despite being a good rider my brain even gets in the way there. One day I can ride amazingly and the next I can ride horribly. Today was such a day despite having no reason to be nervous I kept messing up in front of the jumps and ended up pulling up my horse to a stop instead of letting him do his job. My trainer was quite puzzled to say the least.

I have difficulty expressing my thoughts a feelings to people and don't know how I will be able to express whats going on to my doctor.
One person suggested on my intro post to make a list of all the symptoms bothering me to bring and give him if I have trouble talking about it. I don't know what I'm more afraid of, being told I do have a form of depression and having to start treatment or being told theres nothing wrong with me and I'm overreacting. I have a big fear of the unknown and don't know what the process will be once I start telling my doctor about this.

Any thoughts or experiences from the first time you brought this up with your doctor would be greatly appreciated.





What I usually suggest to people who are talking to their doctor about their depression for the first time, is that they print off a depression questionnaire from off the internet, complete it, and then bring it in to discuss with their doctor. Most diagnostic questionnaires for depression cover the same territory; disturbances in eating, sleep, lack of pleasure. Your doctor will be asking these same questions.

I, too, have similar difficulties with expressing myself and it was only two years ago that i got diagnosed with social anxiety. Remember, that it is not just what you say, but also, how you say it that a good doctor will note in diagnosis. I think that it would be wise for you to ask your doctor to refer you for a psychiatric assessment, as It is very important for all of your issues be recognized in order for a good treatment plan to be developed.

Best of luck with the doc and look forward to getting to know you better on DF.

#3 mizzfit

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 09:20 PM

Talking to your doctor for the first time can be scary, as you don't know what to say or how it will be received. But rest assured that a lot of people suffer from depression and your doctor probably has seen other for it. Be honest and get the help you need. Congratulations on taking this step.

#4 BetterOff

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:02 PM

Hello, I have a slightly modified version of LucyVp advice. My suggestion is to sit down and think very carefully what is bothering you the most and make a list prioritizing each symptom, i.e. depression first, thoughts of self harming second, anxiety third, low self esteem and self love 4th, insomnia fifth etc... And keep thinking about anything else you can add to the list before you see the doctor. When you go in simply say I think I have mental issues that need addressing and I wrote them down in priority wise and the doctor *will* read the list and this is great information to supply him as he can ask questions about each and every one. This way you dont forget to mention something that could be very important in his diagnosis. Often that same day a general practioner will start you on an anti-depressant *if* he feels it is within his realm to handle you. Some general practioners bow down to the experts which are psychiatrist and if they suspect some other issue than general depression is involved will want an expert to diagnose you and that is a psychiatrist! They are at the top of the pyramid for dealing with mental disorders and see people like you in everyday and they have a very sharp and keen mind (more so than a general practioner) in what to look for and questions to ask. You may only need a simple anti-depressant started but I advise all people starting an AD to make monthly evaluations with the doctor because you can be started at a sub-par dosage (doctors dont like to overdose a patient as this is very important as you have to get the mgs just right to fully kickin properly) and if someone is drug sensitive the lower dose may work fine, but if after a month you go back in and say no results, then a good doctor will bump you up in mgs searching for just the right theraputic level, and then of course if you are med resistant, you may have to bump the dose up once more. Generally once you are maxed out at the highest dose and no results, the doctor will switch you to another medication and start the process all over again. I know it takes time and patience but this is *essential* to get both the medication and dosage just right!!
Good Luck and best wishes, and hope my advice helps.
Information supplied on Depression Forums by members should not be relied upon and is not a substitute for medical advice from a health professional or doctor.

#5 lindahurt

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 10:13 PM

:welcomeani: Hello MEH130 and welcome to DF. We are happy to have you apart of our community and glad you are reaching out to DF for support. Its can be scary talking to a pdoc for the first time. I was scared to. I felt like he would be judemental and it was just the opposite. I did make a short list of the topics I wanted to discusses just to make sure I covered everything. He made mme feel very comfortable and I felt good after I left. The other posters have given you some good advice to consider as well. Hope it works out for you. Just be totally honest and open and you'll be ok.

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#6 Wilo77

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:00 PM

I took that step 5 weeks ago and really once you start talking it just all comes out. My GP was/is great he helped my mum so I knew that I could talk to him. Just say exactly how you feel. In my case it was anxiety issues having survived swine flu in 2009. I thought I would get better but when any sign of illness started it just freaked me out. Taking the first step is hard but once you do you will wonder why you took so long. Good luck

#7 justme56001

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 11:31 PM

I was at a point 2 years ago where I knew I needed meds. I called to make the appointment, when they asked me what for I simply said depression, that's it! When the nurse got me and took my vital signs she gave me a depression screening test to fill out while I was waiting for the doctor to come in.

The hardest part for me was picking up the phone and dialing the clinic phone number.

#8 shyboots

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 03:33 PM

I can't remember in detail as it was a couple of years ago now. I think I probably wrote a list because that's my tactic when I'm anxious about seeing a doctor. I remember getting very tearful. The doctor was very nice and seemed to be listening. She gave me a questionnaire to fill out where they use that to rate if you are depressed. I was reluctant to take medicines, and she was very patient about persuading me and in the end it didn't take long as I felt so desperate and had had enough of feeling so bad. I was definitely over my 10 minutes! She didn't make me feel bad for that. I'm really grateful she was so understanding. I got prescribed some anti depressants and referred for some CBT, which was very helpful.
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#9 bigd847

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 04:58 PM

I just dont communicate well verbely. And when I am emotional like talking about the past, forget it. Writing down my feelings to go over with my Doc is just the ticket. If I get hung up one one thing I can see the list and remember there is alot I would like to cover. Before starting for the first time you might let your doc know you are feeling uncomfortabel. There are things you both can do to build trust before you start any of the heavy duty stuff and just talking about the little things is one of them. If you have suicidal thoughts let your doc know right away as these will not wait even if you dont think you will do any thing about them. This level of unhappyness needs attention. If you can not feel comfortabel with your Doc ask for another one. He/she would rather refer you to another one than have a fruitless relationship.

