choosing the right psychiatrist

My first experience with a psychiatrist was when I was 17 and got diagnosed with clinical depression. 

I was suicidal, I left school but not told anyone, swallowed a bunch of pills but because nothing happened I didn’t realize I basically almost committed suicide and I was self-harming regularly.

I was physically bullied at school and at home, had two friends that played me like a puppet and I suffered so much that I spent hours every day dissociated and it’s what probably kept me alive.

If you’re not inside your body, you have no body to kill.

The psychiatrist I met when I was a teenager was the furthest thing away from what I saw in the movies. She was cold, distant and kept looking at her watch while I was talking about my abusive mother.

The only good thing I got from her were antidepressants but my New Age beliefs made me stop taking them after only a few months.

Afterwards, I kept to myself and fell even deeper in the supernatural/spiritual hole that made my condition even more serious. After all, if you don’t treat clinical depression your brain actually starts getting worse and you lose all sight of the progress that could be made.

It took 7 years until I was willing to seek professional help again and get back on pills. As luck would have it, rejection had to be dealt with and the psychiatrist I wanted didn’t want me.

Apparently just because someone shares the same vegan lifestyle with me, it doesn’t make them any more compassionate towards people who have different aspirations and dreams.

I didn’t stop and I kept searching for help until a young woman that looked freakishly like an Argentinian pop star Lali welcomed me into her office.

She listened to me. She asked for my opinion. She put me through tests before diagnosing me. But above all, she didn’t make me feel like I was bad for dealing with my mental problems.

While other doctors wrote horrible articles about people that share the same illness as me, she advised me to not read them and made sure I know that I can make progress and get better.

I believe every person deserves to find a psychiatrist that supports them and is willing to talk about how to make progress together, not just prescribe pills and off you go.

Here are 3 tips for choosing the right psychiatrist:

  • Trust your gut.

You will know when you meet the right person. Something inside your body will let you know somehow.

You will feel calm and content. There will be a feeling of being sure about your decision and a sign that you don’t have to keep looking. 

Just like you know you are making a bad decision when your heart sinks and you feel anxious, you will know when you’re making a decision that will bring good things into your life.

  • Know what you expect from them.

The one psychiatrist that rejected me I chose because he was vegan and an animal rights activist. 

I knew nothing about his credentials, reputation and when I met him I was feeling uneasy and judged. Just because we had one thing in common I thought he would be willing to help me and give me what I needed.

When I first sat down with my current psychiatrist, though, we spoke and she made me feel calm and understood. I knew what I wanted from her and I knew what I wanted to give in return.

  • Ask for recommendations.

It was my career consultant that recommended a bunch of psychiatrists to me after learning about my mental health problems.

I got a whole list of doctors I never heard of and that gave me a kick in the butt to start moving in the direction of finding a solution.

Turn to your family, friends and acquaintances for help, especially to those whom you know have searched for professional help before.

That will also give you the chance to learn about their experience and how it helped them. After all, you do want someone who has a good reputation and has been good for your loved ones.

I truly hope you find what you’re looking for. Actually, I hope you find what you need which may sometimes be different from your desires.

It may take a lot of time until you can sit down in front of your doctor and feel like you can truly open up to them. When you do, though, life’s problems will start to appear a bit more solvable and a bit smaller.

You go to a doctor for your eyes and for your stomach. Now you have to go to a doctor for your brain.

Maybe if we take our mental health seriously now and build a society that finds value in making sure everyone has access to a psychiatrist, therapy and medication, we will be a happier nation.

We are constantly in competition and looking for something to fill the void but it never does. We shop and do drugs and watch reality tv and have sex with everything that walks but we never stop to look at the reasons why we do this.

It doesn’t make us happier. It doesn’t bring us long-lasting pleasure. 

Stop before it’s too late. Find help.

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Tanja

tips for choosing the right psychiatrist