Sometimes it helps to share your stories. Say as much or as little as you like, use your real name or a pseudonym – it’s up to you. Sharing your story might help you or might help someone else to know that they are not the only ones going through difficult times. Read on to see what others have to share.
It’s the post-christmas lull where many people lose track of the days and make most of the time off work with family and friends. The focus is now on the penultimate event of the year, New Years Eve; what to wear? who’s going with who? who’s got the tickets? what time shall we get there? Or at least, that’s the assumption I make based on my social media feed. I wish I felt the buzz, I want to feel the buzz, the excitement, the drama. My boyfriend got us tickets to a small event in a familiar pub in town that I like but this doesn’t really help lower my anxiety. I have no close female friends besides my sister who lives almost 2 hours away and my mother, who is difficult sometimes and doesn’t understand how I feel and lives about 45 minutes away. I have a group of friends from uni but they’re mostly male and emotionally immature. During lulls like this, in-between work and being busy, I’m lost. My partner is at work. I want to be able to just meet a friend for a coffee/lunch but trying to make plans as simple as this is so hard. This morning, I knew today was going to be harder than yesterday (which I spent at home without getting dressed) so I attempted to contact a few people and posted an invite to our friendship group whatsapp. I got no replies, other than one which came about 2 hours after I asked and by this point I’d given up and sat in the bath for an unknown length of time. Sometimes when plans are made that I look forward to, I pull out at the last minute, for reasons I can’t put my finger on and hate myself for missing out.
I know I can call my parents or my sister (kindof) when I feel rough but something stops me. I think that if I start talking about how I feel I break down and it’s all real. When I talk to my boyfriend he says nothing, probably because he doesn’t know what to say. He just holds me. Which is sometimes all I need.
I see a councillor every Friday and I’m supposed to take anti-anxiety pills which do work wonders but I forget to take them and when I have to fetch my repeat prescription it takes what feels like an enormous fight with myself just to get out of the house to fetch them. I feel like no one understands how I feel no matter how many times I explain. I feel entirely alone in the world even when I know I’m not.
Hello. I’ve suffered anxiety on and off since I had my first panic attack aged 14. Recently I’d been doing well, had cut down on medication and was looking forward to buying my own place. I should have realised that uncertainty at work, a big house move, issues with self-esteem would cause a bit of a storm and I’ve had 3 pretty bad weeks following a big work project. I’ve just gone to the doctor and we’ve decided I’ll go back up on my meds. I’m trying to see it as a blip not a failure, but it is hard! Living with constant anxiety is so exhausting, I’m hoping the medication will help me cope better.
I was diagnosed with GAD and OCD in 2013 and finally, at the age of 55, my life started to make sense. I have been obsessive ever since I can remember – other people had interests, I had all consuming passions that totally took over my life. But I think it was when my dad dropped dead when I was 13 that the OCD kicked in. From then until my diagnosis, I basically lived in fear. For me, it was never about hand washing, although I did obsessively worry about being ill and constantly checked myself for signs. There was the counting thing (if I see three red cars on my way home, everything will be ok). Later, when I started work, I used to get panic attacks in meetings which was awkward if I happened to be conducting a one to one interview as part of my job! But, after I left work and moved to the Highlands of Scotland to be close to my husband’s brother, my OCD manifested itself in food. I became convinced that I would choke to death and as a result, every meal was a nightmare. I plucked up the courage to speak to a GP but he told me to “pull myself together”. That led to three more years of hell. I tried homeopathy, hypnotherapy. I bought “cures for anxiety” at great expense from the Internet. Eventually, during Easter 2013, my body said “enough” and I took myself up to bed in the middle of the day, shaking, cold, scared. I thought well this is it, I am going mad. This is the end. Luckily for me, it wasn’t. Although I didn’t eat for two weeks after that, I struggled on but went to my GP (a different one) about my stomach problems. Anyone who has had chronic anxiety will know it wrecks your insides. She took one look at me, prescribed Sertraline and sent me for CBT. I know for a fact that this saved my life. Three years on, I am still on the Sertraline and although I still get the intrusive thoughts, I am much much better. In fact, I think I am better than I have ever been. So, that’s my story and I really hope it helps someone.
