ES’s story

I hadn’t been well for a long time; I was only sleeping 8 hours a week and distancing myself from my friends. I wasn’t keeping in touch with anyone and felt as if everyone was in disagreement with me on everything. No matter what I did, someone was always offended. Finally, I couldn’t even leave my home because I was oppressed by the thought that someone would always think I was doing something wrong.

Finally, I called my local public mental health services and asked them whether I should talk to a psychiatrist about this.

The woman who answered the phone was very kind and asked me all kinds of questions about my feelings and wellbeing. Finally, she said that my symptoms sounded like mild depression and made an appointment for me with a psychiatrist.

I felt good going to the appointment because I assumed that I would get help and answers. That didn’t happen.

My psychiatrist was an older man whose first question was, “Why are you here?” He had a slightly confrontational tone, and I didn’t feel at all like I could share my story with him. I managed to answer that I suspected I was mildly depressed, couldn’t sleep and didn’t have the courage or even the will to leave my home and see my friends.

During the time I spent in the room, he asked me maybe four questions, leaning against his desk on the other side of the room, looking at his computer. He felt like a very cold and distant person who made me not want to be there anymore. Finally, he stated that there was nothing wrong with me that couldn’t be cured by going for a jog every night; I should just get up from the couch and go jogging, and all my problems would disappear.

His highly unprofessional answer mostly made me angry, so I thanked him and left.

I went home telling myself that I was fine and that these problems and delusions were somehow my own doing. Ever since, I can’t even think of going to see a psychiatrist again, neither him nor anyone else.

The background of the story

As a part of the #HelpWorthy campaign we collected students’ stories about seeking help and the challenges associated with it. We published the stories during the campaign period between 12 and 23 April 2021 to show how multifaceted experiences students have had when seeking help. This story was published as the second of a total of seven stories. You will find the other stories on the campaign page.

With the #HelpWorthy campaign around Students’ Mental Health Day, we wanted to encourage young people and students to share their own experiences. Above all, we want to encourage you to seek help whenever you feel the need.

When you need support, there is help available. The most important thing is not to be left alone with your worries. You will find various bodies, which offer help to students and young people in various challenges in life, by category on our website.

If you are dissatisfied with the care or treatment you have received, you can contact the patient ombudsman in the health care organization that cared for you (link to FSHS). They can also give you advice on how to make more official complaints. The most important thing is that you do not give up after a bad experience, but that you gather your strength and try again with another professional. You are helpworthy!

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