Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Asking For Help is the Hardest Part

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 01:  A woman sits...
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A few weeks ago I went to see my doctor. I've been so frustrated over my inability to stick to any sort of healthy eating/weight loss, I wanted to see if there as anything she could suggest or recommend to me. I don't really know why I went to see her about it, but I've tried so many different things that I thought I may as well add one more to the list, and as my doctor is a bigger lady herself, I felt a small amount of trust for her in this regard.

In tears I made my case to her - it's so embarrassing and upsetting for me to actually talk about it with anyone in person. She looked at me helplessly, halfheartedly suggesting weight watchers and 'getting involved with a group'. I explained to her that I've tried all of this and more, but she didn't really have anything else to contribute.

I needed her to understand how seriously I wanted help. I decided to take the plunge, and I mentioned the D word.

For over 15 years I've contemplated talking to a professional about my depression - something I've never had officially diagnosed, but boy do I know it's there. I have never felt able to ask for help in this. I don't know if it's shame or a feeling that it's 'not that bad' or the belief that nothing I've tried has conquered it so it's unconquerable or just plain discomfort in talking about myself in such a way or something else altogether, but something has always stopped me.

I don't know what changed that day either, but I decided to do what all the ads and recommendations tell you to do - talk to your doctor, right?

I stammered it out, "I think I have depression."

Her expression immediately became skeptical. She asked me a few questions - was I sleeping badly? Yes. Had I experienced any major recent changes? Yes. I don't remember what else but all were answered in the affirmative.

I shamefully added, "I don't even feel as attached to my daughter anymore."

This was gut-wrenching for me to admit.

She sighed. "Would you like me to prescribe you something?"

I almost laughed. "Is that the only solution?"

She went on to again recommend finding myself some sort of support, and suggested I call her in a few weeks to let her know my progress.

My husband had been with me during the visit, and in the car on the way home I cried my frustration. "I just did exactly what I was supposed to do and it was no help at all! Do you have any idea how hard that was?"

He didn't know how to handle it, and he turned on me, suggesting that maybe I just needed more 'willpower' and 'tough love'. It turned into a huge argument for which he later apologized...I think the face of my hopelessness and the response of the doctor was just too hard for him to deal with.

And so it ends. I took the step I'd been contemplating for years, and got absolutely no help at all.

I have no desire to just start taking anti-depressants without even talking to a therapist, and I don't know that I can afford an actual therapist. And while I don't doubt that group counseling is effective, it's not something that's going to happen for me - certainly not in the beginning. I've communicated to all of 2 people in my life that I feel I suffer from depression - there is no way I'm walking into a group of strangers and confessing that.

There is one possible step I see now: a friend gave me the number of a place that provides individual therapy and charges on a sliding scale. It's been on my mind for weeks now to call, but as difficult as it was asking for help the first time, it feels even harder now. I reached my hand out and got burned - badly - and my instinct now is to keep it more to myself than ever before.

At this point in time, I'm not sure. Part of writing this post is a rejection of that instinct to pull it all back. I've never written candidly of this and the anonymity of this blog is the only thing that gives me the freedom to do so - along with the high trust I have in the love and support of the readers here.

I want to call the therapy place, but I know it may not happen.

I mostly just wish it could all be fixed - or over - without me having to ask. Why does it have to be so hard?


  1. Have you read The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. My depression is cured and I didn't have to ask. All I had to do was answer a questionnaire, read the book, then take some amino acid supplements. I had been depressed for 15+ yrs. And I kept getting worse instead of better. Talk therapy left me in a loop of bad feelings, exercise made me feel worse, meds gave me crazy, weird side effects, nothing worked until I found the Mood Cure. Depression is not my fault, my brain was low in serotonin, catecholamine, and endorphins, and my adrenals were worn out. When I started taking the first supplement, I felt immediate results, within the hour. I took several more supplements over about 6mos and I am cured! And HAPPY :)

    The book's only $10 on Amazon (or maybe your library even has it?). It changed my life, I now have on :)

  2. I don't have any sage advice to offer except to encourage you to keep reaching out. It may be in the reaching, the rejection, the being let down by those who seem to have it all together, that you find your own strength and balance and worth. Like, whereas that doctor fell short on compassion, you might look at yourself and know that you have reacted with compassion when others have reached out to you. Whereas your husband couldn't connect with the reality of your emotions, you might look at yourself and know the empathy you've shared with others. Hoping you find the help you need, even if it ends up being in the support you give!

