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Thread: Me...in the hope it helps others

  1. #1
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    Me...in the hope it helps others

    I typed this as a reply in the OCD section but I thought I'd copy it here too as it became much longer than I intended.

    I truly believe that no matter what type of anxiety someone is suffering from, it is possible to achieve a life where anxiety doesn't dominate.
    In my experience I can remember two really poor therapists who treated me as if there was nothing wrong with me. Some of the advice they gave you just wouldn't believe. Since then though I've come into contact with other therapists who really knew their jobs and they have restored my faith.

    My problems started in my childhood. I can remember two incidents in particular. I was walking with my mother and I can remember asking her why do people get ill. She said it can be because of dirt. That stayed with me so I became fixated about keeping clean. I must have been little because I can remember using the toilet and afraid to sit on the seat. My mother was present and she didn't realise what I was afraid of. She thought I was afraid of falling in the toilet. After that I can then remember being at school and urgently needing to sit on the loo but I was too afraid of germs and since it was nearly home time I decided to hold on until my mother picked me up and got me home. I didn't make it home in time though and I can still remember my mother asking me why didn't I go before I left school.


    It's amazing how memories stay with you. I was too afraid to tell my parents about my fears. I always tried to hide them which was the wrong thing to do because when you bottle things, the problems only get worse.

    When I went to secondary school I was bullied. I hated it there. So much so that my anxiety became got worse. I used to be sick in the mornings and took a mixture to try and calm my stomach, still hiding it from my parents. I didn't even tell them about the bullying. In the end I retaliated with the bullies and ended up in fights for which I got the cane or slipper.

    Also in my teens, my OCD got out of control. I didn't know it had a title. All I knew was that I had to constantly check things such as locks, taps etc. I hated being the last person out the house because I got into such a state that even when I got out, I couldn't stop asking myself if I'd checked everything. I was afraid of getting blamed if anything went wrong, even though my parents would never turn on me. I used to be shaking, sweating, my heat beat would be through the roof. I hated it. I always tried to race to make sure I wasn't the last one out.

    I didn't know I had a problem. I just thought it was a part of who I was. When I started work, the OCD just got even worse. I used to wash my hands constantly until they were white and the fakes of skin fell off. I remember my parents noticing but not really saying anything other than making comments about how I'd cope if I was on my own. My checking was just as bad but also health anxiety surfaced. I couldn't watch programmes about health related issues because they just made me vomit. My parents would just say I shouldn't eat dinner while watching tv.

    I used to hate using the toilets at work too so the night before I'd eat lots of fruit thinking it would clear me out before I got to work. It didn't work. It just made me go before I left home and when I got to work so I was told off for always being late to my desk because of being in the loo.

    I had this "thing" about numbers and words. I had to check things a certain number of times until I reached a safe number. The trouble was if I had a bad intrusive thought on that safe number, I'd have to carry on until I reached my next safe number.

    I couldn't close newspapers or books without looking at a safe word last. Otherwise I'd have to keep going back to the same page but again if a bad intrusive thought started or I opened and closed the paper on an unsafe number, I'd have to keep going. It was horrendous.

    The colour black was a major problem. Anything black I saw or touched would result in repeating rituals such as not crossing the road behind black cars or washing my hands after touching anything black. Think how many things are black and you'll get an idea how much time I wasted.

    At work I can remember writing numbers for my boss. I made a mistake so I wanted to write the whole list again. I didn't know he was watching. Oh boy, there was hell to pay as he was in a hurry for the figures. Mind you, I hated working there so the stress really didn't help. I used to have to clock in but because of my safe numbers I had to wait until the clock read a safe time. I was always late, specially as it meant using the loo to. Amazing to think I kept my jobs.

    I also remember destroying books etc. because I feared they were contaminated. Such a waste, especially as I really liked those books.

    Even washing was a problem because I would count how many times I'd rinse with water etc. Numbers, words, intrusive thoughts - they all contributed to bully me to stop me enjoying life.

    I know how horrible it feels to do something but something inside you compels you to have to go back to do it again...and again...and again...and the more times you go back, the worse you feel until you feel a complete wreck.

