When I first saw a doctor about depression, they assigned me a psychologist. They wanted me to open up, talk about it, let it all out. Not easy for someone who’s just begun admitting it to themselves.
I sat in her office waiting anxiously, and when she finally came in and sat down, the first question she asked was, “so you’re having suicidal thoughts?” Barely any introduction, and then just a simple assumption. It was extremely upsetting. No, I had not been thinking about suicide.
Not to downplay the importance of addressing that difficult topic, but that’s not at all where I was at, not what I needed to talk about. And she just blundered on in there, asking an extremely difficult question without so much as asking about what was actually going on. Even if I had been dealing with such thoughts, that’s never how I would want to begin a discussion.
As anyone who has experienced it knows, depression is very multi-faceted. It’s not just sadness; often there’s no sadness at all, just emptiness. It’s not just thoughts about ending it all; it’s thoughts about everything, or nothing. And it varies greatly from person to person.
My point is, I’m pretty confident that this particular doctor has never personally experienced mental health issues. Otherwise she would have known better than to even think about starting with that question. As such, I decided that I didn’t want therapy at that time. Fuck that.
Not too much later, I was at my primary care provider’s office for a re-check, and somehow ended up being shuttled into another psychologist’s office. Ugh, here goes again, I thought.
But I liked this one. It took a few subsequent visits, but I actually found myself opening up, and feeling a bit better. He seemed to understand what I was saying, and he didn’t make blind assumptions. I made progress.
All that being said, I moved away, and haven’t even looked for another therapist (it’s been a year now). I get the feeling that I’m going to end up finding another ridiculous one who won’t help, and I don’t feel like dealing with that. I probably should, it would probably help on my journey.
In conclusion, if you decide to try therapy, may you find a therapist that’s crazier than you. If they don’t know what it’s like, there’s only so much they can do to help you. Someone who’s had mental health issues will get it. And they’ll probably have a pretty good idea of things you can do to feel better. You just have to find the right one for you.