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Topic: I was told my depression is not 'real' depression

19 posts, 0 answered
  1. StillToBloom
    StillToBloom avatar
    0 posts
    26 March 2020

    I have been suffering from depression and anxiety continuously for 7 years. I have seen many mental health professionals and tried 4 common antidepressants with no relief to my symptoms.

    I have finally found a psychologist who is kind and helpful but I still experience strong feelings of hopelessness, apathy, no motivation and just in general do not really enjoy anything about my life.

    So I went to see a psychiatrist for some specialist insight into medications to try to help me start climbing out of the black hole.

    It was the psychiatrist who told me my depression was not an illness because I was not suicidal. She told me that I had just got too comfortable in my living situation (living with my parents) and should have tried harder to get a job even when I have no confidence or self-worth. She said that my parents should have put pressure on me to 'do something with my life' and that they should not have been concerned about causing me distress if I was not suicidal. She said I should lose weight and take pride in my appearance so that I will be more confident.

    I cannot get the things she said out of mind. I believe what she said because she is an 'expert'. I am starting to believe that my condition is all my fault. I felt like I have taken on as much as I can while trying to recover, but now I feel like I must have just been lazy.

    It is a week until I can see my psychologist again and I don't know how to deal with the extra burden of those comments going around in my head.

    I'm not even sure that I am right to be upset. I'm not certain that her comments were inappropriate.

    I don't know how to tell my GP that this psychiatrist may not have properly understood what I am going through, because my GP will start using the psychiatrist's letter to set out my recovery plan.

  2. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    1388 posts
    26 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom

    Dear StillToBloom~

    Simply show your GP a copy of your post, that will be enough. It is singularly unfortunate that the particular psychiatrist you saw presented such a negative and hurtful view. Being a psychiatrist does not make them automatically right, it simply means they have qualifications, that's all.

    Saying you were not ill becuse you were not suicidal is bizarre, simply not on. I'd guess the majority of people with depression are not suicidal, that does not make them any less ill.

    There is one true expert on your condition, and that is you. You know how you feel, your story, your reactions, and that really does need to be listened to and used as the basis to make you better.

    You are in charge of your treatment, nobody else. So you have a GP I suspect may be OK, you have found, after looking at several a psychologist you click with , so you have two sources of support. If you current treatment is helpful, but not adequate then yes, you need to consult more and say so,. Things are often a case of trial and error, as so many people react differently to the same thing.

    Life does get better, I found the right medical support, and that together with a very patient and loving family has placed me in the sort of life I am happy to have. It can be the same for you.

    Croix

    2 people found this helpful
  3. Deckt
    Deckt avatar
    37 posts
    26 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom
    Good Lord.

    Your psychiatrist needs a new job. One that doesn't involve interacting with people in any way.

    How DARE she tell you that what you are feeling isn't real? Depression does not equal suicidal feelings, though it may lead to that. The point is to treat it BEFORE it gets that bad.

    I'm sorry that you've had this experience. I'm hesitant to say "this is right" and "this is wrong", but that psych is just plain wrong. If you can, get a new one.
    1 person found this helpful
  4. romantic_thi3f
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    393 posts
    26 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom

    Hi StillToBloom,

    Welcome to the forums and thanks for your post. I can see you've already gotten some great support from Deckt and Croix. I wanted to jump in anyway though because it really frustrates me hearing about your experience.

    I absolutely think your psychiatrist was totally out of line with the comments that she made. It wasn't appropriate and I'm sorry that you were on the receiving end with them.

    The other posters are right in that you can absolutely have a diagnosis of depression and never had any suicidal thoughts in the past. With everything else she said it makes it sound like it's totally simplifying how you feel. Depression isn't black and white with quick fixes and trying hard enough. I can see that you are already trying so hard to get better just because you went to the appointment in the first place.

