mental illness advice

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guestuser1987 14 Nov 2013
I post on here relatively regularly know. I know there are a few people on here who have helped people posting about depression so I wanted to ask some practical advice about seeking help with mental illnesses. I don't really want to describe my symptoms (although sadness isn't really one of them) but I'm finding it really difficult to go to the Doctors with both mental and accompanying physical conditions because about 90% of the time there is no way I could face it. The other 10% of the time I really want help and it seems so clear that I'm ill and it's kind of f*cking up my life, but I know the chances of me keeping an appointment or feeling ok enough at the time of an appointment to be able to talk are pretty slim. This isn't helped by only being able to attend a small evening slot after work and the receptionists having a special talent of making you feel like you're putting everyone out.

I thought about writing all my symptoms down and then making an appointment, hoping I'll be at least ok enough to shove a piece of paper in the doctors face. Would they be alright with that? I'm worried they'ed think I was just writing things down because I was lying and wasn't able to lie verbally, like I'd sat and planned everything. I'd also feel pretty stupid.

I'd be really grateful if anyone had had any similar experiences and could say how they got help. Or even just what to expect if you go to the doctors with psychological problems, I've heared plenty of reports of GP's not being particuarly helpful and if they're just going to throw some pills at me it's not worth the effort to go.

 Muttly 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: It would be fine to write things down. Be succinct and maybe bullet point them because you only get a small allocated slot and you don't want to lose the chat time with the Doctor. It's difficult to offer any clearer advice other than go to your GP, regardless of how hard it is find a way, without knowing more.

It may be that there is some good information available, check out the Mind website and rethink website for info ration about mental health problems. If your problem involves alcohol or substances it's worth simply googling that problem and your area to find out if the primary care (GP level stuff) is provided by a different provider.

Good luck.
In reply to guestuser1987: I would reinforce what has just been said. There is no reason at all why you cannot write things down.

Also organisations like Mind do provide people to talk to for advice and support.

This might be a useful first step. You can access this through the website.

Talking to someone is likely to give you some reassurance as well as information; it might also allay some of your understandable fears and give you some clarity in terms of a way forward.
 deanr 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: with my local health service, you can bypass the GP and go directly to the mental health service. You write down your symptoms on a form for them to asses you. You can then Request a follow up by telephone. Affer that they recommend any treatment required. It sounds like this approach would be useful as you would be dealing directly with the spcialists.

Good luck
 Doug 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: Not sure if its of help to you, but when I was in a similar situation many years ago, a friend (actually ex girlfriend) made an appointment with my GP for me & made sure I got there (not sure if she took me or got a friend to help). I had been very sceptical as to the use of seeing a GP or even that I really had depression but the GP was very good. I did get prescribed antidepressants but only after the their effects had been explained (the GP thought I had a PhD in physiology, not entirely wrong, but it was ecological physiology of trees). Maybe I was lucky but after the first visit, he made sure that all my subsequent appointmants were at the end of surgery so there was no time pressure due to waiting patients - not sure how common that is.

And although it took a couple of years, I did recover & seem to have been OK for some 25 years now
 minimike 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

Some (most?) GP surgeries will have a GP who specialises in mental health. You can ask to see them even if they're not your usual GP.. That can take out the worry of not being taken seriously and add a level of anonymity.

In other places, all the GPs will deal with everything, so this may not apply, but its maybe worth asking or having someone ask on your behalf.

In reply to guestuser1987:
Writing down is good, keeping it to short facts if possible.
Can you get a family member or a good friend to be the initial receptionist contact? And to accompany you to the GP appointment? If you know a sympathetic GP in the practice other than your own, make an appointment with them instead.
If you can't go the GP route there are other possible routes, dependant on the area you live, and they would be a good starting to help. If you can't find them, start with a local CAB to direct you?
 Choss 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

In my Experience, GPs can be a bit hit and miss with mental Health. Find one that works for you and its not so bad. Mine is good, but i Know it can be hard asking for help when you need it sometimes, Especially From medical Professionals. Many worries, will they think im mad, Making it up, etc. Easy to get Paranoid about it.

Im Assuming you were the earlier suicidal Poster? Did you seek out any of the help Suggested From that thread? Im guessing not? Again hard to do, especially if Like me youre Prone to paranoia and retreat in to your own Head.

Sounds like you need some Head Space. Maybe From work, you were citing that as a Problem last Time?

Dont Know where you are, but if you have a car and in Reach of Bristol, happy to meet up for a Drink, Climb, chat, help you Access help, whatever.

