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Depression Guide and Personal Experiences (post your experience with Depression)

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    #6

    I'm so glad I found out about this thread because I feel like I really need to share my experience. So thank you.

    I am 19 and I have known for quite a long time that there was something wrong with me because I've been feeling pretty bad, worthless and lonely for sometime now. Although, I never thought I was really depressed. Or maybe I should say I never wanted to believe I could suffer from depression. However, a few months ago I was reading about all types of depression for a university module and it stoke me that I fitted all the criteria for atypical depression. It was really an eye-opener because it finally all made sense: my low mood, general unhappiness, desire to cry and even the sporadic suicidal thoughts. I talked to some people and I've been told it can be beneficial to share one's own story, put it black on white and admit that you're depressed, and I'm willing to give it a try because I really want to end this but I don't seem to be able to get better.

    Superficially, at first sight my life seems to be easy and nice; I have a nice and supportive family, good friends, I've always been a bright student and never had massive problems. But this is not the whole picture, in fact at a closer look things are not as simple and smooth. I'm a quiet and reserved person, although not necessarily shy, and for some reason I've never found it easy to talk about my personal life. Maybe because I've had self-esteem issues for as long as I can remember. Being surrounded by much more confident and out-going people, I've always tended to stay in the background. The only aspect where I was on the spotlight was school (due to my excellent grades); this made it hard for some people to like me, especially in my childhood, but at least it made my family proud. Not only were my relatives proud, they also had high expectations of me and put a lot of pressure on me to succeed and achieve good results. This has been a major cause of stress and anxiety in my life - the fear of disappointing all of them.
    When I was 14 the first real issues arose, as that was the time when my friends and I started thinking about boys, boyfriends etc. Everyone seemed to be able to find "love" (well, from a 14 year old point of view) but I didn't. I liked this very popular guy for over a year, and then one day he finally seemed to like me back. We went out a few times, we kissed (my first), was over the moon. A few weeks later, however, he ended everything. I got really depressed and started not to eat, I lost a lot of weight and became obsessed with being skinny. I would starve myself and lie about the food I ate, and although I was never officially diagnosed with anorexia or any other eating disorder, in retrospect I can say I was anorexic. Deep down I knew it was wrong, but being skinny gave me strength and made me feel happy. School was great, I gained self-confidence, guys started to notice me and I even had a few relationships, however I started to close up and not share with my family what was going on, maybe because I was ashamed, I don't know. It went on for a few years, I didn't now how to talk to my mum about my personal life anymore, I wouldn't even tell all important things to my best friends. For example, I didn't tell my mum when I lost my virginity at 17 and I know she would have wanted me to open up about that.

    The worst came last year though, when I was applying to university for the course I've always wanted to study. Having been told that I was a brilliant student all my life, I was very ambitious and aimed really high, and everyone else was confident I would make it. But I failed. It was really hard on me because not only had I disappointed many people, but my biggest dream was fading away. However, I didn't want people to know how I really felt, so I tried to put a happy face up and pretend it was all just fine. I settled for a course I was partly interested in with the hope that it would all work out in the end. Then it came the time when all my friends were applying for university and I could see them all being successful. Of course I was happy for them but deep inside I felt left behind and miserable compared to them. I started to re-gain weight, which made me feel even worse because all my efforts to be skinny vanished. Anyway, I left for uni and really made an effort to go out, meet people and get better but even if I had some good days, a general unhappiness still dominated my days. I became really good at lying, pretending that everything is fine when I'm with other people, but when I'm alone I just feel desperate. Positive events can make me feel happy for a short period of time now, but it's just transitory happiness. And I know I have things to be grateful for, but I am just not able to. I have re-applied to university for my dream course and I have recently found out that I got in. I should be ecstatic because my dream will actually become true. But even if I try really hard I just can't be happy. It's like I don't know how to be truly happy anymore. I am desperate to get better, I really want to and I hope I can. I just need to figure out how to do it.
    Thank you very much for listening to me, it really means something. And knowing that many of you felt really bad in the past and are now better gives me hope, a lot of hope. I hope I can post on this thread again someday and say that I got over all this.
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    "Recovery from mental health illnesses takes more than just a few pills. It requires a much more comprehensive look at a person’s life and lifestyle – and a very personalised approach to treatment and recovery." - from an early blogpost I wrote.
    #7

    diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia with depression

    I had been bottling up my problems since A-levels, problems within family, with guys, and with God, in Kuala Lumpur and in uk. and because of a person i met in uk (nothing wrong with him actually) i felt nobody can be trusted and was confused who is God and scared that I would be going to hell. I felt that I couldnt differentiate between reality and what I perceived. I lost touch with reality and couldn't do anything for myself, didnt even feel like eating. I felt that every option led to hopelessness and there's no way out, even if i die. But i felt guilty and thought i should kill myself. fortunately it was christmas period (dec10) and whenever i saw the lights on the christmas tree in hospital, they reminded me not to lose hope. yes, believing in jesus we wont be hopeless. i was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. i stayed in hospital for a month and showed good progress (had fun joining the activities on the ward) but then during the one-week discharge trial, the psychiatrist felt that i wasnt well enough so i stayed in again, for one week, and the medication increased to 7.5mg olanzapine, before i went back to malaysia (i was interrupting my studies).

    now september last year. because of long flights and 20-hour detainment at the airport due to visa problem, i was exhausted and jet-lagged. didnt sleep properly for several nights. i bought jet lag medication but couldnt sleep well with that too and got even more stressed. i was worried about the medical examination required by occupational health in university. i also felt stupid regarding some of my words and actions in the past and i compared myself to others and felt inferior but i refused to be comforted by keeping them all to myself. i was bothered by those thoughts for quite a while. finally i had a relapse. though i have the thoughts of dying as well, This time my illness is less severe. however i showed not much progress (because 1.i felt uncomfortable being asked so many questions by the doctors which i couldnt answer well myself, im not good at putting my thoughts and feelings into words 2.i couldnt decide whether to stay or to go back) so i stayed from few days to one month also. my mom and my sponsor the embassy advised me to go back so i finally firmed my decision. I think its a right one.
    im very fine at home, studying and working. studying first semester accounting. im on risperidone 2mg, setraline 75mg, and see the doctor every few months.
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    i prefer to post this anonymously but was unsuccessful doing so. anyway here's my story.

    diagnosis: paranoid schizophrenia with depression

    I had been bottling up my problems since A-levels (before i went to uk university), problems within family, with guys, and with God, in Kuala Lumpur and in uk. and because of a person i met in uk (nothing wrong with him actually) i felt nobody can be trusted and was confused who is God and scared that I would be going to hell. I felt that I couldnt differentiate between reality and what I perceived. I lost touch with reality and couldn't do anything for myself, didnt even feel like eating. I felt that every option led to hopelessness and there's no way out, even if i die. But i felt guilty and thought i should kill myself. but everytime i felt hopeless it was Him who gave me hope, so im 100% sure Jesus is Lord, because of too many miracles. it was christmas period (dec10) and whenever i saw the lights on the christmas tree in hospital, they reminded me not to lose hope. yes, believing in jesus we wont be hopeless. i was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. i stayed in hospital for a month and showed good progress (had fun joining the activities on the ward) but then during the one-week discharge trial, the psychiatrist felt that i wasnt well enough so i stayed in again, for one week, with the olanzapine medication increased to 7.5mg, before i went back to malaysia (i was interrupting my studies).