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#10 rehill

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 12:26 AM

I was very lucky. I didn't have to tell my doctor, he knows me so well that he had noticed the changes and brought up the subject himself. He told me what he had noticed and asked what was going on. Once I started telling him he put me off work right away for 6 weeks (that morphed into 3 months) and told me he wanted to see me at least every two weeks, started me on meds and told me to call my employee assistance program and arrange some counselling. He saw me every 2 weeks for about a year. Long story short, I got hooked up with a great psychiatrist about a year later and have been working with him ever since.

If you are nervous about your appt, for sure take in a list of your symptoms. I'd also take in a list of your questions, that will help your doctor figure out what is going on. I tend to draw a blank when I am in the doctor's office, then I have to call back and say "I forgot to ask....." Some doctors don't take kindly to that so having everything with you would probably be a help.

Good luck, congratulations on taking a step towards looking after yourself. Let us know how it goes!!

#11 MEH180

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Posted 15 February 2011 - 07:57 PM

Thanks for all the comments a suggestions. Tomorrow is the day and wow am I getting nervous.

I don't know which would be worse, how difficult it will be telling my Doc about this, or finding out afterword that I don't have depression and I'm just overreacting.

I guess part of me is still fighting wanting to talk about it. Generally I'm stubborn and have too much pride to let anyone know I'm hurting.

#12 MEH180

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:51 PM

I went through with it. And I was actually able to say everything and didn't need to resort to my list. My Doc was so good about it and it was much less scary then I thought it would be. He prescribed Cipralex and then I go back in next month to evaluate how it's working.

I am in complete shock that I finally managed to get myself to do this. Again thanks for all the comments, I would have definitely chickened out otherwise.

#13 justme56001

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 11:38 PM

Congrats on making that first giant step!!

A good, supportive doctor is essential! Even if you end up seeing a psychiatrist for meds it's still vital to keep a good relationship with a primary care physician. My primary doc is great and always asks how I'm doing, are my meds working, and if I have other issues she can help me with. She never writes me off as being "crazy" and then not treat me like she would anybody else. I've worked in the medical profession and know many doctors and nurses have a very negative bias against people with mental illness. I trust her and she trusts me, that's not something a person gets when they see whatever doctor is available at the time.

#14 Wilo77

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 12:32 AM

You have done the hard bit now just focus on looking after yourself I am on the same meds and I have only had mild nausea for about 2 weeks as a side-affect and trust me its nothing compared to the way I felt before I started meds. I found if you could eat something it did help with the nausea and mine has been totally gone for 2 weeks now. Good Luck

#15 mmoose

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 09:29 AM

Good steps. You must have a relationship with that doc already. Sometimes, they'll talk about the basics, offer a script for one of the popular drugs or offer a referral to a psych.

I was just in a for checkup a couple weeks ago. This office had everyone do a short questionaire, looking for depression symptoms. (Maybe they only do this in the winter). So I got a little laugh out of that. It's been over 10 years, but still throw me thru the screening process for something that I'm already diagnosed with?
martymoose

#16 Rosie_Versailles

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 04:16 AM

Wow, your post sounds exactly like what I have been going through. I mean exactly - self harm, lack of energy, not wanting to get up in the mornings but having to to it for my dog, dreading work and zoning out. I also want to go back to finish school, so I am trying to find the motivation to fill in my distance education application form. I also lack self confidence and I love horse riding too! This:

My one passion in life is horses and I ride competitively but despite being a good rider my brain even gets in the way there. One day I can ride amazingly and the next I can ride horribly. Today was such a day despite having no reason to be nervous I kept messing up in front of the jumps and ended up pulling up my horse to a stop instead of letting him do his job. My trainer was quite puzzled to say the least.

is me most days! I know I can jump 80cm easy, and I know my horse can do it, but whenever I try, I get so nervous and I make myself believe that I can't do it. The jumps look like they are 3 metres and I just imagine everything that could go wrong, so I always end up pulling my horse up before the jump, or saying to myself 'oh, I will just ride another circle and then do it.......one more circle......another circle....maybe I will try tomorow.." So I can definitly relate to that, aswell as having trouble expressing my feelings.

Sorry I know this is not very helpful, and I don't want to repeat what everyone else has said, so I just wanted to let you know that you are not alone :) Hopefully I can also borrow some of the good advice everyone has been giving you. Oh, and I haven't spoken to a doctor about my problems, but your post has really encouraged me to speak to someone, so thank you.

#17 MEH180

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Posted 20 February 2011 - 08:43 PM

Rosie_Versailles - I'm glad you could identify with my post and do hope this helps you to talk to someone.

I generally try to not rely on other people emotionally. I never talk to any of my friends or family when stuffs going wrong. But I realized this week I have the best sis-in-law I could ever ask for. I was talking with her and told her I was diagnosed with depression this week and talked about some stuff (almost burst into tears in front of her). And she was really good about everything.

Also told my riding coach this week so she knows why I've been riding extra badly lately. With the horses it is extra frustrating at the moment. I'm actually in the process of selling my current horse and buying a new one in order to move up a level. Really will need to pull it together if I have to go try horse out.




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