How many of you have seen a psychiatrist or psychologist? If you have, what was the thing that made you go?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    I went to a psychiatrist when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He gave me a prozac like drug.
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    Feb 21, 2012 3:10 PM GMT
    I was in my early 30s (31, 32), single, and a vast number of men I knew, from those I had romantic feelings for to those that were just acquaintances were dropping dead, rather horribly, from the Great Plague.
    The psych, after several visits, told me my feelings were normal. He said that I was single, gay, in my early 30s, and that people all around me were getting sick and dying. He said that if I wasn't feeling anxious he'd have me in therapy, lol.

    -Doug


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    Feb 21, 2012 3:41 PM GMT
    The Veterans Administration (VA) has had me see both over the years. First time was in 1996, when they gave me a "provisional diagnosis" of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease). Always terminal and not a pretty way to go, they assumed I'd need psychological support. Not me.

    Unimpressed, I told them I'd wait until the diagnosis was confirmed, which depended upon the development of more symptoms over time. They never did, and 16 years later I'm told they never will at this point, a misdiagnosis.

    Instead, 3 years later the VA diagnosed me with epilepsy, and that one has stuck. And once again the VA had me seen by mental health people, since depression is common with the condition, running about 60%. I got put on every kind of anti-depressant as a standard procedure, trying one after another as each one had side effects that were unacceptable to me.

    I saw no improvement in me, nor did others who knew me. Instead, I became an emotional zombie, and a sexually impotent one at that. I told the psychiatrists that I couldn't think of a better way to MAKE a man depressed than to make him impotent.

    And the reason there were no improvements was because there was nothing wrong with me in the first place. DUH! I dropped all their meds, except the anti-convulsants for the epilepsy, and I've never been better.

    I believe depression can be situational, or medical. Situational when your mother has terminal cancer, medical when you have some condition that produces it. Situational when you learn you have cancer yourself, one that killed your own father, and it's not a misdiagnosis. So that I jumped the rails myself for a few months, both depressed and having a bit of panic, before pulling myself back together. I took no drugs for it.

    Situational depression can go away by itself when the cause of it is resolved. Medical depression may require more long-term treatment, like the VA thought my permanent epilepsy would need.

    I will not contradict what the OP's psychiatrist has prescribed for him. But I would suggest that he discuss with the doctor the option of weaning him off any drugs, if he remains on them today. If, or when, the situational issue of his mother's terminal cancer is past, the need for Prozac-like support may diminish until it can be removed. A decision for the doctor, but a question which the patient should ask.
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    Feb 21, 2012 3:49 PM GMT
    Born a lucid dreamer, I must have instinctly shut them off (I can turn them on and off even now) sometime between my early childhood (which I suspect a lot of people do), when I could not discern the difference between my waking and sleeping lives, and my later teen years when I was becoming more sexually active.

    In the years leading up to coming out, my dreaming was becoming too intense for me to handle, having all the experiences described these days as lucid dreaming, as out of body experiences, as astral projection, all of which I now consider aspects of dreaming. But back then I didn't know what the hell was going on.

    I didn't have any of the right information to help me understand my experiences and that made it difficult for me to function in society. Though simply googleable now, there was very little published in the West on the topic then. Charles T. Tart had published Altered States of Consciousness. Stephen LaBerge was working on lucid dreaming, I think at Stanford, and I started searching out good translations of original texts of Eastern literature. But none of my family or friends could relate to my experience. I had no one to talk to about it. There was no internets! No one to help me understand. It was very disorienting and so I sought counsel.

    I started off with a psychologist who is the head of an institute today. He helped me balance my thinking somewhat. But I wound up with one of the most intelligent guys I've ever been privileged to know, a psychiatrist who would eventually become my very dear friend and mentor, who would beat me consistantly at billiards and who later in life would help me manage my mother's Alzheimer's Disease.

    Though now dead, the therapy of his counceling, the wisdom of his mentoring and the love of his friendship help sustain me all these years later. I miss him. He was a good man.
  • mar0302

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    Feb 21, 2012 4:27 PM GMT
    I've been a few times in my life for 2-3 months.. death of my grandmum that raised me, and a couple of very emotional breakups.. you bring your car to a mechanic when somethings wrong, why is it bad to go to a counsellor to talk through your problems and find a solution? It's better to see a professional than rely on friends or family..
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:31 PM GMT
    mar0302 saidyou bring your car to a mechanic when somethings wrong, why is it bad to go to a counsellor to talk through your problems and find a solution?
    It isn't!!! In fact, it's much, much better since they've been trained to identify and deal with issues.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:32 PM GMT
    I've seen both, but I prefer psychologists over psychiatrists. Psychiatrists will just try to treat the symptoms with drugs; psychologists tend to focus on modifying behavior to eliminate (or at least help you get control over) the source of the symptoms in the first place.