    now september last year. because of long flights and 20-hour detainment at the airport due to visa problem, i was exhausted and jet-lagged. didnt sleep properly for several nights. i bought jet lag medication but couldnt sleep well with that too and got even more stressed. i was worried about the medical examination required by occupational health in university. i also felt stupid regarding some of my words and actions in the past and i compared myself to others and felt inferior but i refused to be comforted by keeping them all to myself. i was bothered by those thoughts for quite a while. finally i had a relapse. though i have the thoughts of dying as well, This time my illness is less severe. however i showed not much progress (because 1.i felt uncomfortable being asked so many questions by the doctors which i couldnt answer well myself, im not good at putting my thoughts and feelings into words 2.i couldnt decide whether to stay or to withdraw my studies and go back) so i stayed from few days to one month also. my mom and my sponsor the embassy advised me to go back so i finally firmed my decision. I think its a right one. im now enjoying life and family company in malaysia, studying first semester accounting and working as general clerk. quite involved in church too. on risperidone 2mg, setraline 75mg, and seeing the doctor every few months. manage to make several friends at university and church, so all is good.
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    my mum passed away before i came to uni.

    my family fell apart.

    i got to uni, felt lonely, depressed, didnt get on so well with my flat.

    constantly thought about killing myself. Genuinely thought no one would care. My family didnt care about me, didnt contact me. I would think about slicing myself open with knives and causing as much pain as i could to myself. I used to tell myself over and over that my mum wouldnt want this.

    id get so stressed at not being able to hurt myself id bash myself and end up with bruises everywhere.

    i had an abusive boyfriend which didnt help. Though he was good to talk to about my Mum.

    That lasted for about a year.

    Im much better now partly because my family are closer, im not with that boyfriend anymore and i have a lot more friends in my life

    i still miss my Mum every day though
    #8

    This thread was interesting to read, but I have to say it did make me feel generally pessimistic about recovering... if you can call it that.

    I first had to see a counselor when I was 14. At the time I'd had to move from a state school to a private one, which made me feel ashamed and alone. My best friend, from whom I'd been inseparable, had moved to France with her family. I'd realised I had feelings for her that went further than friendship so I had a strange long distance relationship with her for a while which was sexual for a short time. The relationship made me feel sad and paranoid all the time, so eventually I stopped speaking to her, which was the only way I knew how to deal with it, and I realise now was pretty crap of me.

    I was very difficult to live with for a while. I didn't sleep much, I just sat on my window ledge all night. I cried a lot and I self-harmed. After a few years, probably after my GCSEs I had a period which was a lot happier. I liked 6th form, I was the best at everything, I played the organ, which I loved, I enjoyed all my subjects and people praised me a lot I did extra exams, played music and got in to Cambridge. All cool. I was so excited to go; I thought it would be where I'd finally meet people like me, people I could get on with.

    The first term at Cambridge I realised that wasn't the case. I didn't like the people. I wasn't a typical 'big fish syndrome' type. I really never expected to be the best, but I think I missed having some feedback. I felt lost and confused and even though I enjoyed my course I was bitterly disappointed and ashamed that I hadn't been able to make the friends I'd envisaged. I hated most of the people I met. I ate a lot of cake, though, and put on a bit of weight, which my parents were quick to notice that Christmas. I was so disturbed by this, since my body had always been the one thing I thought might be attractive about me, that I stopped eating almost entirely. Later that year I was hospitalized with anorexia and severe depression. I thought about killing myself constantly. I stayed in hospital for 2 months, but I had to take the whole year out and spent my time dragging myself to various awful jobs (including double-glazing cold-caller) in an attempt to busy myself. It didn't help. I eventually got back to a normal weight, not really through wanting to, but out of boredom at being so ill and so obsessed by food, plus not being able to do my work, which was always the one thing I'd enjoyed.

    When I returned to university I was lonely at first but eventually developed a bizarre co-dependent sort of relationship with a man outside the university. Eventually it turned into a sort of affair (he had a girlfriend - I know that makes me bad, but I just assumed he didn't love her since he could cheat on her so easily and so constantly and she lived miles away). He was very confusing, saying he was leaving her then bottling it at the last minute, then saying we'd just be friends, then sleeping with me again... it all got messy and horrible and now we don't speak. I still get angry about it constantly and I feel jealous of everyone for having 'normal' relationships. I wonder constantly what's wrong with me and what it is about me that makes people not want to be with me, though I realise I'm basing this on very little, and I did have a brief 'normal' relationship at one point, but I still can't shake the feeling that I'm defective.

    I recovered from anorexia but I've never not felt depressed. I currently take lamotrigine, but I'm not sure if it's helping yet. I feel a little hopeful as my psychiatrist suggested I may have bipolar instead of depression, which would explain why the myriad of ADs I took in the past did nothing at all. I feel like I'll never be happy and like nothing I want to happen will ever happen. Mainly I don't want to be alone and I feel like that's inevitable because there's 'the mysterious thing that makes me unloveable but no-one will tell me what it is'. I don't want to do anything. I feel like everything is a struggle and there's nothing to look forward to. I just desperately want to be happy, to be normal, and not to feel so alone. I vary between sadness and a totally consummate rage and bitter jealousy of other people for not having brains which constantly admonish them. People who tell people when they're feeling down, who ask for support, who have relationships, who believe they can do things which I don't believe I can do even though on paper I'm more qualified than they are. It makes me feel like I'm a horrible bitter snob, and to some degree I am, but it's because I feel like everyone ought to be as critical of themselves as I am, even though I know that's completely irrational and bizarre.

    Here are the various drugs my psychiatrist picked at random from his drawer to give me:
    fluoxetine: ****, made me want to kill myself
    citalopram: did nothing at all
    flupenthixol: what even is this drug; did nothing at all
    olanzapine: no good effects, made me so hungry I thought I might die. You've never experienced hunger like forcing yourself to stick to 800 calories a day whilst taking this muthaf***er.
    mirtazapine: so... sleepy. No good effects whatsoever.
    various other antipsychotics and ssris which I can't remember: all did nothing
    clonazepam: mysteriously alleviated my depression almost instantly and sent me hypomanic. It was awesome but no one will give it to me because it's super addictive. Sad times.
    diazepam: aw yeah. Keep 'em comin'.
    lamotrigine: currently taking this and increasing the dose. I feel very strange and agitated and i've had mood swings like never before, but at least it's doing something.

    weed: wonder drug. Weed makes my life better. If I could get it more frequently I would be a lot happier. Not the best solution, I know, but it gets me through for now.
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    Hey, I´m Honza

    My deppressions started at the age of 10 I guess, it went with me through whole basic school (thats till age of 15 here), I had it because of my body, at first I have really much much birthmarks all over the body, im skinny and not high, also I had a chest deformation called "pelota" It looks really horrible, I had rly low confidence

    Actually this changed at high school I found a girlfriend which taught me and showed me that its not a wall between me and social life. It has given me ****ing so much into life I couldnt believe it now

    But I spent my chance really bad way. With high confidence something woke up at me, some revenge or what. I broke up with this gf after 3 months and began to play with ppl, sincerity told me nothing. I was a total bitch but noone could know it I really played that game well.