From a LifeLong mental health patient.
 Choss 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

One more thing. Post in the pub forum, and itll only be read by Registered users.
 bleddynmawr 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: As both a MH prpfessional and a previous service user I would echo all the advice that has already been posted. What is most important is that you have decided to get help. Write down what your problems are, go with a friend, and be honest. Your GP will have seen and heard it all before and will be supportive. I remember the relief that I had at being able to talk with someone.
Your GP will be able to offer a range of treatments, which may or may not include medication. Have a think before you go what you feel would help you most e.g meds, counselling, therapy, etc. A lot of people get a prescription for anti-depressants for example but never take them, and don't get better. If you don't want to take meds tell your GP straight up.

I don't know if any of this is helpful but remember that you don't have to do this alone. let us know how you get on.
In reply to guestuser1987: you used to be able to request a double Appointment (when I worked in a surgery a few years ago now tho!) might be worth asking about them so you don't start clock watching or worrying when you're there
 freerangecat 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

A couple of things that I don't think have been suggested -

1 although its not cheap you could see someone privately without seeing your dr (although you should talk to your dr ideally). I can recommend CBT as a good way of dealing with problems rather than just talking about them.

2 the moodjuice website (Scottish NHS I think) has some very good self help guides.

I hope things improve for you. Please don't be scared of seeing your Dr/anyone else. Although it's hard to admit you're struggling it really does help to get it out in the open and start tackling it.
 RockAngel 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: I have taken a list of symptoms concerning my depression and just shoved it at the doctor. I think she realised that it was actually quite difficult to say out loud, so do this if it will be easier for you.

There is also a thing called Patient Access, where you can book appointments online so you dont even have to speak to a receptionist! I always use this method to book appointments now so I can see the doctor that is most suitable and not the totally inept one that everyone else avoids too which is the only one you get if you ring up!
Have a look online for Patient Access.

I can also order repeat prescriptions online via the practise website, which then gets picked up by a chemist and I can either go pick it up from the chemist or have it delivered.

Remember, although it feels pretty awful at the moment, it wont always be like this. There will be better days ahead (thats what I keep telling myself).

 ByEek 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: It is funny you post this because a mate of mine has just posted link to a talk given by a chap who has ADD and Bipolar type two and works in software (like me). The trust of his talk is aimed at an industry that has a high level of mental illness. He basically just tells you his story in half an hour and I thoroughly recommend you watch it:

His tips are:
- Go and see a specialist
- If you can't bring yourself to see a specialist, talk to a friend
- If you can't talk to a friend talk to him - he gives his email address

Most importantly, you are not alone. Good luck!
 mlt 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

I would suggest seeing a therapist of some sort. It'll be way more useful than a bunch of pills from a GP and you're less time constrained as you can meet after work generally, at your convenience. You won't regret going, but the hardest thing you'll have to do is to encourage yourself to go in the first place (and that can be f*cking tough). Drop me a line if there's anything I can do.
In reply to guestuser1987:

Mental health worker here (30+ years in the trade.)

You've recognised you have a problem; why not get it fixed?

What have you to gain by spinning it out?

Will it really go away if you ignore it?

Are you enjoying life at present? Wouldn't you like to?

You've come up with a valid method of helping yourself, (writing down the problem,) show it to an expert.

You do not have all the answers in your head, if you did you would have sorted yourself out by now. You need advice from an external, uninvolved, competent, source. Go get it.

You need to make changes, get help.

 lost1977 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

surprised i didn't see it when i looked at the other replies unless i missed it but look at starting a cognitive dairy (thought diary) as this is not only a really good tool for helping with mental health problems but also a good way of communicating with your gp as you can hand it to your gp at the beginning of an appointment if you cant start the conversation
needvert 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

Writing it all down is a good idea. A good start.

Don't worry too much about what people think.

There are plenty of support communities online, whatever your condition there's a good chance there other people out there with it too, perhaps who have lived with it for longer. Might be worth seeking them out, UKC isn't a bad place either.
 SAF 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: Haven't read the rest of the thread...too lazy... so if anything I have said has already been said, then sorry.

With regards to GPs not all being great with psych issues, and GP receptions being like pitbulls, I found that approaching the receptionist differently helpful, appeal to there knowledge of there GP practice and ask the receptionist which GP they think would be best at dealing with your problem, hopefully she will steer you away from anyone who is a waste of time.

