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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.

TitcHt48 Tue 31-Jan-17 21:32:00

Is there a big differance in depression or anxiety please

LetZygonsbeZygons Fri 31-Jan-14 17:16:34

yes, it s that one. unless someone has it don't make rude remarks!

LittleMissGerardButlersMinion Thu 30-Jan-14 22:06:24

I think I posted on that Let there were some very rude people. Was it the workmen one?

madmomma Thu 30-Jan-14 20:21:00

select how awful for you both.xx
I have melancholic depression which is well controlled now, thank God.
I've found that my biggest critic is myself. Because I went years undiagnosed as a kid (misdiagnosed as glandular fever) I still don't thik of myself as a person with a condition to manage, even though that's exactly what I am. My main coping mechanism when I'm ill is sleeping. So I call myself lazy, but if I wasn't sleeping, my 'coping' mechanisms would be much more destructive I'm sure.

LetZygonsbeZygons Thu 30-Jan-14 19:31:18

I have a thread in CHAT about a problem and its to do with my OCD.

some posters have been understanding and brilliant but some.......have been deleted!

ColouringInQueen Thu 30-Jan-14 19:22:09

unmumsnetty ((((hugs))) for select and your dh x

piratecat Thu 30-Jan-14 16:09:16

moanstripes, your post resonates.

select, I understand how it doesn't make any difference to him, or the effect on you.

I would love it if some more knowledge of the types were more available to us when we see out gp's, or even the mental health teams.

Being a person who has depression, one of the most difficult thing is having no clarity generally, and having a bit more insight into the types, labels could actually help me. Bit like, 'hey, you've got a trapped nerve' or 'yes you have colitis' iyswim! xx

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 15:54:20

Pirate I'm afraid my husband was only diagnosed to that specific extent after spending weeks as an in-patient on a specialist research ward under one of the country's leading experts, which/who just happened to be part of the NHS Trust we lived in at the time. Originally he was diagnosed with ME and the diagnosis has been changed and refined over time as he has seen various psychiatrists and psychologists.

It doesn't actually help or make much difference in day-to-day living with the condition or trying to treat it, it's just a label which speeds up the process of explaining what exactly is wrong with him when he changes medical practitioners.

Sickofthesnow Thu 30-Jan-14 15:49:05

I'm a very nervous anxious person, and although I'm much better now than maybe 7-8 years ago Im not calm by a long shot.

Any sort of confrontation or THOUGHTS of confrontation send me into panic mode and I have knots in my stomach and sick feeling for hours. I can mull the same thing over and over and over and worry about it.
Some close to me say "just forget about it" or "get a grip" but it's not that easy.
One example was a near car crash which was the other drivers fault, they got mad at me and I got so wound up etc that I refused to drive for nearly 3 weeks. The sheer thought of getting behind the wheel would reduce me to a cold sweat and from there I ended up going mad with the cleaning to keep busy to ignore the problem.
I notice my OCD tendencies with cleanliness and germs shows up when I am really anxious, or stressed. I can actually go mad about toast crumbs on a worktop and DH is magnificent tbh. He has learned my behaviour and never tries to change me, just leaves me be to get it out my system to calm down again.

It infuriates me when people roll their eyes or claim I'm being over sensitive, or ridiculous. Yes maybe I am compared to how you deal with life, but if you can show me a magic cure for that I'd be bloody grateful!

I genuinely feel for anyone with anxiety problems, depression, OCD... it can really crush your life and everything has to come after it x

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 15:46:39

SelectAUsername - are YOU getting any support? It has been bloody tough for my DP who has to cope with my relatively mild MH issues. Most of my issues centre around anxiety which i don't believe will ever leave me but when i was depressed on top of this, many of the things you say about your DH ring true.

moanstripes Thu 30-Jan-14 15:38:49

I do the comfort eating and excessive sleeping thing too Select.

My depression has been fairly continuous and treatment-resistant as well, I have suffered for nearly 20 years and it doesn't follow the kind of episodes that others describe. It is always there, in the background, sometimes better and sometimes worse. I am not even sure what 'normal' is now, I have actually been depressed for more years of my life than not-depressed.

I have had traumatic events in my life (don't want to say too much) but tbh they came after the depression started, so I wouldn't say that my depression was a result of the trauma (although it definitely made it more difficult to recover). It is a bit of a vicious cycle, because I ended up in certain situations due to low self esteem, and if I hadn't been depressed I might well have been able to take myself away from those situations and not experienced that trauma.

piratecat Thu 30-Jan-14 15:35:29

hugs to your husband Select.

I've never been properly diagnosed with what type it is, and have therefore found it really hard to know what to do to help myself. Despite, trying so many things.

Who could i see, I'd love to tick a box. x

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 15:24:29

JohnCusacksWife You are absolutely right, there is depression which is an understandable/natural response to a tangible trigger, known as "non-melancholic" or "reactive" depression. This is the type that usually responds best to treatment and individuals can often make a full recovery, and in some cases can spontaneously improve without intervention.

