When to see a Doctor? And what to say?

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When is a good time to see a doctor? And what do I say?

I know the obvious answer is “Now!” But at what point in a depressive cycle would it be most beneficial to see a doctor for the first time? In the midst of depression I can barely string a sentence together, but when my mood lifts a little it feels like the depressed me is a different person. A stranger. I can talk about that other person but I feel a fraud. I’ve never sought help. I’m not on medication, have never been hospitalised, don’t hear voices or self-harm. I function. Just.

Also, I’m not sure I would know where to start or what to say. It feels like I’ve suffered pretty constantly from anxiety and depression all my life, even as a child, punctuated with highs and lows, sometimes due to outside influences, sometimes for no apparent reason. But over the last six months or so my highs and lows seem to be getting fewer, and my norm appears to be at a much lower level, and pretty much constant. My depression is so innate, so ingrained that I can’t pinpoint when it began, or even when it comes and goes. I just feel like this all the time. Without these points of reference, highs, lows and obvious triggers, how can it be treated as an illness? It is so deep rooted that it is my personality. It is me.

How can there possibly be a long-term cure for this kind of depression? Medication scares me, and I worry that therapy will open a can of worms. If this mist is lifted and my eyes opened, will I like what I see even less than now? Will I see and feel things that will have a negative effect on me, cancelling out any benefits from the treatment? If treatment can change how you feel, can it also change your personality?

I have always been quiet and shy, sensitive, introspective, artistic, but also sad, anxious and socially uncomfortable. My mind is constantly active, but my general state is of feeling numb and disconnected, never quite able to grab life by the balls or look people in the eye, constantly fearing the worst and avoiding potentially anxious situations. Unfortunately this has meant that I have spent most of my life inside my head. I’m suddenly now aware of this waste and of my own mortality. It is also affecting my home and work life as my young son and work colleagues are starting to notice that I am always down. My four year old will sometimes ask me if I’m sad. He once brought me his favourite toy because he thought it would make me happy. It broke my heart. I also fear that my kids have inherited my depressive, anxious nature, or will learn it from me.

I struggle to find joy in anything. I’ve lost friends, abandoned hobbies, care little for my appearance and the state of the house, struggle to function at work, and am increasingly irritable and short tempered. I try to avoid any social commitments and don’t make plans anymore. I even hide when we have company. I haven’t had a proper night’s sleep in years. I pretty much just go through the motions every day.

After all this time, with all this weight, I’m struggling to hide it any longer. There is no energy, no fight left. It feels like now is make or break. It’s time to start looking forward not back, outwards not in.

How can I have gotten into my forties having never been ALIVE? I’ve somehow managed to gain a degree, job, mortgage, wife and kids, but it feels like my life has happened TO me, AROUND me, rather than because of any personal input or desire. And this “life” is now given up to my family. I’m not complaining, that’s just how it is. I would gladly die for my kids. But I need to function for them, and be capable, reliable and fun. My wife tries to understand, but I will eventually drag her down or drive her away. It can’t be much fun having a child for a husband. I can suck the joy out of anything.

Because I still function, I fear barely scratching the surface at the doctors, and then being fobbed off after five minutes with “Well, basically you’re just tired and miserable with a hint of anxiety thrown in. There’s nothing really wrong with you. Goodbye”. And so I will spend another forty years in this fog. I function because I have to, because I have a wife, kids and bills to pay. I live in a walking, talking, smiling depression. But I feel physically sick, dead inside, and am so tired that I just want to curl up and die. Suicidal thoughts have been a constant companion for a long time, my default setting and my get-out-of-jail-free card. A friendly comfort. But I don’t want to die, I don’t think. I just don’t want to live. Not like this.

Ultimately, it feels like I’m fighting a losing battle against the genetic template created by my parents, and the damage inflicted through childhood and adolescence - on confidence, self esteem and self image. My very personality and outlook on life. Then of course follows the missed opportunities and regret that fuel the depression further. It’s a vicious, debilitating circle.

I just wonder what happened to the six year old me. Full of wonder and enthusiasm, hope and potential. Surely it was never meant to be like this. Anxiety and depression have stolen half my life. What hope is there for the rest?

