When I was ten years old my mother described it as ‘A Deep Dark Hole’. At the time, I imagined a literal hole opening in the Earth to swallow me in its entirety. It was a vast crevice of unescapable blackness, that sought to drag me to the depths of its layers and hold me there. That was my anxiety.
People have a hard time grasping what ‘Anxiety’ means. They assume it just means being nervous occasionally or feeling on edge. They read online descriptions of it and assume to know the struggle of those who suffer from it. Those people are wrong. A perfect textbook definition or a preconceived notion of what anxiety is, does not match up to the reality of the condition. For me, it was not just a sometimes thing or an occasional worry; it was all the time. It led to hallucinations, panic attacks, unconsciousness, violent outbursts and, what can be described as complete social isolation.
I do not know what is compelling me to write this now. I feel so alone and misunderstood sometimes so maybe writing is a viable way to explain myself. It’s almost hard to put into words the internal pain of depression. The past few weeks have felt like hell on Earth. I label myself as agnostic but I have prayed that I would fall asleep and not wake up. Everyone wants to die peacefully I think and this is my desire as well. I have even envisioned that I would develop some incurable or terminal disease as well. That’s how bad I want an escape from all of this.
I was very germophobic in my early childhood but it passed. I was always very dressy. The thought of sweats bothers me. Then this summer right before high school I started feeling locked like I was basically choosing between life and death. If I moved my bones where always tense, if I had a thought I would walk backward to where I was before I had had it, then in school I had to erase an rewrote everything. I knew it was fake but I couldn’t help. I just started medicine which helps, but, I get tired. If I would have heard of OCD before I would have thought someone was crazy or a clean crazy person, but, now I know it’s truly unexplained because it is hard get help. If you feel like your gonna break, get help, you won’t feel like a time bomb anymore.
Plain and simple, I have bipolar disorder and anxiety and I’m here to say, I’M STABLE! THERE IS HOPE! I owe my stability to God first, then my family, my hard work and determination to get and stay stable and of course my physiologist and psychiatrist! THERE IS LIFE WITH A MENTAL ILLNESS! DO NOT GIVE UP!
My son was a victim of drug abuse that led to his mental illness. Life was so hard for him that out of despair and confusion he kept going back to drugs to stop the craziness. I tried for years to help in every way I could think of to save my son. The mental health places we went to mearly passed him through. I was not trained to deal with this. Inevitably, we were responsible for our sons conditions. The system let us down time and time and time again and it led to his death eventually. The system needs to change and change now!!! They need to educate the parents or who ever is trying to deal with the illness because it is our duty to help them.
My brother, Russ, was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, but never properly treated. 18 years ago, in September, while at an inpatient hospital, he died in a car accident. We thought he was safe in an in-patient psychiatric unit. For reasons unexplained, they took him outside to smoke. Understandably, while psychotic, he made a bad choice and walked away from the hospital. Then he got into a running vehicle left alone (he probably thought it was a sign) and then drove away. After getting onto the highway he died smashing into oncoming traffic. My father was on his way to see his son on his birthday and he passed the accident. He thought his son was safely cared for at the hospital, but, this was not the case. Our family sued this hospital and again, inexplicably, lost the case. What are families to do when their best efforts to get a loved one into safe care against all odds (due to poor insight of the ill persons and laws protecting their individual rights to mess themselves up) go wrong. It’s tough to love someone who struggles with mental illness. It’s tough to be someone who struggles with mental illness. Please hang tough, someone loves you. If you don’t know anyone who does now trust that someone will when you have had the benefit of good care and some time to stabilize. You are a good person and you are worth the effort. Stick around. Help care providers understand what you need.
Hello, I’m Hannah, I have suffered with depression on and off through out my life. I am not depressed at the moment but I feel like I am always having to fight it, so I don’t fall into that black whole again. I suffer with anxiety too and I don’t know why. No one understands what a struggle it can be just to do simple things and it’s hard to talk about because people will just think I am silly and won’t understand. I have also suffered with terrible panic attacks in the past. I just thought it would be nice to chat with people that are in the same position as me and find out if there are anyways in which I can help myself.