    I had about 4 girlfriends after this. I hurt every each of them, after 3 months.

    But then it came I found a love, she was the one for me. But my karma didnt think so.
    After amazing year and half she suddenly found another guy. I couldn´t believe that, I did everything for her. Later I understood, she simply discovered who I was.

    Yes, you are saying it was all my fault. But after this realization, what I did and what I was, how I spent my life the worst depression came. I did what I could to take back all those bad things. Every of those girls are now my friends, Im helping them. I was helping everybody... but still the depression didnt came out.

    Sometimes I was just hidden in my bed, affraid to go out, affraid to speak, later I was so sure about myself, I could do anything on the world, it came in cycles, so I went to the doctor, because it was really affecting my work.

    I cried that night, we found my problems. It was absolutely elsewhere that I thought, much deeper in my childhood and whole life.

    My field diagnosis was split personality and maniodepressive psychosis or something. I met the doctor for some time, we discussed and talked, I always wanted to try another way before taking the pills and I learned a way to get out of my moods.

    first time I held the knife against my stomach was at 14.

    Now its all just fine, getting better, motivation is the most powerful things while having those kind of problems I think
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    Personal experiences:

    Who you are: My name is Kay, I'm 26 years old and come from Stoke-on-Trent.

    When it started: I'm not sure exactly but around age 17/18. I've had depression at varying degrees from then until now.

    How long you've had it: About 8/9 years now, I'm hazy on the exact time.

    Official diagnosis: I went to my GP in 2005, told him how I was suffering and he diagnosed me with clinical depression.

    Therapy/medication: I've tried 4 different kinds of antidepressants - citalopram, cipralex, venlafaxine and mirtazapine. I'm not on any currently. I also had counselling back in 2007 but it didn't help so I gave it up after a few week. I had it again from September - November 2011 and that time it helped.

    When it got worse/when it got better: The worst times for my depression were the times I attended university for the first time - I have been to 3 "red-brick" Universities before now and not finished a degree at any of them. There was also the period around December 2010 where it became severe to the point I made myself call an ambulance and have them take me to hospital because otherwise I was going to commit suicide. Had a very traumatic experience at the hospital where I was left in the reception of A&E, having not washed or taken care of myself for over two weeks as well as getting my period and having nothing with me to deal with it. I had a massive panic attack outside the hospital doors and this prompted them to move me to a separate cubicle where I was largely left on my own. I discharged myself from the hospital after waiting for five hours to be admitted to a psychiatric ward. The times when I feel better are mainly when I have a job, but this has been sporadic due to only really having temp jobs outside of trying to finish university. I was also in two long term abusive relationships in the past and I was very bad with my depression then. I have developed anxiety over the last few years and I suffer from panic attacks when I am very bad with it. I haven't had any medication for this.

    How has it affected your life? When I am bad with depression, my sleeping pattern is usually very bad to the point I'm getting up at 10-12pm at night then not going to sleep until the late-morning/afternoon. I need to sleep for 12-14 hours just to feel human and I find it very difficult if not impossible to wake before then. As said above, I get panic attacks when I am very anxious. I lack motivation to go and do things or take care of myself. I feel worthless and like a failure and paranoid about what people think about me. I become very anti-social and unable to deal with my friends or family and I even feel anxious about leaving the house in case something bad happens to me. I lack appetite to eat food or the energy to cook myself anything so when I am bad all I eat are tiny things that I don't have to cook like crisps or bits of ham or cheese.

    How you are coping now: I'm not great, I lost my job a month ago (it took me 14 months to find that job and I loved it very much so it has hit me very hard). It's hard not to feel like you've failed when you've been unable to hold down a job more than a few months at a time. Employers too, look very badly on it as it seems like you are indecisive. :/
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    Hey guys. I figured I should probably post on this thread as I've been reading it and the other Depression thread quite regularly.

    My experience with depression isn't the most severe, but it still has a major impact on my life. It's the kind of depression that comes and goes, it's quite scary. Some days I'll wake up feeling as bright as sunshine and ready to take on the world. The next morning I'll feel so dark and lethargic that I can barely drag myself out of bed for college. And a lot of the time I don't. Like today, I stayed in bed till 10 and took the whole day of college. My form tutor is the type to always check up on me, apparently it's because I'm a good student and teachers wonder why my attendance is so bad, but it irritates me. I can't tell him why I miss so much college because I don't really tell anyone. In the past I've also been very paranoid, I used to get on the train and feel like everyone was looking at me. It used to get so bad that I'd start sweating and having panic attacks - I just had to get off the train. This has improved lately but I still can't walk down the street without feeling like people are watching.

    My depression has been going on for about three years. One day when I was about 15 I came home and I slumped onto my bed and just lay there, crying for hours. My mum knew something was up because I'd never acted like that before - there was no specific reason for me to be crying. Since then I've been in and out of depression. Occasionally I'll think I've dragged myself out of it and overcome it but a few days later that feeling of darkness and emptiness will hit me.

    Does it affect my life? I wish I could say it didn't but it does. I miss a lot of college because I can't drag myself out of bed into the outside world. I cope with stress very badly and have anxiety attacks for the most silly of things. I'm still not 100% comfortable in social situations but always try to cover this fact up.
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    Hi

