Visiting a Psychiatrist: My Journey to Recovery

June 2, 2016

Experience shared by a patient who took treatment and recovered from Depression

 

“I know a few people who have psychiatric problems but are reluctant to visit a psychiatrist and take treatment. This article is for them.

 

First, let me admit.... I had Depression. I took treatment for Depression and recovered. And after this experience, I have a message – don’t hesitate to take help, take help as soon as possible. Early treatment decreases suffering and gives the best results.

 

I remember waiting outside the Psychiatrist’s office for my first visit like it was yesterday. I remember being terrified. Visiting a psychiatrist is for crazy people, right? What was I here for then? Does this mean that I am crazy?

 

It all began a little over a year ago. Work had been consuming most of my time and I rarely had time for a life outside of work. I saw my family only on weekends as they were still asleep when I left for work and went to bed before I returned. The weekends too were mostly taken up by sleep; something I was severely deprived of during the week. Most of my life back then seemed to be blur of work, deadlines, meetings, etc.

 

Then came the fateful day I never expected. Life, as I knew it, came to an utter standstill. Instead of waking up to head for work, all I wanted to do was to lie in bed. The stress and anxiety of needing to be at work was great but the absolute lack of desire was greater. I thought that maybe I was coming down with something and needed the rest so I took a sick day, hoping to recover. When I felt the same way the next day I went to visit my physician. A cursory physical examination revealed that there was nothing physically wrong with me physically and I was asked to visit a psychiatrist for what seemed like a case of Depression.

 

When I heard this from my physician I was horrified. Don’t depressed people lie in bed all day, crying, not wanting to do anything? I wasn’t like that. I really wanted to get up and get to work. I am not depressed – just a little bit tired, I told myself. I did not visit the psychiatrist as advised. I resisted. My symptoms started getting worse. I lost my appetite. I lost 4 kilos over the next 2 weeks.

 

At this point, my wife put her foot down. She said, “You are not well, tomorrow you will do as the physician says. After all, what is the harm if you see a psychiatrist? I am getting you an appointment right away.”

 

I had lost my confidence. So I decided to take my wife along for the consultation.

 

After a brief wait in the clinic where I was scared and ashamed and unsure if this was the right option, we were ushered into the Psychiatrist’s office. He spoke to me alone and enquired about the various symptoms, how they started and progressed, my lifestyle, my habits, about my family and physical condition. Later he called my wife and took information from her too. He seemed to understand what was happening to me. I must admit that after speaking to him, it felt as if a great weight was off my chest.

 

After he confirmed the diagnosis of Depression, he explained this condition and told us about the treatment. All in all, after I left the office, I was relieved, I had a sense of hope and the best part was that I felt connected to the doctor. He had assured me that treatment was possible and would lead to recovery.

 

To anyone who is hesitating to see a mental health professional let me tell you this - visiting a psychiatrist is just like visiting any other doctor. The doctor will sit you down and talk to you about how you are feeling. It is absolutely essential that you tell the doctor everything you know and be truthful. All medical professionals are bound by confidentiality to not reveal any information revealed to them in the course of treatment. After making a diagnosis the doctor may recommend one of several courses of action – medical or psychological treatment; and some general measures to combat your psychiatric condition. Some medical tests may be required.

 

Depending on your condition, you may require a few visits to the psychiatrist, with chronic conditions requiring lengthier courses of treatments. Remember that some mental illnesses can be the result of physical problems such as accidents, thyroid conditions, infections, etc. Make sure to inform your doctor of all such problems you have or have had in the recent past along with the list of all the medications you are taking.

 

Visiting the psychiatrist was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Not only was I cured of my Depression but I also gained a new perspective on mental illness. I learnt that the mind, like the body, is prone to illnesses and having a mental illness is no reason to be ashamed. Getting timely help for a mental illness can help you immensely. Delays in treatment can make treatment more difficult.

 

Friends, sometimes the first step to better mental health is being willing to admit to oneself that there is a problem that needs to be assessed by an expert, and be willing to find and accept the necessary help.”

Please note that the information in this case study should not be considered as medical advice for an individual’s condition. If anyone shows or feel symptoms of a possible medical condition, we strongly encourage you to seek advice from your primary physician or a mental health professional for an evaluation as soon as possible.

 

The names been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.

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