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To Ask About Your Experiences Discussing Anxiety with Your GP?

(40 Posts)
picklypopcorn Mon 23-May-16 08:49:49

Posting here for traffic, apologies!

I've been struggling with anxiety for 4 months and this morning took the plunge and booked an appointment to see a GP about it tomorrow morning (God bless country GP's eh?)

Problem is this has made my anxiety a lot worse and I now don't know what to tell him/ how to act?

Hopefully DP is coming with me for support, can I ask what's likely to happen? What will they say/ prescribe? Can you share your experiences?

situatedknowledge Mon 23-May-16 08:56:22

My GP actually told me that the state I was in was down to anxiety. I will forever be grateful. It had been a blight on my life since I was a teen, and I didn't know what it was. I did a group course of CBT and it has changed everything for me.

JuxtapositionRecords Mon 23-May-16 09:43:38

My GP was great. I just explained exactly how I felt and gave examples of when I felt most anxious and what would happen. I also had PND and again, the GP was amazing. I was put on anti depressants and offered CBT. I couldn't have asked for better support both times.

You will be fine don't worry flowers

MintyBojingles Mon 23-May-16 09:45:02

The GPs I've seen in the past were great. Do remember they will have seen it before. Hope you get the right support flowers

birdtails Mon 23-May-16 09:58:04

I went to my GP last November after struggling with anxiety on and off for about five years. She was absolutely lovely, including when I couldn't help bursting into tears! She really listened to me, and gave me a form which asked me questions about how I was feeling (eg how often are you struggling with anxiety, a) most of the time, most days b) most of the time, some days, etc etc), this then gave me a 'score' that helped us both work out exactly how much I was struggling.

She put me on the lowest dose of Sertraline (50mg), which was mainly for anxiety but also for depression. I've had no side effects, apart from when I would occasionally forget to take them in the first couple of weeks, and those side effects were minor.

Well done for taking this step, as it can feel very scary! Whatever happens you've done the right thing in reaching out, and acknowledging that you have a problem. If you'd like to ask any more questions, feel free to message me. flowers Best wishes!

Simpsonsaddict Mon 23-May-16 10:34:11

Ive spoken to a number of GPs over the years and have always had a lovely experience. With time I've realised that it's because it's more common than you realise, they see it a lot, so you can't say anything that is going to shock them.

I've been on medication, with some success, so if that seems like the best thing for you, go for it. But try to take any therapy they offer - I'm another advocate of CBT, it's changed my life.

How do you feel about talking to the GP? It can be hard to say it out loud, I once went, couldn't really explain it, and ended up going back having written a page for him to read, and he understood completely. Might be an idea to take some notes to fall back on or read?

Wish you all the best and hope it goes well - it really is brilliant that you're taking the first step x

picklypopcorn Mon 23-May-16 10:51:27

I like the idea of writing it down, I'm extremely tearful at the moment and my mood is shifting pretty much hourly. Example: when I wrote this post I was close to tears and tight chested, right now I'm absolutely fine and have no anxiety at all hmm

There's no telling how I'll feel tomorrow morning! I'm taking DP with me hoping he'll be able to put into words the things I can't.. he's getting the brunt of this at the moment and because it's all so new to me (I've never had any mental health concerns before), I get really really scared when my anxiety kicks in that I'm losing my marbles and he's going to leave... completely irrational fear but there you go!

So nice to hear your experiences have all been positive, I'm reluctant to go down the AD's route probably due to stigma more than anything. TBH the way things are right now I'll try anything!

How do you guys cope day to day?

theredjellybean Mon 23-May-16 10:58:45

I do hope it goes well
It is useful for GPs to hear specific examples of how your anxiety affects your life, rather than 'i feel anxious'....if you can.
For instance:
do you get anxious going out ? Have you restricted or reduced your social life because you get anxious ?
Do you worry about your health ? your family's health ? ( health anxiety is getting to be a very common problem ) Do you look things up on the internet and then worry ?
what is your sleeping like ? do you lie awake worrying ?
Do you feel or know that some of your worries are irrational ?
do you have any 'funny or quirky' habits you have to do ? do you worry if you do not do them ? ( i often ask this is i think an anxious pt may have some ocd traits)
Have you always been 'a worrier' or did something happen that started you feeling anxious ?
Has your anxiety impacted you being able to work ?