    im Rory, I have been depressed I would say since I was about 13/14 years old, largely as a result (so far as I can tell anyway) of being severely bullied at secondary school and to a lesser extent at primary school also, I kinda just became very withdrawn and isolated as person in my early teens and I've never really recovered from that, I feel very low most of the time and I often find it hard to get the motivation for even the simplest of things like brushing my teeth or going for a walk even, this then makes me feel even worse about myself tbh, I also have Dyspraxia and traits of Aspergers so I find academic work very difficult even when im in a good mood (which is pretty rare these days), I scrapped through with the grades I needed just about in everything I have done/gone to academically thus far, though I wasn't able to do A-Levels cause I only got C's in my GCSE's despite working really hard at them and stuff :erm: anyway, after that I did a BTEC in IT at college for 2 years before attempting a degree in Computer Games Technology, this was late 2007 and is when I really felt like my low mood became so much of an issue that I needed to really talk to other people about it, I had some health issues with my ear at this time as well, but that combined with just feeling awful all the time and lacking any motivation meant that I had no real option other than to drop out of my degree in early 2008, which really sucked cause I had made friends and actually felt accepted socially for the first time in my life when staying in halls after dropping out I really withdrew pretty badly, I barely left my room for about 6 months or so, was just unemployed at this point, early 2009 I started some voluntary work which was great at first but after a while my motivation for that slipped away as well, decided to go back into education though so did an Access to HE course in Brighton for a year (2009-2010), which was good in terms of I really enjoyed the course and got on well with people there, but at the same time my low mood was still really affecting my motivation and such, so anyway because of that I spoke to my GP about it for the first time properly and they diagnosed with depression and put me on a low dose of sertraline, which they gradually increased cause it was still affecting me despite taking the meds, I started Uni in October 2010 and that went pretty well first year, although had to get extenuating circumstances again due to low mood, I also had my first (and to date only) girlfriend in early 2011, but after a while I realised she was just using me and when I found out she was seeing someone else I ended it, but this really hurt me really badly emotionally, it wasn't long after this that in addition to being depressed
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    I started self harming
    , which I have had ongoing instances of doing since, anyway, I guess my depression seems only to have got worse over time which doesn't make me overly optimistic for my future, second year of Uni (2011-2012) I was really struggling to get to classes and lectures and missed several assignments, so would have been in big trouble with it, but I have had to intermit anyway cause I had a severe ear infection which turned out to be this nasty thing called a cholesteotoma and then I had to have major surgery on my ear (something called a mastoidectomy) and now im basically supposed to be resting and stuff to recover from that for the time being anyway,
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    though being away from my friends at Uni has made my depression even worse lately and I have been self harming again as well :cry2: oh and I guess I should mention that a couple of times late last year I was really struggling and tried to overdose, first on my anti-depressants which just made me sick really, then on painkillers which resulted in having to go to A&E overnight
    . meds wise I was on increasing doses of Sertraline from February 2010 to October 2011, from October 2011 on 40mg Citalopram, which is now down to 20mg cause im in the process now of moving on to Mirtazapine (15mg atm), though the Mirtazapine is making me sleep and eat a lot, which isn't great really, I tend to comfort eat a fair bit anyway :ashamed:

    oh and I have really bad social anxiety as well, like anything that involves being around people who aren't my family even I get really bad anxiety sweating and feel incredibly anxious, this makes even going to like a local shop not much fun at all, it gets worse the longer I go without trying to cope with it by being in social situations, like when I was at Uni spending time with friends sometimes after a while I relaxed and it wasn't so bad, though this was probably cause I tend to drink a large amount of alcohol when socialising.

    so yeah, that's my story really I guess, I could probably go into somethings more but this post is long enough as is really
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    [FONT=Arial]For quite a while now ive been feeling really down, i split up with my boyfriend after two and a half years about a year ago and we didn't stay friends or stayed in contact as it was kind of a rocky relationship and that really had a knock on me, i started staying in all the time and didn't want anyone else but him.. and had a terrible feeling inside the fact he was acting like i never existed.. blocked me from everything phone,facebook etc. Then a few months later i noticed he unblocked me from facebook, so i decided to unblock him and we became really friendly again even though he had a new girlfriend.. he then went on a break from his new girlfriend as she had to be with her ex as he was really ill.. so my ex arranged to meet up with me and we ended up going on a date then i ended up going home with him.. and we slept together. I really do regret it but i couldn't help how i felt at the time. a few weeks later after this he told me he couldn't be with me and it destroyed me.. he then blocked me from everything yet again and it kinda destroyed me..

    I started living the single life for months but then after a while a guy i knew through a friend split up with his girlfriend who was a girl who used to bully me at school, he then asked me out and i wasn't sure at first then ended up saying yes. As i got to know him i began to love him but still had my ex in my mind.. im now finally over my ex and ive now been with my new boyfriend for 8 months, he said he loves me alot and i really love him too, but a part of me always thinks he doesn't love me and that im not good enough for him even though he treats me quite well.. i dont know if i have insecurities or issues, i dont know why i feel this way its like i constantly put a barrier between us like i cant feel him loving me.

    It also really annoys me knowing he slept with a girl who used to bully me. I know he wasn't with me at the time but i still think about it alot. I feel like im straining our relationship and i wish i could be this amazing, confident, good looking girl with so many ambitions in life.. but i feel like im just a fat mess who isn't good enough. (i have been on numerous diets and cant seem to get rid of the weight, it really has a knock on my self-esteem, i feel like less of a human being and that everyone looks at me in disgust, and my friends are really pretty whilst im not)

    Also in work im really sick of it its the same routine day in and day out, sitting at a desk with lots of filing, lots of paperwork, phones constantly ringing, constant work to be doing. Full of people who are in there 30s and whom i have nothing (or very little in common with.) it is soul-destroying but the money is really really good.. but sometimes i think to myself would i rather money or happiness?.

    my contract ends in a few months but i cant seem to find a job.. and im not really sure if i want to work in an office anymore im so stressed, exhausted and i have constant headaches and i really dont think its the right job for a 19 year old like me.. , i think people at my age should be out exploring doing part time jobs, studying etc not sitting in an office with people i cant really relate too...


    everynight i go home and feel really down and drained.. like i want to burst out crying .. wishing things would get better.. that life would change and id suddenly be full of energy.. let my boyfriend love me, love myself, love my job love everything in general.. but i just cant feel it right now..


    i want my old body back also.. the fact ive put on loads of weight has a knock on my confidence.. i constantly walk around shops looking for clothes that would look good on my body but cant find anything... i really hate shopping its full of skinny, pretty happy girls, having fun, buying lovely clothes, surrounded by lots of friends... then theres me.. the fatter girl with nothing going on .. lack of confidence, lack of everything in life..

    I know none of this makes sense at all and that its not in paragraphs or whatever but i just blurted out what was inside me ... and its a big messyyy story to be honest, im sorry ! noone has to read it, just to take my thoughts out of my system :albertein:
    #1

    Just thought I'd update this, as I posted my original nearly a year ago now.

    This last year hasn't been any easier than the last; in some ways it's been harder. I've been living pretty much alone (living with 4 international students who don't speak my language) and just kind of... stewing, I guess. Around Christmas time I noticed a massive change in my behaviour; whilst I've always been pretty health conscious, I've never really said that I can't eat anything or had feelings of guilt around food. At Christmas it was obvious that something in that had changed though. I'm not sure what, I'm still trying to figure it out. I've gone from self harming to what is probably the beginnings of an eating disorder and whilst I'm fully aware of that fact, there's not much I can do to stop it it feels. I now have to exercise as much as possible and feel disappointed if I don't, I don't eat chocolate or sweets any more, I have a strict calorie limit on what I can eat per day and panic if I go over it, I hate eating in public now and I'd rather drink a diet coke than eat anything. Going back home from uni scares me so much because here I have total control over what I buy and what I do/don't eat. I would rather go out for a run than socialise and I get really stressed out if people try and push food on me. But yet again, food is all I think about. I think the turning point was when I had a meltdown over a batch of cheese and bacon strips I was making over easter. I over rolled the pastry and managed to send my bowl of grated cheese flying; to the normal person this would've been a bit of a bother and followed by a few choice words but to me it was a disaster and I might as well be dead for it. I screamed, swore at both my parents (which I've never done before and would never do again) and ran away crying my eyes out. I have no idea why; I can remember focusing so much on how many calories were in every ingredient that I was stressing about that and when it all went wrong **** went down in my head. Despite these thoughts I've not lost a massive amount of weight; about 5lbs since February; but I know that my head isn't right here. I want to lose another 20lbs... which would put me in the underweight BMI. The rational part of my brain screams at me that I'm fine as I am but the louder, more resounding voice is the one that tells me I'm pathetic, I have no worth, I'm soooo fat it's amazing that chairs don't snap underneath me and I'm so ugly I can break mirrors by just walking past. The same voice is the one that tells me to punish myself for 'over-eating' or eating things I enjoy (like cookies!) and that I have to cut myself when I don't follow all the rules.