Hi my name is Jeff I had my first breakdown in high school. My teachers thought I was having a allergic reaction to something. It was nearly ten years later until my particular symptoms would be properly addressed. While in a mental hospital near Detroit, Michigan, I was diagnosed as schizoaffective. At the time I was around twenty eight years old and it has been a hard road to hoe ever since. One would think things would start to get better once my doctors understood what they were dealing with, but, that just wasn’t the case. The ongoing trial and error approach was terribly hard on my mind and my body. At one point I was prescribed over twenty pills a day. As a result, I gained tons of weight became more depressed and just wanted to sleep all the time. Looking back, I think my doctors were just putting a little bit of everything in the mix just to see what would happen. At the time I didn’t have insurance so I was using a county funded system for treatment. I now have private insurance and my level of care has go through the roof, but, not without its own short comings. My doctor is very hard to reach if I am having severe problems, and sometimes it can take days to hear back from him. I am sharing this too see how many other people out there that lost a large block of their life to this trial and error approach that many doctors tend to follow. I understand these doctors need a starting point but it seems to me that they don’t really look at us as people but more as reflections of symptoms.
I work at an Elementary school in an urban area, where most of my kids come from varying types of dysfunction. One day as I was working I realized that one of the few things that unites everyone is that in life everyone encounters personal tragedy: be it addiction, loss, mental illness or the like. Everyone at one point or potentially many points in their life has felt sorrow for some period of time. It is a universal experience and I say this not to minimize your own personal struggle at all.
I was having a discussion with some of my students and the topic switched to myself and one particularly shy kid said “Mr. Luke, you laugh all the time even when you should be mad at us and it makes me feel like everything will be ok” (paraphrased for brevity and coherence which a grade schooler sometimes lacks). What he said struck me as being very profound at this juncture in my life, as I am currently joyful and my own personal joy can be a small comfort to the people I encounter. I never realized that allowing someone to see joy as being an acceptable emotion could be so impactful. Especially since a lot of these kids come from backgrounds where they are treated like burdens or survival is the only thing on their mind.
I guess in conclusion I’d just like to stress if you are struggling look for joyful people to be around, it might not cure what ails you but they will let you borrow their light for a minute and that can be rejuvenating. My parents are one of the main reasons I’m ok because their joy gave me a respite in times when I wasn’t so stable. If you are in a position to be joyful I urge you to laugh freely, be compassionate, and have more empathy (because you have felt the pains of tragedy). If you are not that’s o.k., when it comes back pay it forward because you don’t want anyone else to hurt the way you have.
In May of 2010 I was diagnosed as bi-polar axis 2. I had suffered for years with severe depression but this was my 1st attempt to commit suicide. I have little to no support. My two children are afraid of me for no reason. I have never hurt them in any way. My two sisters also lack empathy. I’ve been told, “I just need to snap out of it” by one sister and that I need to get a grip. I very rarely see them. My younger daughter (29 years old) says I’m not the mother she had growing up. My other daughter (32 years old) says we’ve always had an “odd” relationship. I am compliant with my medicines, do home therapy with books and work sheets as well as seeing my therapist regularly. I finally got put on a new medicine that seems to be working but it’s been a long haul. This disorder has striped me of my life. I would love to see improved public education. All these mass killings are attributed to the killers mental illness. What families fail to see is that these killers weren’t taking medicines as prescribed and had signs that should have been acted on. People with diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. don’t get treated like a leper. Maybe better education would help.
I’ve suffered with depression/anxiety since I was a teenager. It has gotten worse as I’ve gotten older. I’m now heading into my mid-40s. I take medication, see a doctor and therapist. All in hopes of one day actually realizing life is worth living. For right now, I’m taking it day by day. After 25+ years one can truly admit that the natural order is to fight for life. Otherwise, I wouldn’t still be here. Many of my friends and my entire family know of my mental disorders. Some would rather ignore it and others support me. However, it is interesting that when you have such extreme reactions to your illness, it brings about more anxiety. It’s such a nasty cycle. But one that I’ve been circling, so it’s best to keep a good pair of sneaks handy :)
I have struggled with depression and anxiety for the past 12 years. It led to dropping out of college and living in my parent’s basement for two years. I believed I had no friends, especially after my boyfriend left me due to my deep depression and inability to function normally. He didn’t bother to tell me he was leaving. After spending all of high school as best friends and two years of college as lovers, he left one day and stopped returning my calls. I only saw him one more time to return some of his possessions. It sent me deeper into depression and hopelessness. It took me another year to move upstairs into my childhood bedroom, make some new friends and generally begin turn my life around. I was lucky my parents were patient. I finished community college - not the bachelor’s degree I was originally going for, but it was something. I got a job. I slept with too many men simply because I wanted them. I felt empowered. I smoked a lot of weed. I drank. I tried antidepressants, but they made my head hurt so I stopped. I tried counseling, but it was too hard to talk about everything that had happened so I quit going. I quit a lot of things, but I didn’t quit smoking pot or drinking. I wanted to die, but my former boyfriend and I had adopted two kittens that I kept when he left. I told myself they needed me so I couldn’t hurt myself.
