An insider view of anxiety and depression
She is well educated, has a good job and was well brought up. She's living in a dream flat with her best friend, doing her dream job, with a great circle of friends.
You wouldn’t think, then, she would spend two and a half years in and out of a psychiatric hospital. Or survive a suicide attempt. You wouldn’t think that, at 31, she’d have to move back home with her parents and lose touch with a majority of her friends, isolating herself.
Well, this is me.
This is my life.
I am one in four.
My mental health struggles reared their ugly head three years ago - though they had been bubbling under the surface for many years. I was diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, recurrent depression, borderline personality disorder and ADD. Wow, what a list!
I was working in fashion for a well-known accessories brand and I seriously loved my job and the life I was living. That was until my head of department changed. With that, the job I loved changed and the life I had created started to slip away. This change triggered extreme anxiety. I had gone from feeling confident in my job to a mess, filled with self-doubt and sinking confidence. Anxiety swept over me and took over everything I did. Crying on the way to work, at work - just most of the time.
For six months I tried to make the job work, but things went from bad to worse. So, I ended up leaving my job; it had become unbearable and I could feel the toll it was taking on me, both mentally and physically. I thought that by leaving, everything would be made better.
I had no idea how severe the issues had become. Crying all the time had just become the norm.
Upon leaving, I had my first extreme panic attack and was forced, at 31, to move back in with my parents. I was very lucky to be able to do this, but it made me feel a total failure. Over the next two and a half years I encountered countless therapists (some right for me and some very wrong for me), I was admitted three times to a psychiatric hospital and survived an overdose. The latter scared the life out of me with the realisation of how bad things had.
This was the turning point for me trying to recover.
I say ‘trying’, as I am. I really am trying. However, I am not recovered and know this is something I am going to have to live with and fight these feelings with good and bad days. I am learning to cope with the bad days better now.
I know now I am doing better – however hard it is. I know this, as I am now able to do things that this time last year would have been impossible. I am training to become a hypnotherapist and counsellor, writing my blog (Balloons and the Brain) and setting up a business with a wonderful friend aiming to tackle and fight the stigma of mental health. So yes, I actually have a lot going on.
Being able to juggle all this, often feels overwhelming and most of the time I don’t know where to turn or what to start next, but I am doing it. Somehow, even through my dark days, I am getting something done. Even if it is just stuffing envelopes, at least I am still doing something!
When I think of what I am currently doing, it really does show me how far I have come. I am constantly told how much better I am, but it is really hard to see it when you are living it. It takes writing blogs such as this one for me to acknowledge where I am now.
So, as they say, “recovery is not linear” - but I will get there. And if you are struggling, so will you. No matter how slow it feels we will all get there.
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