Seeking treatment - advice?

I'm sure many of you will have been through something like this already. I've been suffering from what I think is seasonal depression for three years since I started university, and this summer just past I had a couple of months where I was much more depressed than I had ever been in the winters. The first time I tried to tell the doctor (in my first year) how tired I was he shrugged it off as everyone getting tired in the winter months. Since then I've avoided seeking treatment because I've never felt like I have enough symptoms to 'prove' that I am ill. This partly stems from experiencing anxiety on and off too. From the summer, I know that I should be diagnosed but I am nervous about going to the doctor in case they tell me that they can't help because I'm not experiencing the really awful stuff right now. Will this happen or am I being unreasonable? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, or experiences shared, good or bad. I would rather know in advance what they are likely to say to me. Just now I am struggling to get out of bed and it's difficult not to cancel everything I have on in a day so that I can stay at home, and I am tired all day. In the summer I had this but was crying most days, shutting myself off, and not feeling suicidal but once or twice feeling that it would be easier to not be in this world.

Sorry for the waffling, I'm just looking for any advice I can get on seeking treatment. I've got a gut feeling that it's a bad idea to wait until it gets really bad again.

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  • I hope someone else replies to this post and helps with a story or some advice. I am not a doctor, but from being a "patient" (both physically & mentally) for many years, I would get a full bloodwork panel done from medical doctor (regular general doctor). To rule out conditions like thyroid, or low iron (anemia) or anything else that could be causing these symptoms. I would write a list of symptoms that you experience during the really bad times, and keep that, to bring to the doctor, to tell them what you experience and when (during what times of year, for how long, etc.). If a doctor still does not seem responsive to you, then get a second opinion, third opinion, etc. You might need treatment like talk therapy/psychotherapy/counseling - if these are your first years being away from home, you might need help, to talk about issues getting through the transition of being on your own & being an adult & just anxieties of life in general.

    You might try a naturopathic/holistic doctor, too, who can recommend getting acupuncture, massage and alternative methods to help with your symptoms. And they could help adjust your nutrition (if needed). Nutritional consult is important.

    Hopefully there is a gym in your university or near your university where you can exercise. I know that it is a catch-22 - how can we get to the gym if we are too depressed to get there? I have this dilemma, too, but if you can get to the gym, it can be so therapeutic and I've heard exercise can be like an anti-depressant.

    Hopefully you would not need to take an antidepressant, but of course if quality of life is affected negatively, it may be the only thing that helps, but hopefully you will get talk therapy, too, both of those combined help. And hopefully you would not need a large dose of antidepressant or antianxiety agent, and you can wean off of it in later years (if you ever need it at all).

    I have benefited from using a light-therapy lamp that has 10,000 lux and that is used for "light therapy" (not just reading) and then shine the light on you for a certain time period each morning - it's supposed to help with seasonal depressive disorder. I use mine a few times per week. I got a brass floor lamp but whatever is more comfortable for you. bluemaxlighting.com/lightth...

    Like I said, I hope someone else replies.

    Hope some of this helps.

  • Completely agree with all of this. I know it's really hard, but sometimes you have to get those second, third, and fourth opinions. If at all possible, get referrals from trusted friends for doctors. Once you find the right general practitioner as well as therapist that believe you and want to help you, it really makes all the difference.

    It sounds like you know you need to get out there and search for the right doctor and therapist. You can do it! Sending light your way.

  • You should seek mental help. There should be a county mental health clinic u can go to without having to go through your primary doctor. Hope it helps.

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