    I think everyone's situation is different -- there are some people who benefit greatly from meds, and there are others who don't.

    In my case... I had a big breakdown when I was 28 due to work stress. I had been promoted three times in as many years and just wasn't equipped to deal with all the added responsibility, long hours, people management, etc. I flipped out, took some time off, and have continued to struggle with a lot of anxiety and depression since then... although things are mostly under control now (without any meds).

    I'd say start with a psychologist first and see if you get any benefit out of it. You may be able to get things under control without resorting to meds.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:40 PM GMT
    I usually go for medical treatment due to my bad temper.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:41 PM GMT
    swimguychicago said
    mar0302 saidyou bring your car to a mechanic when somethings wrong, why is it bad to go to a counsellor to talk through your problems and find a solution?
    It isn't!!! In fact, it's much, much better since they've been trained to identify and deal with issues.


    That is a great point and studies have found that when you have a crisis in life that requires medical help, talking to a counsellor plus/minus medication is FAR more successful and effective than just medication alone. As nuts as I find Pat Robertson to be, I share his dismay at the number of Americans who are taking anti-depressants, prescribed mainly by their general physicians and then left on indefinately, which is not how they were intended for use.

    So, two take away points from my post:
    1) talking wiht a professional is better than drugs alone
    2) if you go see someone for help and the first thing they do is give you a drug and send you on your way, find someone else; that person is not out to really help you.
    3) When you select a counsellor, remember his answers will be colored by his beliefs (i.e. if you see a guy at achurch there will be a lot of Bible based stuff and so forth).
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:42 PM GMT
    For depression and anxiety due to coming out to family and their disappointment, reconstructing an identity not tied to what my parents taught me, and hopelessness for career/future while living in the most expensive city in the English-speaking world. It was a quarter-life crisis.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:58 PM GMT
    JPtheBITCH said
    Edward23 saidI usually go for medical treatment due to my bad temper.

    what a shock
    what does that mean?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 21, 2012 4:58 PM GMT
    Both for anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Still see them and still medicate, also for OCD.
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    Feb 21, 2012 5:25 PM GMT
    I have seen a Psychiatrist, two different ones actually. I did not want to go but my mom forced me to go in order to try to convince me that I was not Gay.
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    Feb 21, 2012 8:18 PM GMT
    I had a few sessions with a psychologist when I decided I wanted to start dating guys. It helped put things in perspective and made me realize it wasn't going to be that scary and my life wasn't going to be that different. After a few sessions, he suggested that I just go about living my life and get back in contact with him if I felt I needed to. It worked out fine for me and I never needed to go back.
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    Feb 21, 2012 8:25 PM GMT
    I went due to an ex that fucked my head up but shortly realized it was him icon_lol.gif
  • LJay

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    Feb 21, 2012 8:32 PM GMT
    Went to see an ologist when I was in college. Didn't do much for me. didn't last long either.

    Never been to an iatrist, but have lately come to realize that the 'prescribes a lot' part of it is true.

    If, these days, I were to consult, it would be with the ologist, though frankly I prefer a good drinking session with a friend once in a while.

    Swimguy, if you are feeling that you might want to see somebody, check around for references to the tried and true and start with an ologist. As I see it, the big thing is to be able to sort out for yourself what is dealt with in the therapeutic interaction, because ologists tend to be VERY non-directive.

    To echo the comment above about hitting the gym, have you considered just taking some time to get your life in good order--friends, finances, feelings, fitness, etc.? Maybe after that is time to talk to the nice person.

    Good luck.

    PS--40 is nothing

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    Feb 21, 2012 8:36 PM GMT
    LJay said I prefer a good drinking session with a friend once in a while.


    That can work really well sometimes too!
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    Feb 21, 2012 9:35 PM GMT
    I went to both.

    I was contending with a wide variety of issues, and they expressed themselves as the winning combo of bipolar disorder 2, anorexia, and dysmorphia (it was a very conflicted internal conversation I was having). My first session was the result of a violent public meltdown I had when a woman of African descent snatched a drum from me during an African Dance class and screamed at me in front of everyone that I was defiling the drum with my White hands. I cussed her out, and some other people of African descent took her side by default, one of whom was a young female who presumed to take a swing at me. I got up with the intent of beating the shit out of her. And I would have, too. (Ironic that people in Los Angeles like to pretend they don't live in one of the most racially segregated cities in the USA, but that's a whole different topic). At any rate, I refused to back down from them. I hadn't said anything racially motivated to any of them, but they all kept coming at me, so I picked up a box and threw it at someone. It was a large box. I was very small at the time (owing to the anorexia). It was all quite shocking. So, I (the White guy from South Carolina) was forced into anger management therapy, though I did tell the faculty they could suck my balls before I would write a letter of apology. At any rate, all of that happened because I was hungry.

