Diagnosis is an important first step to get the help that you need when living with severe depression. By speaking to a healthcare professional (HCP) about how you are feeling, you are giving yourself the best opportunity to connect with the right support.1
The type of HCP that you need to see will depend on several factors: whether it’s your first time seeking professional support; the intensity of the symptoms you’re experiencing; and the extent to which your depression symptoms are affecting your life.
Your GP can support you to find the appropriate care for you, at every stage of your experience. This may include additional referrals to other doctors or returning visits to a psychiatrist depending on your situation and current care needs.
The first step is to schedule an appointment.
Once your appointment is confirmed, you may experience some apprehension or anxiety about attending. Remember that feeling nervous about attending an upcoming appointment is completely normal. Taking some time to prepare in advance might help.
Being prepared will enable you to make the most of your interaction with the doctor, reducing the feeling of being caught off-guard or forgetting important details. Take a few minutes to collect your thoughts and organise your questions.
Let a family member or friend know in advance if you would like them to join you at your appointments and explain what you hope to achieve during your visit.
It is a good idea to write down what you would like to talk about before the meeting. This might feel strange at first, but it can help as it’s easy to forget things in the moment.
Take a few minutes before your appointment to write down a list of things you want to discuss, such as:
It is important to be as honest as possible about how you are feeling. Remind yourself that there will be no judgment during this interaction and the HCP is there to help. These appointments are an opportunity to explore the support available to you.
Don’t be afraid of saying that you need the conversation to slow down or for something to be repeated or explained further.
You or your companion can take notes on what the HCP says during the appointment to review later.
Depending on the stage of your journey, you might also want to discuss the following:
If your HCP doesn’t schedule a follow-up appointment shortly after you begin treatment, you may need to ask for this.
Feel free to request copies of the clinic letters that will be produced after each appointment. These can be useful to keep and refer to when reflecting on your progress.
Doing your own research on your condition can make you feel more confident when discussing your options with your HCP. It can also help you to understand how other people with similar symptoms manage their condition.
You might find it helpful to:
Remember that seeking professional help may seem daunting to your loved one, so offering practical support can encourage them to follow through.
Supporting someone with depression can be a challenging task that requires effort and energy to sustain. Remember to look after yourself too and seek support if you need it. To learn more about supportive resources available, visit here.