I’m twenty-one years of age. I suffer from tremendous depression, although I am undiagnosed. It’s reaching an unbearable pinnacle, and I feel that if I don’t receive the appropriate assistance, that things will progressively accelerate and I’ll never be an effective person. The depression arises sporadically but frequently, and I can honestly say I’ve spent more time depressed than happy throughout the course of my life. As a result of my depression, my sleeping pattern is highly unstable, unpredictable, and unhealthy. I’ve noticed it seems to vary depending on the season, or perhaps my observation is purely psychosomatic. It seems that during the spring and summer seasons, I’ll manage to crawl into bed around five or six a.m. During the colder seasons, I might not get to sleep until noon, thus I’ll wake up around eight p.m., and I’ll end up napping from around midnight until three a.m. My bedroom is an absolute atrocity. The nature of it is so terribly embarrassing, and I’m beginning to feel ashamed of myself. Several months ago my father passed away due to multiple sclerosis, and shortly thereafter I developed a fear of death, and also began having panic attacks.
I honestly feel as though I’m falling apart. I feel as though I’m past the point of recovery. I feel like crying. When I truly think about it, I’ve got so many unresolved issues churning inside of me. What’s worse is that I’m alone. My family can’t seem to comprehend where I’m ever coming from, and on top of that, I’ve never felt comfortable speaking with them about personal matters.
Here’s the exact nature of my question: First off, I have hardly any money, nor health insurance. How can I go about receiving psychiatric attention? Secondly, I know that I need antidepressants, but I’m also frightened at the potentiality of misdiagnoses. I’m afraid that an inappropriate dose, or the wrong medication altogether could only worsen me. What can I do to alleviate these concerns?
Thanks in advance, Brian
Dear Brian, please know that you are not “past the point of recovery.” You are simply at the point where you recognize that outside help is needed. Being able to recognize when outside assistance is required is a sign of an insightful person. Moreover, because you are open and willing to seek help, now is probably the time when therapy will be the most beneficial to you. I am glad that you’re ready to receive help.
You asked about where you can seek treatment without much money and no insurance. Do you attend college? Most colleges have outstanding counseling centers. Their psychological services are usually very comprehensive and free of charge to students.
If that is not an option for you, try your local community mental health center (CMHC). Most CMHCs employ therapists, psychiatrists and case managers. Check the phone book (usually in the front section of the White Pages and listed under “counseling” or you can check under “psychological services” in the Yellow pages) for these services. Usually, CMHCs offer free or low-cost counseling services. You might even be eligible for a mental health program that would pay for your counseling. Each CMHC is different and you would have to check with your local agency to see what each offers.
You can also try doing an Internet search for “cheap or free counseling services” in your area. Many communities have their own small, individual programs that assist individuals who need counseling who have limited funds and no insurance. You might have to search for a program that meets your needs but it will certainly be worth your effort.
You mentioned that you know that you will need antidepressants. Antidepressants are not always indicated in the treatment of depression. Many people are able to decrease their depression through talk therapy alone. Antidepressants are helpful to many and you may benefit from them but don’t assume they are always required.
You said that your father recently passed away. Losing a parent is extremely difficult and it is likely that part of your depression is related to this event. Because of your recent loss, you might want to also consider a grief support group. It might be helpful to interact with other people dealing with the loss of a loved one. If you are interested, you might want to check out this link to grief support groups.
I hope some of these suggestions help you find a way to access treatment and please remember that it is never too late to seek help. Thanks for writing and I wish you luck.