    I think I've always been sensitive, insecure, a born worrier, intense, a perfectionist and definitely suffering a lack of confidence. I'm quite sure my personality made me prone to my issues.

    When I first started work I wouldn't engage in conversation. I was so anxious, I was even too afraid to talk to girls. At school I never had any girlfriends. They never even looked at me twice. I was incredibly shy. To talk to a girl was like taking an exam. I'd feel sick and was often sick with fear.

    I think it took me years to come out of my shell. Eventually as I built my confidence I held meetings and I was able to train others, and yes, even managed to talk to girls. I would have to say that I feel my biggest achievement was being interviewed on radio, more than once because of some research I did. I'm only saying this because compared to how I used to be, I would never have dreamt that possible.

    I have to admit though when stress at home and at work became too great, I went through what I call my really bad spell when I couldn't see any future. I used to think that only young people self harmed. I couldn't understand why they did though because they seemed the most lovely people you could wish to meet. It was only when I started doing it myself that I understood the mental pain they must suffer too. I think it is so easily misunderstood. It's not always a cry for help. I think in most cases it's to relieve mental pain. I know there's a biological reason for it but I know it helped me. I used to use whatever I could find to take away my torment. Like so many people, I hid it. If it was a cry for help, why hide the cuts. I felt it was my only option. It didn't stop there though because then I started taking od's. I just lost hope of any future. I was surrounded by mental pain because of the pressures at home and at work. At work I just kept getting suicidal thoughts. My mind wasn't concentrating on my job and my boss noticed. Eventually I had to let it all out to her in a meeting room. When I told her everything, she just started crying. I'll never forget that. She had no idea what I was going through.

    I thought by taking sick leave I'd ease the pressures and it would help me recover but without realising it I'd trapped myself in 24hr pressure at home living with someone with severe mental illness. I don't feel I can say too much other than I had to lock myself in the bathroom or walk the streets in the middle of the night. The pressure was constant and I had no one to turn to. Life just wasn't worth living. I was so tired, so stressed. It was a nightmare.

    This is when I was prescribed countless meds that never worked. I was given ECT when they should have realised the real causes and that it wasn't depression. It was only when I saw a psychologist that I was told that I was simply taking on too much. He said I had a choice, so I gave up my job but it wasn't really the answer. I just nosedived.

    My general anxiety was with me every minute of every day. From feeling sick in the morning to feeling sick at night. I felt so alone. I used to pray to the heavens to send me an angel, to make all my pain go away but none ever arrived.

    I think though that everything I've been through has given me the understanding of how anxiety works and how it affects others. I can remember watching tv and seeing a news article about a mother jumping off a bridge with her two disabled children. They said they did all they could to help them but it made me feel, it obviously wasn't enough. It also made me realise though that rather than self-destructing, I should be doing more to try to help others like that poor mother. I feel too many people are being neglected and with cutbacks even more so. Lives are worth more than just money.

    After seeing this on the news, I decided I really had to help myself get better so I made a plan to find ways to ease my stresses and to start combating my OCD and other anxiety issues. It took time but compared to then, I don't suffer anywhere near like I did. Nowadays I don't think anyone would even be aware of my past or the minor anxieties that still try to bully me. I've learnt what I must do to find enjoyment in life.

    I must confess I always carry with me an emptiness. It never seems to leave me. I've lost my parents, I lost my only sister and I hardly ever hear from other family members. I have friends but they don't know my history. I think though that this emptiness is something I will always have to live with. I think I'll always feel alone.

    However, to finish on a happier note, I do honestly believe it is possible to find enjoyment in life. You just need the knowledge, the right tools and the right attitude with a bit of courage, and you can be free of anxiety.

    You've read what I've been through and I'm absolutely no different from everyone else on this forum so if I can help myself, I know deep down a lot of you can learn how to help yourselves too. I also know there are others on here who are now leading happier lives because of all the work Nic has done in creating this forum to connect and help so many people.

    If you think I could help you in some way, please don't be afraid to send me a pm. I don't bite and I really would love to help.
    __________________
    To be free of anxiety is FREE because the cure is in YOU, tis TRUE!

