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To wish everyone knew how hard having anxiety/OCD/depression is?

(110 Posts)
LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 09:52:43

I have suffered from anxiety and OCD for about 25 years now and it's utterly exhausting.

I wouldn't wish it on anyone else, but I wish people could walk in my shoes for a day just to see how crippling it is.

One of my friends has openly admitted that before she suffered from anxiety and depression that she thought it was 'made up'.

I'm not saying everyone is ignorant, and some people are more understanding than others, but some people just don't get it.

My very helpful OH just tells me to relax and stop worrying, if only it was that simple. sad

I just think its a shame at this day in age that its still so taboo and misunderstood.

If anyone wants to add their experiences or ask any questions go ahead.

I won't be online for a couple of hours now, but will come back later.

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 13:20:33

My personal favourite was from a classmate at school:

"Have you ever thought that your OCD might all be in your head?"


FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 13:21:41

Oh I'm with you on the box ticking and not looking at you. They don't listen either sometimes. I went to the doctor once when it was particularly bad and poured my heart out and told her I didn't see the point in living if I can't even function on a daily basis anymore. All she did was say "yeah...now about those tablets" while looking at her computer screen.

I mean, I'm a lone parent with a young child, whose just told her that I don't see the point in living anymore and she's quite happy to send me on my way with tablets I've told her I probably won't take due to being scared of them. Excellent work there. Luckily my family rallied round and I've not felt that way again since but what if I was completely alone? Would I be dead right now?

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 13:23:45

Oh yes, and try explaining that you can have depression and still be a happy person. That depression is a chemical state that has nothing to do with whether you are happy in your life (in my case I sometimes think it gets worse when I'm happy, with no big problems to keep my brain occupied).

A friend who is training to be an alternative therapist told me that of course it means I'm unhappy, and I would never be 100% well unless I decided to be. Fuck off.

Sorry, I am angry today. I try to be relatively (within limits) open about my depression and anxiety because if people aren't -- when they feel strong enough -- how will it be taken seriously. But some days it is really hard and you just know the people around you assume that if you'll actually admit to MH issues, you must be far worse than you say (perhaps because they themselves won't front up about their problems)! All sympathy and solidarity to fellow sufferers smile

CuChullain Tue 28-Jan-14 13:30:04

I have every sympathy for people who suffer from OCD, would not wish it upon anyone. I went out with a women who described herself as a ‘mild’ sufferer, my knowledge of the condition prior to that was pretty poor and I had to do some research to get a better understanding of it. She had her routines around the home which 90% of time I would describe as quirky and easy to live with, there were other times though when it would drive me nuts and I would be a liar if I did not find some situations totally exasperating. We mostly clashed in the kitchen, I am very into my cooking, love it in fact, when putting a meal together I would usually organise and prep all the ingredients so they ready to be popped into the pan when needed, she just could not cope with all the foodstuff, bulbs of garlic, peppers, onions and herbs etc on the worktop and would start to put stuff away before I had even used said item, she insisted that I take one thing at a time out of cupboard or fridge just when I needed it. She knew this was utterly impractical and would hinder the progress of whatever I was trying to cook. It would be the same with cooking utensils, it got silly at one stage whereby the moment I had used a knife or chopping board she would remove it and pop it in the dishwasher even though I would be using it again 30 seconds later. I did snap once and told her to get out of kitchen as she was shadowing my every move and she got very upset and I felt awful as knew it was not her fault.

Its an awful condition.

WaitingForMe Tue 28-Jan-14 13:43:43

Oh but OCD is a comedy illness. It just means you're like Monica from friends. And at this point the person tells you they're "a bit" OCD.


FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:15:16

Oh yes. I've had the "oh, like Monica from friends!" line.

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 14:30:12

I have anxiety but not depression or OCD (probably). I do perform some OC behaviours but not to a disordered level.

And that's the point. Most people are sometimes anxious and sometimes inexplicably low, and have one or two things they insist on.

But by definition it's only a disorder if it disrupts your life, so obviously someone who has experienced some of the lighter traits without reaching a disorder threshold would think it's "just" a case of slightly changing behaviour. In the same way that honey and lemon and two paracetamol cure the flu.

