This post is a little different to my usual ones, however I thought it’s something that ought to be discussed. When someone books an appointment to see a doctor or GP to discuss their mental illness for the first time, it can be a daunting experience and one that needs to be addressed.
I’ve always thought of seeing a professional about your mental health as something that’s really quite different to speaking about a physical health issue. In many aspects, it can feel more of a ‘performance’ than a discussion, in my opinion at least. Unlike a physical health issue, there’s no blood test or x-rays for mental illness – no true way to 100% confirm that you’re suffering. Instead, you’ve got to discuss your symptoms with your doctor and they’ve got to take your word for it. That’s why, in many ways, it feels more like an actor performing before an audience member – to convince them that you’re not eating, have little energy, can’t sleep, etc. while there’s no physical evidence to show for it.
I truly believe it shows a lot of strength for someone to seek help from their doctor – not only for reaching out, but also to combat their illness head-on. It can take a lot out of you, especially if you feel to have no energy and so it takes great effort to attend the appointment, or if your illness makes you think you’re not deserving of help (which, for the record, you’re more than deserving!). And also, mental illness isn’t the same for everyone, for example, while some with depression may feel to cry all the time, others laugh and experience it differently, so we can’t generalise symptoms across everyone. I often think that it must truly hurt someone to be told by a professional that they simply need to ‘sleep more’, ‘eat better’ or ‘just get out more’, as I know some of my friends have. To think of how much effort they put themselves through, to only be pushed aside and ignored.
Only that’s not to discourage you reaching out for help, only I think the diagnostic criteria needs to be reassessed for mental illnesses. For it to be changed to something that would make it easier for people to reach out, for there to be less stigma and more understanding. For doctors to acknowledge mental illness for what it is, and stop people suffering in silence. Anyway, rant over. If you’re considering reaching out and asking for help, please do. You’re not alone. If you don’t know how to talk about it, try writing it down beforehand and go through each of your symptoms and worries with your doctor. There’s also a website called ‘docready’ (link below) where you can select what you’re feeling and it can give you ideas on how to put your situation into words – Note: I’m not affiliated with this, or any other website mentioned on this site or on my blog, in any way.
Feel free to let me know your experiences, and your thoughts on speaking to a doctor about mental health. This post is a little different to my usual, but I hope you enjoyed it nonetheless. Hope you all have a lovely week!
Take care, Sophie x
Website link: www.docready.org/#/home
I have no affiliations with any links or websites mentioned above.
As always, please bear in mind that I am not a mental health professional or any other type of professional, this is a hobby for me and is for informational purposes only and shouldn’t be seen as any kind of advice. I am not liable for any consequences as a result of this information and if readers rely on any of the information on my blog, it is at their own risk. I cannot confirm that all information is correct, accurate or reliable. The information is true to the best of my knowledge, yet there may be omissions, errors or mistakes. This information isn’t intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have, or believe to have, a mental illness, please contact a mental health professional.
Note: This picture belongs to Wix.