The Mental Health Thread

I’ve been debating whether or not to start this thread for a while. If it’s a bad idea, will someone please just be honest and tell me. Everyone seems to mention their mental health struggles in passing and I thought it would be nice to have a place for support, venting, and commiseration. Please be honest with your story.

For those passing through please do not try to self diagnose, especially not with the experiences of others. If you have any concerns about your mental health, please see a professional.

Now that I’ve started it, I’m going to try to get up the courage to post.

I was thinking about doing this myself… good thing you did it before me cause your title is much classier than what mine would’ve been!!

I will share later… just wanted to let you know it’s a good idea so you weren’t sitting her all by yourself! :smiley:

Great idea for a thread :smiley: Mental illnesses are so terribly stigmatised and I reckon that the only way to break the stigmatisation is to talk openly about them. [name_u]Glenn[/name_u] Close founded a wonderful campaign, BringChange2Mind, which has such a wonderful slogan (or whatever those things are called) - “[name_f]Imagine[/name_f] if you got blamed for having cancer”. I think that’s such a powerful and relevant statement, it really moved me deeply. I also really love the documentary that [name_m]Stephen[/name_m] Fry has made about his own illness, [name_m]Stephen[/name_m] Fry: The [name_f]Secret[/name_f] Life of the Manic Depressive, (and I just love him in general, but I suppose that’s a different matter), that programme really gave me a lot of strength and I could relate to so much of what he said - he’s truly such a smashing person.

I’m diagnosed with bipolar II myself, meaning that I have a lot of ups and downs - but mainly downs (which is characteristic for the II version). It’s quite horrible at times and it’s difficult to manage both school and the illness, but I get by. I was referred with a major depression and social anxiety after attempted suicide and when I then started treatment, I was (as often it often happen with bipolars) misdiagnosed with BPD and it took almost a year of psychotherapy for my psychiatrist to realise that I was misdiagnosed. Now it’s been about one and a half year since I was (correctly) diagnosed. I’m in psychotherapy, am only taking medicine when I have the lowest of lows and my social skills are better, far from perfect, but now I can go outside by myself at least, lol.

I have depression and have suspected for quite a while now that it’s actually a symptom of Asperger’s. Been considering asking a doctor for a referral for a ‘real’ diagnosis recently but I’m afraid he/she will think I’m making it all up.

Another BPII here. As is usual, it’s a long history to get to the right diagnosis.
I started off most noticeably with anxiety, which was unrecognized and misdiagnosed my entire life. I had mysterious illnesses from middle school onwards that no blood test could work out. I was treated for chronic acid reflux when I was 19. I had my first major depressive episode during teachers’ college at age 23 but didn’t seek help, and didn’t have the right supports in place to recognize what was wrong. Finally at age 25 I went through an episode of “insomnia”, and after weeks of not sleeping enough my family doctor referred me to a sleep clinic. After analysis of my sleep and brain patterns it was determined that I didn’t have a sleep disorder, my brain was incredibly overactive and I needed to manage stress. The family doctor had me do a few mental health surveys, referred me to a psychiatrist and I was able to begin treatment for my anxiety. I was put on an anti-depressant that will often work on general anxiety disorder.
Things looked great for a while! I started to come down, and feel calm, and work went incredibly well. But within 5 months of starting treatment, I suddenly switched into a major depressive episode. My psychiatrist was no longer available, so my family doctor did the only thing she knew to do, and that was to increase the dose of the anti depressant. It worked well for a while, but I would still cycle down. I was on the waiting list again for a psychiatrist, so I just dealt with the cycling. I decided to start psycho therapy to help with the depression. At this point, I had been officially diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder. [name_u]Red[/name_u] flags went up.
I finally got to see my new psychiatrist about 4 weeks after finding out I was pregnant with my son. The new doctor was very understanding and accommodating, and added another (safe) medication to try to level me out. I leveled out but was still depressed, just not so much. I opted not to mess around with my medications too much until after labour. I went into labour at 36 weeks, and managed to deliver without any anxiety attacks. Over the next 6 weeks my midwives watched me closely and determined that I was suffering from postpartum depression. I felt relatively good, but my “good” was still much lower than is healthy, so they asked me to book in with my psychiatrist. He looked at my overall moods and extended history and determined that I actually fit the profile for bipolar II, and has been adjusting my meds over the last 8 months in order to stop the cycling and raise my baseline up to a “normal” level.

