How to be Your Own Health Advocate

BY AYESHA KHALID

One of the biggest struggles once diagnosed with a mental health disorder is trying to find doca team of medical professionals who are supportive and non-judgemental. This can be challenging because while some doctors are very knowledgeable and kind, you occasionally run into some that are not. For example, my first physician who diagnosed me with anxiety simply gave me a diagnosis without offering any suggestions or treatment plans. Her advice was basically, “learn to live with it.” She told me that I had nothing in my life to be stressed out about so I shouldn’t complain. I didn’t seek out a second opinion because I thought that there was nothing I could do to get better. I also ended up feeling guilty because I thought she was right – I hadn’t gone through any type of trauma, so I felt like I did not have the right to complain.

Another time, I had an appointment with a psychiatrist because I was worried about my sleeping patterns. As soon as I mentioned that I had some issues sleeping, he immediately began to write a prescription for sleeping pills. I quickly told him I did not want to take anything for sleep but just wanted to know some of my options. I thought that was a little risky just to be handing out medication like that without taking a proper medical history first.

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