Sorry for rambling. This was meant to be a simple question, not the selfish, self-indulgent “woe-is-me” that it has become. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for reading.

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8 Replies

  • Posted

    Hi there

    That time that your talking about is now

    Don't delay another day I understand that your worried about talking about it

    Write things down like how your feeling what the problems are how your affected etc . Make an appointment and take this piece of paper with you it will be the catalyst of your meeting with the Dr

    It will be Alot easier and you'll be surprised

    At how well it will go

    There will be an understanding and you'll have achieved a lot just by doing this

    If you still feel awkward you could maybe take someone with you , or speak things

    Over with your other half regarding this

    This is a great place for help

    Also please don't think your alone

    We're all in this rocky boat

    But help is there

    Regards daz

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  • Posted

    Well there's a lot of "what ifs" here but what if you don't do anything? What if your continued lack of action does have an impression on your kids?  Why not start off by calling the Samaritans or Mind,  or both have web-sites. See what they suggest and take it from there.
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  • Posted

    Hi I emphasise with you as when I am in the throes of a deep depression I can barely function or talk either.   One way round this is to write down how you feel ie keep a diary and when you are feeling up to it take this to a doctor.   Meds and/or counselling might help you but you need to access this through your doctor.   

    Your personality is already changed isn't it?   Treatment should help you get closer to your true personality but can't change you as a person.  You will still be you but hopefully less depressed and more able to cope.

    Having suicidal feelings is a red flag and you need to get treatment asap.  Please make an appointment with a doctor.   You may find some are less sympathetic than others but don't give up if you come across one of these.   Many doctors visits are a result of mental health problems so they will be used to hearing about depression.  

    Don't feel ashamed or weak coz depression is an illness the same as any other and after all if you broke your leg you would seek treatment without a thought wouldn't you.  This is exactly the same.   So please seek help.  x

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  • Posted

    Thank you for your advice and words of encouragement. This forum feels like a good place.

    I think I already knew the answer to my own question, but writing stuff down has really helped. My main concern was being taken seriously by my doctor, and whether there is any help for this type of long-term "walking" depression.

    I will take a few days off work and see a doctor. Also need to think about looking after myself physically and re-engaging with hobbies and friends. Small steps though.. x

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    • Posted

      Hello, I am sure there are options out there for your long-term depression. Medication, CBT, talking therapy......I've only tried the medication myself. As well as seeing your GP I would definately agree with the small steps approach. Don't set yourself too high goals, or too many at one time. You may have a small period of feeling positive, make plans for all those things you have neglected and then feel dissappointed when you can't keep to your promises to yourself. I have been in this position lots of times and it really knocks your confidence. Perhaps look at one change or 'improvement' at a time. Something easy to start with - perhaps something that your little boy will enjoy - a game, a short bike ride at the weekend, football in the park. Above all do make an appt with your GP. x
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  • Posted

    Hi, 

    i was a babbling wreck when I went to the doctors.  My friend came with me and did most of the talking. She told it as it was so no hiding anything.

    Maybe take someone with you.  If the doctor fobs you off see another one. I was lucky my doctors were brilliant but not all of the are unfortunately

    nicola

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  • Posted

    Don't delay it! If you need to write things down or to take someone with you it's totally fine. It's a doctor! You should not be embarrassed or ashamed of anything. If you feel that your're being fobbed off by your doctor, don't hasitate and go see another one. You deserve the best treatment and it is well known that not all doctors can give it to you. You don't have to be almost dying tk get treated, the earlier is better.
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  • Posted

    I didn't think any of what you wrote was self-indulgent, I actually thought it was very candid, and quite beautiful if I'm honest. That's not to minimise what you're going through, I feel pretty much the same. I'm glad you wrote this and I'm glad I read it. I don't think there are any solutions.

    Perhaps there are some things that could be improved in your life with the addition of medication, therapy, and whatnot, but you are right when you say there's the potential  it could just make you feel worse. I found therapy just shoved me deeper into my pit of obsessive rumination - it's not good for anxious people to be made more anxious, and generally anxious-depressive people are very self aware and don't need their perceptions tweaking. It's precisely because your perceptions are accurate that you're depressed, people trying to convince me I'm "thinking wrong" just makes me more frustrated. 

     

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