Renrose, I understand where you’re coming from. It took me a long time to get friends, family and my childhood family doctor to take me seriously. I’m a musician and teacher and nobody would believe that someone constantly in front of people could suffer from anxiety. But you have to start asking for treatment, they can’t take you seriously if you don’t start somewhere!

People working in mental health need to be professional, caring and knowledgeable. All patients and their carers need to be treated respectfully. And there should be accommodation on farms etc so that the patients have a chance to relax and do small chores which I feel would be therapeutic and would help aid their recovery.

I’m currently on medication for anxiety so I can sympathise.

I won’t go too far into my insecurities and anxieties, but I have severe OCD. It stems from a fear of being judged. I’m abnormally fearful of people judging my parenting and my home, and my ability to raise my family.

My home is absolutely spotless, to an almost sterile standard. The furnishings are cosy and homely, but I hoover 3 times a day, mop twice a day, polish twice a day, etc. I do washing twice a day, take care of my garden…I paint the front of my house every year. I clean all my windows every other day. An unmade bed is enough to send me in a tizzy if it isn’t made first thing.

I also have to ensure at all times that my children are clean, wearing well put together ironed outfits with matching accessories. I’m conscious that others would think that they aren’t looked after properly, even though no one has ever said anything. One speck of dirt, and I’ll change their entire outfit. There are tantrums every morning when it comes to A’s hair because I won’t allow her out with a bed head, she hates having it styled but I’d rather stay in then go out with wild hair.

Another source of my OCD is my children’s diet. I’m so careful about what they eat, they aren’t allowed any processed foods or sweets and I’m quite the tyrant when it comes to getting their 5 a day.

I’m trying not to pass any of these complexes onto my children, and thus far, they haven’t noticed, apart from the fact that mum goes crazy if they don’t clean up their toys when they are finished playing. I’m not so bad that I won’t let them be kids…They can play, but it has to be cleaned up after.

Anyway, I’m well aware of the effect these anxieties are having on my life. I’m working through them right now and am slightly better than I was when pregnant. Its going to be a long road.

I was diagnosed with bipolar 1 over ten years ago, when I was in my late teens. I’ve always been kind of depressed, mood swings. insomnia and all that, but nothing so bad that my parents took any serious action. I was at university and I was raped which pretty much ruined my life (or so I thought). My foot was badly injured, as well as other parts of me, but the foot was hard. I was a dancer back then, and an injured foot which took months to heal and years to be able to dance on again, was like being stabbed right in the heart. My nose was broken, and for someone who was rather obsessed with her own looks (people have always been very keen on telling me how beautiful I am, so that has always been a very big factor is how I feel about myself), that was maybe the hardest thing of all. I locked myself in and when I did heal (physically) I threw myself into a self destructive pattern of drinking, smoking and lots of sex. I naturally crashed and stayed in the mental illness wing of the hospital for a while, and I had to continue going to psychotherapy after this. This was great as I got on medication and I had someone to talk to who helped me and understood. I’ve also been involved in many groups, but these have been rape, not mental disorder related.
It took me a long time to find good medication though, but when lithium and I met it said click. I’ve had periods where I have gone off it because I’ve been doing good and feeling great but it’s always led to euphoric mania, then the crash into the deepest darkest corners of my soul where nothing is pretty and everything hurts. Despite all this I’ve always considered me as someone who loves life, I’ve never even considered ending it. Which I have written down on a piece of paper that I carry around with me in case the bleak thoughts come to find me.

