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podwarp's avatar

How do I go about getting help for my depression?

Asked by podwarp (803points) February 8th, 2011

I haven’t been feeling like myself for some time now. I took a break from school in an effort to collect myself, but that isn’t going very well. I just feel sad all the time and I don’t want to be this way anymore.

I do have a regular doctor. Do I see this doctor first and explain the situation? Or, do I go to see a therapist directly? Are there more options?

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11 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, you ask your regular doctor for a referral to a therapist. The reasoning here is that what you are experiencing may have a medical reason.

sliceswiththings's avatar

Are you a young woman, by any chance? I had all the symptoms of depression/generally “not feeling like myself” sophomore year of college. I mentioned it to my gyno, and together with my regular doctor I was diagnosed with PMDD (Yeah, wikipedia’s not the best but it came up first.) I’m on Birth Control now and it has been the miracle cure. I am myself again and I didn’t have to deal with antidepressants and the sometimes nasty side effects.

Just something to consider if you’re female! Also agreement with @YARNLADY that it’s worth talking to your regular doc first.

Thammuz's avatar

IF you trust your doctor then go to him explain the situation and ask him if he/she knows a good specialist for you to go see.

gurnblansten's avatar

See your doctor first, there are many possible medical reasons for depression. I wouldn’t recommend antidepressive drugs, but that’s only my personal opinion, they might be right for you (ask your doctor). Above all I think the best thing is to stimulate yourself by trying new things: get out more, take a walk in the park, try a new hobby. Change your patterns of behaviour and break in some new mental pathways. And be sure to tell your family and friends about how you feel.

SmashTheState's avatar

Before they start you gobbling pills and permanently altering your brain chemistry, I strongly urge you to seek out a roshi, a Buddhist teacher, and spend some time learning how to practice stillness and meditation. As someone who has lived with severe clinical depression all my life and has tried just about everything imaginable, I can tell you that the biggest help has come from meditation and books of philosophy, not a pill bottle. If finances are an issue, most roshis will assist you for just a symbolic gift of respect, such as a bag of oranges. Any large city will have at least one meditation centre.

augustlan's avatar

Your regular doctor is a good place to start. You might also consider asking friends if they have or know of a good therapist. Do keep in mind that you don’t always find the right one for you on your first try (it took me three tries to find a good fit), so don’t be discouraged if that happens to you. Just keep trying!

I wish you the best of luck in overcoming your depression. Life is ever so much better without that black cloud hanging over your head.

podwarp's avatar

Thanks, everyone.

@SmashTheState I googled and there is one meditation center in my city. I think I’ll check that out first. Thanks.

Seelix's avatar

I’d agree with the others who’ve suggested you see your regular doctor first. It’s not all about “gobbling pills and permanently altering your brain chemistry”.

When I spoke to my doctor about my depression, we discussed a number of options before medication, including meditation, therapy (counselling and light therapy), and religion before moving on to biological factors that could be in play such as thyroid problems. I had blood tests and looked into non-medicinal therapies, but for me, medication seemed the best option. My doctor was originally a pharmacist before he continued on to medical school, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that he wasn’t a pill-pusher.

If you have a good doctor, (s)he will discuss other options with you before turning to medication. Unless there is some evidence of a strong chemical imbalance, medication shouldn’t be the first remedy for depression.

glenjamin's avatar

I didn’t know there was such a thing as a meditation center, that’s good to know. Whatever method you choose, be it meditation or medication, be sure you know the cause for your feelings (biological, environmental, post-traumatic, seasonal, e.t.c.) You don’t want to just “patch” the symptom and not find out what the underlying causes are. I would try to find a therapist through someone you know and trust if you feel comfortable. A good psychologist (psychologist is the one that doesn’t prescribe meds) will evaluate you first, and then see if you would benefit from seeing a psychiatrist (who prescribes meds). The psychologist will try to unveil the underlying causes and help you to heal, while the psychiatrist, if necessary will give you medicine to help mitigate the symptoms and make everyday life more managable. Both methods were essential, in my situation. If I only saw my psychiatrist and not my psychologist I would have little or no insight to my problems. The medicine helps, but I’m able to come off of it now because I have been progressing mentally.

Garebo's avatar

First, spend a lot of time finding a good therapist or hypnotherapist,
When I was young and had some major blows, I saw one and he helped a lot, but pretty much said it was the circumstances that were making me depressed. Make sure you find one that doesn’t use you like your a box of Kleenex-do your research; talk to people, you will be surprised how many people use them.
Have you always felt sad. If not, when did you become sad-significant event?
Family history of it, are you of northern European descent. Were you traumatized at an early age? Live in a northern latitude, Vitamin D or other physiological imbalances, poor diet, overweight, blood sugar-tons of biochemical questions as well.

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