It was the big day today. Packed full with nerves and anxiety I tentatively strode towards the medical centre. I thanked any God who would take credit for the invention of the self check in. One less person to twist the knot bundled in my stomach. I waited about 3 minutes before a robotic voice surprised me by not struggling to pronounce my name. The nerves continued as I walked to the right room, partly because I had to find the right room first.
A lot of the anxious anticipation I have felt about this first appointment was tied to not knowing what I was supposed to say. Was I supposed to go in and just say ‘I am depressed, please fix me.’ or awkwardly wait for the doctor to ask the right question or explain in more grown up sounding and scientific terms how I was feeling mentally in the shitter?
There she sat, a woman who could one day be the first step in my journey to a happier me. She was an average looking woman but when I look back on this day she could end up being this magical figure I suppose. Unlike many tired and stressed NHS employees she was bright and smiley. Which was good, if she hadn’t been I would have worried that I alone was the cause of all her frustrations of the day. And she simply asked ‘how can help you S?’
I got a little bit tongue tied, no amount of friendly welcoming could ease all that built up worry about how to respond to that very question. But I took a breath and explained my mental health situation. She patiently let me answer and then asked a few follow up questions. One of them I knew was coming, it’s an important question for a health professional to ask a depressed person.
‘Have you ever considered harming yourself?’
Honestly, yes I have thought about it. But I never have. My family mean too much to me for me to hurt them in such a cruel manner. Killing myself would end my suffering and deepen my loved ones suffering. I don’t think I’m that selfish. So no need for the doctor to worry about me killing myself tomorrow. We could move onto what options I had for treatment.
I have an affiliation with a university nearby which she informed me has really good mental health advice and help. So my choices for therapy would be to go through the local areas medical routes (which could take up to 6 weeks for an appointment) or to see if the university could help me out (which would be much more prompt), we decided I’d look into the uni for help just for expediency. And when it came to medication we talked about the pros and cons, or rather the necessity for them. She said she wouldn’t recommend them because it was an individual choice for me, but that she was happy to write out a prescription if I thought they might be of help to me.
I decided to wait until I saw her again and had found out a bit more about therapy. Anti-depressants are not a cure for depression so if I can manage without them I kind of want to, although I’m not sure why. They could give me the lift I need to keep powering to positivity. My mother always said they didn’t make her happier they simply stopped her getting more depressed. So I’m not sure about them. I’d love to hear anybody else’s experiences with anti-depressants.
And that was what I’ve been avoiding for years. Why? It wasn’t so bad, I didn’t cry, she wasn’t scary or judgemental. Here’s hoping things continue this well.