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Advice Regarding Depression Treatment

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Well, I must admit that I’m somewhat embarrassed about posting here for help. I find myself in a difficult position and would appreciate some advice.

I guess you could say that I’ve suffered from a few symptoms related to depression for over the past three years. I’ve experienced memory loss, fatigue and headaches from a series of near-obsessive, negative thoughts about my self-image. My behavior has increasingly become more erratic, and I find it hard to recognize myself lately.

I’ve experienced emotional episodes, such as this one, throughout my life. They first appeared when I was in high school, and they were very disruptive. I learned to ignore these feelings by ignoring them. Ever since, I’ve occasionally fought back periods of stress and anxiety. Once I finished my undergraduate studies, however, they’ve resurfaced and I find the situation difficult to control.

I’m in graduate school now (which is a miracle in of itself), and I’m having problems functioning during my studies. I feel like I should talk to someone, but my career aspirations might interfere. I’m working to become a military historian in a museum, and I’d like to explain military weaponry to interested audiences. If I’m treated for depression though, would that inhibit my ability to work in that field? This is very stressful, and I could use all the advice.

You should not be embarrassed to ask for help. You’re doing exactly what you should be doing. In my opinion, you have actually waited too long to ask for help. You began experiencing problems in high school but ignored them. Had they been dealt with then, these problems might have already been resolved.

Millions of people receive mental health treatment in the United States. These people include lawyers, doctors, high-ranking military officials, congressmen, senators, and so forth. They may have received counseling or are taking psychoactive medications.

HIPPA laws guard your privacy concerning mental health treatment. Neither your employer nor your insurance company can obtain psychotherapy information without you signing a detailed authorization form. If you do not personally tell your employer that you are receiving mental health treatment, then they would not know.

You are concerned that treatment would inhibit your ability to work in your chosen profession. I believe those fears are unfounded. Treatment would enhance the quality of your life, not diminish it.

The best way to begin treatment for depression is to speak to your primary care physician. Ask for a referral to a mental health professional. PCPs are general practitioners who have many connections with specialists in the community. You can also try searching for a mental health professional by clicking on the “find help” tab above and entering your zip code. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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