At the age of fourteen, I was diagnosed with depression after my mother noticed the symptoms and took me to the doctor. This began my journey with various medications and therapy treatments to help manage the condition, but I was fortunate that it was identified and I had help. Ever since then, depression, as well as other diagnoses, have been a part of my life. It’s almost impossible to remember a time when I didn’t feel depressed.
Not everyone gets help when they start experiencing depression. The cold, lonely, isolated nature of the disease makes it impossible to talk about—let alone talk to a doctor you barely know.
However, the only way for you to start feeling better is to get help from your doctor. If you have clinical depression, there are many treatment options available to you. Many people diagnosed with this condition live happy lives due to successful control of their symptoms.
Symptoms of depression
It’s normal to be sad, lonely, or disinterested in life at times. When these feelings last for a long time and start to affect your daily life, you may be suffering from depression.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, Major Depressive Disorder affects approximately 16.1 million American adults in a given year. Here are some of the many symptoms caused by depression:
- Endless sadness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
- Pessimistic and hopeless
- Empty feeling”
- Sleep disturbance (sleeping too much or too little)
- Losing interest in activities you enjoy
If you find yourself feeling one or more of these symptoms for a long time, don’t set them aside. Get yourself some help.
Why should you ask for help?
Depression is not something you can tell yourself. If you’ve been experiencing strong negative feelings for a long time, they won’t go away with a snap of your fingers.
Clinical depression causes physical and emotional symptoms that can hinder your successful or even life-threatening life. Most of the time, people diagnosed with depression need medication, therapy, or both to control symptoms and feel better.
No one should experience the isolation of depression alone without help. The first place to start is your family doctor or general practitioner. These people are your first line of defense against depression.
Your doctor can run tests to find out if a physical condition is causing your symptoms. He can also help you get started on medication and refer you to other specialists if needed.
It’s hard to open
Depression is a dangerous monster because the disorder itself can make asking for help seem impossible.
Depression has a funny way of telling me little lies like “you don’t deserve help”, “you’re just a big kid” or “your doctor can’t help you out”. this problem”. It’s hard to see through these lies and do the right thing to take care of yourself.
You may not be close to your doctor and have a hard time being open about it. Perhaps you feel embarrassed talking about it.
I recommend reading about this disease to prepare yourself. It will help you to realize that this is a clinical disorder that requires clinical treatment.
How to talk to your doctor about depression?
You’ve decided to make some changes and talk to your doctor, but you don’t know how. Something as simple as telling a doctor that you are sad all the time is like exposing your soul to the universe.
You may not be comfortable talking about your feelings, let alone talking to a stranger. So how do you overcome barriers and get the help you need?
1. Make an appointment
First, make an appointment with your doctor. This step alone can be scary when you’re dealing with depression. Call your primary doctor’s office to make an appointment, and when asked what the appointment is for, simply say “mental health” or something like that.
That’s all it takes to start the recovery process. You can also present your suspicions of depression at an appointment about another issue.
2. Start talking
You are on an appointment, and now you must speak fluently. Start by telling your doctor what symptoms are affecting your life. This will start the conversation and bring up some questions for the doctor to ask you. Some conversation starters:
- “I’ve been spending too much time sleeping lately. I slept all day and missed important events or appointments.”
- “Recently, I’ve been having a hard time getting myself to complete simple tasks. It feels exhausting to do even the most everyday tasks.”
- “I was a lot more irritable than usual. It seems like every little thing and everyone let me down.
- “It’s so hard to eat these days. I used to have a craving for food, but it’s completely gone.”
- “I’m having a hard time enjoying life and feeling weighed down by something. Lately it feels very empty.
It can be difficult to say that one or two sentences. But if you can go that far, you’ve already won half the battle. Now your doctor can continue by asking you more questions and assessing your mental health.
3. Mention other symptoms
Now the conversation is flowing and your doctor is evaluating you for possible depression.
To make the most accurate assessment, your doctor needs to know all of your symptoms and medical history, both physical and mental. This way, she can uncover any underlying health problems that may be contributing to your depression.
Be sure to mention any of the following, which can help identify potential health problems:
- All medications you are taking
- Family history of mental illness
- substance abuse
- A chronic illness
- Big event in life
It’s best to paint the whole picture so your doctor can screen you for depression with as much information as possible. This will lead to a more accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
4. Ask questions
You’ve passed the hard part. You’ve taken the most important step and asked for help. Now the conversation should flow and you should make sure to ask questions.
Take control of your health by asking the questions that are certain in your mind. Here are some example questions to ask your doctor:
- “Do I need medication to manage my depression?”
- “Could there be any underlying health issues that are making me feel this way?”
- “When do you expect me to start feeling better?”
- “What should I do in an emergency?”
- “When should I follow you?”
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your mental health is just as important as any other aspect of health, so it deserves the same attention and care.
What to expect next
If your doctor diagnoses you with depression, he or she can prescribe a number of treatments. First, any underlying health problems will be treated. Then, depending on the type and severity of your depression, your doctor may:
- Refer you to a psychiatrist, psychologist or therapist
- Adjust current medication
- Links you to community resources
If you start taking medication, you should contact a psychiatrist who specializes in mental health medications. That way, you’ll make sure you’re taking the right medication and getting specialized mental health care. Make sure to continue treatment, even if you feel better.
Living with depression
It is imperative that your mental wellbeing is taken care of, just like your physical health. If you’re diagnosed with a heart condition, you’ll likely consult a specialist and take prescribed medication. Similarly, if something isn’t right emotionally, don’t ignore your intuition. Express any concerns you have to your doctor, regardless of how difficult it may feel. If talking one-on-one with your physician makes you anxious, bring a trusted companion to provide emotional support and help explain the way you’re feeling. Finding the correct treatment plan is vital for your life; it’s essential that you seek support and have confidence that a suitable solution will present itself.