I managed to get through university very nicely, I’ve got two masters degrees from good unis, but it was a bit of a challenge. My biggest problems are my relationships. I decided very soon after my diagnosis that I didn’t want biological children as I didn’t want to pass this on to them (ooops!), and my plan was to be with someone nice, kind, well educated and in a successful career as this would improve my chances of being allowed to adopt. So all my boyfriends prior to Husband fit into that category. They were all interesting and great men, all years older than me. Then I met Husband and yeah, while he half way fits into it he’s not very nice. He’s kind and good and everything, but he’s opinionated and passionate and a bit narcissistic, and he’s moody. Like his wife. There are days I feel incredibly bad, days I feel like a black shadow hovering over our house, bringing destruction into the beautiful pinkness of it all. A few months back i actually made an exit plan for myself, how to leave my husband and two daughters, I was so depressed I couldn’t think about anything but myself. Then we went into the hospital for her heart check up, and there was an irregularity and somehow the waiting period between my midwife appointment and the ultrasound helped shake me out of it. Husband yelled at me for like three hours when I told him about my plan though, but we have a honesty agreement, so I had to. [name_m]Even[/name_m] though it was horrible. But I get that. He has to control his emotions a lot around me because of my illness, and on top of that I am the most ridiculously sensitive person in the world. I cry from the news, from songs, books, I cry when I watch sitcoms (seriously, The Big Bang [name_m]Theory[/name_m] keeps on getting to me). So sometimes he needs to be able to be upset too. I’d be mad if I’d found out he had a detailed plan for leaving me too.
I’ve only had one episode in the past year (we’re almost at the point where I can say it’s been a year and no episodes!), while I was pregnant with [name_f]Dita[/name_f] I had a real mania and then I crashed, was admitted to the hospital and spent a few days there recovering. Being a mother and dealing with this can be very hard, but in some ways it’s good too. It makes me feel like I have a reason to get up in the morning. I do have breakdowns when I think about how awful I am for having them, but my husband is pretty amazing and he says that if they do get it, they have the worlds most capable and understanding mother to help guide them through it and into the light and starshine.

I’ve tried all kinds of different things to help me, I try to avoid nightshades (except for tomatoes, I’m addicted to those), I’m a shamanic druid and having a Shaman is really great. It helps a lot because the belief is that thoughts and words have actual power, and that makes me have less destructive thoughts. I have done a few myth readings with amazing Jungian psychotherapists, which has helped me see my future clearer. I love all kinds of readings, it makes me feel hopeful. I try to exercise quite a bit, yoga and running, and (TMI) I have sex with my husband on an average three times a day as it declutters my head and makes me relax. And it makes him happy, so bonus for that. I make sure to have lots of me time, and I make sure to have a good not-me-related cry once a day. That might sound weird, but it helps a lot, it’s like airing out a dusty room. So I put on a song or read some pages from a book (yes, I’ve got button pushers marked and ready to go), and that’s that.

So, yeah. All’s good, all in all I think. I guess I lucked out meeting my husband as he’s definitely brought lots of life and twinkle of various kinds into my life.

Well, hi everyone, I am a mental health worker (I don’t say ‘professional’ because I do group home work with severely and persistently mentally ill patients - almost all of whom have a schizophrenia or schizo-affective diagnosis, and also I don’t have a master’s degree in the field). I am hugely opposed to the way most mental health organizations go about helping patients recover and the way society views mentally ill individuals in general - the “warehousing” model, as I like to call it. Generally, the only difference I’ve noticed between “functional” mentally ill individuals and my clients is some degree of extreme trauma in their background - and the approach of most practitioners fails to be trauma-informed in most cases.

The best advice I could ever give everyone suffering with a mental illness is to honor your limitations, but never, ever let them prevent you from trying to focus on everything you can do and what you’ve overcome. I feel that too many practitioners enable mentally ill individuals to focus on their disability, and look to medication over coping skills, because it is easier. And often, society takes the same attitude - “[name_m]Just[/name_m] take your meds”. It makes me sick inside. Not that medication isn’t helpful, especially as a stop gap measure while people develop coping skills, but they come with a lot of relatively unstudied long-term side effects as well as severe short-term side effects, so most of my clients have several psych meds, and then several more to treat the side effects.