I had a particularly negative experience with my own 'named' GP, so have never seen him since, receptionist pointed me towards one of the newer, younger female GPs and she was great and when she went on Maternity leave the receptionist again advised me on who to see and this doctor was also very good with mental health stuff.
guestuser1987 14 Nov 2013
Thankyou for everyone's responses, some helpful advice.

Posting this morning was quite helpful as that's probably the closest I've come to asking for help in years. The visualisation of actually going to the doctors gave me enough fear to motivate myself a bit. Managed to go for a small hill walk after work (first exercise in a long while) followed by a shower and some actual food, and I'm feeling better for it.

I think i'll give it the rest of the month and see how I feel, see if I can self prescribe some exercise and arrange to see a friend in a way i can't back out of, as it's been almost 3 months since I've seen/talked to anyone socially. I don't enjoy company like I used to but I guess it's probably good for you. Christmas is usually a bad time for me so if things don't improve by the end of the month i'll reassess things.

Choss, I'm not the person who posted before although I did read their post and also hope they're doing ok. Your last comment stuck out for me ("From a LifeLong mental health patient"), I've been on the miserable side of things (dysthymia if you will, although i don't like to try and self diagnose) probably since losing my parents as a teenager, along with a few mild depressive episodes and trouble with drugs and alcohol (in the past now, for some reason it lost it's appeal, thank f*ck). Maybe part of the reason I'd prefer (if possible) to deal with things on my own is because I don't ever imagine being "cured", just managed, like you say, lifelong. Looking back I've always (idiotically i know) used the thought of being strong and independent as a crutch to get through things, which would magically disappear if I went to the doctors. I'm a psychology graduate so I should know better but apparently not, it's different when it's you.

Thanks for everyone's advice, this is the worst I've ever been so I'll see how things go and try and take the leap to the GP if things don't improve. Sorry for not replying to everyone individually, I do really appreciate the input but I'm feeling tired enough that bed might be a pleasurable experience for once so that's where I'm heading.

Thanks again
 Choss 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

I get your Social isolation and Alienation. I Live that everyday.

Happy to meet if you want. Totally neutral, no Agenda to try and help you. Just an open non Critical no need to Talk if you dont want to meet up.

Its there if you want it.

It would be good for me Too.


A Lifelong mental health patient.
 hokkyokusei 14 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

> I thought about writing all my symptoms down and then making an appointment, hoping I'll be at least ok enough to shove a piece of paper in the doctors face. Would they be alright with that?

Yes. It's a good idea. I did a similar thing, except that I wasn't smart enough to figure it out for myself. It was someone else's idea and I actually had to get them to write it all down for me. They also arranged the appointment, and actually posted the written down stuff to the doctor in advance. All I had to do was show up. That was about all I could manage at the time. Please do it.
In reply to guestuser1987:
My mum went to see GP about mental health issues that (in hindsight) have been with her since I was a small child. I'm aware that these things can be hit and miss, but her doctor has been brilliant. It's like night and day, and although she found the decision to go to him very difficult and the first visit even more tough, she doesn't regret doing so. There is no shame in asking for help to manage a mental illness - after all, if you had a physical illness you would likely see a doctor to help manage it - why treat your mind with less respect? I hope you manage to find the strength to get help if you decide that is what you need. Remember that there are people out here in internetland, and in the real world, who care and who will not judge. Good luck.
 MattDTC 15 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:
You suggest you are suffering from depression (apologies if I’ve got that wrong, in which case what I say below may not be applicable). Like you, I went into depression in my teens. Here’s what I learned.