These are the sort of questions i sometimes use with patients , though try not to lead them, but if i feel someone is struggling to explain thier feelings it can help focus them.

you could look at these and try to think of a specific example to tell your gp...for example :

do you worry about your familes health ? ...yes i do...i worry al the time that dchild is ill, everytime he/she has a cold I am sure it is something much worse. I look up symptoms on the internet and am sure he/she/ me/ my dh has cancer . I then cannot stop worrying or reading up about things.

ToxicBits Mon 23-May-16 11:01:37

Really really positive and I wish I'd seen them sooner

picklypopcorn Mon 23-May-16 11:20:15

theredjellybean thanks for that:

My anxiety seems to stem mostly from work. If I'm criticized in any way, even for very minor stuff, it starts a kind of "spiral" downwards and within hours I've convinced myself I'm losing my job and therefore my house and occasionally by that point I've even convinced myself DP is going to leave me and I'm a complete waste of space hmm

It's easy when I'm not anxious to see that this is a complete over reaction but when I'm in the middle of it I can't see through it like my brain is "foggy". I can recognize when I'm being irrational even in the middle of an episode, but I can't calm myself down or regulate my emotions at all.

It all triggered when I was passed over at work for a promotion. I then ended up working directly under the person who was promoted ahead of me. In the days that followed my thoughts and feelings "darkened" and a general weighty feeling settled in my chest. This is when the inability to regulate my emotions started and I was either uncontrollably worrying and bursting into tears or becoming stupidly anxious/ upset about tiny things and just "shutting down" emotionally.

I'm tired constantly and getting 8 solid hours sleep a night. I can go to bed at 6pm and still wake up tired at 6am the following morning. I have no issues falling asleep generally but if I'm anxious before bed I will lie awake all night.

The thoughts which are real sticking points are the ones where I think I'm letting DP and myself down. Eg: not getting a promotion = "holding us back" and doing something wrong at work = losing my job and failing. Fear of failing is a huge thing.

Does this sound like anxiety or more like depression? Argh!

theredjellybean Mon 23-May-16 11:27:09

it sounds a very reasonable thing to go and talk to your gp about
it sounds a bit mixed depression/anxiety tbh and they are very intertwinned...a moveable feast.
do describe the 'foggy' feeling to your gp. Its funny when i talk to pts about starting ADs i describe how they help 'lift/clear the foggy feeling.

Those feelings of insecurity and anxiety around work are horrid and it maybe you were always a slightly sensitive personality ( no critisim) and the trigger for this to become more was being passed over for promotion.

You may also like to look up 'imposter syndrome' ( there was a good radio 4 programme about this recently) as many many people suffer from these feelings ..esp women working...teh feeling that you are not really good at your job and any minute now 'they' will discover this...

I think you would really benefit from cbt and AD...they are not about failing, they are about correcting a slight chemical imbalance causing huge problems !

BarbarianMum Mon 23-May-16 11:29:17

It could be depression. Either way tell your GP what you are telling us and let them diagnose you. A GP diagnosed my depression when I'd gone to them because I couldn't sleep - I had no idea I was depressed (was constantly angry and in tears with stress but it honestly never occurred to me). I was given tablets for 4 months and it all just dissipated, it was wonderful. That was nearly 20 years ago and I still regularly feel grateful to that GP.

picklypopcorn Mon 23-May-16 11:30:07

teh feeling that you are not really good at your job and any minute now 'they' will discover this...

THIS. 1000000000 times THIS. This is EXACTLY how I feel about it!!

TradGirl Mon 23-May-16 11:38:59

I think depression and anxiety often go hand in hand - they are sneaky and intertwined. I got an appt with the 'scary' doctor in our practice, started the appointment talking about one thing and ended up bursting into tears when I finally acknowledged I might have anxiety. He could not have been nicer. I will always be grateful for his kindness.

I tried an antidepressant for a few days but reacted badly to it (don't let this put you off trying them, I could have switched). Instead I had CBT (privately) which helped immensely. It turned out I had depression and the anxiety was a symptom. CBT helped immensely over a period of a few months and just talking to someone sympathetic helped a lot. Just be honest with your GP thanks

Simpsonsaddict Mon 23-May-16 11:46:25

Anxiety and depression definitely go together and feed each other - you get anxious, then depressed because you're worried about it and it makes you feel bad about yourself, it does spiral quickly. It's good that you can see what some of the triggers are.

It's also brilliant that you feel like you can take your other half with you to the appointment, and talk to him/in front of him about it, because it means you're not locking yourself away, you're already getting some sort of support. That in itself is really good x

JuxtapositionRecords Mon 23-May-16 13:51:33

Agree with others that anxiety and depression can be part of the same thing. I had it in that I got really, really anxious about everything, and the depression wouldn't let me lift my head out of that. It was like a vicious circle with each one fighting to be on top.