@rollo - I agree, and I worked on an awesome work therapy farm which allowed residents to participate in short bouts of work around the farm which I found to be a great recovery model.

I would just like to say that while I almost certainly have a mental health diagnosis (I would guess major depressive disorder with a splash of paranoid anxiety), I’ve never sought “professional” help because of the stigma and my intense distaste for the mental health field in my area. Luckily because of my experience I have been able to develop a lot of excellent coping skills over the years on my own and by doing research into a few different areas such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy. Which is not to say that if you are having a really hard time you should try this on your own - licensed clinical social workers in particular can be a great resource as they are usually less expensive than psychologists, and have slightly different broader training.

oops, sorry that got so long. I get ranty about this topic

Okay people. Talking about mental health is not a bad idea. it needs to happen. Had it not happened in my life, I could very well be dead at this point. I have a large rant I could post, but no time. Please talk, guys. It is a very good idea.

I have Aspergers syndrome. I was actually very recently diagnosed. I have it extremely mildly, but sometimes, I can have meltdowns and say things I wish I wouldn’t have said. Aspergers isn’t what people stereotype it to be. If you ever meet me in person, I have a big personality and I am just like every other 13 year old girl. Okay, maybe I’m a bit more rowdy, but that’s my personality! :wink: My closest friends are my biggest supporters on [name_f]Earth[/name_f]. They know about everything and help me cope through it. I’ve never had any major social problems, I just need to stay around people who understand and accept me. I look forward to chatting with you all. <3

I have severe OCD and anxiety issues. My OCD manifests as hypochondria. I notice something completely insignificant like a muscle twitch or a random pain. I become fixated on whatever body part the insignificant thing occurred, start “creating” symptoms (that seem very, very real, even when I know they’re not), and within a few days I’m convinced I have a terminal illness. It’s usually cancer or degenerative diseases with me. So if it’s a cancer, I’ll check for tumors 30-50 times a day. If it’s a degenerative disease, I’ll do strength tests nonstop and become hyper-vigilant about every single twitch, tremor, and “weird” feeling.

All of my psychological problems have gotten worse than they’ve ever been since I started college. Two of my classes have 200+ people in them, and I skip them all the time because being in a room with that many people puts me on the verge of a panic attack. [name_m]Just[/name_m] leaving the house to go to class makes me shaky and weak in the knees. I startle at basically everything. Lately I’ve been having trouble just forcing myself to eat because the anxiety is so bad. Most of my friends are online, and the two I have “in real life” have just as many problems as I do so we never hang out or see each other. My social skills are pretty nonexistent. I’ve been tested for Asperger’s, but I didn’t meet enough of the criteria to get an official diagnosis.

This is all very frustrating for me, because I was doing extremely well over the summer… and then school started. -_-

I have friends who claim their OCD but I doubt it they seem to think just because they like things in order their ocd which is not true and annoys me. I think I’ve suffered anxiety in the past I’ve never been diagnosed just had a whole load of downs and hated life, I’m over it now but I still have problems from it. My anxiety has triggered an over active bladder which I’ve had for two years which is awful but not a mental illness it will always be their though even on medication which sucks.

I’ll stop since I have nothing mental just a bad bladder and scoliosis.

I’ve been a lot more stressed out than I usually am. This semester, I thought that classes would be my main stressor. But it’s people. There’s so, so much more drama this semester alone than there was the whole of last year. Everything from friends basically turning into sluts to other friends dating random guys met on the internet (not on actual dating or social networking sites either) to still other friends getting engaged to complete a**holes. Plus lots of roommate drama, and stress from campus activities (dorm advisors, peer tutors, campus tour guides, various student councils, etc), and fighting between a couple of the people in my core group. One of my friends might be fairly seriously ill, but won’t go to health services to get checked out because she doesn’t have the time. And all of this on top of stressful campus events (a strep epidemic, a bomb scare, an armed robbery, a professor’s death, and a student’s suicide). I’m completely drained, physically and emotionally, and we still have a couple of weeks left in the semester. I haven’t slept more than three or four hours a night in weeks (and it’s usually pretty restless sleep), but I’m not tired at all, even though I’m running around all day between classes and meetings and the like. I either can’t focus on homework at all, or I hyper-focus and lock myself in my room for 10-12 hours on end doing nothing but homework. I worry about money and homework and jobs. Sometimes I’ll try to just sit back and do nothing, take a break, but I inevitably start thinking about all the stuff that I have to do and end up working on that (or planning out what I’m going to do).

