I Don't Feel Like I Am Getting The Help I Need For My Depression
In December 2014 I was prescribed an antidepressant after complaining of persistent anxiety, eating issues, and mood instability. The diagnosis I was given: depression. Important to note, as a small child I vividly remember having bad anxiety. I didn't have a word for it, but I hated the feeling. I would often miss school due to "stomach aches" which was my way of saying anxiety. This continued as I got older. When I was about 11 I gained some weight and deemed myself fat and ugly. It was the beginning of a horrible negative body image. In 8th grade I remember my mom approaching me and saying she noticed I had been really sad lately. Things in my family weren't well and I stopped eating lunch because I just never felt hungry anymore. I missed the entire first week of my freshman year of high school due to the "stomach flu." It was anxiety. In 10th grade I went on a diet to lose 5 pounds and ended up weighing less than 100 pounds. I still thought I was fat and forced myself to vomit after everything I ate. I was 16 when I first cut myself, 17 when I first wanted to die, and 19 when I realized I couldn't stop cutting if I tried. However, through it all I maintained perfect grades, friendships, and status at my job. I'm now the bounciest, most cheerful 20 year old I have ever met, most of the time. My mood is usually way up or way down and is kind of complicated. The antidepressant has helped so much with my anxiety, but it doesn't seem to work consistently. I currently go to a counselor and psychiatrist for my problems. However, I feel as though the psychiatrist doesn't listen to me, he's only fixated on my dose of medication. I haven't really clicked with my counselor and find myself withholding information from her. I want an accurate diagnosis and depression isn't it. I feel awkward explaining all of this to them, I'm too polite to speak up and let them know I don't feel like I'm getting adequate help. What should I do?
From what you have described there are several serious issues that you have been dealing with that need to be addressed in treatment. But if you are not feeling you are getting the help you need with these particular issues, then the key right now is to figure out how you can make treatment as effective as possible for you. Given the complexity of the issues, it is important that you are working with mental health professionals who are competent and able to understand you. But it also extremely important that you are working with people whom you are able to feel comfortable sharing the necessary information that will allow the people working with you to adequately help you. Without your being able to be honest and open, therefore allowing your treatment providers the opportunity to assess all aspects of the things you are dealing with, your treatment will not be as successful.
FX would also like to say that it can be difficult for many people in therapy to share with their treatment providers that they are not pleased with their responses or their work. It is very normal for this to feel difficult for clients, so FX can understand your anxiety and reluctance in doing this. However, in working towards making your treatment as effective as possible, it would be helpful for you to determine whether or not this would be workable as long as you can get up the courage to talk to your therapist and psychiatrist about this or whether you need to find new people to work with. It can easily go either way – that the main issue is your anxiety about sharing what you need to, or the main issue is that these professionals are either not competent enough to deal with the issues you are presenting with or are simply not a good fit. There is no right or wrong in what you decide – just a matter of how you view yourself and these people. FX would also like to remind you that if you do decide to see someone else, mental health professionals are accustomed to dealing with this – it won’t be the first time it happened to them and it is perfectly fine for you to do this.
Whether you decide to share your thoughts and feelings with your therapist and psychiatrist to see how workable the situation is, or you find new providers, FX wishes you all the best as you work towards making your treatment as effective as possible.
If you live in northern New Jersey and need help finding a therapist you can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area you can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in your area. You can also contact your insurance company to get a list of in-network mental health providers or check with your school social worker or psychologist to get a list of referrals in your area.