What to say to a Doctor?

So long story short, I watched Greg’s video, and like many others, I find myself in similar boats.
I’ve constantly put off seeing my GP about finding out if I have depression, ADHD or any other mental illnesses, because I fear that it’ll just seem like me whining, or that there is nothing wrong with me, and I’m just weak.

After the talk, I called up my GP, and set an appointment about a month from now. (Not as soon as I would like, because I know I’ll put it off more and more, but with the appointment, I think I’ll be too scared to not turn up).

My biggest fear is not knowing what to say. I’m a bit ashamed to just say “I saw stuff on the internet, and I think ‘x’ is wrong with me”, because I know they get that a lot with people who think they have cancer as a first Google result of their symptoms.

So is there any advice that could help ease me into the conversation? I keep going over and over it in my head, and I’m slowly driving myself into a hole.

For the last 5 years I’ve been convinced there’s something wrong with me, (if not longer), and I just took a step in the spur of the moment, now I really want to go through with it, but I’m still scared.

I more scared of not getting diagnosed with anything, because it will feel like all my weirdness, social anxiety, and strange way of thinking and talking is my own fault, and that I’ve caused trouble because I’m just too different. I think I just want some kind of validation.

I’ve gotten gradually happier over the years, but there’s always that linger of self-loathing, and worthlessness. I just feel like if I can be told that it’s just me or a mental illness, I have something to blame rather than my own speculation.

Sorry, I think I went a bit off topic, but I really don’t know how to deal with this, despite telling myself I can.

What can I say to a Doctor to suggest I think I might have a mental illness, and not sound like I’m after meds or whining? I’m scared I’ll just get shrugged off and not get taken seriously.

First off, just know that your apprehension is normal and is a story you will see many more times on this forum. When I finally came to grips with the fact that there was something more going on and that I needed to see a doctor, I had many of the same feelings.

The first call I made was to a therapist and the first thing he did was give me a questionnaire where I answered yes or no to about 100 questions. After spending the next hour talking with him and going over my answers he gave me homework, which was to call my doctor that day to set up the appointment and to actually see the doctor within 24 hours.

I made the call from the parking lot of the therapist’s office and was told that my doctor was on vacation. My heart sank and a million negative thoughts started running through my head. I asked if they had any doctors that they were affiliated with who could see me that day or the next. After checking, they found a doctor in another office but couldn’t make the appointment for me so I had to call that doctor. As I am sure you can guess, I didn’t want to make the second call because it was hard enough to make the first.

I made the second call immediately because I knew I wouldn’t if I waited and I booked an appointment for the next day. The anxiety I had on the way to the appointment and while in the waiting room to see a doctor I had never seen before was tremendous, but I stayed. When I met with the doctor, the first thing he did was to give me a questionnaire with 100 questions to answer and I spent the rest of my time going over my answers and he prescribed the medicine that was suggested by my therapist. He also gave me homework which was to call my regular doctor and see her first thing the next week. I booked that appointment from the parking lot because I knew I wouldn’t if I waited.

When the next appointment rolled around, I was given the same questionnaire by my regular doctor so it was actually starting to feel normal. Especially because all three had the same diagnosis, depression and social anxiety.

You did the hardest thing which was admitting you have something going on and made the appointment. Now, you HAVE to keep the appointment. Your doctor should do something similar to what they did with me which is really just running down a checklist to see what’s going on. It was a very objective process (really just a depression algorithm) and it should be the same for you. If it isn’t, it will suck, but find another doctor because no one knows you better than you.


I think it’s important to not present the doctor up front with a self-diagnosis and ask for confirmation. What you should instead do is express concerns about your emotional state over the last months/years and go into detail of the feelings, the symptoms, the impact on your life, the problems it is causing you in work, relationships, financially etc.etc Perhaps the punchline could be “Do you think I could have … ?” if you feel it’s necessary to be clearer about what you need help with, if the doctor hasn’t already caught the drift of the conversation. You could also direct the conversation with questions like “Do you think it’s worth talking to a counsellor or a psychiatrist about my issues?”.

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Thank you both. It’s comforting to know that others have the same issue. (That sounds horrible)

I’m starting to come to terms with how awkward it will probably be. I’m trying to stay positive about it, despite how much I just want to ignore everything.

Last night I thought about just straight up ask if I can get tested, but I just imagine that would result in a no.

I should probably also mention I am a Student, which I wanted to avoid saying because I worry that I’ll get treated differently.
“You’re just a student, of course there’s stress in your life, it’ll be fine when you graduate, etc, etc.”

I also used that as my own excuse, but again, because of Greg’s talk, he mentioned that he was depressed during his final year, and I really don’t feel like this is just stress. My point is, I think you’re probably right, Supine, but again being a Student, it’ll be hard to explain without just sounding like… a Student.

With the benefit of hindsight, I was depressed before college but my time at college was where my depression ramped up significantly. I was able to be productive, graduate with a high GPA and participate in activities but I was absolutely miserable. I kept pushing myself to do all of those things because of the big list of “SHOULDS” that were in my head and the fear of disappointing others.

Yes, there is plenty of stress as a student but, for me, the stresses only got bigger as I joined the workforce, got married, bought a house etc. The fact that you’re taking these steps as a student is quite mature. Any professional who discounts that is not someone you should entrust with helping you.

There are people out there who can and will help. My advice is to schedule an appointment with a therapist in addition to the appointment with the doctor. The therapist will give you an hour of undivided attention that will allow you to voice your concerns with no judgment. A therapist will be able to figure out how being a student fits into the picture but it shouldn’t be the entire frame of the picture.

In my case, there was a 15 year gap between being a student and when I finally sought treatment. I don’t dwell on it but I can’t help but wonder how things would be different. I spent all of my twenties and most of my thirties completely unhappy and wondering what point there was to anything in my life. I hope you don’t experience the same thing.