IneedAwittierNickname Tue 28-Jan-14 14:35:26

It seems to me that ocd is a trendy illness at the moment.

I don't mean that about genuine sufferers by the way, but a group of mums I was having coffee with the other day were discussing how ocd they are, almost trying to out ocd eachother.
Stupid things like " oh yea I have ocd, I mean I have to Hoover everyday, and all my cushions match the colour scheme in the room" normally said with an irritated giggle, or martyred sigh at how perfect they are.

Umm. Isn't that fairly 'normal'
(sorry if normal is the wrong word, not sure what else to use)

I have a couple of friends with real, genuine ocd and its so much more than matching cushions!

FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:46:24

I get what you mean. You get people who don't seem to have OCD competitively trying to out-OCD each other. "Well I can't leave the house unless I've hoovered'<titter>" (when they actually can, they just prefer it hoovered if possible) and the next one is all "well I can't leave unless I've washed every pot and the kitchen is sparkling <titter blush>" (when really they actually can, they just prefer it sparkling). Meanwhile the person who really has OCD just has to bite their tongue or they would jump up and throttle them.

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 14:50:35

I almost find it funny, because I -- and I don't think this is uncommon -- am actually an appalling housekeeper partly because of my OCD. I spend ages cleaning certain things (like kitchen utensils and crockery/cutlery), plus obsessively washing my hands, but I'm naturally messy and don't have much in the way of time/project management skills. So things like tidying and hoovering just pile up, and then there are things like bins and cat litter that scare me and provoke endless hand-washing so it's easier if DH does those. Happily DH is a much better housekeeper so we don't actually live in a tip!

kobacat Tue 28-Jan-14 14:53:49

I have to say I also feel like a complete mess of a human being because I have all kinds of things wrong with me:

general high anxiety/stress levels
disordered eating

I think they're probably all comorbid and that the anxiety is at the root of all of them. But I just feel like a walking textbook, and it's so silly that I feel ridiculously proud of myself for functioning relatively well and managing to eat in restaurants/handle meat for cooking (sometimes)/feed myself appropriately and at the right time/all these things others do effortlessly. I'm quite good at intellectual stuff which only seems to make it more of a mockery!

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 14:56:50

Thank you got the re

FloweryFeatureWall Tue 28-Jan-14 14:57:01

My mum is used to me ringing up proudly now with a "guess what! I managed to do <totally mundane activity>" when I feel especially pleased with myself haha.

And I'm the same housework wise. I don't like getting my hands dirty so I have to wash them again so sometimes it builds up. I've had people come round on the past and say "but I thought you had OCD?". I've been told on here before by a complete turnip that I can't possibly have OCD because I don't clean all the time hmm

ColouringInQueen Tue 28-Jan-14 14:59:38

Op YADNBU (that's a d for definitely in case I've just made that up).

I have lost friends as a result of my anxiety and depression - one of who gave me an article about how to be more resilient angry. I wouldn't wish it on anyone

Also picking up on what someone said above about disablement. This time last year I was unable to do anything, and for the first half of last year was able to do very little indeed. Far more disabling than many physical illnesses or conditions (and I'm not dismissing the seriousness of those either). But I guess its less visible...

And yes, exhausting, esp weeks like this one where I'm having to work hard to "manage my mind".

take care all

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Tue 28-Jan-14 15:03:35

Thank you for the replies so far.

I have had cbt and an awaiting another course. My OCD isn't as bad as it was, but its still enough to affect me every day.

I think people think when I tell them I have OCD they will think I have an immaculate house, but no, I am actually a hoarder. So while my house isn't dirty, it's not perfect either.

It's not to bad, but I have to be in the right mood to have a clear out, as otherwise nothing would get thrown out.

I keep asking OH if he will help me, as I'm rubbish at it, but he never does. My sister has offered to help me declutter its just finding a time when she can come around work.

I hate it when people say they are a bit OCD, because they like the cups facing the same way etc, I feel like shouting lets more to it than that!