There is also "melancholic" depression, which is usually biological in origin (the "chemical imbalance" you refer to - although other forms of depression can also display serotonin imbalance), has no obvious event trigger and is comparatively rarer. It is believed there may be a genetic component but this is not yet fully understood. This type tends not to resolve spontaneously and has variable response to treatment.

Then there's "psychotic" depression, which is rare but means the sufferer can present with e.g. delusions or hallucinations alongside being profoundly depressed.

To be technically accurate, my DH's diagnosis is treatment-resistant bipolar 2 with melancholic atypical depression. This means there was no obvious event or trigger which preceded him becoming depressed, he has not responded as well as could be expected to medication or cognitive / behavioural therapies, he has what used to be referred to as "manic depression" but the "2" signifies he is 'stuck' in the depressive phase and does not suffer from frequent hypomania (although he does have attacks of anxiety which is a malpresentation of mania) and instead of losing his appetite or suffering from insomnia as a response to being depressed, he comfort eats and sleeps excessively (the "atypical" element).

FanFuckingTastic Thu 30-Jan-14 15:18:47

I learned about the biopsychosocial causes of depression and my conclusion (which I got a distinction for in Psychology) was that it's often a combined cause, with triggers and a tendency to be more likely to get depressed due to physical or inherited issues. Basically, there is no one cause, and there is no one type of depression.

FloweryFeatureWall Thu 30-Jan-14 15:15:07

Depression is complex. It can happen because of a variety of things. An event might trigger it and then it might just happen out of the blue. I think of it as like a virus laying dormant. Like the person has the depression waiting inside them and it is either triggered by an event or it just mutates and triggers itself.

It's the same with OCD I think. I think I've always had it waiting inside me and various life stresses triggered it. Had the life stresses not all happened at once, it might never have been triggered and I would maybe be "normal" (lack of a better word).

That's just my opinion based on things I've read though so probably not scientific!

JohnCusacksWife Thu 30-Jan-14 14:43:14

I hesitate to post this because I think I may well be flamed but I do genuinely want to understand.

I freely admit that I do really struggle to understand depression. People talk about being something that occurs independently of external factors…..some kind of chemical imbalance. But my experience, based on what I’ve seen in my own family, is that there is often an external cause. For example anyone looking at my dad at one period in his life would have said he was classically depressed – he didn’t communicate, felt worthless, slept all day, retreated from his family and friends, couldn’t complete basic tasks…was just generally engulfed in a kind of blackness. However the cause of this was redundancy & employment rejection and when he eventually found a job he changed, not quite overnight, but very quickly. So to me that seems as if it’s a reaction to an external stimulus….not a spontaneous event. I don’t believe he would ever have been depressed if he hadn’t suffered unemployment. I think it’s this kind of experience which leads people to say “what have you got to be depressed about” to people whose lives seem to be ok.

Similarly another family member became depressed after injury left them unable to do things they had done before. Again there was a catalyst for their depression.

Could it be that there are different kinds of depression? Some that are triggered by an event and ease once other things in the sufferers life have been resolved and some that just occur for no reason at all?

Katkins1 Thu 30-Jan-14 14:26:14

Aw, the lady who posted about her DH. I too, loose the keys and forget things like my debit card and what I went in to the shop for. And books. Not great, considering I'm a student! I have a little thing now where I don't panic, and just check where I usually leave things. Or write post-its. Not ideal, but I generally leave them in the same place.

Perfectlypurple Thu 30-Jan-14 12:57:30

I had depression years ago and managed to work but couldn't do anything social.

I have generalized anxiety disorder now. My GP was fantastic. The first time I went to see him I burst into tears because I was totally exhausted. I couldn't sleep because of the worries going round in my head. He wouldn't prescribe medication for the anxiety but did give me a short term prescription for sleeping tablets to try to ease the exhaustion and referred me for therapy. I didn't find the therapy much good really but I am now taking tablets that relax me which helps me sleep. If I can sleep I cope with the anxiety better. I know it will never go away though.

StandingInLine Thu 30-Jan-14 12:18:55

Have you tried CBT LEMmimgaround ? It takes time as I said but it does help. For anxiety they suggest the exposure route which is basically exposing yourself to what makes you anxious. For instance ,if being in lifts creates anxiety then you slowly get yourself to a stage where you're in that lift ,letting the anxiety just be there and knowing it'll go soon. Eventually you grow immune to it (a lot like growing immune to the nervousness when starting a new job etc...)

SelectAUserName Thu 30-Jan-14 12:12:51

Okay, I have my DH's permission to post this, because he is committed to trying to reduce the stigma around mental illness. It would be great if just one person who didn't really understand, who thought that people with mental illness just need to 'think positive', read this and came away with an inkling of life with a mental illness.

My DH's life:

My DH starts every day by waking up and feeling disappointed that he hasn't died in the night, because then he wouldn't have to face living with himself any more. Every morning is a struggle, mental and physical (because depression has a physical component) to get out of bed because what's the point? Today is going to be just as bleak, as hopeless, as pointless, as difficult as yesterday and the day before and the day before that. Sometimes he wins the battle. Sometimes the depression does.

