Starting to see a psychiatrist is a big, positive step but getting there takes some build up. During that build up, there might be some anxiety, fear or downright paranoid fantasy. Here are five unfounded fears about seeing a psychiatrist in the hopes that once they’re written out, they’ll seem ridiculous (like they are) and dissipate immediately. (One can hope!)
1. He tells me my problems aren’t a big deal
What if I call, make the appointment, trek all the way there, and bare my soul only to have him wave his hand and laugh at my concerns? What if tells me my problems aren’t worth his time? Or they’re all in my head, or I’m being overly dramatic? What if he sends me home with a pat on the head and more questions than answers?
This is a paranoid fantasy I have. I worry I’ll put myself out there, be vulnerable to this doctor and then just get nothing in return. I have to give him something to work with but what if he doesn’t want to work? People who haven’t had to seek help for mental illness might not get this but it takes a lot of courage and build up to even call and make that appointment. That’s where this fear comes in.
2. She says my problems are the worst she’s ever seen and tells me, “There is no hope for you!”
What if I get there and he hears my concerns and stories and then is just like, “Wow. Okay. Well there’s nothing I or any other psychiatrist can do for you because you are MESSED UP.” What if he immediately commits me to a mental hospital? What if he deems me unfit for society? What if he says I’m the worst case he’s ever seen and I am beyond help?
I mean, probably, this won’t happen but it’s a similar fear as to #1. Not hearing what you need to hear or putting yourself out there and getting a bad reaction from a medical professional.
3. He puts me on meds that make me loopy and dim
Let’s say, he thinks I need to be on medication. Meds are kind of a gamble of science. There’s some expectation of needing to tweak levels or figure out the right pills. It might not be perfect the first time around (it certainly hasn’t ever been for me when I’ve gone on meds). So a fear some people have is that going on medication might just make whatever’s wrong worse.
4. The whole thing is an elaborate scam or a long con wherein the psychiatrist takes my money or credit card information, identity-thefts me and then uses the private information I’ve given him in our sessions to blackmail me into providing him with food, weapons and a getaway car. I’m then implicated in the crime and sent to prison as my con artist psychiatrist makes for Mexico with my cash and my secrets.
Hey. I said they’d be paranoid fantasies.
5. Nothing ever gets fixed
This comes from the idea that psychiatry is somehow supposed to “cure” me, but I don’t think that’s what the goal is. There is no “cure” for mental illness. That’s not how it works. Going into it with the idea that things are going to be “fixed” forever isn’t a good way to start. But when you’re desperate or afraid, you just want to be “better.” There is no idea of “better.” I don’t think you can go into it with goals like that. I hope.