  2. #2
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others


  3. #3
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Oh goodness, I can relate to so much in your post, its really touched me, bit lost for words but thankyou so much for sharing xxx

  4. #4
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    I'm lost for words Bill. Your posts have been a tremendous support to me. I'm very thankful for this forum and the friends that I have made here

  5. #5
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Thank you for your kind words. Knowing my posts do some good makes them all worthwhile. That's all I would wish to hope for.

    One thing I remembered which I've now added to the OCD post was that when I lost hope and after I started to self harm, I then took overdoses. At the time I just didn't think about the consequences. All I was aware of was the mental pain I was suffering and I just wanted it to stop. It was only after a doctor at the hospital told me that one more pill and I would have gone that the penny dropped how low I had sunk. Around the same time I heard on the news about the mother jumping off a bridge and together they made me realise I was wasting my life for nothing.

    I know now that if I hadn't survived, I wouldn't have been here to support my parents when each of them became ill and nor of course would I be here posting. I just hope that I really am doing some good to help others because then I feel my life has been worth something.

    Anxiety need not rule our lives.
    __________________
    To be free of anxiety is FREE because the cure is in YOU, tis TRUE!

  6. #6
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Great post and words of wisdom!

    Positive thoughts
    __________________
    "Eat. Drink. Enjoy the work you do. Be thankful for the blessings God gives you in this life. Live, love and seek out the things that bring your heart joy. The rest is meaningless... Like chasing the wind." King Solomon

    The best help is the help you give yourself! http://cbt4panic.org/

  7. #7
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    You are right Bill, that anxiety need not rule our lives. I am sorry that you have lost your parents. Your life is worth something. I really think you should start a blog on Anxiety so you can reach other people other then in the UK. Your stories are so helpful. I'm in the states and there are not forum such as this one, and no one that has explained anxiety and how we can beat it like you do.

  8. #8
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Snowghost,
    In such a big country with such a large population, you would have thought there would be someone like our Nic (although I know how special she is) who would have created something like NMP. I think Terry told me there was one that closed down but it is surprising there aren't others.

    Also, in the country we're very lucky to have our NHS but I know how expensive it can be in the US to have tests done etc so you would have thought a forum like NMP would save anxiety sufferers a fortune if they knew what was really going on.

    A long time ago, there was someone from the US on here who told me she had spent thousands to try and find out what was wrong with her until she came here and it all made sense. I just felt so sad that she had spent so much money. It made me wonder how common her case might be.

    Not long ago someone else on here said I should write a blog but like I said to them, I wouldn't know how to get started but they did make me wonder if I should give it a go so if you or others have any advice or tips I'd love to hear from you. It's just something I've never thought about attempting but if you really think I might help others in that way, I'd like to explore it further. Thank you.
    __________________
    To be free of anxiety is FREE because the cure is in YOU, tis TRUE!

  9. #9
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Lovely words, Bill. You seem like such a courageous individual, battling your anxiety as you have. I think that people who don't have such problems have no idea of the bravery it can take to live your life.

    It's great that you've come to the realisation that if you had've succeeded in your suicide attempts, you wouldn't have been able to help others in the way that you do. I for one am very glad you are still here!

  10. #10
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    Re: Me...in the hope it helps others

    Thank you beatroon, that is so very kind of you to say.

    When I think back to those days, I know I wasn't intentionally attempting to end it all but then I also know I wasn't crying out for help. I just remember feeling in so much mental pain due to too much pressure at home, work and with my own anxieties with no one to turn to and no escape, that I could see no way out and I just wanted the pain to stop.

    Sometimes I still feel the pain beneath the surface but my attitude towards life is now completely different so I try not to think about it by keeping moving forward and constantly thinking what more can I do to make a difference rather than giving up. Life does often feel a constant battle but these days although I still get low, I find it then makes me more determined thinking I need to do more. I never feel I'm doing enough and yet I know to be aware of limits. I must admit I do get a great deal of satisfaction when I know I've done some good for someone in need and that makes surviving worth it.
    __________________
    To be free of anxiety is FREE because the cure is in YOU, tis TRUE!

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