As always I am happy for people to get in touch if they wish to write a post about depression. The more people we can get talking about it the better it becomes for everyone. Don’t be shy get in touch via the contact page! Garry
The talking trouble.
One thing that is mostly done against depression is talking, to either a psychiatrist, therapist or psychiatric nurse. Some people find it very pleasant to talk about their problems, I am not such a person. So what do you do when talking difficult?
when I first came to the psychiatrist and therapist, I had no idea what to expect or what would be expected of me. This made the whole thing a lot more scarier, many thoughts went through me. “do I have to tell everything about me?” “are my problems big enough?” “what will he/she think of me?”. “what if I can’t answer their questions ?”.
I will answer those questions now.
1 no, you only have to tell what you are comfortable to share, a relationship of trust between doctor/therapist/nurse and patient has to grow, he/she knows this too.
2 if something is bothering you it is important/big enough to talk about it. 3 these people are trained not to judge you and are ultimately there to help you and its good to keep in mind that they see a lot of people and heard a lot of story’s, you are not alone with these problems and there is always someone weirder then you. 4 then you say “I don’t know” or “I have to think about it”
it’s also good to be aware of the rules of confidentially where he/she is bound by, everything you say in therapy or with a doctor stays between you and him/her. There are exceptions to the rule, when you say anything that makes them believe you are a dangerous to yourself or anyone else they have to take action to ensure safety even if that means breaking confidentially.
Some countries have laws that say that they have to report abuse when the victim is someone who can’t protect themselves (like a child). It’s easy to find on the internet what the law says about that in your country.
When you are a child (under 18) its good to inform yourself about if and when your parents or legal guardians are informed. You can also talk to the therapist/doctor about what he/she will say if they do inform them.
You have rights as a patient and its good to look into them before you go for your first meeting, you will know where you stand.
when you are with a therapist or doctor they like to ask a lot of questions but keep in mind that you can also question them, its important to understand what they are doing to help you and if something doesn’t make sense to you question them about it. If after the session you think of some things that don’t make sense, write them down to ask about it next time.
3 : pen and paper.
Talking about problems, especially emotional problems is not easy and sometimes you just cant say what you want to let them know. It’s okay to write these things down either before or even during the session and let them read it. In the beginning I always had a letter with me with the things I wanted to talk about. It is a good way to get the conversation started and let them know what is important for you at that time.
My therapist and psychiatrist even let me email them when being in the same room when they are reading the letter is too scary.
4. you’re the boss
its good to know that if you are an adult your therapist/doctor can’t do anything without your consent (if you are a child its your parents/guardians consent they need). The only exceptions to the rule is if you’re or anyone else’s safety is in danger and even then they need a judge to sign off on it.
Also in the conversation the doctor/therapist will follow your lead, so you decide about what you talk but you also decide if you don’t want to talk about something or if you had enough for that session, you are not obligated to fill the hour.
5. when it doesn’t click switch
therapist and doctors are also just people and there are no two alike. You can for example have 5 very good doctors and feel more comfortable with one then the others, they also have their own style and it doesn’t always match your needs. So if you don’t feel good with one, see if you can go to another. They also know that and understand that it just doesn’t always click and won’t feel personally offended by that you want to switch.
All this doesn’t make it easy to talk but maybe just a bit more manageable. I think everyone is a bit scared when they have to talk about the most personal feelings, you feel vulnerable and that is very understandable. But even when talking is difficult as it is for me, it can feel good to let it out and have someone who understands you and that makes it worth the effort.