I called the number I was given by the doctor and no one picked up (which made me feel dejected and like they didn’t want to help me, I know this was very irrational as their main purpose is to help people like me) so I left a voicemail. After the weekend, which felt like forever, I got a call back.
The lady I spoke to, let’s call her Karen, was as lovely as the doctor but probably more professional. She asked me the usual age, race, sexual orientation (which I said I would prefer not to answer because it doesn’t matter). Then she asked me three questionnaires which were something like this: (I can’t remember exactly)
Thinking of the past two weeks, 0= no days, 1 = a few days, 2 = about one week of the two, 3= every day.
In the past two weeks, have you felt low, agitated or down?
In the past two weeks, have you had difficulty sleeping?
In the past two weeks, Have you felt anxious leaving the house because of a phobia?
Then I had to answer on a scale of 1-8 or 1-10, (I am not sure why I am struggling to remember this it was only the week before last haha):
Are my emotions affecting my relationships?
Are my emotions affecting my hobbies and the things I would normally do?
There is a free self assessment on the NHS website if you wanted to check yourself but I would recommend ringing, even if it after you’ve done this self assessment: http://www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Mood-self-assessment.aspx
After the questionnaires, and a few tears shed on my part, Karen told me I had depression, low mood and some anxiety. This was a strange feeling, like everything I didn’t want to be true was true but at the same time it felt like a weight had been lifted, I finally knew for sure that I wasn’t just crazy. She told me about the best options for me and we decided together that I would have over-the-phone therapy (not counselling as I have no past traumas) called cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). She explained that this involves a phone call every two weeks to talk and check on my progress and between them I have a booklet to work through. I have not started yet but will do this next month so I will post about each development.
I was going to write about CBT but I don’t think I know enough about it yet and I don’t want to be giving out false information. So far i know it involves my thoughts affecting my feelings which then affects my physical body and my actions (I think).
There was another option of going to a group therapy each week but I said I might not be at home if I decide to go back to university so the phone calls were the best option for me. However, there is a one-off group thing that I am going to tomorrow for two hours, I don’t know exactly what it entails and I am really quite nervous about it. I think it could involve a lecture about everything? Karen did say some of it won’t apply to me but it may be helpful to go along to get an idea of what I will be doing.
I will keep you updated on how tomorrow goes!