  3. I am so sorry you are going through this and that you did not receive the medical support you should have.
    I know that Depression can be consider a closet topic. PLEASE remember that this is something you can control. It is NOT your fault. You do not have to be ashamed. It is no different then someone needing thyroid medication or High blood pressure meds.
    Talking to a therapist may help, but it may not. When you have depression the chemical makeup in your brain changes and you have lower levels of Dopamine (i think that's the right one) The meds help by increasing these levels and you deserve to feel better. Exercising can help increase these levels as well. BUT when you are depressed you don't want to expertise so its not so easy. BUT once you start to feel better you then may be able to find that thing are more enjoyable again and want to be more active and you maybe able to come off of them.
    I have gone on and off these meds for my whole late teen to adult life. I now know that when I get depressed I need them to get me back to ME!

    Please don't be so hard on yourself. YOU are doing the best you can. It's ok to get help. You don't have to tell anyone. It can be our secret!

  4. Your experience of depression is as individual and unique as you are. after years on and off various meds I found changing contraceptive pill totally alleviated all the feelings of depression that I got and that I had often felt were cyclical/hormonal. I discovered this by accident! I have felt calmer, even, happier, my family are benefitting the most as I dont fly off the handle, or get as upset. I also got a flatter stomach and larger boobs! Ive had four kids so my expectations of my body arent quite what they used too be. Things are in a better perspective as the mood swings dont interfere in my thought process quite as much. Mind you I appreciate that my family loved me despite the short shift and moodiness over the years, it can be a very solitary journey so try to love yourself as much as you can and be very kind to yourself. By all means try meds, herbs, yoga, therapy, meditation, life-coaching, self help books and even hormone therapy as mine turned out to be...a simple 4euro a month little pill....who knew? A little time devoted to your needs and your journey will certainly put you in the way of finding what works for you. Be gentle with yourself. As for the unsympathetic doc and husband...if they knew how to better they would be! I always have to tell my doctor what to prescribe, change doctor till you find one that gets you. My poor husband knows better than to try to fix me, you are already being too tough on yourself, trying too hard, there is no such thing as perfect, being lovely sensitive you is good enoughxxx

  5. WIth only one exception, I have always found the NHS a waste of space when it comes to this. I've had chronic bouts of depression, as well as PND more recently. Almost every time I sucked up the courage to ask for help, I was treated with the same kind of disdain that you have experienced.

    It disgusts me. Our health service is not geared up for this at all. Years ago, a consultant psychiatrist told me (after I spilled my guts to all of her insensitively put questions) that I was "just sensitive" and basically told me to go away. More recently, I walked into our local midwife unit in absolute seperation because I felt I was not safe to look after my own children. The next day I had an assessment appointment in a bid to try and help me. But all they could come up with was that I needed to *somehow* get more time for myself and more sleep!! I was offered hospitalisation and drugs of course, to which I said "how is that going to HELP?" if I'm worrying about my kids and my husband...?

    There is just no understanding at all of the dilemmas faced, especially by mothers.

    About a decade ago I vowed to find my own way through it because I felt that was the only real solution. I've stuck to that through all the worst times, and my husband has helped, as have friends (when I've let them). My recent experience above has strengthened my resolve to do whatever I need to to get through the hard times. It IS easier said than done but asking for help - from understanding friends and family - is so important. Learn to find your own path - what makes you feel earthed and *good*, and create a routine to incorporate those things every day. Even if it means shaking things up in some crazy way, you have to do whatever your body, mind and soul needs....

  6. *desperation*, lol, not separation!

  7. I think everyone else's advice on here is much better than anything I can offer, but I just want to say that you are in my thoughts and my heart goes out to you and everyone else on this thread. Much, much love to you all, you are all doing a wonderful job just surviving. keep offloading here, this IS therapy. This place is about NOT suffering in silence. However bad you feel, you have this safe space here. XXXXXXXX


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