I really just need to vent more than anything, I think. Stress isn’t exactly an official mental health thing, but I’m not sure where else to put this besides starting a new thread, which I don’t think is needed.

I usually don’t exactly fit nicely into the category of ‘mental health’, but I’ll post it, because sometimes it’s nice to talk about it because I so rarely do in real life… I have auditory hallucinations. There are no other symptoms really, and as far as we know from the testing I’ve had done it’s just as simple as the hallucinations and not caused from something bigger. (thank goodness!) It wasn’t scary or disturbing when I was little, because I didn’t know better, but now that I’m older it really freaks me out when it happens.
[name_m]Just[/name_m] the other week I was in the shower and I started hearing things and got really freaked out. I had to call my mom, who is on the other side of the country, and cry to her for a while. It gets worse when I’m stressed, so University is a real trigger.
It’s such an odd thing to have people never really understand it, but theres nothing really I can do.
[name_m]Just[/name_m] to clarify, these are not voices telling me to do bad things. If it is ever voices, it’s either one distinct voice I’ve heard all my life or whispers I can’t make out. Most of the time though it is simply noises that don’t belong.

Other than auditory hallucinations I have struggled with an eating disorder.

Thanks for starting this thread. It’s a weight off my shoulder to simply type these things out.

I think I was bequeathed half the DSM at birth :wink:

I have recovered from anorexia and I have a history of depression and anxiety. Currently not medicated for either but they are the black dogs I am always wary of. Like [name_f]Ottilie[/name_f] I am a rape survivor, that along with the anorexia has massively influenced my mental health history. I also have adult [name_m]ADD[/name_m] (not ADHD) which makes studying the hardest thing I’ve ever done, although if I am very interested in a paper I always do very well.

I have severe social anxiety and because of it I don’t have a job or a drivers license at age 23. Also depression but the two coincide.
Its hard because people think I’m lazy and I’m ashamed. I’m not on any medication because I’ve tried so many and I attempted suicide at age 19 by overdosing so I have no faith in medicine and I’m afraid of it. I have one friend I talk on the phone with once a year, and I barely ever say more than a word online. All day things I’ve said pop up in my head, and embarrassing times bombard my memory. I’m worried that my son who is 1 will soon be negatively effected.

I’ve never been diagnosed with anything and I don’t post here often but reading other people’s contributions was really helpful for me, so I hope I can do the same for someone else.

I think I’ve been depressed my entire life. I don’t have any happy memories, I’ve self-harmed since I was a toddler and the first time I tried to kill myself was when I was eight. It’s only got worse, and there are lots of physical symptoms now too, like insomnia, low energy, very poor concentration, stomach problems and significant impairment to my senses.

I also have a lot of social anxiety symptoms, to the point where I can’t go to school. Whenever I’m around other people I’m terrified about what they’re thinking of me and anxious I’m going to embarrass myself in some way. I also obsess over interactions for months after, similarly to what cbann said. Along with shame, this is the main reason it took me so long to get help. In the end it was taken out of my hands and I have a referral to CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) now, so I’m hoping things will get better.

I haven’t been in school for 3 years now because of depression and later on anxiety, because I isolated myself because of my depression. That’s why my English is so bad. I would love to be more active here on Nameberry, but I just can’t because I dont speak english very well.

I’d like to share my story, but right now I’m in school. I’ll do it later! And to you others - I believe in you and that we all can get better. :3