    I know that it's really easy to think that she might be the expert because she has degrees or experience in the field, but really you are. She doesn't know you and what you've been through. She can have over 100 degrees and still mess up - this isn't on you.

    I hope that reading these posts helps to remind you that you aren't lazy and this isn't your fault. You have every right to feel this way.

    rt

    1 person found this helpful
  5. Sleepy21
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    27 March 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f
    Hi - just curious, does the psychiatrist take pride in her appearance, is she very glamorous??
    i'm guessing not.
    I'm guessing she is just a bully and much older than you, and maybe even jealous of seeing a young woman with so much potential, and is bringing you down. Her tone and approach don't suprise, there are soul-destroying, old school psychiatrists out there who have no idea about the latest approach to mental health - which is recovery and strength based. I'm sorry to be so harsh but I'm really sad tat she can speak to you like that. She might not be the "professional" you think she is - she may not be qualified or trained in helping people like you and really is offering the wrong appraoch. If you can, I hope one day you will be able to let go of everything she said, and find supports who value you.
  6. Deckt
    Deckt avatar
    37 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Sleepy21
    Yup. Some people go into psychiatry because they have a lot of compassion, and a genuine desire to help. Compassion fatigue is a thing, and it's possible that she was just having a bad day.

    But there are bullies EVERYWHERE. In every profession. It's important to be able to identify them.
    2 people found this helpful
  7. StillToBloom
    StillToBloom avatar
    0 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Croix

    Dear Croix,

    Thank you for your kind, supportive response. It has made me feel better just to have my reaction to the psychiatrist's behaviour validated.

    The psychiatrist did say she would recommend some medications that are different from any other I have tried and I am interested to try them, but I will tell my GP I am not interested in hearing any of her other opinions!

  8. StillToBloom
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    0 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi rt

    Thanks you for your response.

    She did completely try to simplify how I feel. I have been told by other practitioners that I have an 'atypical' presentation in my depression, and that has led some doctors and psychologists to treat me like a puzzle and they want to be the one to solve it where no one else has been able to. They ask me so many questions about the past trying to figure out what went 'wrong', and they forget to ask me about how I'm feeling now and figuring out what they can do to make me feel better.

    And I think they forget how hard it is to go to a stranger and tell them about all the worst things you think and feel about yourself, clear examples of all the times I've felt hopeless or worthless don't always come to mind!

    Thanks again for the support, rt.

  9. StillToBloom
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    0 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy21,

    The psychiatrist is kind of hard to describe, but she was kind of posh. Slender and well dressed. Completed her medical degree well before I was born. Some of her comments obviously came from a place of financial privilege.

    I thought I was dressed normally for the occasion- I had to drive over 2 hours each way to see her so I wore black pants, tee and cardigan. What I think of as completely acceptable neat casual clothing. So I guess what she meant was being fat looks bad.

    She seemed to be under the impression that she was completely taking over my care, when she realised I am still seeing my psychologist and I wanted her to make recommendations to my GP is when she kind of turned on me.

  10. StillToBloom
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    0 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Deckt

    Dear Deckt,

    Thank you for your responses.

    I actually feel like I'm lucky not to have suicidal thoughts. I have suffered from just about everything else that can come with anxiety and depression, I never thought I would be made to feel bad about not being suicidal.

    The psychiatrist told me she is passionate about her job and loves helping people, but I think she means she loves helping people who are not more complex than normal to treat and that will do exactly what she says.

    I will not be going back to see this psychiatrist.

  11. Sleepy21
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    27 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom
    Hi StilltoBloom, thanks for explaining. (I like your username, it shows hope, we all need hope...)

    sounds like you were dressed cute and neat... I don't know that it's so fair for her to make judgements like that. I also don't imagine I would manage very well being summed up by my clothes and dress-size. How did things end with her? I'm so glad you're getting good support here, that sounds like such a hard thing to go through.
  12. Deckt
    Deckt avatar
    37 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom
    Yeah..... I tend to find that the people that ACTUALLY are passionate about helping people tend to show it with their actions, and don't need to actually say it.

