I have decided to write a series of blog posts that are slightly different to my usual. A friend of mine suggested that I interview him as he wanted to try and help others, but wanted to stay anonymous. This gave me the idea of interviewing various people that I know who have suffered with their mental health: showing others that these conditions can affect all walks of life; all ages; all professions. I have chosen to interview 9 different people and asked them some questions which may be triggering for some people. I am going to split up these interviewees into two separate posts due to the amount of information I have received from each person.
I will also be doing two other blog posts interviewing people who have supported someone with a mental illness. This will give some perspective into how it can affect other people’s lives as well as our own.
I would like to take the time now to thank each and every person who contributed to this blog – I know it may not have been easy, but with your help we can start eliminating the notion that only certain ‘types’ of people suffer with a mental health condition.
I have colour coded the different interviewees as they are all anonymous but I felt this would be an easy way to keep track of each individual answer.
Interviewees 1-5 out of 9:
How old are you?
What is your job?
Ex-Magician, now I own my own business.
What mental health condition do you suffer from?
Depression and panic attacks.
Anxiety and depression.
Anxiety and depression.
How old were you when you first experienced poor mental health?
Had anything happened prior to this that may have contributed to your condition?
Nothing – life was perfect. I was doing well in school, I had loads of friends and a loving family. One evening had flu-like symptoms, woke up the next day and couldn’t leave the house. My life changed from that day.
General shitty childhood but I don’t think that played a major part in it other than my behaviour which is why it was looked into.
I had low self-esteem and I experienced verbal bullying.
My dad died in 2016 which caused me to lose my job. When I found my current job I was very anxious as my colleagues knew about my dad and I hadn’t been in childcare for a few months.
Illness and a broken heart.
What would you describe as your most difficult period of mental health?
Watching my friends and everyone around me enjoying life, seeing them getting on in life and watching my own going backwards. Seeing my family cry at doctor’s appointments with me. Everyday thinking I am never going to be normal like everyone my age, never find love and die alone.
Causing death by dangerous driving. It made me look at my life and mental health; therefore forcing me to assess my issues.
I started a new job; I had to face fears on a daily basis and I was going to work anxious; feeling sick and tearful. I had lots of responsibility.
When I got my current job I got very anxious which made my depression worse. I found it hard to adjust to new staff, children and routines. I took time off very quickly as I had lots of thoughts travelling around in my head; a lot of them were negative. My thoughts took over and I spent two days in bed, at which I self-harmed and thought about taking my own life. At this point I called for an ambulance and the police came. I was taken to hospital and discharged but I got help over the Christmas period from the crisis team.
When I couldn’t leave the house; I would start panicking and feeling dizzy and sick
What 3 things has your condition taught you about life/yourself?
That it can make me feel like a weak person but now I know I can be stronger than I’ve ever been and not let it win.
I bottle stuff up too much, mainly to keep a strong appearance. It doesn’t necessarily take a traumatic event to cause mental health issues. It can happen to anyone, no matter how they appear on the outside.
Just because someone smiles, doesn’t mean they’re okay. Be kind to yourself when you’re feeling low. Value friendships.
Listen to your body – if you’re tired, sleep. If you’re hungry, eat. No matter what just do it. There is help out there, online, ringing 111, talking to friends. That the demons in your head don’t set who you are and what your life is going to be. You are battling them whilst trying to live and survive so you’re as tough as everyone else.
Try not to let other people control your anxiety. More people suffer than I thought. Its being talked about more often.
Do you take medication or have previously to aid your mental health?
Sertraline 150mg every evening from the age of 15.
Yes – propranolol.
I have been on two lots of antidepressants. One which made me yawn like crazy and super tired and feeling sick. Other one didn’t really help.
What tools/methods do you use to help manage your mental health condition?
I’ve tried everything in the book, every herbal thing and nothing worked for me. I would make myself sleep through the attack, lay in bed in a ball shaking uncontrollably until it passed. I would take a diazapam tablet if it was a very bad attack.
Stupidly and not recommended but taking risks with myself to make myself feel something. Remembering what I would leave behind. Avoiding certain situations.
Exercise. Chocolate! Giving myself time out. Keeping in contact with friends.
I haven’t really found anything yet that helps me but I don’t really stick to things. I like to take a day for myself at times like spending the day in bed watching films and leaving my chores. I find music helps but it has to be current songs and I will listen to them on repeat. Exercise has helped me as I enjoy cycling.
Try to keep calm when having an attack and tell someone you trust.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone else suffering, what would it be?
You think you’re the only person in the world that feels like it but I promise you there are millions like you out there, some worse, some not. But I promise you will get better and believe me it might stay with you forever but you learn to control it so much it fades away.
Tell someone. Anyone. Friends etc, but most importantly your GP.
Talk to someone. You’re not alone.
Talk. To anyone – strangers, online, colleagues, anyone you can trust and can feel you would get support from. You don’t want negative comments when feeling low. Believe you are better that what you’re feeling right now and it will end. You will come out of the tunnel strong, brave and beautiful as you have achieved so much.
Don’t let it control you.