Q: I could go into the details of how I have felt such negative, depressing things for a very long time- from suicidal thoughts, worthlessness, inability to focus, endless crying, crazy appetite fluctuations to a horrible body image, feeling like a failure at everything I do despite my “achievements” (above 4.0 GPA, leadership positions, long term boyfriend, etc.) alarming scores on depression quizzes… I know I could write on forever about my depressing feelings and experiences. However, the reason I’m writing is that while I think I may have a form of depression, will anyone believe me? I’m am such an introverted person and I am not familiar the world of therapists, so I wonder: If I did tell my family and doctor, would they really believe me? I feel like I’ll be expected to perform on cue, having to pour out all my depression for others to behold as proof. I know that I have expressed a lot of my depression to my boyfriend, but I don’t know that I could do it to a stranger. My dad always thought of such acts as signs of weakness, and I’ve tried so hard to keep my feelings inside of me as much as possible. I’m even scared of writing this letter because I am afraid those writing responses will tell me they don’t believe I really have a problem. My mindset is that no one else around me is in my head feeling and thinking what I am, and so they cannot understand just how seriously depressed I am. I feel so alone, please, if you can help me, I would really like to hear what you have to say.
A: I’m sorry you are feeling so badly. The answer to your question is that it doesn’t matter if anyone believes you. You don’t have to get a general consensus from loved ones before you can go to therapy. You mention that you are 18 and a college freshman which means that you are legally an adult and can seek your own medical treatment. There are several avenues you could pursue. You could ask your family doctor for a referral and it is up to you how much detail you give, you can call your insurance company for a list of therapists in your area, you can see if your college has a student counseling center, or you can see if your town or county has a community mental health center or women’s center. Once you find a therapist, everything you tell them is confidential so you should feel free telling them how you really feel and how painful it is for you. It is part of their job to believe you and help diagnose what is really going on for you. I also recommend talking to a few therapists to see if it seems like a good fit for you, or if after going for a while you don’t feel comfortable, try a different counselor before you decide this isn’t for you. It sounds like you have many talents and strengths and that can only help you overcome this. However, it is also important to understand that depression is a clinical disorder and can happen to anyone, even successful, intelligent, healthy people. Good luck.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 23 Feb 2007
Counts, H. (2007). I think I’m Depressed, but will my parents/doctor/therapist think so?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 11, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/23/i-think-im-depressed-but-will-my-parentsdoctortherapist-think-so/