For anybody who thinks they need to see a psychatrist: do it. Right now. Don't waste time thinking that it'll brand you as crazy. Don't procrastinate. Don't listen to anybody who's had a bad experience with one shrink (except to maybe not go to the same guy). Don't think ahead to the medication they might put you on or the sticky questions they might ask you about yourself. Just go.

Many people who suffer from depression, even the mildest kind, paint themselves into a corner of "being misunderstood", or "having no one to listen". Well, even a mediocre shrink has a diploma in listening. It's what they do. Just half an hour of somebody's undivided attention is the best antidote to loneliness (which is why so many people develop an addiction to psychoanalists, but that's a different story).

A psychiatrist might offer you medication. Keep in mind that you don't have to take it. If you do choose to take it, be aware of the effects it has on you. Six months on Seroxat and anti-anxiety pills gave me just the breather I needed from the whirling, tumbling, chaotic black madness I carried with me at all times to heal myself. No extra psychoanalysis was required. Just a bit of peace and quiet to have a chat with me, and the little bit of recognition that I really do have a problem that deserves my attention (and somebody else's).

Don't expect a shrink to know the answers to all your problems. To begin with, if you're not honest with them they won't know what your problems even are. But keep in mind that the person doing the work here should be you, not them. They're just a sounding board, a tool that you are using - like an electric drill. They may be costly and elaborate, with loads of lovely gadgets, but no holes will appear in no walls if you don't take it out of the box.

Go now. Go do it. You will either get the feedback and validation you need for your problems or a sound rebuttal of them. A shrink might just as easily tell you you're overreacting and send you home, you know. Like with any medical opinion, it is up to you to evaluate their opinion against what you know you're feeling inside and reach the conclusion about whether or not you're feeling better.

Psychatrists, and doctors in general, are not all money grabbing self-aggrandizing jerks. Remember the hard work and dedication, over many years of training, it took them to get to where they are. There are easier ways to make a quick buck, and it would be childlish and unreasonable to claim that all doctors are members of some specialised guild of conmen.

There are of course other sides to this question. When you are considering going to a psychiatrist, you have probably had some singular or group of singular experiences that have revealed to you that you may have a problem.

Believe it or not, but this is most of the battle. Most of the people with issues that need addressing in their daily lives, simply suppress, ignore, or evade their responsibility to themselves in sorting these problems out, or even recognizing them. Once you have done this, the rest of the road is much much easier, and I would council, quite unlike the previous noder, that you try your best to deal with it independently before you go to a psychiatrist.

This may sound a little strange at first, but it makes sense the more you think about it. You know yourself better than anyone else. The problem, now visible, is much easier to examine, and solve, and may be manageable without outside interference. This is important, a person who has the strength and cunning to tie themselves into knots, can also untie those knots, once they shed some light onto their innerselves and see where those knots are. A psychiatrist can only guide you with this, they may have experience of people who have similar problems, but only you really understand the pain of the knot, and only you can untie it. There are of course very important occasions where you should go to a psychiatrist straight away, when you have either hurt someone else or hurt yourself, when you realize that you are getting depressed, or suspect you are addicted to anything. These are areas that if left unresolved can seriously harm you, or even kill you, and in these cases professional help is well advised. Don't hesitate, I agree completely with the previous noder about this point.

There is one other thing to remember if you are considering going to a psychiatrist. It is that your mind is a landscape and you wander through hills, and valleys, spires, and along cliffs, areas that are rich in diversity, and areas that are barren, and devoid of life or comfort, and the point to gleaned here is that you KEEP MOVING. No matter how bad, it seems now, you may get worse, or better, and the decision is very much yours. The psychiatrist can point the way back to light and safety but it is your land, populated by your dreams and heroes, and it is you who will ultimately heal yourself. In realizing this, most people should consider self-examination, and personal reflection before approaching a professional. This saves a lot of time, (and cost), and can accelerate your path to well being when you do finally decide that you wish to approach someone.

I have to agree with both of the above writers on this issue.

I went through manic depressiveness, chemical imbalances and all that not-so-fun stuff. I went first to a regular doctor because I wasn't sleeping. I was 16 at the time, and he prescribed me (no joke) Valium to help me sleep. That weekend my pseudo-family went to the beach for the Memorial Day weekend. When we got back that Monday night, I walked into my room, took 27 of the 30 Valium I had, and went to sleep.