    I hope that things start to look up for you, and I think you've made a good decision to get help from another psych. If this is your first experience, they are NOT all like that!

  13. StillToBloom
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    0 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Sleepy21

    Hi Sleepy21,

    Haha yes, sometimes it feels illogical but I still have hope.

    As my appointment progressed I was engaging with her less, she didn't seem to need me to contribute for her to go on with her theories. After she insulted psychologists I pretty much stopped talking to her and just wanted to leave.

    She is sending medication recommendations to my GP and said that if they don't work out I am welcome to follow up with her. Plan A would be that the medication works, Plan B would be to find yet another psychiatrist.

    I really appreciate all the responses here. This is the first time that I've felt so lost that I needed to talk with someone outside my psychologist to give me reassurance that I'm not responsible for my own pain.

    2 people found this helpful
  14. Guest_201
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    Guest_201 avatar
    11 posts
    28 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom

    Hi StillToBloom (love the username), welcome to the forums.

    Wow, that is extremely rude of the Psychiatrist to say that to you, you should make a complaint if you feel comfortable. I'm so sorry you went through that. Definitely tell the GP, and if you still want to see a Psychiatrist, keep looking. That's awful, I'm really sorry you were treated like that.

    Your feelings and emotions are valid, as are you and you don't need to be shut down like that especially by someone who's supposed to be a professional. I can't imagine how sad you'd be feeling right now.

    But just know that none of it's your fault, you were very courageous trying to seek help and I'm proud of you. Please take care.

    Tayla

  15. geoff
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    3436 posts
    28 March 2020 in reply to StillToBloom

    Hello StillToBloom, and there's not much I need to say as all those above me have qualified for that.

    What this psychiatrist has said to you is definitely the reason why I don't like visiting them, as the 3 or perhaps it's 4 of them, have had very little companionship or feeling towards how I was feeling at that time or what I had to say when depression controlled me.

    I came out of each session feeling worse than what I did before I went in, and even one of them was the regarded as the top psych in Vic, I didn't concur.

    They are there to supposedly help you and not make you feel as though depression is all our fault, it's certainly not and empathise for you.

    Geoff.

  16. Andre_P
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    0 posts
    28 March 2020

    Next thing the psych will be telling you to “snap out of it” and “just get on with it” and “just think happy thoughts” and “everything’s just magical with fairies and rainbows and unicorns”.

    any psych of any kind ever said that to me, I’d simply walk out the door (and probably without paying).

    any psych that says that is no fit to practise.

    Sorry to hear that 👊

  17. Guest_201
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    Guest_201 avatar
    11 posts
    29 March 2020 in reply to Andre_P
    I've been told that and worse things like how to, you know, by Psychologists. This is why I no longer see them. And I've been laughed at when I've been serious, so asking a serious question. You don't deserve that, nobody does. You should definitely report them.
  18. Sleepy21
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    29 March 2020 in reply to Guest_201
    Hi Geoff, having had the same experience as you, and onec also with a pyschiatrist who is known as a "giant" in his field and in Victoria.
    I finally feel now that credentials are not everything, and sometimes can be quite meaningless. A pyschiatrist can be good at studying etc,and collecting degrees but not good with people, and sometimes they even their credentials are outdated - they received them 30 or 40 years ago, and have not kept up to date at all. The industry isn't regulated enough, and I feel like the good ones are usually found through word of mouth.
  19. Sleepy21
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    29 March 2020 in reply to Guest_201
    Hi Still to Bloom, that sounds very perceptive that you realised she was less interested when she didn't think you'd be her willing patient. I also think that criticising other health professionals, ( in this case psychologists) in your first session is a big red flag. . It's like they want to make themselves look like the only one who could help. It's much more professional to work with the patient and be respectful of different modalities, and itnerested in them.

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