    Having said that, self harm is no longer a massive priority for me, I still want to do it and I have days where it takes all my strength and resolve to stop myself but I've been free from it since late November so nearly half a year. The hardest thing is the voice in my head that I mentioned before. It's so mean and spiteful. I still tend to panic and put my head in the sand when things get serious but I'm hoping to work on that over summer and the next year otherwise I honestly don't know if I could go into full time work without something going majorly wrong.

    I hope soon that I'll figure out just why I feel this way. I've been going to counselling this semester and whilst I've stuck at it longer than ever before I still don't think it's doing me any good. Maybe I'll find a new therapy or drug that cures me, maybe I won't, but I guess I'm going to be stuck around the Dep Soc for a little while longer!
    #9

    Been very very unhappy since about 11. When I was 16 or so two of my friends told a teacher. Teacher told my parents and I was referred to counselling. Counselling was horrible. One of the worst experiences I'd had in my life. Counsellor seemed to have a really poor grasp of human emotion and generally looked down on me. I kept going so as not to disappoint parents, and I also got referred to GP, who was basically uninterested and passed me on to a Psychiatric nurse. The nurse was the only nice guy I came across, but he was easily pushing 60 and so I didn't connect with him that well. He passed me on to the consultant psychiatrist, who was atrocious and has since seen disciplinary action for his treatment of me.
    At this time I also saw two adolescent psychiatrists, one psychotherapist, and one CBT practitioner. All of which were pretty terrible. The CBT therapist seemed like an ok guy, he was just useless, and acknowledged a couple of times that we were getting nowhere. Everyone else involved seemed to take their job as being "convince him that he's ill and give as many drugs as possible. Question everything he says in session until he can't be bothered with you any more."
    Eventually I ended up being sectioned. The hospital Psychiatrist I was put under was dreadful. At one point I found out that she had full on lied in my notes. I brought this up in a meeting and she asked how I had seen my notes. I said "are you really more concerned about the manner in which I got this information than the fact my treatment is based on fabrications?" She said yes.
    All of the nurses were a disgrace. Apparently they only get paid to fill in paperwork and wait until fights break out so they can restrain people. Apparently you should have a 1-1 session with a nurse twice a week or something? I think they classed lunchtimes are 1-1s or something, because this never happened. The only person I spoke to was the cleaner, who was pleasant, though stereotypically a bit dim (and stereotypically a bit foreign ) Eventually I broke a couple of bones and I was taken to the emergency room of an actual hospital. It turned out during my stay in A&E that I'd be discharged from the section, so went back home.
    A small amount of time passed while I was doing voluntary work. I enjoyed this, but at the same time my life became fixated on it. I didn't bother doing anything else, and eventually couldn't be bothered with the voluntary work. It was around this time that I began seeing and hearing everything through a "filter." I couldn't look at anything I owned without seeing the negatives of my shallow, consumerist life. I couldn't listen to people without detecting the pity in their voice, and I couldn't speak back without becoming acutely aware of how valueless and pathetic what I wanted to say was. I eventually stopped talking, and was completely mute for just over a year.
    During this time I went through a couple of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, and one psychologist. If you've noticed the trend, I'm sure you can guess what I thought of these people. What's worst is that the level of data protection here was dreadful. Many things about me were leaked to my family, and personal information about my sister was leaked to me. I was sectioned during this time, and my muteness was used as an excuse to inject me with various drugs (I screamed during one as I am terrified of injections) and force feed me meat (I am vegetarian, and later found out that fact was in my notes, but this nevertheless happened on at least 5 occasions).
    Eventually I was discharged and am studying A-levels now. I still feel dreadful, though I'm glad at the moment there is nobody involved. I don't exactly wish I could die, but I do wish I'd never been born.

    Drugs I've taken at one point or another:
    Fluoxetine - Ruined my chess ability, also made erections impossible
    Sertraline - No effects
    Venlafaxine - Headaches, "zombie" feeling
    Lorazepam - This one was fun, small blue pill makes you instantly calm
    Olanzapine - I think this made me put on weight
    Respiridone - Chess ability destroyed, basically unable to think at all

    And some others for shorter time spans.
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    I have been in depression for almost 2 months because i was suffering form a bad break up plus i was unemployed and something was going wrong in my life that i am not able to understand and was really confused but as there is saying 'Time is the best medicine for all the mental issues and depression'.That time was hard but it teaches you how to live life and move forward in life.
    #10

    Just need to let off some steam. Posting Anonymously as I want to keep it private. Been in depression for about roughly four years now. No trigger event or anything (even though I have been witness to dark and tragic family events), just the result of years of loneliness and low self-esteem. I could never seem to maintain any friendships or relationships with anyone and anytime it starts to look like a positive I always mess it up. My secondary school years were dark and depressing. I had no one I could actually talk to and what friends I did have got so distant that I don't even look them in the face anymore. I literally mean no friends - i'm not exaggerating here. I'm nearing 18 now, with hardly anyone I can call a friend and definitely a long way off from getting a girlfriend (though i've come close to before, my negative, self-depreciating state of mind hindered what could have been something great). I left secondary school with great grades but failed socially and it now looks set to be the same now for college/sixth form. I became an outcast because everyone else felt I was looking down on them and being snobbish and it just wasn't the case. I watch others go by having fun, while I walk the long jouney home again alone.

    My depression affected so much of my life that it just got worse at the time (during school), when I started sketching dark drawings and writing dark stories in which most of the charcters were just basically illustrations of my anger and sadness, horror films and bleak dramas became a past time, and lost what little faith i had in society and sympathy. I began to think what life would be like had I not been around and other stuff I don't care to mention. I felt (and sometimes still) feel like i'm losing my mind, that i'm slowly going insane and starting to lose it completely. I'm isolated and alone. My family (only one family member knows how i feel i feel) is only going to be around for so long before i'm completely by myself.

