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Logistics of seeing a therapist

FreddieAltFreddieAlt Registered User new member
edited December 2009 in Help / Advice Forum
I need to know how to get "help" and specifically what kind of "help" I need and the logistics of acquiring it.

I've been somewhat depressed for the past 18 months, and I've been trying to work through my issues on my own. However, I am currently home with my parents for the holidays and things aren't working out here. I lie in my bed hating myself and feeling miserable in the pit of my stomach all day, and I can't find the willpower to ever get up and leave the room for more than a few minutes at a time. And then once nighttime rolls around and my parents go to sleep I start drinking alone in my room, usually to the extent that I black out and pass out somewhere on my floor. This has been going on for about a week.

The reason I haven't gotten help before this point is that while I've been depressed it had been for some real reasons; there are a lot of personal issues going on in my life and I've always just believed that once I was able to figure a few of them out and get on my feet again then things would work themselves out. I still think this is the case, but I guess how low I've gotten at my parents' house and how I've started drinking makes me think it's time to get help.

However, there are a few specifics to my situation that make this difficult. For starters, my parents can't know I'd be going to see a therapist. It's complicated, but there's just no way I'm going to let them know. However, when I'm home for the holidays I'm reliant on their car for transportation. I know absolutely nobody else in this state. Second, I'm not knowledgeable about insurance or health care or anything like that. I have my university's insurance plan, but I don't know how it works. Am I covered for seeing a therapist in this state? If so, would my parents somehow become aware that I went to one? I have absolutely no idea where to get started. Do I need a referral from a primary care physician? Do I just call up a psychiatrist's clinic and ask for an appointment? What about the fact that I'm only here for three weeks? I could wait until I go back to my university and get help then but I'm facing a more immediate problem in that I really don't think I can go on like this for another three weeks. Do I just cope and wait?

I'm sorry if I'm sort of incoherent and rambling. I've never really dealt with health issues on my own. My parents have handled all the doctor appointments and insurance work. I don't even really know what questions I should be asking here in order to figure out what to do. Just kind of lost. Maybe I could get some initial advice so I'd know what questions to ask specifically?

FreddieAlt on


  • admanbadmanb unionize your workplace Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    1) If you're over 18, there's no way your parents should have to know anything.

    2) We can't tell you how your university's insurance works. Look it up.

    3) The main reason get referrals so that you know you're going to someone that someone you trust (your doctor) trusts, so you should get a referral.

    admanb on
  • NerissaNerissa Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    if it's really an emergency that can't wait until you get back to school, you could just make an appointment with a physician, which would make it easier for you to mislead your parents as to the reason for the visit if you absolutely MUST not let them know

    most physicians will diagnose depression -- of course they'll mostly want to treat it with medication, but thet might work as a stopgap until you can get back to school and can see a specialist

    Nerissa on
  • psyck0psyck0 Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I would expect your university to have a health clinic. They should have therapists there. Check them out. It may well be free (but it may not, since you guys are so afraid of socialism down there).

    Once you're seeing one, if they suck, get another. It is absolutely essential to have a good therapeutic relationship, and some therapists don't work for some people. Some also suck. Don't be afraid to move on after 1 or 2 sessions if you don't like them.

    psyck0 on
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  • MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009

    If you are in an emergency situation, like, if you don't feel safe right now, you can and should simply go to the emergency room and ask for a psychological evaluation. They will bring you in, take your vitals, you'll see a doctor who will give you a brief physical, and then you'll be introduced to a therapist or social worker who is on call to deal with these kinds of issues. They will conduct an interview and then give you options for treatment, ranging from staying in the hospital to being connected with a therapist. That referral may take some time. You are not consenting to being held against your will by showing up at the emergency room. You can walk out any time.


    Step one is put down the bottle. You're drinking too much as a coping mechanism and you should stop entirely for a while. You may be able to drink responsibly again in the future but right now you're drinking for a reason and it isn't helping. Alcohol is a depressant. That word is not innocuous.

    Therapy generally does not require referral, but you will need to make an appointment and many therapists will be booked solid. Psychiatry often does require the referral. The difference is that a psychiatrist can prescribe medication (though some are also therapists).

    You should be able to call someone at your university and ask about how you are covered. Check any forms you have from them for information lines. Often they will make a big show about how their mental health programs work; university can be stressful and they're sensitive to that. You may or may not need a referral, it will depend on your insurance plan. Depending on the state you are in, this could be very difficult. However, your university might be able to put you in direct contact with a therapist, though that's unlikely if you are not in the same state.

    Lastly, please don't be like I was and decide you're not going to see a psychiatrist or take the meds because you think they're going to change you or some shit like that. Anti-depressants really help for a lot of people and you will not feel zoned-out or not like yourself or anything like that.

    PM me if you have any other questions I guess

    MrMonroe on
  • MrMonroeMrMonroe passed out on the floor nowRegistered User regular
    edited December 2009
    I also wonder why you can't let your parents know about this.

    MrMonroe on
  • That_Spoony_BardThat_Spoony_Bard Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    Most of what I had to offer was already said by the other posters:

    If you think you are a danger to yourself or others, go to the nearest ER

    Most universities have a CAPS program (Counseling and Psychological Services) that is free to students. Most sessions are short term (3-6 sessions) but they usually work with you depending on what's going on, and usually have a list of therapists that you could go to.

    Generally, if you're over 18, your parent's won't have access to your insurance records unless you sign an release of information.

    Some cities have a 24-hour crisis line if you feel you need to talk to someone. I'd look it up in whatever city you live in.

    That_Spoony_Bard on
  • supabeastsupabeast Registered User regular
    edited December 2009
    There are people at your school who get paid to sort all this out for you. Open your student handbook or surf around the school web site.

    supabeast on
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