Hi been off work now for 3 months due to anxiety and depression I was called in to work by my boss for a support meeting to see how they could assist me and get me back to work as soon as possible I listened to what he had to say and then I said to him but wait you are not listening to me I am telling you that I have a mental illness but it just did not seem to register with him all he was concerned with was when I would be better cured and back in work ! Why don,t people understand that there is no cure you just have good days and really bad days I,ve been on sertralin for three months now it does seem to have improved my moods and I have not flown off the handle or lost my temper for sometime now and my long suffering wife who said that she does not have to tip-toe around on egg shells anymore life can be better but people have to listen to those of us to are silent and suffering alone! Has for work I might not go back has the job is so stressful I would not recommend to anyone working in a Prison at present………..!
You give your thoughts meaning and significance. Don’t avoid things that make you anxious, rather make a list, write down what you’re feeling and maintain exposure at all times. Anxiety will remain but it will slowly lessen more and more times you are exposed to the situation.
Let your thought run its course – it’s not your reality. Your negative thoughts does not represent who you are as a person, you are not a horrible person. You haven’t done anything to confirm the thoughts – don’t let your mind control you nor should you even try to control your mind.
Whenever any thoughts come up – let it be! Acknowledge it and watch it pass.
You have to understand this; everyone has a different level of threshold, and it’s completely fine to feel more than others.
Distraction is good for the short term, exposure is good for the long term. Don’t ask yourself questions you’ll never have the answer to, rather ask yourself why do you feel like this – break it down. Be at peace, practice mindfulness and carry on doing things that you loved doing, results will never be as bad as you thought.
You still can be you. You still can be you.
I’m 19, diagnosed ADD and been struggling with some other thing/things additionally (currently in the laborious process of diagnosis! but somewhere in the realms of depression, anxiety, bpd or bipolar as these are things I’ve constantly been misdiagnosed as having!)
I was wondering if anyone else has a problem about the stigma of mental illness? That the way I feel the way I want to express myself is so true and desperate but as soon as pen touches paper or fingers touch phone screen it turns into hearing those words coming from an ‘attention seeking teen’. I can’t speak without judging myself for the words. I can’t say ‘depression’ without immediately seeing a pissed off 13 year old who’s just been grounded. I feel I am seeing these things through the eyes of a mental illness hater. So this therefore makes it all the more hard to talk about. As the worry of other people judging is preceded more brutally by my own cruel judgement. How do I show people my feelings without the constraints of the English dictionary?
What? You suffer from depression? But you’re always so bubbly, the life and soul, you always make me/us laugh… how can you suffer with depression? You’ll be fine, you’re just down at the moment, pull yourself together!
Is is any wonder, based on the comments that I received above, that those us that suffer with this sometimes debilitating disease, don’t speak out and certainly don’t ask for help when really we’re crying out for someone to hold our hand, someone to look us in the eye and say “you’re really not okay are you?”… someone to care.
I was diagnosed clinically depressed in 2010, about 10 months after my husband walked out. At first I coped, Christmas on my own? Nah, not a problem! Go out and socialise? Yep, count me in… and then small things happened, I can’t even remember what they were now, but I dreaded weekends, dreaded leaving the house, dreaded another day sobbing uncontrollably but not really knowing why. My mother knew something was wrong when I said I didn’t want to go on my cruise I had booked (my favourite thing in the world). Finally, a sympathetic doctor took the time and whilst I sat and sobbed in their office, they gently said I was clinically depressed and even then I denied it! Who me? Nah!
Six years later and after two bouts of CBT, I’m still struggling – again because of a combination of “things”. What’s the point? Why bother? Why struggle anymore?
So why “smiling depression”? Because I believe that’s what I suffer with, or sometimes know as PHD (Perfectly Hidden Depression). I function, I hold down a job, I smile, I laugh, I jolly other people along, I am the life and soul… All of which is carefully constructed mask that’s quickly removed in the safety of my own home where I’m tearful, I’m exhausted, I’m drinking booze and eating nothing.