GoldenGytha Tue 28-Jan-14 15:26:27

I have severe depression and anxiety,

I am relatively "well" at the moment, but there have been some very very dark times in the past few years, I attempted suicide at one point, it wasn't really a deliberate act of wanting to kill myself, more "I think I'll take all these tablets tonight, and see what happens"

My doctor's response was to prescribe my medication weekly rather than monthly and say "Oh it was just a bad day, you won't do that again"

I haven't, but I do have to fight the urge to do it "properly" Only the thought of leaving my DDs stops me.

My mother and a friend just tell me "Get a job, that'll sort you out, nothing wrong with you really, you're too sensitive, too much in your own company, a job is all you need"

FFS, the last job I had destroyed my already fragile mental health, and was a contributing factor in my ongoing health problems.

They think I'm just a shirker and don't want to work, but I do eventually, but I can't escape the sheer panic and terror I feel at the thought of leaving my house every day, and mixing with people.

I can do short trips out with my DDs, and to the local shops, but my house is my safe place, I don't even open my curtains because I feel panicky and unsafe if I do.

I've had the "Oh I'm too busy to be depressed, I have to just get on with it, you're ok, you don't work, you can sit at home all day and indulge yourself, if you got a job you'd soon have that nonsense knocked out of you"

Some people will just never understand (or even try to) mental health issues, and how debilitating they are.

moanstripes Tue 28-Jan-14 17:56:39

I have major depression, lasting over a decade. Some days I haven't been able to get myself out of bed, even to wash, eat or take dc to school. I think a lot of people can't conceive of how crippling it is, even those who have had mild/moderate depression - many of those people can still hold down jobs or can function at a minimum level in the home. To me, that's nothing like what I have experienced, I would have been shocked to feel able to actually get up and get changed for the day in my darkest moments. It's very taboo to admit how much it can affect basic areas of care. And frustrating when those with mild conditions tell me how a bit of exercise or having a nice bath has helped them.

I have various bits of other MH conditions, I don't have ocd symptoms but I have serious issues with hoarding which is related, and issues with eating disorders as well.

I think it's hard to imagine life with a MH condition though, if you're psychologically healthy and just haven't experienced anything like it. There are some MH conditions that I have trouble getting my head around, it's just so very different from mine. Even though I've taken the trouble to read about them, I couldn't possibly really understand how hard they are.

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:23:23

It's interesting to hear other people's experience of GAS.

I have only ever had one doctor who genuinely seemed to care. I'm pretty sure she was the only one who actually looked at me and didn't just slap everything into the computer.

Mental health is such a common "suffering" I get infuriated that even medical professionals appear ignorant

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:23:54

Oh no!! GPs not gas!!!blush autocorrect.

Objection Tue 28-Jan-14 19:24:45

I'm not sure why I quoted suffering, blush blush blush I'm going to go now...

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:26:58

My GP is brilliant. I didn't realise how brilliant until this thread. She made eye contact and asked meaningful questions and didn't say "just" anything but treated me like a human being.

I think she's the surgery specialist though, as it was an emergency referral from the HV team.

hotritenow Tue 28-Jan-14 19:28:14

I suffer with panic attacks and anxiety, it got to the stage where I wouldn't leave the house for fear of something happening to me, but the amount of people including my DH who said to me "oh take a deep breath you'll be fine it's all in your head" used to drive me mad...I have a really good friend who has been a tower of strength to me,and without her I'd be lost...I am getting better, haven't had a panic attack for a while, but the anxiety drives me mad...

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:34:19

I believe it was Albus Dumbledore who said: "Of course it's all in your head. That doesn't make it not real."

::goes to check copy::

HoratiaDrelincourt Tue 28-Jan-14 19:36:51

"Of course it is happening inside your head ... but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Deathly Hallows, ch35. Now I'm not holding JKR up as a psychiatrist but I find that idea very consoling, and a big middle finger to the "oh it's all just in your head" crowd.

WaitingForMe Wed 29-Jan-14 19:13:07

When the trendy OCD gets played I quite enjoy it. I tend to go with "I can't have the stereo on an odd number otherwise it feels like ants are biting the underside of the skin on my arms and I want to scrape the skin off with a knife. So silly really."

One really must try to have fun with ones mental illness I think wink

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