The next morning I woke up (!), put on a pair of shorts, grabbed a t-shirt, socks and shoes, and got in my car to go to school. I picked up my first friend about 5 minutes later, and when we got to my second friend's house about 10 minutes after that, I passed out.

The first friend I picked up moved me to the passenger seat, and drove the rest of the way to the school. They said the whole drive I was hallucinating and screaming at him to get off the sidewalk.

When we got to the school, they grabbed the administrators, who got the school nurse, who called 911. The ambulance came and rushed me to the hospital. I went into cardiac arrest twice in the ER before they were finally able to stop it. They tried to pump my stomach, but I had already absorbed the drugs.

A week later I was released from the hospital into the hospital. I spent a week in the second hospital talking with people, meeting in group therapy, etc. My friends from school (who had NO idea what was happening) stopped by and dropped off cards and balloons, and wished me well.

Once I got out of there, I went to my aunt's house in Cocoa Beach for the summer. I saw an excellent Psychiatrist who prescribed Zoloft (then an experimental drug). I hated the way it may me feel, like I was trapped inside a shell. The outer part of me was happy, but inside I was confused, like I had been taken over. But the medicine kept me from trying anything again, and talking to the psychiatrist really helped me start to see inside of me.

The summer ended, and I moved back to Tampa. There I started seeing a different psychiatrist. I didn't like him. He didn't seem like he was trying to help me at all. Then, after a particularly bad night, I called him about it. He said that the medicine might not be working as well, so I should double my dosage. At the time, which I guess he didn't know, I was taking the maximum dosage allowed per day, so doubling that put me way over.

But I didn't know that, and took it, and went off to take my High School Competency Exam. About halfway through, I started feeling very bad, and asked if I could go to the office. The teacher said yes, and I got up to leave. I made it to the door before I collapsed. So here come my grandparents, furious as anything, thinking I had overdosed on purpose, and that everything that I had done had been for nought. But once they found out that I was just following the doctor's orders, they were not mad at me, but very mad at him.

But sitting there at that point I realized something. I had two choices. I could stay on the medicine the rest of my life, or I could get over it. And that's what I decided to do. I took myself off the medicine (a *very* dangerous thing to do), and fought through it. Was it hard? Absolutely. And there were times when I didn't think I was going to make it through. But luckily for me I had a strong group of friends who forced me to make it through, who talked to me and listened to me, and helped me make it.

Now, almost 6 years later, I feel I have won. Do I have my bad days? Sure, sometimes, but I know that it is better to fight through it and win then to give up. It takes me less time to think about how silly it would be to hit a tree when I am driving. The thought is still there, but I overcome it, I make it through. And best of all, I did it. Not medicine, but me, and my friends, and my family. We did it, and I am here because of that.



So, if you think you need to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist, do it. Today. Let them help you figure out what is going on. Let them help to see inside of you, and find ways to slow those bad thoughts. But they aren't going to solve it for you. They can only help you find the problem, and help you with steps to overcome it. Only *you* can actually decide to win. Decide to beat it. Sometimes that takes weeks, sometimes that takes many years to do. But, in the end, don't give up, and don't let the feelings win. Do it not for some doctor, or some person on TV or anyone else but you. You are worth it, every second. Promise! :)

One final note: the doctors at the hospital told me during that week that I should have never survived taking those pills. Looking back on it, I believe that someone was watching over me, and being a Christian, I believe that was God who kept me from dying that day. But I was not a Christian at the time, and even though going to church helped me through along with my friends, I didn't include it above. Why? Well, church gave me a purpose to my life, but until I made the concious decision to try to beat this, I would have never accepted it. Plus, too many people, especially Christians, try to force religion as the answer for everything. In some ways it is, but to someone who is not religious, or does not share the same theological standpoint as myself, listing that as the reason doesn't help. There was more to it for me then just reading the Bible and that being it. This is an individual thing, and only you can know what is best for you. Doctors can help, psychologists and psychiatrists can help, your church family can help, but you have to ultimately make the decision to get better.

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