What It Was Like to See a Psychiatrist for the First Time
Today, I saw a psychiatrist for the first time. It’s no surprise I ended up here. Since I was diagnosed, I assumed this day would come. Thankfully, I know there’s nothing shameful in this. I know this doesn’t make me “crazy,” but I’m still scared.
I put off thinking about the appointment as much as I could, knowing it would do little more than fill me with anxiety and fear. I planned what time to leave the office, what train to get, and I’ve given myself ample time to find the clinic.
The morning passed by smoothly; I did some work in the lab, taught a class and had lunch with friends. On my way there, no longer distracted by work or people, I became more and more anxious. Had I accidentally written down the wrong train to take? Would I be late? What if I got the address wrong? Both my mom and boyfriend had offered to come along with me, but I knew I could do this on my own.
I wondered what she’d be like. I had made the mistake of reading online reviews about her, most of which were negative. I tried to brush it off as people being pedantic and wanting to complain. I reminded myself that my general practitioner, who I like and trust, had recommended her. But that wasn’t enough to stop my mind spiraling through possibilities. What would she be like? Would I like her? Would I feel comfortable talking to her? What if she was harsh and abrasive and upset me? What if I got so anxious I couldn’t properly tell her about the things I was struggling with. What would I even say to her? I was filled with fear. This continued until the session began. She started off with basics; “what medication have you been on,” “do you work or study,” and so on. Then she asked me to tell her about my depression. I didn’t know where to start. I managed a few words, telling her it had been going on for a few years and that I often felt down and had suicidal thoughts. She then asked me what my symptoms of depression were. Another simple question, yet it threw me. I had never just listed them off before, but I did my best.
The session went on and she confirmed my diagnosis, while saying that I was functional and that my described symptoms didn’t match my functionality. She gave me a prescription, told me how to take it and before I knew it, I was out of the door.
I’m still not certain how I felt about the experience. I don’t know whether this step will help me get better, but I want to try. I want to be better. I want to feel hopeful about the future. I want to experience joy from the things I do. I want to be happy.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “HOME” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.
Thinkstock photo via AlexandrBognat