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.