When I was a little girl, laughing at the clowns at the circus, I was told that sometimes the clowns are the ones who are the saddest people…
My name is Karen – I am the clown…
08/05/2009 and I’m diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety, it is my 19th birthday, but it doesn’t begin here, my 16th birthday and I have my first CAMHS appointment which I didn’t want to go to so I shrugged my shoulders and left angry at my teachers for referring me behind my back. But earlier still are the signs of depression, anxiety and other differences, self harm and wishing I was dead. The bullying at school was severe, the emotional abuse at home was hell and the abuse on the streets constant. I was also trying to navigate a world that felt alien to me, a world where I didn’t belong, everyone else got it but not me.
My self harm becomes severe and very regular and I start attempting suicide
Its the 08/05/2013, my 23rd birthday and I’m sectioned (not for the first time) and I’m on 1-1, 24 hour observations, I want to die. I would spend nearly 4 months sectioned, 10 weeks of it on 1-1, 24 hour obs, there was a staff member with me everywhere (yes the bathroom too) by now I had a rather longer list of mental illnesses:
Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (AKA BPD) ,Complex-PTSD, major depressive episodes, psychotic episodes, anxiety including social anxiety and OCD
I was seen as a list of diagnoses and not a person, professionals see BPD/EUPD on my records and automatically label me as: manipulative, attention seeking. And it shows in their behaviour.
Although at least now I am no longer living as the gender medical professionals labelled me at birth due to my body, I am at last taking testosterone and my body is changing, but I was still binding my chest daily, I was rightfully on the male ward, but terrified of someone finding out. I was already getting homophobic abuse.
It’s the 12/08/2016 and I’m writing this. I’m still severely mentally unwell. I no longer need to bind my chest though as I at last had chest surgery. I have Tourette’s syndrome, although only diagnosed at the end of 2014, I’ve had tics since about 7, but they are very severe now. My motor tics affect my mobility so much I’m now a full time wheelchair user. No I’ve not given in, I have more freedom now, am in less pain, don’t get stuck because I can’t walk and have to crawl. I wouldn’t be without my wheelchair now. And yesterday I was officially diagnosed as autistic, which answers so many questions of my childhood and feeling like an alien in a place I don’t understand, surrounded by people I don’t understand.
A snapshot of my complicated life as an autistic, wheelchair user with tourettes and severe mental illnesses.
I’m doing what I can with my life, doing a part time history degree with the Open University. I spend time with my fiancé and I geek out about the Tudor period of history and build air fix and Lego models.
I don’t know if anyone out there feels like I do. If so, please let me know. It really helps.
I feel that when I am not busy all the fearful feelings surround me. But don’t want to be non stop all the time just so I don’t feel the following. Feel very alone and dark. I have to find a real focus that I can turn to regularly to stop and rid myself of this unbearable feeling. Since I had to cease trading and stop my business in 2006, I have never found anything to replace this. Just a dark, deep black hole.
Hello, My name is Nicola and I suffer from OCD. Anyone who has this illness will realise how frightening and debilitating it can be. In my case I think I have always been a little obsessional since childhood but soon discovered that I would develop Intrusive unwanted thoughts that would last and consume a lot of my energy beyond my control.
My thoughts can vary from the ridiculous to the most abhorrent causing me to have many dark and lonely days. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that I had for the best part of two years, hit & run OCD. It was a thought that I had either killed or seriously injured another human being and the pot holes in the road felt like a body. Considering that I am a relatively good driver and have never been involved in a road traffic accident, it did come as a surprise that I would have to suffer like this. What was strange is that it did not include wild animals as they tend to dash across the road usually resulting in roadkill.
I started to imagine the worst possible case scenario and felt as if I was losing my mind or that my mind was being taken over. My stomach felt like it was full of adrenaline, my mind telling me I was already guilty and yet nothing had happened, it was all in my head.
I don’t believe that I will ever be free of this illness as I think part of it is who I am, but if it can be managed for a better quality of life then I am happy with that.
After a recent episode I was prescribed Citalopram which has significantly improved my mood and OCD symptoms and I will be receiving some CBT which has helped me before.
Anyone reading my story who suffers similar OCD symptoms to mine, I would say, stay strong, get plenty of rest, exercise and relaxation which is key to recovery, our minds and bodies need to rest, take up a hobby, I like to cross stitch, and you will soon feel like you again. I know I do now X