If you don’t do something about this, have a good think about what position you will be in a year from now?
How about in 5 years, or 10 years?
Like you I went into depression in my teens, and I lived (existed) with it for 10 years until I asked for help. It feels like a massive risk to make that step, but you need to hold in your mind that you are also taking a massive risk by not asking for help – you are taking the very great risk that 10 years from now you will be in exactly the same hole (like I did). So when you feel the fear of stepping out to ask for help, remember the risk you are taking is nothing compared to the risk of doing nothing.
Also bear in mind that you are in a place you don’t want to be right now, you know that because you are asking for help. What is stopping you seeking help is the depression, the same processes which are keeping you depressed are also stopping you asking for help. Depression can become your identity, and you start to defend it, but please remember, you are not the depression, you are the one who is asking for help.
You can do something about this, you can ask for help, it is very easy to pseudo-rationalise why you don’t need to do anything about it, why you can wait and see how things are next month (ie. Let your depression talk for you). By going to your GP you have very little to loss, and a lot to gain, so it’s well worth the risk. If you don’t want to take medication then say so, there are counselling (talking) options through the NHS. If you have the money (around £40 a week) then you can go to a private counsellor. None of these options is a guarantee, but they offer an opportunity. I went to 4 different counsellors before I found one who understood what I was going through and could help me, so don’t just stick with something that isn’t working month in month out. You don’t have to stay depressed, you are only young, please don’t label yourself as ‘here for life’.
Best of luck
 noviceclimber 15 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:
I think you have been really brave, just posting your thoughts on here. I have suffered from depression in the past, and I am really happy to be able to say that it was in the past. I slid slowly downwards into the most miserable place I can think of. It all happened so slowly that I didn't realise what was happening. I stopped eating properly and so lost a lot of weight. The biggest problem that I was aware of at the time was a total inability to go to bed and go to sleep. At bed time I was wide awake, and some nights I didn't bother going to bed until 3, 4, 5 or even 6 o'clock because I knew I would just lie there wide awake. Then of course when I had to get up for work I was absolutely knackered. I had stopped meeting friends socially because I was always too tired. I stopped any of the sporting interests I had because I was always too tired.
Finally my boss at work asked me for a meeting. I was expecting to get a tongue lashing for poor performance or late arrival or something like that. What he actually said must have taken a lot of courage on his part. He suggested, very gently that I might be unwell, and might benefit from seeing a GP.
At the time it hadn't even occurred to me that I might be ill. I just thought life was crap and I was always tired.
Initially I saw a locum GP. She didn't commit herself to calling what I had depression, but instead signed me off work for 2 weeks and called it 'exhaustion'. On later visits to a different GP, I was diagnosed as depressed and prescribed an antidepressant. I took the pills home and wondered whether I wanted to take them. Then my boss visited. His words right then changed the outcome loads. He told me that I wouldn't have any qualms about taking an antibiotic to treat an infection so why not take an antidepressant to treat depression.
I had been prescribed a drug that causes severe drowsiness. I was advised to take the tablets at bedtime and use this to best effect. Better than that I took them in the early evening and then tried to stay awake as long as I could. The feeling of being really tired as I went to bed was amazing. I hadn't realised how much I had missed this feeling. Knowing that I would drop off in seconds was fantastic. The anti depressive effect of the tablets was pretty good too. Nothing dramatic but gradually I felt like doing all the good things in life that I had missed for so long.
I don't take anti depressants any more. I consider myself cured. I have changed job to make sure it stays that way.

Please do go and see a GP. I don't see that you have anything to lose. Just making a start and asking for help may make a huge difference.
Good luck and hope you are feeling more human again soon.
guestuser1987 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Choss: Thanks very much for the offer, I live a good few hundred miles away but I really appreciate it non the less. I'm aware that a lot of the comments and experiences people have shared are all personal and may be difficult to talk about for you guys too, so thanks again.

Whatever is or isn't going on in my head it was blatantly clear last night that physically I'm unwell so I'm going to make an appointment next week. I really don't want to talk but it's pointless going to the Doctor and giving them half a story so I will, as whatever way round things are it's unlikely they aren't linked.

I'll write a succinct list of symptoms and try book a double appointment. I also have some time off work coming up so if it comes to it I can make a day appointment then, which I might find easier to attend. In the meantime I've written down the days I'm going to exercise over the next week and stocked up on some easy and digestible food. I suspect this will make me feel better but I'll write my list ASAP and hopefully even if it sounds unreal and ridiculous to me when I go to the Doctors at least I can say "this is how I felt then" and hopefully not feel too daft feeling fine and telling them I'm not well at the same time.

Thanks again for everyone's comments, I can't really remember what made me post in the first place but I work a long way away from friends and I don't have any family to spot me not being myself so peoples comments have definitely helped.
 jonoh 15 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: Hey , I know exactly how you are suffering .pm me rather than open forum and i will offer you all I can in support and my personal journey
 BGG 19 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

Hi, well done for getting your thoughts down here and glad it's been of help to you.

I'm a doc, albeit a hospital one. The things you talk about doing this month (exercising, seeing friends etc) are sensible. It's also encouraging that you're still working.

All that said I'd really encourage you to seek medical advice - mental health issues are a huge part of a GPs workload and most are reasonably good at dealing with them. You're hinting at various symptoms which I think a good GP or mental health worker would be able to help you with.

