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  1. #1

    Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    Hi everyone,

    Sorry in advance for the long post! Iím wondering if anyone can provide me with advice on my situation. As supportive as they are, my friends and family donít understand what Iím going through and I donít really know where else to turn.

    Hereís a bit of background on me. My only official diagnosis has been generalized anxiety disorder, but based on my own reading, I may also have traits of OCD and borderline personality disorder (BPD). I have chronic anxiety about many things and have difficulty controlling my emotions. I tend to always think worse case scenario and sometimes get sent into panic mode where I only think in black and white. I also can be very sensitive and lose control of my emotions during stressful situations, such as when I have a fight with my boyfriend. This has caused a lot of distress in my life over the past few years. The only way I can think to describe my anxiety is that it Ďlatches oní to different scary thoughts that I have, which then spiral out of control and I cannot stop obsessing over the thoughts. In the past my anxiety has been mostly focused on my health (convinced I have heart disease, cancer, etc), but recently it is on intrusive suicidal thoughts. Right before Christmas I had a bit of a mental breakdown and was not able to function normally as I was having unwanted thoughts about suicide or losing control and hurting myself - even though I didnít want to. I convinced myself that it was a possibility as I have self harmed in the past and it really scared me.

    I decided to go to my GP as I couldnít function in the state I was in. However, my GP is on vacation right now and a few doctors are filling in for him. I saw one of the doctors just before Christmas and I told him what I was going through. He seemed truly concerned for me but also very reassuring, gave me the numbers for crisis lines, and said that I needed to make an appointment for right after the holidays to come up with a treatment plan that would probably consist of medication and therapy. He gave me a prescription for 20 tablets of clonazepam to get me through the holidays until I could get back into the doctorís office. He told me that while they are habit forming that I should not be scared to take them if I needed it to get through the day. I felt really reassured that we had a plan, and I had the clonazepam as a ďback upĒ if things got too hard to handle. I ended up doing pretty well over the holidays and didnít need to take the clonazepam but felt comforted that I had it. I made an appointment by his recommendation to get counselling through my school and the first appointment is for the end of January.

    Today I went back to my GPís office and there was a different doctor filling in. She had a totally different outlook than the other doctor I saw before the holidays. She told me I should never take clonazepam or any other medication as if I did I could become dependent on it and a drug addict. She suggested a meditation iPhone app and counselling from my school as solutions and told me that ďeveryone goes through having anxietyĒ and that I just need to learn that itís all in my head. I now feel very discouraged and belittled. My anxiety has been so bad that I cannot leave the house or do anything but cry in my bed for days at a time. Iím willing to give the iPhone app a go, but it seems very hopeless to me that this is the only help Iím offered. It just seems that I was told if Iím feeling scared of being suicidal that I should play meditation games on my iPhone to make it go away?? I donít feel that Iím getting the help that I need and Iím scared of taking the clonazepam now. My counselling appointment is only for the end of January, and even then my school only offers short term counselling (a few sessions max). I told this to the doctor and she said I probably only need a few sessions to learn how to stop worrying about everything. I was hoping maybe she would refer me to a psychiatrist due to the severity of my anxiety lately, but she seemed to think that the counselling will be enough (I hope it is)Ö

    Can anyone give me advice on what I should do? I desperately need help to get through this. At my first appointment I was so hopeful and now I feel like my options are an iPhone app and a couple of counselling sessions. I just feel hopeless. I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm overreacting.

  2. #2
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    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    Obviously we can't give you advice, but I can give you my opinion.

    Your first appointment left you feeling reassured and comforted. So if I were you, I think I would take note of that doctor's advice. You don't say why you went back, but I guess some other anxiety arose..? I would guess it can't be long before your usual GP is back. If I were you, if there were any way I could wait it out and see them, I would.

    Frankly, it sounds to me as though the second doctor you saw is one of those unfortunate individuals who do crop up in the system, who have little understanding and empathy around mental health issues. I wouldn't take anything she said too seriously, as long as you get to see someone sympathetic soon.

    Just hold onto which one of them actually made you feel better. You were happy with the prescription and how to use it until the second one planted doubts in your head. And it sounds to me as though she has her own issues of not being happy about prescribing. What kind of doctor says people should never take medication?!?

    I am sure you will be fine if you follow your instinct and the advice of the first doctor. And if you see your usual GP to talk it all through when they are back.
    Last edited by Speranza; 02-01-18 at 21:46. Reason: Edited because I have a Space Bar issue!!
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  3. #3
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    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    The second GP seems like an alarmist and I find it very strange that a GP doesn't advocate licenced medications???

