I am 20 years old and at the uni now. I have never seen any kind of professional advisor, because I thought I could cope with my problems, until recently. I post it here, because somebody might be in a similar situation seeking help, too.

I was a shy, introverted guy at primary school and in college, and still am. I did not and do not drink alcohol at all, though am planning to have a nice first beer with my brother. Maybe it could have allowed me to relax in the past and party/make other people know me more, I do not know. I am not sure how relevant this may be, but my parents divorced 14 years ago. My brother was in his teens when that occured and he was devastated but I also endured a kind of a breakdown around a similar age as he did. My brother moved out very early. I stayed with my mother who has got a hell of a lot insecurities and I would often sink in her problems and try to fix her relationship with her parents (my mom is a teacher (working) and her parents also are (retired)). When I was 15, I had such a row with my mother that I almost fainted and an ambulance would take me. I moved out from her to her parents, which futher worsened their relation. This is sad to state, but I would rather confide in and trust a random person than anyone from my family, which is one of the reasons why I post this question here.

I am considered a mature, wise and intelligent person but I have trouble getting along with people, especially with women. I feel as though they can feel the bad vibe the second they see me and do not want to continue discussion, not saying of going on a date. I do not want to blame my mother, but I am inclined to believe it has taken some toll on me, because I can not stay with her for longer than 2-3 hours. We would talk normally, but after some time something inside of me would tell me to flee. I feel very sorry for her, and regret having told her about how I have felt about this, but she was pushing me to tell her why I had felt the way I had.

At school, I have always felt alone even though I had friends. Things like being chosen last on PE lessons would not bother me much then, but such relatively small nuisances are now re-emerging and cumulating.

Now, at the university, I have problems concentrating and can not put up with sad emotions, that is too much for me. I am afraid I will not make it to the 4th semester, and am even more afraid to tell my parents about it. Simple tasks are becoming overwhelmingly difficult to such an extent that I refrain from attending classes because I see no point in me going to them. I used to vent bad emotions by crying and I was used to it, because it seemed to have worked, at least for some time. But now, I can see it is deepening and last two times I felt I was a danger to myself.

I thought I was tough enough to get over this, but I feel that that strength is diminishing. At times I feel completely detached from my closest relatives, as though no bonds ever really existed. I do not know if this is insecurity, or me not being able to spot them because I try to suppress anything. Constant fear for the future and reminiscences of the past are very exhausting and debilitating. More and more often I can not help crying, it begins to take over me.

I am sorry for a long read, and thank you if you managed to go through all this text. I hope I made some sense out of it. Having written all this for some background I want to ask you, whether I should see a psychologist or go straight to a psychiatrist.

  • I hope you have sought help, and am sorry you are experiencing such tough times. I agree with seeing psychology and working regularly with them. But in addition to counseling, for some conditions, medication may add additional help and support - for example depression or anxiety, of which you describe several symptoms. Your psychologist can help diagnose you, but to prescribe it, you would need to see a healthcare provider such as your Primary Care Provider or a Psychiatrist.
    – DoctorWhom
    Jan 21 '17 at 14:36
  • +1. Thanks for posting! How have you been doing lately? Apr 25 '17 at 21:38

As going through your question, you show your inner feelings. So it is better you to go with "Psychologist".

Psychiatrist is a medical doctor, he or she has the knowledge and training to evaluate underlying medical problems or drug effects that could cause emotional or behavioral symptoms.

Whereas Psychologist deals with mental health. Psychologists have a doctoral degree in an area of psychology, the study of the mind and human behavior. They’re not medical doctors. A psychologist can have a PhD in philosophy or a PsyD in clinical or counseling psychology. Typically, they do 1-2 years of internship. Unlike psychiatrists, psychologists are also trained in giving psychological tests (like IQ tests or personality tests).

Reference : http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/features/psychologist-or-psychiatrist-which-for-you

"A psychiatrist is concerned with the patients well-being, however, their focus is primarily towards disorders such as a chemical imbalance, whereas a psychologist primary focus is on the patients thoughts, feelings and general mental health."

Reference : http://www.efpa.be/psychologist-psychiatrist.htm

So you can proceed with Psychologist.


I recommend a psychologist first and then if needed a psychiatrist. I suffered from severe depression for almost a year. I still suffer from depression but it's not nearly as bad and OCD symptoms are less severe. I saw a psychiatrist and was subscribed meds that worked for the most part but when I finally started weaning of my meds it was hell. Withdrawal was so bad I wanted to get back on my meds but didn't. It is better to get to the root of your problems and learn to cope than to just be on meds for long -term. But I am not a health professional and some people do need a combo of counseling and meds. What I'm saying is try counseling first.

  • Welcome to Health.SE. Since health is an important topic, the site has a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references, in order to provide the community with the means to assess the merit of the answer, regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center.
    – Narusan
    Dec 2 '17 at 6:07

You can go to a psychologist, a psychiatrist, or to your university's counseling office. Any of the three can help you. Go to whichever is easiest. Before trying your first beer, ask them whether or not they think it's a good idea yet.

If one of them thinks that you need more help from a different type of professional, they'll recommend someone good in your city.

If you have close friends or family, also gradually open up to them about your problems. They can be helpful too.

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