So, what’s it like living with a mental illness? – bloggers answer. Part Two.

I asked Bloggers to tell me what it was like to live with a mental health condition. Some of these stories are hard to read and I cannot thank the bloggers enough for sharing their stories. Please remember if you need help to contact your GP or the Samaritans on 116 123. You are not alone. 

Lauren from www.milliesguide.com  – Anxiety and Depression

What is it like to live with a mental health difficulty? I’ve been finding this a really hard question to answer because every day is different. I can be hit by anxiety where I constantly feel nervous but I can’t work out what I’m worried about. Depression can loom like a cloud of darkness. It is feeling numb and nothing makes sense. It’s feeling nothing or everything at once. It’s crying when someone says hello. It’s crying for absolutely no reason and not being able to stop. There is a little voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. It’s not having the energy and courage to get out of bed. It’s not showering, cleaning your teeth or eating properly because I’m not worth it. At its worse depression causes you to

Depression can loom like a cloud of darkness. It is feeling numb and nothing makes sense. It’s feeling nothing or everything at once. It’s crying when someone says hello. It’s crying for absolutely no reason and not being able to stop. There is a little voice in the back of my mind that constantly tells me I’m not good enough and that I’ll never be good enough. It’s not having the energy and courage to get out of bed. It’s not showering, cleaning your teeth or eating properly because I’m not worth it. At its worse depression causes you to self-harm and self-destruct. It’s having thoughts that you would be better off dead. That your loved ones would be better off without you in their lives. My biggest piece of advice to you is to tell someone.

Talk about how you’re feeling with friends, family or your doctor. Lots and lots of people have depression or some other mental health problems. Just remember you are not alone and this too shall pass. It’s something that I have to remind myself of often.

Jen from @aweebitblue – Under diagnosis review.

I first started to struggle in my mid-teens, when I started to feel really low, and began to self-harm. I eventually sought help at 17, and was given antidepressants. I wasn’t so keen on taking them – I worried that they’d make me feel even more numb than I already felt – so I asked if there were any talking therapies available. My GP referred me to CAMHS, where I saw a psychologist… twice. I felt like I was being patronised.

At 18, I moved away to university, where I spiralled into a deep dark place, which culminated in me using drinking and self-harm to get me through the long nights. I registered with the campus GP, and was given more antidepressants, which I took for a couple of days, and then stopped. I also saw a university counsellor, who pretty swiftly said she couldn’t cope with ‘my levels of difficulty’. I had a course of CBT around this time, which I have to say was not particularly helpful either. I was convinced that I was beyond help, and spiralled even further.

Gradually though, over a course of years, with the help of my girlfriend of the time, things started to get a little better.And it seemed like it was for the first few years. But then things started to go downhill.  I tried a whole host of medications, but I seem to be very sensitive to side effects, so many just didn’t ‘fit’. And things just got worse. I was increasingly suicidal, and ended up being taken into hospital to keep me safe.

A Borderline Personality Disorder diagnosis has been following me around for a while. Despite only meeting two of the criteria for a diagnosis (you have to meet five, and most people I know would meet at least one), and not meeting the criteria for BPD treatment (Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT)), I have had professionals tell me I have BPD repeatedly for the past couple of years.

But it…just didn’t fit. So, at my last appointment with my (new) consultant, I ‘put on my big girl pants’, and asked him about it. He said that it was on my records, but that he had it as ‘under review’. We had a chat about it, and in the end he said that he was very clear that I had a ‘complex mood disorder’. Mood disorder because of the depression, and complex because of the trauma. So not a personality disorder, after all. I finally feel understood, and like we can make some progress.

Please remember if you need help to contact your GP or the Samaritans on 116 123. You are not alone. 

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