    It's taken a long time to reverse the negative thinking and effects and its still a massive struggle as I can easily fall back into depression. I'm not diagnosed or anything, because I brush it off as nothing, but I might have to soon as if there's anything that the past four years have taught me is that bottling it up isn't healthy because it can snowball like it did for me - but what else could i do - i couldn't burden my family they had enough on their plate. All I can do now is to put all of college and school life along with everyone associated with them completely behind me, and look to make new friends (should i not mess it up as flipping usual) in a possible apprenticeship. There, that's my rant, that's my piece. I just had to get it off my chest. I've just got to be grateful I didn't (and so far) not reached the physical stage of depression (self-harm), but that doesn't make it any less harmful to my life than it has been so far. Because i'm look back on my teenage years and only see sadness
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    Diagnosis - Moderate depression
    Treatment - I saw CAMHS twice and my doctor a few times, but the biggest help came from a Relate counsellor. It was meant to be family counselling, but the counsellor was amazing and saw me on my own and let me talk about everything, not just my family issues.


    I think if there is a genetic link with mental illness and mood disorders, I've always been a sitting duck. My dad has bipolar and PTSD, my mom has depression and OCD, so I've always known a fair bit about mental illnesses but never thought I'd actually get one. When I was 13/14, in Year 9, I had anxiety attacks and would spend most of the school day hiding in the toilets because I couldn't face going to lessons. At first the school didn't seem to understand and thought I was just skiving, but eventually they did realize that it wasn't on purpose and were much better about it. Things improved for a while, I did alright in my GCSEs but could have done so much better if I hadn't been ill, but it got me into college. A few weeks before my GCSEs, I'd been with a boyfriend for three months and was hating every second of it. He was nasty, he could make me cry with the things he said, he was a bit free and easy with his hands, always compared me to other girls and spoke about how he wishes he was with them instead of me etc. So I broke up with him and I felt he deserved how I did it - over Facebook - but everyone I spoke to was horrified at how cruel it was. I was too embarrassed to tell them how awful he'd been to me because I knew the response would be "Why didn't you leave him sooner?", but truth is, I was scared to. Not because of him, more because of the fact that everyone seemed to like him, and I knew they wouldn't believe me and would turn against me.

    So over the summer my self esteem was shot to pieces, and my friends fell out with each other - and, as I waded in to try and stick up for one of my best friends, whom everyone was picking on purely because she's Welsh ( :lolwut: ), they turned against me and one of them accused me of bullying (we became friends not long after and, soon after that she did it again!), so the summer wasn't great. On top of that my parents were falsely accused of benefit fraud, had an investigation launched against them and feelings of paranoia began to grow, we never knew who was watching us or anything, which was scary, and we were getting angry letters and the man who we think reported us made our name mud in the village where we live - he runs a shop and anyone who went in, he'd delight in telling them about how we're thieves and benefit frauds and people like us shouldn't be allowed to live here. The investigation found us innocent but mud sticks and he turned a lot of people against us, making us feel like outcasts.

    Started college and at first things were alright, but then I started to struggle. I just kept getting niggly little colds, and they were keeping me off college so that I started to fall behind. During this time, the girl who was meant to be one of my best friends (the one who accused me of bullying her before) found a new group of friends and decided she didn't want to hang out with me anymore. Now, I could understand this if she'd just told me, but she started acting very cold, and every time I wasn't at college she'd roll her eyes and accuse me of skiving, and start posting snide little Facebook statuses and, at first, I didn't realize they were about me. Around this time I started self harming and having suicidal thoughts, and as soon as I started seeing the doctor about it, this girl decided that it was time for all out war (she's a very jealous person and seems to love it when she gets ill or hurt because it means she gets attention :lolwut: ).

    At the same time, I was self harming, having suicidal thoughts etc and just decided the world would be better off without me. I'd started talking to a guy from my theatre group who had supported me after everything my ex did, and we spoke quite a lot, and one night we were talking on MSN and he knew how down I was, knew I was self harming and I confessed to him that I wanted to kill myself that evening. He wrote me a message telling me how beautiful I was and stayed talking to me until I was too tired to do anything and fell asleep. I had a few more stumbles with the self harm, but vowed that I didn't want to do it anymore, and forced myself to stop using the rubber band around the wrist technique, which worked for the most part.

    I ended up in a relationship with the guy who had helped me so much, and suddenly this "friend" became incredibly jealous and started spreading rumours about me and posting Facebook statuses. Eventually I confronted her and she started ranting at me about how I make things up for attention and I spend more time thinking about my boyfriend than I did about her, and the Facebook statuses she posted about me were horrible. I didn't retaliate for a while, but when I saw that she'd encouraged adults - her parents and her friends' parents - to post on her status about what an awful person I obviously was, despite the fact that none of them had ever met me, I got fed up and posted one Facebook status, saying I was fed up of lies and rumours and pathetic people.

    Next thing I know, I'm hauled in front of the Head of A Levels and told that I need to stop with this "pathetic bullying". No-one listens to me insisting that she started it and the awful thing is that she deleted all of her comments and statuses as soon as she reported me, so that no-one would believe me. So all of this only served to deepen my depression because I was bullied as a child by these girls who I can only describe as vile - when my little brother died, they told me my mom would be next, and this was in early primary school. To be accused of bullying was awful, and although I wasn't self harming anymore, I was pretty deep in depression.

    For me, counselling helped, but I'm fairly certain that the catalyst which helped me recover to the point where, today, I still have the occasional relapse but I haven't been to the doctor about any mental health problems for over a year and a bit, was my boyfriend. We've been together eighteen months this weekend and he, along with the counselling and throwing myself into my studies and hobbies I enjoyed, has really helped me to recover. I'm now happy and I've got a university offer for September 2012, something I never thought possible considering that just over a year and a half ago, I wasn't planning on seeing that Christmas

    It's a shame my childhood and teenage years have been marred by all this, but I'm focusing now on giving myself happy memories too, and making sure that they stand out more than the bad times. I also feel more prepared to help my own kids when I have them, if they ever struggle with anything similar.

    I apologize for the fact that I don't really describe many of the emotions I felt at the time. I've tried to block out much of what happened, which isn't very healthy, but it makes me feel better in the short term. I feel very detached from that time, as though it was a different person and I can only describe what happened rather than the emotions I felt, even though at the time they were all-consuming and overwhelming. I still have scars on my arms and legs but they're starting to fade thankfully.

    Thanks for this thread, getting it all out really has helped and I hope my experience is able to offer advice or hope in any way to people who read it. And a big :hugs: to everyone currently in the grip of or recovered from this terrible illness.
    #11

    I've had depression a few times since the age of 14. I had a pretty bad episode whilst at uni where my reaction was to become really obsessive towards someone. He contacted my parents (and told me 4 days later) and told them what had happened.

    My reaction to my depression was to run away. The first time this happened, I ended up getting a lecture from a friend of a friend. (I saw her roughly a year later and was blanked all night) I was then talked into going to my friends' flat and he'd get me home.

    That was so difficult. He asked me what this was about and it was at that point he told me he contacted who he thought was my dad. (It was so hard not to laugh at his explanation - "the only other person I came across, I don't think he's your dad because he looks too young and I don't think your dad's a singer") I was then given a lecture by him. For most of that year, his wife had been in a psychiatric ward. I remember him telling me a few weeks previously that he doesn't want me to "end up like his wife".

    He then said something that after realising what he meant, scared me. He said "we (my parents) must decide what we do with you". I had no recollection of most of the last week and really do not remember doing a lot of the stuff that he claimed happened.

