How To Talk To Your Doctor If You Think You Have A Mental Health Problem
Reaching out for help when your mental health isn’t at its best isn’t easy, and it takes courage. You may feel embarrassed, worried about the stigma, or that your problems are not significant enough.
However, you can only start to get better by receiving the necessary support. Here are some tips on making that first step towards getting back to yourself.
You want to get help, which is a great positive step forward.
Keep a diary of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours
This helps your doctor to get a clear idea of what you are experiencing and backs you up if you get nervous and forget things. It is also a lot easier to simply say that you have been having difficulties and handing over a notebook rather than having to sit there explaining yourself.
Consider taking someone along with you
Bringing someone who you are close to such as a family member, friend or partner can assist you in feeling more at ease. In addition to this, they can point out any unusual behaviour they have noticed in you and further support your points.
Build a strong support network
Telling those who you are close to that you are having a difficult time and want to seek help invites them to be there for you throughout the process. They can support you, encourage you and lend an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. When to comes to working, you may want to tell employers or teachers about what you are going through so that they know to accommodate your needs. Pastoral staff at school/college/university can also play a part in referring you to mental health services.
Remember that a doctor’s job is to help you
Once you’ve arranged to see your doctor, the scariest part is stepping into their room and saying what your problem is. Although this can feel very intimidating, you have a right to get help. To start the conversation, mention that you have been experiencing moods or behaviours that are worrying you. From there you can elaborate (this is where it can be helpful to have things written down). Take your time and know that you are doing the best thing for yourself.
Do not be discouraged
Speaking from personal experience, there are some ignorant doctors out there when it comes to mental health, especially in young people who seemingly have ‘nothing to worry about it’ or are suffering ‘teenage angst’. There is a possibility that you may not get the answers you are looking for, but do not let this put you off. Only you know how you feel, and your concerns are valid. If you need to, book an appointment with a different doctor. It’s definitely worth it.