Five Excuses that Might Prevent You from Getting Help for Depression

Frittilaria in a Copper Vase by Van Gogh

So you know you have depression, or you’re pretty sure you do, but you’re putting off doing anything about it. Procrastinating is a fairly common state of affairs for people with depression. I once put off renewing the registration for my car (before I was diagnosed with depression) and of course it expired, as they do. I ended up getting a huge ticket, about one week’s pay, because I was unlucky enough to be in front of a state cop in stop-and-go traffic. It seems really stupid now that I didn’t get it done, but I do remember the complete lack of motivation that came with my depression.

Lack of motivation is one of the ways in which depression can screw up your life, especially when it is keeping you from getting professional help for your depression. You may think you have good reasons for not getting help, but are they reasons or excuses? I don’t know if these could be considered the top five excuses, but they’re definitely the ones that I’ve heard most frequently.

1. Maybe it will get better on its own.

It might. And then again it might not.

Even if it does get better on its own this particular time, there’s a very good chance it will come back. Untreated depression tends to recur and eventually, in many cases, become permanent. Also, how long are you planning to wait till you realize it’s not going to get better? Weeks or months? Do you really want to waste that much of your life?

2. It won’t do any good to see someone – they won’t be able to help me.

These days, more than 80% of people with depression can be helped by medication, therapy or a combination of both. So the chances are much better that you can be helped than the reverse.

And that’s probably the depression talking, to a great extent. One of the hallmarks of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. It’s really hard to believe that there could be a positive outcome. Trust me, it’s more than possible.

3. I don’t have insurance.

This is one of those things that in many cases is an obstacle instead of an excuse, but in many cases it can be overcome.

There may be a mental health clinic in your area that operates on a sliding scale, i.e., they will charge you based on your income. When I first started mental health treatment, my insurance wouldn’t pay for it because they considered it a pre-existing condition (they were basing this on the fact that I had told my doctor a year before that I was stressed. Don’t you just love insurers?). The upshot was that I would have to pay my mental health care on my own for eighteen months.

I talked to my family doctor and he referred me to the local hospital. They had a mental health clinic that charged on a sliding scale, and so I paid $30 per visit, based on my salary at the time.

If this type of facility or payment plan is not available to you, see if your doctor has any suggestions.

4. I just don’t feel like it.

Honestly, chances are that if you’re depressed, you don’t feel like doing anything, right? This inertia is a part of your entire life, so why wouldn’t it affect your quest to get better? You need to recognize that this is one of those things that is worth summoning all your energy and resources for. Remember, if treatment works, everything else will get easier and require less effort.

5. The doctor will make me take medicine, and I don’t want to.
First of all, the doctor won’t make you do anything. He or she will suggest a course of treatment that may include medication, but that doesn’t mean you have to go that route. When I was first diagnosed, because my depression was so severe and of such a long duration, the doctor suggested both medication and therapy. I refused the medication for the first six months for some reason that I really don’t remember, but I did go to therapy. Ultimately I made the decision to go on medication, which was definitely a good decision.

Talk therapy in combination with antidepressants is felt to be the most effective way to treat depression, but it can be effective on its own for mild or moderate depression.

So if you think that one of these excuses is holding you back from getting treatment for depression, you owe it to yourself to move past it and get some help.


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  1. I have been feeling depressed for about 3+ months but worried about going to the doctors as I have twin boys who I adopted 5 years ago & worried social services will get involved if they know I am not coping.

    1. Hi Alison,
      I am pretty sure social services would not even be notified about your doctors appointment. I don’t think anyone would take your boys away because you sought help. Don’t suffer needlessly. There are plenty of online sources now that you can use as well.. Online forums and you can pretty much stay anonymous, perhaps chatting with others on there will alleviate your fears about visiting Doctors or even just listening to how others are managing their problems helps. I do hope you get some help.

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