Please consider taking any medication they recommend. AD's work wonders very quickly (a couple of weeks and they start to 'level you out'). Any CBT can help for a longer term affect. In my experience most AD's are very easy to come off of so its not like you will need them forever.

Good luck tomorrow. Come back to us if you need more support after?

mirime Mon 23-May-16 13:55:53

My GP and I discussed treatment options - anti-depressants, beta blockers, CBT, other forms of counselling with me.

I went with the beta blockers as I can take them as and when I need them, and also decided make a concerted effort to rearrange my life a bit to make room for the things I've used in the past to keep anxiety under control. My GP agreed to this, particularly about having time for myself as all I was doing was working, toddler stuff, housework, sleeping (or not sleeping!).

Must say the GP was absolutely lovely and discussed the pros and cons of the different options, he asked me what I wanted to do, and I ended up feeling I'd made an informed decision that suited me - but that if it didn't work out or if I needed more advice/situation changed I could go back and see him again.

CheeseCake2016 Mon 23-May-16 14:02:54

When I visited my GP with this she was very helpful. She got me to complete a short questionaire about how I was feeling and from this she could tell if it was anxiety or depression I was suffering with. She gave me a choice of medication or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. I took the medication which worked for me but I did later see a CBT counsellor who was also good, she gave me a relaxation CD which I still use sometimes when I feel my stress levels rising.

picklypopcorn Mon 23-May-16 14:06:19

I haven't really thought about what i want the outcome to be, that's a very good point!

I'm not adverse to AD's, I do understand they have a place and might help level me off a bit in the short term. CBT isn't something I've thought about, how does it work?

cojmum Mon 23-May-16 14:34:10

My GP has been brilliant, I felt better just going and getting it all out. I felt awful before I went in, but I think taking that first step to talk about it with my GP was one of the biggest steps.

CheeseCake2016 Mon 23-May-16 14:34:17

My GP recommended a private counsellor as there was a long waiting list for an NHS one. I actually only went for one session which doesn't sound much but it did help and she recommended a CBT book for me to work through and a relaxation CD.
The GP also recommended this website but to be honest I didn't get much out of that.

theredjellybean Mon 23-May-16 15:07:42

i am not an expert on cbt...just suggest it to pateints smile
but a good friend has done it and says it basically 're-programmes' you to react or look at situations differently to the way you currently or inherently do.

so for instance the issue over feeling bad at work might go like this :

you are asked to undertake a report on something, you do the report and your boss reviews it and gives it back asking you to do a bit more work on one bit . You immediately think ' I am rubbish at this job, I can't do it, they all hate me , I am going to get sacked, we will lose the house, my DP will leave me...'
CBT 'teaches' you to think ' ok that is really good feedback, most of the report was good and my boss was pleased but that section i felt was not strong enough, i was right and now i know what i need to do. This happens in an adult workplace and is not a reflection on me or my ability'

theredjellybean Mon 23-May-16 15:08:30

you can do cbt on-line at home as well. My local health provider uses this a lot

Imogenj Mon 23-May-16 15:40:22

Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. People are often anxious about their drepression or depressed about their anxiety. CBT is particularly indicated for anxiety but a CBT therapist should work with you on the thoughts more associated with depression first (e.g I'm no good). CBT will help you to identify the thoughts going through your mind in relation to work that are extreme or catastrophic in nature and help you through various behavioural exercises to gather evidence for a more balanced view of your situation and a more self accepting view of yourself. Your GP will probably ask you to fill in something called the PHQ9 which is a series of statements about how you might be feel and you tick a number which applies to how often you've been feeling that way over the last two weeks. You will probably fill out another measure called the GAD7 which relates to anxiety - these just give the GP a flavour of how you've been feeling and if you want to be referred by your GP for CBT he or she can pass on this measure as a starting point. CBT waiting times can be long but in the meantime you could ask at your library about 'books on prescription' (saves you buying them!). One of those books is Overcoming Anxiety by Helen Kennerley which people find useful. It may be that online CBT is recommended to you, this is helpful up to a point but it's much more preferable to see someone face to face. If you are interested in CBT and want to go private then have a look at - this will have properly accredited therapists in your area. Good luck!

allegretto Mon 23-May-16 15:46:43

I have been suffering from anxiety for years and it has affected my family life and my career. My GP just told me to do more exercise. It doesn't really help though and I don't know what else to do. sad

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