Q&A With My Psychiatrist

I have a really great psychiatrist, Dr. Neysa Johnson in Southlake, and she was gracious enough to answer some questions for me about depression and treatment plans so I could share with you. 

If you have depression, will you always have depression?
You will not always feel depressed, but depression, unfortunately, is a recurring illness.  If you have an episode of depression, you have about a 50% chance of it coming back.

What kinds of things do you recommend as part of a treatment plan, i.e. meds, therapy, etc?
A treatment plan should be well rounded, and usually includes both medications and therapy, as well as self-care like good nutrition, exercise, and sleep.

After starting a treatment plan, how long does it take to feel better?
It partly depends on the treatment, but for most antidepressants that are used to treat depression or anxiety, it can take up to 6-8 weeks to feel the full benefit of treatment, but a lot of people start feeling better in 2-3 weeks.

How will I know if I’m getting better?
I tell people that they will begin to feel more like themselves.  Treatment doesn’t change your personality or who you are, but it gets you back to your baseline.  You may not notice things at first, sometimes others notice changes before you do.

What kind of lifestyle changes will help my depression/diagnosis?
Managing sleep, nutrition and exercise can definitely affect your depression.

What’s the best thing to do in a crisis?
Self-care is really important.  Keeping a regular sleep schedule and getting enough sleep and eating nutritional meals on a regular basis are very important.  Exercise is really vital to stress relief, and finding a way to exercise even if you are in ‘shelter in place’ is essential. Emotionally, sharing your feelings and fears with others is very helpful to knowing you are not alone in how you might be feeling.  Reaching out for treatment may be needed in a crisis; and if you already have a mental health condition, keeping in touch with your treatment providers can help a lot.

How many patients do you see?
I see up to 13 patients a day for follow ups, less than that if I am seeing a new patient.

How long have you been practicing?
I have been in practice for 13 years, private practice for 10 years.

What are your credentials?
I have my M.D. from UTMB Galveston, and I did my residency at UT Southwestern in Dallas in Psychiatry.  I am board-certified in Psychiatry.

If you could tell your patients anything what would it be?
To be open with me about how they are feeling and if they are having any side effects from treatment so we can decide if we need to make changes.

I think the question that resonates most with me is, “If you have depression, will you always have it?” I (and so many others) work hard daily to stave off depression and it’s tough to see that I’ll probably always have it – and that it might come back. Right now, my depression isn’t terrible; I’m pretty high functioning, but it seriously exhausts me going through all the daily tasks I have to do in order to make sure I’m ok. Not great, just functioning. Just ok. I think that’s why it’s so important to focus on a treatment plan, stick to a healthy routine and I’m glad Dr. Johnson mentioned sleep, good nutrition and exercise as cornerstones to a treatment plan. 

Also, I’m glad she talked about self care during a crisis. Self care is always important but now that most of us are in isolation, it should be a priority. Honestly, being at home and not able to do much is just fine for me; however, dealing with the kids all day is exhausting, both mentally and physically. I can see how others being at home, away from friends and family would be tough and the urge to reach out might not be there. 

I know it’s hard right now but every storm runs out of rain, right? Take care of yourselves.

For more information on depression and other mental illnesses, please check out the American Psychiatric Association’s website. 

And as always, if you are feeling suicidal, you can call  the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online with someone here.

5 thoughts on “Q&A With My Psychiatrist

  1. Ashley L. Peterson – Canada – I'm the author of three books: Psych Meds Made Simple, Making Sense of Psychiatric Diagnosis, and Managing the Depression Puzzle. These are informed by my professional experience as a former pharmacist and mental health nurse, as well as my lived experience of major depressive disorder. My goal with Mental Health @ Home is to challenge mental illness stigma and provide a safe space for open dialogue to empower others to share their voices.
    ashleyleia says:

    “Treatment doesn’t change your personality or who you are.” I think that’s such an important point, especially when it comes to the whole idea of pill-shaming.

    1. Heather Loeb – I’m 36 years old and suffer from Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder and Binge Eating Disorder. I live with my husband and two small children in Texas. I hope my blog helps to end the stigma of depression and other mental disorders.
      Heather Loeb says:

      Yes!! Great point.

  2. mentalhealth360.uk – United Kingdom – Mum to two amazing sons. Following recovery from a lengthy psychotic episode, depression, anxiety and anorexia, I decided to train as a Mental Health Nurse and worked successfully in various settings before becoming a Ward Manager. I am a Mental Health First Aid Instructor and a Mental Health Awareness Trainer, Mental Health First Aid Youth and Mental Health Armed Forces Instructor. Just started my mental health from the other side blog.
    mentalhealth360.uk says:

    Hi Heather, I’ve nominated you for an award and I hope you’ll accept it. I look forward to reading your answers and getting to know a bit more about you. Look out for my blog post tomorrow. Caz x

  3. This is such a great blog and initiative! Its wonderful how you document these q/as so other people can also understand and realise that they’re not alone- I’m new to wordpress and I just came across your blog and its a great one!

  4. This a great initiative and a great post! I’m sure the more we talk about our mental health the more we slay stigma and spread awareness. I’m new to wordpress and I just came across your lovely blog!

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