How to Talk to Your Doctor About Depression

If you’re feeling depressed, it can be hard to talk about it. People are often afraid to burden others, have too much to do, or believe they won’t be taken seriously. Sometimes we just get used to our pain and forget that it doesn’t have to be normal to feel that way.

Speaking up about your depression and asking for help is a hard thing to do, but it has to start somewhere. There are listening ears out there, and one pair of them belongs to your general physician. It’s perfectly fine to reach out to a therapist on your own, but there are some reasons we recommend starting any new mental health regimen with a conversation with your GP. We’ve got some recommendations for starting that conversation.

The best way to start a conversation with your GP about your depression is to start the conversation with yourself before making the appointment. Journaling is something we’ve recommended many times. Here are a few reasons why journaling is a good idea for your mental health:

  • Journaling is a way to keep records, so you don’t have to worry about remembering everything
  • Journaling is good for recording meaningful details, like what directly preceded a certain feeling
  • Journaling helps you express yourself in a neutral setting
  • Journaling helps with identifying patterns, oddities, and things one doesn’t understand
  • Journaling can take any useful form, from writing in a notebook to audio memos to art

Once you’ve made the appointment, it’s time to prepare for the visit. Take down some notes about

things you want to make sure you talk about with the doctor, like these:

  • The particular kinds of emotions you feel, like sadness, fatigue, anger, anxiety,
  • Whether your moods come and go quickly, last a long time, or combine
  • If your negative feelings have a focus, like worrying about the future
  • Any questions you have for the doctor
  • What you want to get from the visit, like being scheduled for tests or referred to a specialist
  • Any highlights from your journal you want to show the doctor Be honest with your doctor about painful issues like these:
  • Recent traumatic events, like a loss
  • Disordered eating
  • Substance abuse
  • Problematic relationships
  • Bad habits

Mention physical and environmental issues that could be affecting your mood, like these:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • GI issues
  • Toxic workplaces
  • Injuries and/or ailments that the doctor might be unaware of
  • Family history
  • Medications and supplements

Be sure to let your doctor know of any other desires or limitations you have, like these:

  • Religious specifications
  • Accessibility requirements
  • Financial status
  • Insurance coverage
  • Types of treatments you do and don’t want, such as medications or group therapy

Start a conversation about your mental health with us by contacting us on our website at any time, or by calling (585) 442-6960.