    At the time, I was at uni and my flat mates were sort of aware what was going on. I would constantly get lectures because I supposedly wasn't eating. (we have completely different time tables)

    They were never aware that I was running away at this point and they never did find out.
    #12

    Hello!

    I'm not to sure whether I have depression or anxiety or both! but for the past few days I've felt like hell. I finished university a few weeks ago and felt fine. But the past few days I've been suffering from panic attacks and have constantly been worrying. This had led me to feeling down and a bit depressed. I've been constantly crying, shaking and feeling sick. I've hardly ate anything today but I'm going to try and force and not wanting to leave my room. My mums managed to get an emergency appointment to see my GP this afternoon so I will see how it goes. I also have a really busy week ahead of me! I'm due to graduate on Monday but I'm not sure whether I can face it and I have a job interview on Thursday which again I'm not sure if I can face it! It feels like I'm constantly worrying about things and just want to feel how I normally feel. I've tried not to worry and ignore these feelings but it makes it worse. I feel on edge at the moment and the slightest bit of thing makes me cry. I had a similar sort of episode when I was at university about two years ago but it just went on its own. I believe I'm worse though this time. I just hope my GP will be able to help!
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    been depressed most of my life, ups and downs. when i started uni it started to go away but then some things happened and it came back worse than ever for about a year . found it hard to be able to feel joy this then resulted in me questioning whether i should even bother living. doing ok at the moment and have met new people and started new things which have helped.
    #13

    • Generalised anxiety disorder with panic attacks, health anxiety, mild-moderate depression and disordered eating tendencies. I appreciate this is nowhere near as severe as many of you especially to start with/is more anxiety than depression, but wanted to share my experience anyway.

    • Childhood/background
    Spoiler:
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    • I'd always had low self-esteem as a child. I'm Dyspraxic so it made it harder to socialise and pick up on social cues, body language and in my case often fail at common sense. To this day I still feel uncomfortable in certain situations which most teenagers would be comfortable with. I also needed physiotherapy until secondary school to improve fine and gross motor skills, as well as speech therapy. I’ve never been particularly good at practical stuff. Because I wasn't very good at sports as a result, I didn't try much/sometimes skipped P.E., became overweight and unfit as a child and ended up being laughed at for that. More damagingly I was called 'retarded' and ‘spaz’ because of the way the Dyspraxia was interpreted by my peers. This made me increasingly socially awkward and under the general belief that people reject ‘fat’ people and definitely those who aren't seen as 'cool', so I spent the majority of my childhood indoors playing videogames or with my family, had very few friends.

    I felt unsatisfied by all my achievements in life since I have to compete with my extremely intelligent brother who was a potential Oxbridge candidate and my sister who’s a formidable Performing Arts student. I still feel a bit inadequate compared to them, moreso then. Academically I was one of the brightest and disciplined pupils in my year but I developed into a perfectionist; results became the only way to judge my self-worth, and any slip-up would make me feel like a waste of space. This made it harder and harder for me to create new friendships as well as maintain existing friendships, and sometimes to talk to my family.
    On a positive I compensated by passion in singing and acting, took singing lessons and started reading a lot, which left me with much love for drama, culture and literature.
    • The first girl I asked out in Year 6 (ha) did so because 'you're not fit', in Year 7 we had basic fitness tests like the Bleep Test and Road Run which I failed miserably and was mocked in the changing rooms for, I had a real self-esteem crisis following these. After this I spent most of my high-school years obsessively trying to get fit while tending to the intellectual perfectionist inside me and it was exhausting trying to juggle them, I saw friends in school but often neglected them and my own desires to fulfil these. How I was feeling was covered by a) needing to be the best academically and b) turning energies to improving my body (first swimming, then Cross-Country, finally being in the gym and lifting) or active all the time.
    For being sociable I really tried to be a nice guy which I guess worked but I was a gullible doormat a lot too and taken advantage of a few times. A few friendships were based around me being a clown and making them laugh by doing stupid stuff or saying silly things. For being attractive tried to sound as smart as possible around people and especially girls; probably came across as a ponce. At home I practised on MSN where I refined my intellect so that I'd come across as much more mature than my years and how I felt inside. I started talking to a girl who was a friend of a friend online and became very attracted to her but felt too insecure to ask her out or even really talk to her or other girls in general. I felt out of place with my mates half the time
    On the face of it I had a lot going for me, I was a straight-A student in Arts and Humanities with talent for singing and acting, but really I still felt empty. The void was never filled so at the end of the week when I'd end up overeating and become frustrated by the fact I wasn't getting invited anywhere while my friends were all going out to town for the day and the like.
    In reality this was nothing that bad, but it showed I had an unhealthy attitude to life and set the stage.


    • Last three years
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    Show

    • During Year 10 and 11 lots of crap happened, there were various problems with my friends, the parents of one divorced and he ended up anorexic, another developed schizophrenia, another's granddad had a stroke and it hit him hard, there was a schism between them all over the anorexic and two went off as 'best buddies' for a while, they fell out and one of them became dependent on drugs then attempted suicide because his mum kicked him out of the house. It was really a lot and I started seeing life as something that can bring a lot of misery.
    • The final straw was when my own parents divorced as I was doing my GCSEs, even though I could tell something was up for about a year before because Dad had lapsed into depression. Later had some episodes where he got angry, hurled abuse at Mum, smashed things, ran away once etc. The only place I really felt safe was no longer there. My brother also moved out to university after passing A Levels top of his year with 6As, and my sister got a job modelling and trained to be a dancer, leaving me the ‘piggy in the middle’ with nothing all the more.
    • Dad left, went to live with my nan again for a while and I tried to help him recover from it along with helping all my other friends with their problems.
    Meantime I tried to help myself by concentrating on my own life as a teenager who'd made it through to sixth-form college with great GCSEs but I got more jealous of friends doing more ‘mature’ things like drinking, being in relationships, their interests maturing, driving etc. while I stayed at heart a child and a fish out of water. I spent more and more time on MSN or browsing Facebook bored and ended up being closer to two random girl I’d only ever met online (one of which suffered domestic abuse and was now a young mum).
    The diet then binge cycle got worse and I masked my problems with drinking, didn’t revert to severe alcoholism but did get smashed with people frequently just because I felt I had to and the effect lasted for weeks after at this point. I felt I had no free will and was trapped to do as people wished me to even though it made me feel awful, because I was afraid they'd stop asking me to come.
    I tried to find my voice taking part in the school music production and enjoyed the acting side but the social anxiety came out especially with the drinking at after-parties and I felt like I didn’t belong. Some of them were back-stabbers and talked about me behind my back, so I learned a tendency to not trust people, at least my age.
    The pressure of helping Dad combined with A Levels/worry about getting into uni/gym obsession got too much and I burnt out.
    My AS results weren’t as good as I hoped and I decided I was an idiot, needed serious self-improvement and to stop messing about with ‘stupid time-wasting hobbies’, and stopped seeing friends and going to the gym to focus on my studies and studies alone. I stayed up late and became over-exhausted trying to finish essays because everything took twice as long being Dyspraxic but I couldn’t have it not be great due to perfectionism. If work needed to be done I’d have to do it or I wouldn’t let myself eat or go to bed; I didn’t realise this was what I’d told myself at the time by my actions but in hindsight it’s true.
    • Health suffered dramatically; shortly after starting A2s I started having severe panic attacks, lost sleep and developed insomnia, lost lots of weight. I felt food was distracting from work and even more threatening when not exercising, so I’d throw away meals or only eat half and pretend to have had the whole lot. At this time Mum had found a new partner and was barely ever in the house, not cooking for me or leaving a microwave meal which I couldn’t be bothered eating; Dad was more supportive initially as after a year he received treatment for his depression, bought his own house and found a new girlfriend. Mum is far, far more supportive now than she was but in fairness she couldn't help until I told her something was wrong.
    Just before the panic attacks started I’d been harassed in the street walking home from my friends’ houses late at night, verbal abuse, eggs thrown from cars etc. and I expected to be stabbed, shot, beaten up or at very least intimidated almost every night.
    I’d been in several near-death experiences trying to help the so-called “friends” over the years, and one time in AS they decided it’d be fun to stick burning pieces of **** on doormats and ran off as I was round-housed to the face by a kick-boxer they’d pissed off. It was too much, I’d become extremely uncomfortable walking home, and later walking everywhere. There were lads in the Lower Sixth who abused me more personally in the library and confronted me on the train. It bugged me but wasn’t a real problem until the chest pains and anxiety started.
    By September this had moved into paranoia, believing I’d die walking home at night; again not helped by chest pains.
    Nearly developed an eating disorder over the idea I was about to have a heart attack and needed to ‘lose fat’ to stop it (actually underweight making it worse), lost tons of muscle from no longer training but walked obsessively/ate as little as possible instead, because I became convinced there was something wrong with my heart and scared myself out of exercising. Became precoccupied with death and flipped between wanting to crawl into bed and die, or worrying that I’ll die as soon as I went to sleep so couldn’t sleep. Went for first ECG in 2010, came back I was near athletic status due to eating so healthy; ironically my physical health had soared from my mental health declining. This didn’t last.