My family used to tell me for over half of my life that I needed to stop eating and i was “fat”. I struggled with eating disorders for over a year. On April 15th of this year, I overdosed on around 60 aspirin. I was in Children’s Hospital for 2 days and then admitted to a psych hospital for 14 days. I was diagnosed with major depression, anorexia nervosa, and bulimia nervosia. I went back in 2 weeks after I got out for severe self harm. They then added generalized anxiety order. I attempted suicide in the hospital and popped a blood vessel. I went home for a month after that and then returned for 4 suicide attempts in a two hour period because I was hearing voices. They added borderline personality traits and major depression with psychotic symptoms. I was sent to a placement home for up to 90 days.
Although they were horrible decisions, I wouldn’t take them back because they made me learn and I changed tremendously (for the better). If you notice yourself getting depressed, suicidal, or having any abnormal mental troubles, please please please tell someone so you can get help. Everyone has a purpose and you are apart of that everyone. people love you, as much as you think they don’t. Just because you use suicide to erase your pain, doesn’t mean the people’s around you is erased.
For the past 2 years I’ve shared Facebook notes about why the NAMI Walk is so important to me. Looking back at them now, it’s a chronicle of how much my friend has been through in that time. Two years ago, she was in the same place that she’d been in for much of the time I’ve known her – chronically suicidal, wanting desperately to die but knowing that those feelings and the voices telling her to do it were a symptom of her mental illness. My note that year was about the 3 AM phone calls, and the incredibly insensitive (and dangerous) responses she got when she tried to reach out for help. By this time last year, she was in a very different place – lost in a period of psychosis, unable to have any kind of conversation that made sense – the result of professionals’ failure to take her (or me) seriously as the voices took over and she started to lose control. My note last year was about my realization of just how strong the stigma and discrimination against mental illness really is – that somebody fighting for her life and sanity could be so easily dismissed as “just trying to get attention.”
My name is Sharon, and I’m 53 year old female. I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the time that I decided to seek treatment for my addiction to prescription narcotics. I realized that I was dealing with depression even as a young adolescent. I was always sad and felt and no hope for the future. I was very shy, withdrawn and searching for anything that would make me feel happy; which was always temporary, causing more pain and loneliness, I thought about suicide often, but never acted on it. On June 17, 2014, I celebrated seven years of sobriety, finding happiness, fulfillment and hope for the future. It took me until I was an older adulthood to find a way to live my life in fulfillment, battling episodes of depression. My illness cost me jobs, relationships and my own personal growth. In present, I have a loving husband of 13 years, have a great home, a caring,supportive family and friends, None of this would have been possible without seeking treatment and understanding my illness. The most important lesson through my journey through depression and addiction was to heal myself from past trauma, caring and respecting myself, and living life not just for day to day existence, but to thrive and grow in living with purpose and joy!
Apparently no one really cares. For some reason they like to pretend that they do. Maybe it makes them feel better about themselves. Perhaps like everything else, it is all about money. Today I reached out in desperation for help to numerous organizations. No one listened. No one cared. I was treated as if me and my pain were insignificant. I was left feeling defeated, horrible about myself and much worse than before I reached out for help. My life has been ravaged.
I have been going through vocational rehab for a couple of years now. They helped me with schooling, which was a huge struggle for me on a daily basis. They then sent me to see a counselor of some sort and he has tried all sorts of medicine on me. This has been a $^&*&^% nightmare. I suffer from a TBI and nothing has seemed to work. I truly feel that I am getting worse every day. More depression, more anger. They started me on a regimen of meds that made me physically sick, how wonderful to add to my already mental messed up state. The counselor at first decided that I must be bi-polar, and then started a different regimen, which didn’t seem to do much, but to stick it out and up doses, as we go, and keep switching meds as well.
Managing the symptoms of psychiatric conditions can be overwhelming for patients and their caregivers. Occasionally, the medications the patients need to manage these conditions can bring on a potentially debilitating side effect called tardive dyskinesia (TD). TD is a neurological condition characterized by involuntary movements of the face (such as grimacing, tongue protrusion, lip smacking), and the limbs, torso, fingers, feet, and toes. These random body movements can make it increasingly uncomfortable for patients to be out in public or even participate in the daily activities they once loved. This condition can be devastating to patients already suffering from psychiatric symptoms, and can lead to even more social isolation.
