This blog post has been written in collaboration with Bath Mind.
Reaching out for help is the first step when we’ve been battling mental health troubles, but can equally be the most challenging. From personal experience, I’ve found the fear of attention seeking to be the hardest to rid – despite the fact it’s not true. I’ve always found myself thinking; what if I’m just being silly? What if they laugh me out of the room? When I was at my lowest point, these were the thoughts I struggled to battle the most.
It wasn’t until I came to university that I discovered Mind’s “how-to” guide that takes you through how to prepare yourself for a doctors appointment regarding your mental health. Working with Bath Mind, we’ve written up this guide to help you discuss your mental health with a GP.
- Make a list, don’t be afraid to ask somebody to help.
If you’re a regular reader of mine, you’re probably sick of being told to “write a list”, but I promise you it can be helpful. More often than not, we can’t find the words to describe or even express what we’re going through. Writing a list, and I mean as simple as a shopping list if needs be, can help you get your key points across. If doing so feels impossible for you, consider asking a close friend or family member to help you. Sometimes, an outsider’s point of view can be beneficial too.
Society has almost trained us to downplay our struggles and emotions due to the stigma that still surrounds speaking out about mental health. It’s advantageous to have somebody close that you can confide in to relay what’s going on, and for them to help you find the words.
2. You don’t have to go alone. You are not alone.
Whilst on the topic of friends and family members, it’s important to remember that although you may feel like you’re on your own, I promise you’re not. Speaking about your mental health can be challenging, let alone having to relay your thoughts and feelings to a stranger. If you feel able to do this- great! If not, there’s absolutely no shame in taking somebody you trust to go along with you.
When I first began to struggle with my mental health, my mum came along with me to each and every appointment and I’m hugely grateful for it. At the time, I couldn’t have done it by myself as I found the prospect of the appointments both terrifying and overwhelming. There is absolutely no shame in a bit of support, it’s about what works for you.
3. Take information along with you.
Sometimes how we’re feeling can be summed up perfectly by somebody else who’s been through a similar experience. Save and print any pieces of writing that have helped you. Collect any pieces of paper or journals you may have where you’ve written how you feel. Take these and any other useful pieces to the appointment.
If anything, it will provide comfort for what can feel like a daunting experience. When we discuss sensitive topics such as poor mental health, a natural instinct for some of us is to freeze-up and struggle to get the words out. Other times, we just don’t have the energy – this is why back-ups such as documents can prove useful or at least work as a comfort blanket.
For me, being in control when possible always eases my anxiety. Whether it’s writing plans down, or ensuring I stick to a morning routine, it always provides some reassurance and ease to me during times of need.
To find out more about Bath Mind and the services they offer, please click here.
Ciao for now x