    I started therapy, and although I still regularly told them all to fuck off whenever they had anything to say to me from that day forward, I did finally start the 8-year process of eating when I was hungry. And that has made everything much better since.

    The end.
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    Feb 22, 2012 3:29 AM GMT
    I'm studying to be a mental health counselor, a profession like a psychologist. I've been seeing psychologists on and off since I was a kid for various therapy and some consultation with a psychiatrist. It's always been a helpful experience (but not with the psychiatrists)
  • Trepeat

    Posts: 546

    Feb 22, 2012 3:32 AM GMT
    Voluntarily went to see a psychologist a few years ago, after my madre told me that she wouldn`t allow me to turn straight to anti-depressants without getting some counselling, as well. All I wanted was to get on the drugs, knowing that talking my life over with some stranger wasn`t the answer for me at that point. We had a few pretty awkward therapy sessions, during which he concluded that my unhappiness was situational -and rightly so- and that some SSRIs would make my life easier.
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    Feb 22, 2012 3:35 AM GMT
    Yeah, once I could afford it, I entered therapy - individual and group. It was the first time I confronted childhood sexual abuse and sexual anorexia. I did it for over a year, and I think it helped only a little. In group, there was just too much pain to deal with every week. The best thing that actually helped me on a personal level was being in the army and facing death. That really helped.
  • maxferguson

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    Feb 25, 2012 8:05 AM GMT
    swimguychicago saidI went to a psychiatrist when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. He gave me a prozac like drug.


    I had a very similar situation. My mom had recently passed with lung cancer and my swimming wasn't really adjusting, so I went and spoke with our team's designated sport psychologist. He's extremely well regarded and actually worked with the Calgary Flames for a while, but now he does amateur sport.

    My overall experience was great. I went a few times, and he helped me get back on the right track. I'd say there were a lot of things that were important to the success of seeing him. 1.) Know what your problem is (or the symptom of it). This gives the psychologist something to attach on to and figure out how far you need to come to get where you want to be. 2.) Be completely open. This is probably half of the battle. You wind up doing a lot of the talking (well, I did....) and when you're unfiltered about how something affects you or what it means to you, you sort of talk yourself to the root of the problem. 3.) Trust them -- having a reputable psychologist is a big factor in this. But know that it's not like talking to a friend; they are only interested in why the gears are jamming upstairs. It's hard for a mechanic to fix a car when you won't open the hood. 4.) Keep a journal -- everyone hates hearing that, but I kept a journal every day (okay... every other day....) and wrote out how I felt about the days events, what I made of them etc.... in relation to the original problem (#1). After writing out that day's thoughts, I went back and read the entry before it, and before that one and so on. This lets you see your progress for yourself. If you write honestly, then it's just your thoughts on a page with no interference from anyone else. When you start to see improvement, it's a lot more motivating than simply having someone tell you that you're improving.


    Anyway, hope this wasn't too specific and that you can use too.
  • maxferguson

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    Feb 25, 2012 8:07 AM GMT
    Also, I just realized I wrote about a psychologist. Psychiatrists are great and well trained, but their basket of solutions to the problems you come to them with are medicinal and psychological. For sport at least, I think it's important to really iron out the kinks in the topography of your psychology on your own; it's a lot harder to slip backwards after that. However, if you're battling severe depression, etc.... then medication might be called for
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    Feb 28, 2012 5:18 PM GMT
    I started going to a psychologist early in high school for depression, before I acknowledged to myself that I was attracted to men. I found a counselor recommended by the ex-gay organization Exodus in my area and saw him for a year, which I thought was helping. It did give me some hope. Moved away to college the following year and things fell apart (my ex-gay identity, my conservative religious belief system, among other things) and I saw a therapist to help get my life together and accept reality.

    It's been insanely helpful. Still working on it but life's a lot better now than it was when I broke down. I highly recommend everyone see a therapist if they have the means. It's a valuable tool in learning about what's going on in our lives and how to objectively work on the issues that are bound to be there.
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    Feb 28, 2012 5:52 PM GMT
    cjs176 saidI have seen a Psychiatrist, two different ones actually. I did not want to go but my mom forced me to go in order to try to convince me that I was not Gay.

    And...?