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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What kind of help do I need?

    I feel like there is something wrong with me but I am not sure what it is. Several doctors have told me I am depressed and I should take medication but I don't think medication is the answer. I have seen 3 psychologists and have not liked any of them. I always leave feeling stupid and worse than when I went in.
    I get tired, to the point where I can sleep anywhere. I need to be woken up by someone in the mornings. I cant make decisions, and if I do make them I dont follow though. I eat for no reason. I cant remember things clearly. I am not particularly interested in having or making friends. Things that should be important to me are not any more eg. finishing my degree.
    I used to be incredibly angry and unpredictable to the point where people were scared to be around me, I still have outburst but nothing like in my past.
    I have felt pretty average for about 10 years now and need some guidance on what to do to feel better.

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1


    My research interests include immunology and the mechanisms of amyloid formation. The latter has implications for people who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's Disease … View Profile

    I am sorry to read that things are hard for you right now.

    As far as your possible depression is concerned, I suggest that you check out the BeyondBlue site ( for GPs in your area who have experience of helping clients with mental health issues. Such a GP will probably meet your needs better than an “off the shelf” one.

    With regard to your tiredness, there are many possible physical reasons for this. For example (an observation, *not* clinical advice), your thyroid gland might be relatively inactive. A complete check-up from a GP, including what is called a Full Blood Count, might shed some light on it.

    All the best.

  • 1


    Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    Sorry to hear how things are for you right now.
    I'm curious as to why you don't think medication is the answer, whether it is because you don't think the symptoms you have are depression or whether you don't take medication as a rule?

    I'm not massively in favour of medication per se, but it can be very helpful in certain situations, and it may be something you could try if other things aren't working. Balanced with a wellness program it could be something you only have to use temporarily to get you over a difficult period. The symptoms you have described sound very unpleasant to live with day after day, and sound like they are common to those experienced by people with depression and other medical conditions.

    It's a shame that you have tried to see quite a few psychologists but not liked them. I'm wondering again what is is you didn't like and if you know what is was they said or did that had the effect of you feeling worse afterwards? Just so you know, you don't have to see a psychologist. Your GP can refer you to a mental health professional on a Medicare mental health plan, and this could be to another professional such as a counsellor/socialworker/mental health nurse  - sometimes working with someone who can look beyond your symptoms to what else is happening in your life now and what has happened in the past might be an option. If you can identify what it was about the previous professionals that didn't gel for you this can be helpful information to share with another counsellor - so that s/he can make sure they can address your needs in a way that does invite you to feel more comfortable.

    Alternatively, a naturopath might be able to help. Naturopaths can work with a range of chronic conditions and can use herbal treatments as well as counselling to help work out what is going on for you.

    The good news is that you obviously have quite a lot of tenacity in how you have approached your wellness and healing, I say this because you clearly have persisted seeing GPs and psychologists with the aim of getting better -  this commitment will stand you in good stead to eventually work out - with or without a professional - what is going to help you recover.
    Good luck

  • amco

    HealthShare Member

    Hi Charlotte, 
    With regard to medication I don't want to have to rely on a tablet to improve my life. That said I sometimes will take painkillers just so I can blur out life for a bit. For a while that worked but not so much now. I don't want there to be side effects. I don't want to gain weight, that would make me more miserable.
    So far I have seen 2 counsellors, 1 psychologist and 1 psychiatrist and I am going to see another counsellor this week. The 2 counsellors I saw always wanted to talk about my upbringing, I'm the first to admit it wasn't conventional but I can wholeheartedly tell you that that is not the problem. The psychologist told me after about 3 sessions she couldn't help me an the psychiatrist told me to take anti depressants. 
    I am making a decision about whether to continue with my studies this week. Currently I feel like my supervisors have abandoned me despite my asking for help and I have such crippling anxiety about my work that it has become impossible to do anything anymore. 
    Basically I feel like a massive failure. 

  • Julian McNally

    Counselling Psychologist, Psychologist

    Julian McNally has practised counselling psychology since 1995. He trained in client-centered and solution-oriented approaches before discovering Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 2003. The mindfulness … View Profile

    Hi amco,

    This is a really tough time for you, especially after so long dealing with these issues and finding that so many attempts at getting help have not worked out. That does not make you a failure. Your feeling that way is an illusion your mind is creating - it feels real, but isn't. In exactly the same way that people will swear that these two squares, A and B, are different:

    I am loath to criticise another professional, but it seems to me that the counsellors you have seen have not tried to understand how you want to change. I'm sure you all agree on the direction of the change - more engagement with life, more confidence in your own decisions and actions, and more healthy actions like eating well and socialising. But what they haven't done is work with you using your ideas on how the changes can be made.

    There is plenty of research to show that people tend to get better when their own preferences are made central to the therapy. It's a shame your former therapists haven't implemented this practice with you.

    For example, from what you've written I'm sure the reason you want to avoid medication is not because you are “resistant” or “non-compliant” or even severely depressed (which you may be, but it's not the “reason” for your choice), but because you value having a sense of self-efficacy. Turning your situation around without relying on an external “mechanical” aid would be a validation of your efforts to date to solve your problems. 

    Charlotte's suggestion about trying ACT could work out for you. If you want to get a feel for what ACT is like, I developed some podcasts for RMIT some time ago that use ACT exercises. They're not therapy per se, but you can get an idea of what it's like: 

    Also, Simon's suggestion about blood tests is worth following up. There is a substantial proportion of people diagnosed with depression who actually have thyroid conditions that mimic the symptoms of depression .

    Good luck and be patient.

  • Often enough, we do not know our own mind. In the process of dialogue with another person, we are able to clarify what we think … View Profile

    Sounds like its very tough for you at present.
    I do wish you luck with your next counsellor - hopefully s/he will be able to identify what kind of treatment is going to be the most beneficial for you.
    Counselling and therapy usually work well as part of an approach that also entails paying active attention to other areas of life, such as diet, exercise, lifestyle, stress management and so on. And its unlikely to be a ‘quick-fix’ solution, so you have to hang-on in there for a good few sessions and a good few weeks of exercise/diet/etc before you will see any progress. Ask your counsellor about ACT (Acceptance and Commitment therapy) an approach that might help you. 

    Take care - depression and anxiety can be managed in ways that ultimately give them less power over your life. Trust that you will find what you need. It's not unusual to have to visit a few practitioners before you find one you can work with longer term.

  • Kristen Ross

    Counsellor, Kinesiologist

    Kristen Ross is a qualified Kinesiologist, Counsellor and Sports Therapist.Affinity Wellness is her holistic wellness practice offering a holistic wellness experience by focusing on all … View Profile

    It sounds as though your aversion to medication comes from an instinctual understanding that you have the abiiity to improve your circumstances without it and I applaud your tenacity in looking for the answers.
    Not every therapist is equipped to help everyone and you should be treating your sessions as interviews to make sure that you are seeing someone who is on the same wavelength as you are. 
    If you have not found the talking therapies to be of assistance then I would recommend that you investigate kinesiology to examine the underlying subconcious causes of your depression. Personally as both a kinesiologist and counsellor I have found kinesiology to be a great starting point for many of my clients who are depressed and who do not want to rely on medication. 
    You can find out more information about kinesiology on my website or check out my blog which contains many articles on kinesiology treatment. 

    Best wishes, 

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