When and how to get professional help?

I've known for a very long time I've had anxiety and depression. Looking back, even as a child, I had always felt something different when playing with other kids. I usually hung around with kids/people older than me, and with the other emotionally "disturbed," "tortured" souls - I just felt more at home with them then with the peppy girls of my own age. Most likely because I grew up with a mother with severe depression - she still deals with it today.

But I tried my best to keep a good head. I never took my SATs, but I did go to community college, transferred to university, and finally got my bachelors after some figuring out and part time semesters with a total of eight years. I'm the first women in my family to get a bachelor's degree (fourth or fifth to go to college) and I can count on my fingers how many people in my immediate family have one. After graduating, it took a while to find a job after dealing a saturated college market with entry level positions asking for 2-3 years of experience and then moving half-way across the country for a job for my now-husband. I've been told I'm doing well for myself (aka family is proud). I plan to return back to graduate school for my PhD.

But my anxiety and depression are still a problem - I feel like I'm constantly falling from where I should be, I have always had a hard time talking with people over phones (weird phone thing...) especially strangers, hard time with talking honestly with strangers (always feel like I need to put another face on), I always feel the need to drive (need to be in control), and I just don't have emotional connections with anyone other than my husband (when we're not arguing) and my best friend of 15 years (and lives in another city). These aren't new, I've lived with this my whole life it feels like, before and after parent's divorce, through moving from one city to another, then to another state, through boyfriends, college, marriage, friendships. I feel a strong need to talk to someone who can tell me if my fears and anxieties are irrational, because at this point, I don't know if I can trust myself any more.

All that be said... and I'll just put this out there... my main fear is the cost of professional help. My husband and I don't make much. My understanding is that a psychologist and psychiatrist are expensive. And not all psychologists/psychiatrists are the same. And with my anxiety of talking on the phone and with strangers - how do I even start the process?!

Anyway, this is my first post ever talking about this. And I hate knowing that I've put this out there in the digital world. But not finding the ability, courage, or desire to talk to those nearby about this quiet yet, I'm at my wits end, and I don't want to continue jeopardizing the relationships I cherish so much in my life and don't want to lose by not taking action. I will most likely seek some help, but, depending on costs and realistic nature of the matter at hand, it may be later than sooner. Any thoughts are much appreciated. Thank you.

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  • Hey there! Your concerns are completely understandable. But know that psychologists and psychiatrists are only two of many options. To be clear, a psychiatrist is typically needed for psych med prescription, but for everything else, consider the following. An LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) can make a great Professional Listener, especially when you really need to get things off your chest. Group therapy & support groups are often very inexpensive, and great opportunities to see other people dealing with what you're dealing with. And there are strategies like mindfulness and meditation, on which there are countless books and apps at your disposal!

    If you should come to realize that you need to see a psychiatrist because you need pharmacotherapy after all, consider calling the center for social work in your county. They can help connect you with the resources you seek :)

  • Your post makes me think of a place where you can "shop" before you call for professional help. The website Psychology Today has photos of psychiatrists and psychologists and therapists of various kinds who post their specialties, education, philosophies, whether they accept a sliding scale fee based on income, insurance accepted, and other details. You could get some of the information you want from these listings.

    There are other types of listings on the internet also that reveal this type of information, you just have to look. Type in the name of a doctor in your area and look at the name of the health group rating him/her. It might say something like "Healthgrades". This is a name of a group that rates physicians and other health professionals in your area and you can look up many doctors, etc. under this name "Healthgrades". You can continue to look for other rating systems in your area in the same way.

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