    They discovered a benign heart condition but that had to be investigated, during which time my anxiety escalated, I stopped exercising entirely and started eating again but could only eat ‘healthy’ foods (stopped eating fat at all, with the exception of fish and a handful of nuts every couple of weeks) got very unfit, suffered severe anxiety. Couldn’t gain actual weight all the same because I was stressing and refusing to challenge myself to eat while coursework was being handed in. Too scared to even walk to the shops sometimes and see my friends, almost stopped seeing them completely, now everyone views me as some victim; the embarrassment of becoming even more like a kid than I already was from managing anxiety made me more depressed. The effect that becoming entirely introverted has on your social life is terrifying, and for a time I think I had no friends because no-one could sympathise, they thought I just needed to ‘get over’ the divorce. Especially considering the amount of immature 'macho' ideals such as 'man up' and peer pressure to look hard in teenage boys.

    Handed over to CAMHS in Feb 2011, began treatment for CBT especially on health anxiety. GP monitored my weight while NHS Drop-in nurse at college was there to talk with me when I felt too scared to see my friends. Beforehand all the GP had put my chest pains down to was heartburn (although it's true that mental illness can cause such confusingly alarming symptoms).
    This worked in treating my fear of exercise (slowly built back into it ang got a bit fitter and generally happier over summer), saw a dietician at the local ED Services and was encouraged to eat again/my food fears were diminished but the fat prejudices and fear of being unhealthy or even a bit unfit remained a little. I kept bugging my doctor with a million concerns of high blood pressure/diabetes/high cholesterol/risk of stroke etc., still do when feeling low. CAMHS tested me for autism and OCD but it came back negative and was all put down to a bi-product of anxiety. Fluoxetine was recommended to me on more than one occasion but I decided to try and manage my symptoms without antidepressants, and I personally feel that was the right choice for me.

    By some stroke of luck I managed to get into university with decent grades and a scholarship, and I was thrilled. I’d originally hoped to move away from here because I was so sick of it but was rejected by most of my choices. Tried to break the social anxiety/work perfectionism during Freshers but it failed, anxiety and food fear escalated again, lost sleep, I spent my first semester in the library working or just on the Internet, and was told by tutors I was working unnaturally hard for a freshman. Again I felt I had no choice because losing my scholarship or getting any less than 2.1 wasn't an option. Around October I began having panic attacks again, attempted suicide (running into road and jumping onto the underground railway), had another ECG, saw ED Services yet again because I started frequently binging. I’ve probably ruined my health although I’m still quite skinny so people say it doesn’t show.

    I think it was around the time Mum became extremely depressed from how I was feeling and went on Citalopram that I decided my attitude had to change-I could see massive bags under her eyes-and really tried to work on what I’d learnt in CBT. For a while I was convinced I’d caused it (I had but it wasn't my fault) and started binging more as punishment, began to mildly self-harm then (no cuts because I didn’t want people to know and help but self-beatings to make bruises). Seriously contemplated taking my life again, but at some point the CBT clicked in, I thought it through and told her how I was feeling.


    Since then I’ve become more assertive, independent and a little more relaxed about things in general. I’m still a bit unfit, binge every now and then and have some extreme concerns regarding food and my fitness, as well as being worried about what the binging has done to my health. I’ve stopped focussing on being thin and focussed on getting fitter and stronger through building muscle, it seems to outsiders and some friends or family members as obsessive but I find it helps and the fitness lifestyle encourages me to care about myself more as a necessity. For now it’s a healthy compromise with eating.
    I’ve been referred to Primary Care and treatment has just begun for the remaining difficulties regarding my self-esteem and healthily expressing my identity. I have a long way to go regarding self-care such as sleep hygiene and self-talk to manage my anxiety but I’ve had far fewer panic attacks and no serious sleep problems for a while (at least not those that weren’t self-induced). I’d like to get more confident, but I’ve re-established my old relationships and made some new friendships too. I’ve restarted doing the things I love such as reading, music, films and singing, but I look less for pseudo-‘intellectual’ stuff for the sake of it and for much more natural interests these days. I’m hoping to join a DramaSoc or BandSoc next year, and to not be quite as hard on myself regarding work but go out and have more fun, get to see the place better.
    I’m also watching much more comedy and looking for the funnier, brighter side of every situation because positivity and respecting yourself while not taking anything too seriously is crucial to overcoming depression, as are learning the means to assert yourself rather than be passive/aggressive, and be mindful of the moment (best practised through meditation and mindful walking).

    I’d like to thank both of my parents and all of my family for being a pillar of strength throughout, as well as all the staff in college who supported me. A special thanks to those few friends who stuck with me through the hard times, even when I went really crazy.
    I generally feel far happier about life, and can currently live without my worries wrecking it all. They are definitely there that can’t be ignored, but I won’t let them destroy me.
    It is a long slippery slope but there is always hope

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