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worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

Bit of background: So I’ve noticed a shift in my personality over probably the last 6-9 months. I have alienated myself from my friends (not made any easier with COVID), lost interest in pretty much everything, being hypercritical of myself, and alternate between feeling unhappy and apathetic (among other things). Even people who don’t know me well ( e.g. classmates at uni, work colleagues) have said that I seem flat/off. I have struggled with low iron for a while and figured it was related to that so did the appropriate tests and followed up with my GP (this was about 3 months ago). The tests were normal and I was a bit confused, and couldn’t  really attribute these changes to anything else. So I raised with him that maybe it may be related to my mental health, and he suggested trying to do some things that will improve my mood, and directed me to some online resources (I thought was a reasonable first step). He also said he is not a Dr that jumps straight to medication (again, reasonable to me). I gave those things a go and didn’t really get much benefit out of it. I still feel pretty uninterested in everything, and I haven’t gotten out of bed in 3 days. 

 

I have decided to go back to my GP and I think I want to get a mental health care plan. I’ve never had therapy or counselling before so it feels like a big step. I’m just worried that my GP will not do a plan and leave me to sort myself out or, wait for it to pass, or just try to reassure me that because of the state of the world at the moment it’s normal and everyone feels like I do. I’m not sure how I feel about medication (will it work? Will the side effects be worth it? Will I actually take them?). 

 

I’m mainly concerned that he won’t take me seriously. I can acknowledge that I am privileged in many aspects of my life, and when I hear my thoughts, I get really annoyed with myself because there are so many people with trauma and things going on that I will never understand, and that somehow makes me unworthy of help.  I generally have a pretty good relationship with my GP (seen him for the last 3.5 years) and I am reluctant to see a different doctor (nervous about meeting new people, going over full history, if they’ll understand, if we’ll gel etc.). The consellors at uni are usually booked out for 2-3 months and generally refer out anyway but they do walk-in ‘triage’ but I don’t feel worthy of that makes sense (and that also seems really daunting?

 

Apologies for the essay, but I’d love to know if any of you have felt the same and if there was anything you did that helped or if you have other recommendations xx

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Re: worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

Hi @Smokydog 

 

As a person with trauma and other stuff, I just want to say that you deserve help too.

 

Seeing your gp sounds like a really good first step.

I'd suggest seeing how things go with them first. If it doesn't work, you can find another way of getting help then.

 

Getting help can be really overwhelming, it's okay to take things one step at a time.

 

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Re: worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

Hey @Smokydog

 

I think @Tiny_leaf is right when they said that getting help can be really overwhelming, so you should be incredibly proud of yourself for making this step. It can be super super difficult to make those first steps towards getting support for mental health, and so you've done a fantastic job at going to the doctor, as well as following through with their advice and checking in again. 

It's pretty reasonable to be concerned about how your GP will react. Mental health is tricky to talk about - even with some medical professionals. It sounds like you might have a good GP on your hands though Smiley Happy The fact that they know about helpful online resources, speaks to the fact that they may have an interest in mental health that has lead them to do their own research. Medication and counselling (by a psychologist) are usually done separately, so it's pretty common to try out just therapy, and then give medication a go later down the track if you and your team think it's appropriate. I am sure your GP will help you with a mental health care plan, and often you can outright ask for one, as well as asking for help in finding a referral for a psych. Another good option is visiting your local Headspace Smiley Happy this is an organisation that works in youth mental health, and have a bunch of different resources and professional supports that you can speak with 

I also want to quickly say that even though you may be lucky to experience privilege, it does not mean you can't experience mental health issues. It can be easy to diminish how you're feeling - especially when you're already down, but it's important to remember that these thoughts aren't helpful or accurate Heart sometimes it can help to imagine what would you say to a friend who was feeling this way? would you agree that they're too privileged to experience poor mental health? If it's too rude/inaccurate to say to a friend, then it's too rude/innacurate to say to yourself as well Smiley Happy 

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Re: worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

@Smokydog Hi there! I wanted to jump in and add that everything you've said is definitely a cause for concern from a mental health standpoint, especially how you have lost interest in life and are struggling to get out of bed Smiley Sad These are really common symptoms of depression and I would definitely be bringing them up with your doctor because they should ring bells for any good professional!

 

For me I have found that medication vs psychology is often a decision that the patient can make and approach the doctor with. It sounds like your doctor has gone through the motions with you to stop you jumping straight into the most extreme case of medication or professional help, so this would be a logical next step. Although therapy is for everyone, at any time in their lives, the general threshold for seeking clinical help is when your feelings or thoughts are interfering with your ability to live your life normally. It sounds like you're definitely at that stage and could use some help!

 

Regarding privilege, mental health never discriminates. There are some people who come from really difficult circumstances who may have great resilience and others who may have a general susceptibility to stress due to biology or upbringing. I'll use myself as an example because I am very lucky with many elements of my life, however I have bipolar disorder which has come a lot from my genetics, but also exacerbated from some issues I've had as a sensitive and perfectionistic person, amongst other things. It makes me think of this quote: “The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg." the same things can happen to two people and have very different effects. Additionally, another symptom of mental health is feeling like you're not worthy of getting help. Mental health likes to trick you into feeling bad and isolating yourself from help and that's why it's such a hard battle taking the first step. You should be proud of yourself getting here! Heart

 

I know this is off topic but I do also think medication could be a good option. If this has been going on for a long time and is only getting worse it may be a case of your brain chemistry having changed from these negative feelings which will make it harder to get back to normal. Medication won't fix the root cause, if there is a particular cause you can think of, but it will take the edge off the pain and make it a bit easier to function in daily life. Personally I was at a dark point in my life a couple years ago and I couldn't find a reason why I was struggling so much and medication helped me to pull out of it. I kind of describe it as a safety net, where you can still feel upset by things, but it stops you being dragged into a whirlpool where you can't function. However, if you've been having issues with negative thinking or anxiety, a psychologist will definitely help you to change your perspective and thought patterns and behaviours too. 

 

Sorry for the long post but I wanted to give my two cents. Also @Andrea-RO and @Tiny_leaf have said some really good things too, so I hope this gives you some guidance!

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Re: worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

@Smokydog  Welcome to the forums!
I think you've shown so much insight into what's been going on for you, and the next steps that you want to take.
I think that asking your GP about getting a mental health care plan sounds like a good idea. If your GP seems reluctant to give you one, you could ask him if he can do a short assessment about your mood over the past few weeks, or you could show him an assessment that you've done yourself. Here is an example of a simple questionnaire that doctors I know have often (but not exclusively) used. I know they are not a diagnosis in and of themselves and just show how you're feeling at a given moment in time, but sometimes they can be useful to show a doctor to bring up a conversation about how you're feeling.

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Re: worried my GP will not take my mental health seriously

Hi @Smokydog 
You've gotten some great responses from some amazing Reachout members, so hopefully they provide you with some clarity. However, I just thought I'd touch base as I somewhat relate to you and have similar inhibitions about seeking help. So I just thought I'd just check-in and ask how are going with everything? Any updates you'd like to share or that you'd like further help with? Let us know if you like- we are always here.