    Benzo's are habit forming but you have to use them in certain ways to get into that. Taking a few won't make you an "addict", that's total ignorance from a GP.
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  4. #4
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    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    Quote Originally Posted by MyNameIsTerry View Post
    The second GP seems like an alarmist and I find it very strange that a GP doesn't advocate licenced medications???

    Benzo's are habit forming but you have to use them in certain ways to get into that. Taking a few won't make you an "addict", that's total ignorance from a GP.
    Absolutely. AND...
    He told me that while they are habit forming that I should not be scared to take them if I needed it to get through the day.
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  5. #5
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    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    So I know in most situations I say listen to your doctor but the second one you saw seems to be of the kind that doesn't understand mental health problems. Someone I know is also going through similar treatment and being made to feel guilty about having anxiety in the first place.

    Whether or not it's "all in your head" is irrelevant. What's important is that you're having symptoms and it's affecting your life.

    While everyone responds differently to treatment, I don't think it's wise to put a time restraint on your recovery and to be honest don't know what the hell the doctor is talking about when they say that a few sessions will somehow be the end of all your problems. How can they say that with certainty?

    I've been getting treatment for it for many years, I still have a ways to go but you can't put a time on recovery. I would also say that using medication to help you combat anxiety will in no way cause you to become a drug addict. If you have a COMPETENT doctor then they should be monitoring you for dependence anyway, it should be a case of "What helps you?" not "Oh don't take this because you'll be a drug addict"

    Meditation is not a cure all to every anxiety sufferer's problems, it IS beneficial and is absolutely a tool that those with anxiety should consider using...but to say that it will make all your problems go away on it's own is rather foolish.

    Sadly there are doctors in the world that haven't got a clue about mental health and think that it's just a matter of saying "it's all in your head" and all of a sudden you'll feel better. Not the case, hang in there and be sure to talk to your own GP about the way this has made you feel.
    Last edited by Mindprison; 02-01-18 at 23:43. Reason: Poor choice of words, didn't quite say what I meant to say
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  6. #6
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    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    If you have a GAD, which is considered more chronic, a few sessions is wishful thinking on that GP's part.

    I get the impression, as you are young, she is ignorant of mental health and thinks she has seen a young person having some normal issues we all go through which is nothing like GAD. All human beings experience anxiety but not disorders, which are difficult to deal with.

    I've had a GP like this years ago about my asthma. Asthma was not well understood 30 years ago and this GP was a bit of an old warhorse type and wouldn't use modern treatments to help me. As I was a young child, my mum made a complaint and we were moved to a young GP who actually had asthma and he was great. This GP sounds like an old fashioned GP to me, so I would be disregarding their ignorant statements in favour of the first GP who sounds good and then going back to my usual one.

    Write it off as a bad experience.

    Meditation is a great helper, it has helped me loads but it's a skill to learn & keep doing. The app is worth a go but it's just a tool in the toolbox to me and you have to try different things until you find what works for you.

    The fact you got through without the meds though is a really good sign. I've of the mind that you know when it's time for meds because you can't cope anymore but it's an individual thing. The first GP was buying you some time and a short course of a benzo is one way they do it, or something like Buspirone, before they move onto antidepressants which can really help but can be a bit of a minefield.
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  7. #7

    Re: Conflicting advice from doctors, feeling hopeless and looking for advice.

    Thanks everyone for your replies. It helps to get an idea of what treatment for anxiety "should be" like, since this was the first time I've really tried to get help for my mental health and it was pretty alarming!

    I'm going to try to follow everyone's advice by focusing on my visit with the first doctor. My first appointment was on a really busy day right before the holidays, so the second appointment was supposed to be a follow-up from the first to come up with a more detailed treatment plan. After the first doctor I felt so reassured, and he talked about the GAD as not being my fault. The second doctor made me feel guilty, embarrassed and hopeless! She kept saying that everyone goes through anxiety and that I just need to learn to get over it. If only it were that easy, right? Meditation (and probably the app) is definitely gonna help me, but it can't pull me out of a major panic attack/crisis or be this perfect all-in-one solution.

    The first doctor I saw mentioned that it might help me to combine getting counselling/therapy with antidepressants for a more long-term solution but the clonazepam was to get me through the holidays. The second doctor made it sound like medication is this terrifying last resort option... which makes no sense to me, since I know meds are a huge help to many people. Why would anyone prescribe them otherwise!? She was super young, so maybe not very experienced with mental health.

    My regular GP (who is normally great) is gone for 2 months, so I guess I'll have to sit tight until he gets back. I'm also hoping that my counselling appointment at the end of the month goes well... It just sucks to feel like I have to jump through tons of hoops to get the help I need - definitely isn't helping the anxiety any!

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