Often, people with TD do not notice the abnormal movements. In fact, it’s typical for the person’s family members, friends, or even strangers, to be the first to point them out. These movements can be painful and bothersome, and tend to be more easily noticed by the individual experiencing them when he or she begins to feel uncomfortable around others. Joan,* a 61-year-old TD sufferer, describes her experience by saying, “It’s as if I can’t stop and if I stop, I have to get real stiff and rigid, and that hurts so I usually just keep on moving.” These movements make it uncomfortable for her to participate in daily activities outside her home. In fact, the impact on her social activities is profound. “I don’t go to church,” she admits. “I have anxiety when I’m in front of a bunch of people. I usually stay home. I don’t go to the movies. I don’t go out in public that often, or to the store.” When asked why she avoids going out in public, Joan explains that she doesn’t like to be around people when she’s experiencing rocking and jerking movements that she can’t control.
In the last two years, I have spent 264 days in the hospital, after three intentional overdoses of various medications. Admitted to psych ward, I was kind of cut off from everyone who I would normally see all the time; husband, family and friends. I felt (and still often feel) very alone in this….
Do not look at my mental illnesses as a disease that is to be feared, and never listen to my real feelings. This is folly. This is foolishness of heart. No medication will replace what listening to the issue from those who live with so called mental illnesses.
I’ve lived with depression and generalized anxiety disorder for years and for several of those years I self medicated with various drugs. I finally chose to get completely clean of drugs about a year ago. I can not change how my mind acts to different things I can just keep going and choose to never give up no matter how low I feel and help those that are feeling low as best as I can whether it be getting them help if I can or even just a pair of ears to listen to their story.
How I was Cured of a 30 Year Long Religious Delusion
I have schizophrenia. From 1981 to 2011 I believed, with every ounce in my body, that I was the Messiah and that I was going to the United Nations in New York to recite the Ten Commandments. Starting in 1981, I kept getting in trouble with the local police for going into churches and ripping up their Bibles and preaching. Sometimes I was jailed, other times I was committed, 302, 303, 304 until they ran out of numbers to commit me under. I received a lot psychotherapy at hospitals. I also received a lot of medications. Sometimes I received these medications against my will.
I believe the turning point came in 2000 when my case manager asked me to write the “Book of the Prophet” on a 3 1/2 inch floppy disk on a computer. In 2006, I managed to get hired by the in a cafeteria serving food and washing dishes. I was having anger issues on the job so, my employment specialist said that I needed CBT (cognitive behavior therapy). I told the coordinator of the program that I needed CBT. The coordinator emailed a CBT psychologist whose intern called me and we set up an appointment. I went through the CBT sessions and got to know my therapist.
Awful day…Today my child was taken to the hospital because he wanted to harm himself. He is 15 and is under family custody. I had to fly over to meet everyone at the hospital. The hospital took him hours from here in an ambulance, left me behind and refuses to let him go home even though he appears well. This is inpatient and hospital wants me to sign a form to admit him!!
I grew up in a very emotionally detached upper middle class house. I was adopted. Always knew I was never good enough and felt I would never be. The REAL meaning of family would come later for me. After 15 very hard years of marriage that ended in a suicide because of untreated mental illness, my two sons and I were alone. Two days after his death my boys were praying for a new Dad. Their prayers were answered! Ultimately, we married. In our marriage testing we proved to be one of the closest matched couples our Pastor had ever seen! God does not make mistakes! Everyone has something to offer!!!
Another little boy blessed our family, now we are five in all! Our little guy is very educated about mental illness. He does not see schizophrenia, he sees his brother. :) When one of his brothers struggles, he is there to offer hugs and help! He has just turned six! Many bad things have happened with his other brother, so our little guy is educated more on mental illness and forgiveness!
My husband is the best Dad, husband and friend in the world! Our family loves each other unconditionally (on a good day)! When our oldest son was hospitalized after discovering he inherited schizophrenia and so much more, my husband shined! His biggest regret was when my son was in the adolescent psychiatric hospital he could not visit due to work! My son is home and years have passed since his diagnoses. He is deeply loved, appreciated and valued with a dry sense of humor that would put a smile on anyone’s face. A very gentle soul.
My name is Joseph Loya and I live in a residence for people with mental illness. My residence is at a facility in the Bronx. Several days ago I was pushed by a staff member who then stepped on my foot which had been severely injured from a prior incident. They called the police and ambulance on me even though the police clearly said I did NOTHING WRONG. I was released and treated for my injury and that was it. Every attempt to report the incident and get some closure ended In failure; the facility treated me like I committed a crime. The facility sounded sincere but that’s where it ended they did nothing despite the hospitals own written conclusions. Everyday I have to walk past these people snickering and laughing and taunting me.