Good luck - please seek help from somewhere before Christmas if thats bad time for you.
 lynda 19 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: Please go and see your GP. Writing it down is good. I started with a telephone interview and he persuaded me to come down to see him.

Def go with someone, I couldn't concentrate enough to take it all in and needed someone to help me to remember when to take my pills. Exercise is good, I went running everyday and it made me feel a bit better but the depression always came back after a few hours. Like you I didn't feel sad, instead I was very slow in thinking and moving, making decisions was agony, I wasn't interested in anything (pretty much stopped eating), was irritable, and generally felt nothing (even when visiting my cute nephew). The pills helped. I'm now a recovering depressive.
 alasdair19 19 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: Hi Mate

I've had mental health issues in the past, it's crap and its not rational. In fact it's irrationality is what makes it an illness.

Depression can be potentially serious so please get help. Its i think the 2nd most likely thins to kill you if your a man between i think 18-30.

If you live in sheffield I'll come along with you to the doctor, (somebody did it for me so hey what comes around..)

Pills can help at least partly because they give you the head space to sort yourself out. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be "prescribed" on the NHS and is pften very effective.

best wishes

(and i meant it about taking you along if your local to me)
 marsbar 19 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: When I first went to the GP with suspected ADHD he asked me to write down my symptoms if that is any help. I didn't get anywhere to start with, I think I don't appear on the surface as if I have any problems, but once they found the right person to refer me to it got sorted out pretty well.

I don't know from your post what is your issue, but if your GP can't help, they should be referring you to someone that can.

Good luck. Email me if you want.
guestuser1987 19 Nov 2013
Thanks, I've made an appointment now. I couldn't get an appointment in the evening this week so I've got one booked on Monday morning, I forgot to ask for a double appointment but I'll definitely go anyway. I don't have anyone to go with me but I'll be fine just writing things down so I don't have to keep it in my head, I think I'd rather go alone anyway. Thanks for the offer Alasdair, but I'm quite a way away anyway.

I still feel like a bit of a fraud going, especially when I hear of people with serious mental illness it makes me feel like I'm just pretending but I've been going through my diary and highlighting passages as 'evidence' for myself, which is a helpful motivator. People go to the Doctors for all sorts of tiny things and even if I'm not particularly ill it's still legitimate to go, we'll see what happens.

Thanks again
In reply to guestuser1987:

Well done mate, good luck. Let us know how you get on.
 marsbar 19 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: You are not a fraud. Some things are more serious than others, but that doesn't mean the smaller things don't need seeing to. Good luck.
 BGG 20 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987: yeah they really do go for all kinds of tiny things - which this absolutely is not. People come to hospital all the time for tiny tiny things never mind go to GPs.

Go and don't feel guilty about it - its totally appropriate.
 csw 20 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

Good for you - Here's hoping this is the start of better times - hang in there.
In reply to guestuser1987: Speaking as someone who has had (and still has) bouts of depression, and who is also a trained counsellor, I'd say the following:

GPs are great at what they do but by definition, are generalists. This means that it is something of a lottery in finding a GP who has expertise in mental health - or even one who can fully empathise with it.

If you do get a recommendation for treatment from a doctor, it will usually be antidepressants and/or a six week course of CBT. Antidepressants do have their place as first-line treatment for moderate to severe depression, but that should always be followed up with talking therapy of some sort - but not necessarily CBT. The reason for that is the fact that CBT is a prescriptive standardised treatment, not necessarily suited to everyone (and because people do not respond well to being standardised).

My recommendation, for what it's worth, is to see your GP to get yourself on antidepressants in order to stabilise your mood (it may take 2 - 4 weeks to kick in, and even longer if the first medication doesn't suit you). Then go and find a counsellor who has an eclectic approach - that is, one who would use an appropriate therapeutic approach to your personality. It might be psychodynamic, person-centred, or CBT - or even a mix of all depending on your presenting problem.

Counselling costs money unfortunately, but some practices have a sliding scale relative to ability to pay.

Best of luck to you - and please get back to me if you feel I can help with more advice.

 Lil_Pete 22 Nov 2013
In reply to guestuser1987:

Would only be echoing the great advice above if I said anything more. But fair play getting it out and said, step one of a hard few steps.

You're certainly not the only one suffering, have spent the last decade or more off and on with depression. It does get better and I think you know from experience, you've got through the rough patches in the past and with a bit of time you'll get through this one. That said there's some really great people out there who can help you get through it faster.

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