My DH loathes himself. He thinks he is useless and a burden on me. He thinks I would be better off without him because then I could have a "real life". He has a constant, ceaseless interior voice - which at the same time doesn't feel like part of him - telling him that he amounts to nothing, is a failure, is a waste of space. Every little mistake that he makes simply confirms that he can't do anything right. If he leaves the top off a bottle of milk (entirely possible with his memory and concentration issues) and it goes off, he doesn't say "duh, what a daft thing to do" like a so-called "normal" person. It is validation of that interior voice that he can't even manage to do the simplest task and may as well not be here.

My DH takes three different anti-depressants / mood stabilisers a day, twice a day. So to add to the constant dragging exhaustion, the joint and muscle pains if he tries to do anything remotely physical, he also has to cope with the side effects of a cocktail of medication.

My DH can't read a book, because by chapter two he has forgotten the characters and by chapter five he has forgotten the plot. He can't go to the shops alone as he will forget what he went for and buy something else completely unnecessary, and may well leave his debit card in the shop. He will struggle to carry a bag of shopping back along the street and when he gets back to the house, there is a 50:50 chance he will leave the keys in the front door lock. And all of these little 'failures' then compound how much he hates himself.

My DH can't cope with bureaucracy. He struggles to follow processes, he shies away from making decisions because he can't trust his judgement. I have to deal with every agency, every utility, anything regulatory or legal or official. The form to apply for DLA, and then the form to transfer from Incapacity Benefit to ESA were both 30-page-plus booklets, mostly geared towards physical illness / disability. I had to complete as much of the form as possible and when I was unavailable through work, he had to deal with a CAB advisor.

My DH pays £25 a week out of his DLA to see a private counsellor, because he has exhausted the NHS provision for mental healthcare and has been discharged from the Community Mental Health Team because there was nothing more they could offer him. Essentially, he is too ill for their programmes and groups and 1:1 sessions to make a difference. He has had to come to terms with the fact that there is no cure for his condition. This is as good as it gets.

My DH was so fed up with feeling useless that last year, he tried to volunteer at an animal charity. No pressure, drop in as and when you can. He got lost on the way because he couldn't remember the route. He managed two hours, collapsed and was sent home in a taxi. More failure. More self-loathing. Have you seen a grown man cry in frustration because he can't manage a couple of hours of cleaning out animal kennels?

I could go on, and on, and on. That's "normal" for my DH. That's his "normal life".

FeijoaVodkaIsThirstyForVodka Thu 30-Jan-14 11:07:56

I don't have personal experience of OCD, but my DH has it with depression so I know from him how hard it is. It's bloody fucking hard. I have days when I can't cope with it, so I hate to think how he feels.

The hardest thing is I can't even begin to explain to others why our situation is like it is. I know some of my friends just look at me and my little family and think DH and I are complete fuck ups because we are fairly poor, but are obviously 'middle class'. How to explain my husband hasn't worked much this week because his anxiety has been over taking him and that is making him depressed, so of course he's not earning anything, and we have no family to use as childcare, so I haven't been working as I have to look after my children and husband. On top of all of that DH is changing medication so it's even more complicated as it's a process of several months.



NinjaPenguin Thu 30-Jan-14 10:54:15

I would love to hold down a job. And go out. Some days I manage the going out bit. Sometimes, I just can't. You wouldn't tell someone who's legs were paralysed to just get up and do some jogging, would you? Now, if someone had, for example, damaged their muscles, I would say, go to physio etc; and then they can, slowly, slowly, get better. I wouldn't tell them to go out and do what anyone without the damaged muscle would do, because that can't happen.

So, it makes sense to say 'have a goal, however small, and do it', but to expect us to do what a neuro typical, non mentally ill person could do just doesnt work.

FloweryFeatureWall Thu 30-Jan-14 10:52:04

Redhelen, you have absolutely no clue. Live as "normal" a life as possible, like it's so easy? OCD has robbed me of my career, my relationships, my friends, my physical health, my ability to do things people take for granted and has damaged my relationships with my family. But if I'd just lived as normally as possible, this wouldn't have happened? What do you think I did during all that? I lived as normally as possible until my illness made it impossible. The same way a wheelchair user finds it impossible to walk. But because I don't have a physical reason (well, not a visible one, mr serotonin) and could physically do those things, I should just be able to sing a happy song, confront my OCD (naughty OCD go away!) and be better.

If it was that simple, don't you think people would just do it? And not need massive amounts of medication and therapy to do it?

QueenofClean Thu 30-Jan-14 10:51:53

I have anxiety & got so bad towards the end of last year I ended up on Fluoxetine. I feel better but it still takes over my life sad I am very lucky that I have a very supportive husband and friends who understand me.

LEMmingaround Thu 30-Jan-14 10:36:21

sonlypuppyfat - the important thing is that you have tried! That will mean so much

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