The one thing a person with a mental illness is supposed to be protected against is psychological and physical abuse and that is not the case, the internet is filled with advocacy groups that don’t advocate for anyone because most of the phone numbers don’t work! Is this testimonial appropriate? Yes it is because I AM ALONE what happened to me is happening everyday and these people are simply calling the cops, oh so and so is crazy they have mental problems send them to the hospital, sweet racket for the hospital, never listening to the person at all. Oh by the way I do not use any illegal narcotics or alcohol, those individuals are permitted to come and go as they please, go figure that one out. So yeah I AM ALONE but I am not writing this for me but for all the others that I know are alone!
My daughter had the traits of borderline personality disorder as early as the age of one, but no one knew about borderline personality disorder in the 1980’s, and she didn’t get diagnosed until she was eighteen years old. Early diagnosis and treatment might have changed the entire course of her life; instead, she and the rest of our family suffered years of misdiagnoses, school problems, drug problems and legal troubles. My daughter finally did get the help she needed as an adult, but a lot of pain could have been prevented with earlier detection.
My life is much better now, but up til I was 35 yrs old, I didn’t really believe I had the right to live. Fortunately these feelings I would suppress, along with anything else I couldn’t deal with. I met other people when I was in my 20’s. My therapist put me into a group. It actually helped me. My mother confessed to me finally, when I was 13 or 14, that she never did want me, which explained her abuse. The rest of my family took their cue from her. I was abused physically, sexually, mentally, and emotionally. After 20+ yrs of therapy including meds, my therapist told me my diagnosis. I have DID, PTSD, OCD and depression, which I still use meds for. However, I can truthfully say: I’m glad to be alive! I never allowed myself to put down in writing what I went thru because I didn’t want to remember my life then, but, unfortunately, I can’t forget. I rarely dissociate anymore, and it’s usually by my hiding behind my eyes or looking out from within myself. I am 62 yrs old now.
Hi!! My name is Emma, I’m 17, and this is my story. It’s pretty late at night right now and all I can think of doing is spreading the hope I have for my illness. I’m not going to share too much but I was diagnosed with major depression and social anxiety a few years back. I am not going to glorify it any way because it absolutely sucks but honestly, it does get better! I have been having many ups and downs ever since a few days ago, mainly because getting back into school has been extremely stressful. I am taking psychology, which (shocker) is my favorite subject. I was crying a few days ago in that class because my teacher said something I deeply related to.
It is nothing to be ashamed of! I live with this illness and I still stay optimistic! I know I’m young and you probably all think I don’t know what I’m talking about, but its true. There are going to be sad moments in your life, (and this goes for all of us) but we get through it by the only means we know how. Laughter. Hope. Whatever in your life that makes you happy is what truly matters. Honestly who cares what other people think? It’s time to change our lifestyle. Embrace the illness. Accept it. But most importantly, breathe. Live. It’s the only life you got, so make the most of it.
I am a 30 year old female who has been through to what I consider a lot to handle mentally and emotionally. Although I understand there are people out there who are dealing with much worse then me, everyone still gauges things on their own terms and to me, my situation was traumatizing. My dad…
When his face flashed across the TV screen, I knew that he was gone, but for a minute or two I told myself “It isn’t true”. Then the CNN newscaster announced that he was “sorry to have to report this” but Robin Williams was dead. I felt empty and alone. How could this loving genius be gone? I knew that he had battled substance abuse and depression for most of his life – I guess I just didn’t want to believe that someone who could be that funny could be so sad. I called my husband in tears to tell him what had happened. Then I parked myself in front of the TV as details of Robin’s suicide were divulged. I kept thinking – “…if I had known I could have called you”, “…if you had just said something we could have intervened”. But then I thought about how hard he had struggled, how he never gave up. I know how tempting it is to hurt yourself, even if it’s just a cut on your arm.
When we first adopted her we knew that the family had a background in mental illness but we never thought that our daughter would “get it” but several years ago things just began unraveling and its very clear to me now that my daughter, does in fact, have mental illness. Things in our lives will never be the same ever again.Now, school is having an emergency IEP, hopes for her, as she is brilliant, of ever having a quick time in school are vanishing and she sees that her dreams of being out of school early have diminished and this all frustrates us . I don’t know where to go to get her help because every time we get close to getting some real help she sends them away …I am not sure where we are going and what we are doing … prayers are the only thing now getting me through.
I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder seventeen years ago because I used and abused drugs and alcohol in excess. Today I am clean and sober and I have written a book of poems that can inspire others to learn about substance abuse and having a mental Illness. My book explores the dark side of drugging and drinking but it also explores healing and recovery.