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how to communicate with a dr. about your mental illness

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi all- Any tips on optimizing your communication with family doctors or other medical types?

I am trying to establish a relationship with a family doctor so that I can access some programs through our province that require a doctors reference.
My problem is anxiety. It inhibits me and limits my ability to, in the worst moments, give myself adequate self care.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom about preparing to represent your mental health problems to a Doctor?
I feel like I always seem too capable and healthy during a doctor's visit.
I am generally very clear and personable when I can prepare for a predict an interaction ahead of time. I thought about the first visit a lot before hand and seemed to kind of overplay my strengths when I got there (feeling good that day, sun shining). She asked if I was shy, and yes, I am, but I believe it goes beyond that. I feel like I am having trouble representing my anxiety/ mood disorder as an illness. I believe my problems are more than just personality based, as shyness suggests.
Any thoughts?
Edited by bruna - 12/21/13 at 1:17pm
post #2 of 11
Great question!
Anyone have any advice?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
I don't think this doctor was a good fit for me; I am trying to follow my intuition more these days. I have been mistreated by doctors. I have some fear of the misuse of authority and power in the dr. - patient relationship.

My life has been more stable lately, the most stable it has been in 20 years, when depression, worry, guilt, shame and fear took over my life at the age of 13.
I believe that I may be bipolar 2.
Can anyone else relate to a fear of doctors?
I have only ever had one panic attack, and it was in a doctors office.
How has your ability to seek and maintain treatment been affected by it?
Looking for some support from you wise Mamas.
Edited by bruna - 12/26/13 at 3:44pm
post #4 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well, I'm just talking to myself at this point, but hey, a personal dialogue can be pretty helpful.

Bruna, trust yourself! :)

post #5 of 11

What about writing a letter ahead of time detailing your issues and concerns. Putting things down in writing, either for you to use as a cheat sheet to make sure you say everything you wanted to bring up, or just to hand to your doctor could be helpful. 

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
DTmama1, thanks for your suggestion. I agree. I need to write out my concerns, and then make sure I bring up everyone with the doctor.
I can look back now at that first appointment and see that I wasn't prepared enough to advocate for myself, and let my doctor lead the appointment.
I do get intimidated by doctors, so I will try to keep the purpose of my visit in mind as best I can, by referring to my notes.
post #7 of 11

Hi,

 

I'm in a similar boat as you. :) I want to talk to my doctor of a few yrs about my mental illness (never bfor discussed.) How did you dr's appt go?

 

I agree with the pp. Writing it down sounds like a good idea however, I know I'll still have anxiety telling the doctor I have the issue. I don't know why. Do i want the doctor to think I am a smart, bright kind of person? I don't know. I am aiming to see him in April so there's time to prepare a little.

post #8 of 11

"Doctor, I have anxiety issues and I need help. I read about this program but I need a referral for you. I believe this program will help me"

post #9 of 11
It can be scary because there can be just as great a stigma against mental health among doctors as there is in the general public. I have long-term issues with Major Depressive Disorder, and a couple of years ago my diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective.

I have encountered a certain stereotype that doctors just hand out anti-depressants like candy, everyone wants their "happy pills" these days. But I have actually found the opposite to be true. Over the years, I have *twice* seen PCP's who won't even refill a prescription I have been taking because they "don't get into that". Sometimes you have to "doctor shop" just to find one who will listen to any concerns about mental health.

I now go to a clinic specifically for mental health and no longer have any qualms about bringing up issues to my doctor.
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by kythe View Post

It can be scary because there can be just as great a stigma against mental health among doctors as there is in the general public. I have long-term issues with Major Depressive Disorder, and a couple of years ago my diagnosis was changed to schizoaffective.

I have encountered a certain stereotype that doctors just hand out anti-depressants like candy, everyone wants their "happy pills" these days. But I have actually found the opposite to be true. Over the years, I have *twice* seen PCP's who won't even refill a prescription I have been taking because they "don't get into that". Sometimes you have to "doctor shop" just to find one who will listen to any concerns about mental health.

I now go to a clinic specifically for mental health and no longer have any qualms about bringing up issues to my doctor.

How do I find a clinic specifically for it? Shud I be looking on my Insurance co.'s website?

post #11 of 11
I was first referred by a crisis center. You could also call your insurance and ask what they cover for mental health specialists and if a referral is needed.
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