Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Helping patients with mental health problems

I started my GP placement today, and I am loving it so far.

One of the main reasons that today was so good was because I really felt like I made a difference to a patient who came in with mental illness symptoms. As I am in my 5th year, I have my own mini clinic with my own patients to see (obviously the GP reviews them afterwards), so I am able to feel more helpful and put my own skills into practise.

I took the time to sit down and properly listen to all of her concerns and worries, and I think that made a huge difference. We went through each and every symptom in detail, and tried to get to the bottom of what exactly was causing her anxiety and depression. It turned out that she had been getting suicidal thoughts because of the antidepressant medication she was on, so I was able to discuss other treatment options with her, such as counselling and other classes of drugs.

I think that my own experiences of depression really help me when I am seeing patients in similar circumstances. I know the sorts of things that I would want someone to say to me, and the options that I would want offered. I would want someone to try to understand how I was feeling, and know that I was in a really bad way, but still be able to offer practical options to help me get better. I would just want someone to listen. So that's what I tried to do today, and I think it paid off as the patient thanked me afterwards and said that she was glad that she talked to me.

I can tell that this placement is going to make me even more determined to be a GP, and help as many patients as possible in the future. I am hoping that I can utilise my own experiences in a positive way to help my patients and try to understand what is going on.

Every cloud has a silver lining - and the silver lining of my depression is that I get to help other people get through theirs!
Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.

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