“If you wanted to start medication, you should consult with your primary care physician or a psychiatrist,” Sellers explains. “While it’s totally fine to consult with a medical doctor about medication, if you’re feeling anxious or depressed because of your current situation, these issues normally aren’t chronic, they’re acute.”
According to Sellers, therapy would often be a starting point when first addressing your mental health, and adding medication to therapy over time can be a viable option, if needed. Your therapist or psychologist, while they offer valuable resources, cannot prescribe medication but can refer you to a psychiatrist who can.
Although medication has helped many people with anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses, it’s also important to know that different medications can affect people differently, and it can also take a while to find the correct dosage or create medication to fit your needs. There are many helpful guides available to help you determine whether medication is the right move for you, but it’s important to get a consultation with a licensed therapist first, especially if you are dealing with mental health problems for the first time.
How do I get started when I can’t even get out of bed?
While most of us understand that therapy can be a very useful way to process our emotions or get a better handle on our mental health, it can still be difficult to take the first steps to seeking out a doctor. One of the main reasons people don’t seek therapy is due to lack of motivation.
“Low motivation is a typical symptom of depression,” Sellers says. “When you’re depressed, it can be hard to take care of oneself on a basic hygiene level let alone seek therapy. When we’re feeling this way, it’s important to push ourselves to do things like eat, take a shower, and call a therapist, even if we don’t really want to, because we know that it’s what’s best for us and we’re going to feel better afterwards even if doing it is hard.”
Even when we know it’s important to do these things, it can still feel impossible to start on rough days. According to Sellers, it’s important to start small: break big tasks into smaller ones, and don’t put yourself on too rigid of a schedule. Even if you just reach out to one therapist a day or make a to do list and slowly complete tasks on it, Sellers says, it will help you in the long run.
How can I get over the stigma attached to therapy?
Another reason many people don’t seek therapy is due to the stigma around therapy and poor mental health. While the negative connotation around therapy in the United States has significantly lessened in recent years, there is still a big stigma around therapy and discussions of mental health in certain communities, particularly in the Black community. This negative connotation can be debilitating for Black people, especially right now, as the escalated racial tension in America can be particularly draining and emotionally upsetting for Black Americans.