Should I get a new referral?

Hi, so. In my 20s here and trying to get a diagnosis. I have already been to my GP and got a referral to a doctor who could assess me. However, that was almost a year ago now.

The delay was due to a) my anxiety at having to call up during work hours, while at work, and then ask for time off, b) self-doubt overtaking again, c) anxiety over leaving it for so long, d) classic ADHD-style procrastination.

Should I get a new referral, or will that one still work? I’m really worried it’s going to look like I don’t need a diagnosis since I left it for so long, and I’m really anxious now because I don’t know what I’d do if this avenue’s been messed up, too.

I’ve already had bad experiences trying to get people to take me seriously, but over time by symptoms have only gotten worse and it’s becoming really clear that this IS impacting on my life a lot. It’s too late to do this part right but I don’t know if I should even try to set up an appointment today like this - I really don’t want to waste anyone’s time by trying if I need a new referral.

Help?

It may be worth a call to your doctor to ask if the referral is still good. If not, asking for a new referral can be the first step.

Once you have the referral (or are sure it is still there), making a list of some of the anxieties and barriers that you have to seeking help can be a good way to start. Maybe share that list here and see what other brains can say to support you? I think a lot of us have dealt with barriers when it comes to seeking help in the past, including not being taken seriously, the anxiety about talking to someone, or the fear of having or not having a diagnosis.

I’ve found it’s also helpful before going into an appointment to make a list of your concerns, questions, or symptoms you’d like to talk about. Otherwise I go into an appointment and I forget or I get so anxious that I turn into a deer in the headlights and completely lose track of any useful information. When it comes to seeking help, it’s a great time to have an agenda. Being an advocate for yourself and planning ahead can safe time and heartache.

Whatever you do too, it’s important to decide why seeking help is important to you. Maybe it’s because life is really hard doing it on your own the way you have been. Maybe it’s because other people have suggested you might need extra support and you’ve wondered that too. Maybe it’s just because you’re curious and you want to know more about your brain or how you work. Or maybe you really really really want to feel better than you do and this is the first step to making that happen.

So, I’d reach out to the doctor and see if the referral is still there. If not, maybe ask for a new one and then get the process started. You might have to make it a priority. Maybe when you get the referral, ask if the doctor will let you use your phone to call and schedule while she/he is still in the office with you? Then tell other people about your appointment so they can remind you. Put it in your phone. Make another appointment with your doctor so when you come back she/he can check in and see if the appointment happened.

Accountability can be key.

Whatever you end up doing, good luck!