We know that talking to your doctor that first time can be extremely daunting. If talking to a GP is too scary at first, try talking to a helpful and empathetic family member, friend or colleague. If you have never told anyone about your SA see our pages on talking to friends or family.
Please also see these links about talking to your GP. Although they are about other conditions they will give you ideas about what to say and expect from your GP.
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk – Talking to your GP about your mental health
Before starting to speak with your doctor, you could consider telling them that you are nervous, e.g. “I may look and sound fine, but inside I am really nervous. When I talk to doctors I become very anxious, my mind goes blank, and I can’t easily explain what’s wrong.”
Your GP should be aware that social anxiety is a common mental health problem.
• You may be able to ask your GP to ring you rather than you having to attend the GP practice in person. You may need friends or family to help you make the first phone call.
• Write out your questions ahead of time. This way you will not forget them. You may want to practice saying out loud before you go.
• Take some paper in case you need to write down the answers you get. Make sure you understand what you are hearing.
Ask the doctor to clarify anything that is unclear. You have a right to know your treatment options and be helped.
• Have someone with you when you speak to your doctor if that makes it easier. In addition to having the emotional support of a friend or family member, that person can listen to what is said, think of questions, and ask for clarification when necessary.
Although it can be intimidating talking to professionals about personal issues, it’s your doctor’s job to listen and understand. Trusting your doctor and talking about your social anxiety may be hard, but sharing how you’re feeling is the first step toward getting help.
If for some reason you feel that your doctor isn’t helping (it is possible some GPs are less competent than others when dealing with mental health problems), you may want to look for someone else. You need to feel comfortable and safe with whoever is treating you.
See our pages on what the NHS offers.
Remember, if you need, you can also self refer to NHS CBT.