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The First Step On My Journey Back



blog-0090902001337860892.jpgWell.... I guess every journey has to begin somewhere, so here goes.

My History with Depression/Anxiety/Panic

I think my troubles really started about 12 years ago, I got fired from a job for an extremely embarrassing reason. It was a truly humiliating and traumatising experience. Everyone was looking at me like I was some kind of miscreant or deviant. Eventually I got hauled into a meeting which was like a courtroom, and was summarily dismissed. Now, I'm not saying that what I did was wrong, but the process I had to go through (the waiting, not knowing, as well as all the judgmental looks and comments I got) was excruciating.

So, one job down.

Obviously I had to start work, so I kept on applying and after 4 months eventually found another job. It was like being on a knife edge, as I was constantly scared that people were going to ask for references and I'd be found out. I'm sure this hiding process has in some way contributed to my current mental condition, but that's up to the professionals to decide.

During job number 2, I had my first breakdown. The doctors described it as depression and a nervous breakdown, and was on sick pay from some months. Within this period, it came to light that my sister had Lupus, and had to leave her job. This meant her living back at home after being away for so long. The loss of dignity and the extra income requried placed a large amount of stress on my parents and I, both financially and emotionally (and still does). At one point, my sister contracted septecaemea and had to go into intensive care. It was pretty much touch and go, and as the hospital was a long way from where we lived, a difficult situation.

I had a second small breakdown after returning to work, and needed to take time off to help at home with travel and hospital arrangements. Eventually she recovered from this, but has been treated terribly by the NHS and still is. On my return to work, I was dismissed for taking too much time off and lying about it, when I'd initially been allowed to take the time off. Given my fragile condition, I decided against a tribunal, admitted defeat, and began looking for job number 3.

Job number 3 didn't come quickly - it took 7 months of looking and getting turned down. During this time, I helped take my sister to her dialysis, as she needed to travel quite a distance and the cost of fuel meant staying at the hospital whilst she dialysed. I spent a lot of time in hospital car parks and hospital areas, viewing things I'd really not have wanted to see. Add to that the constant battle with the NHS about treatment for my sister, and the pressure was mounting.

Eventually Job number 3 came up - again, the terror of people finding out about my past truly haunted me, so I was living on a knife edge once again. The job was going really well, things were starting to settle - when I had my first panic attack. This was travelling home late from a friends' one friday night, and had me utterly convinced that I was having a heart attack. I had to ring for an ambulance, and was put on oxygen. My parents were contacted and rushed through. I had two more in the months following, and had another breakdown, requiring some time from work. Work this time were very good and patient.

Over the next couple of years, the anxiety, depression and panic have all escalated. After more time from work, I'm holding down the job - just. I'm seeing a therapist who is helping me deal with the panic, and my GP is prescribing meds.

NOW THIS IS WHERE THE CONFUSION COMES IN - I'm currently on 12-14 tablets a day, my therapist keeps taking weeks at a time off work for holidays and work-related training, and my doctor won't even talk to my therapist about a plan of action. I'm also exercising more, and smoking less. I've finally got a psychiatric assessment/medication review (which in itself is pretty upsetting as it's labeling me as having a mental health problem) but that's a month and a half away, and it seems like I'm pulling myself along by my fingernails on the ground to get to it - hoping and praying that it's going to be the answer.

On top of all this, I've got crippling debts, parents who are ill (my dad has COPD and my mum is just knackered), and a sister with Lupus. The drugs are making me gain weight, I've got no self-esteem, don't care about myself as much as I used to, am agoraphobic to the point of panic, and have as many questions as answers.

Well, that's the start of my journey, my name says it all. ROCK FECKIN BOTTOM. It must get better than this - it has to or what's the point.

If you've read through all my drivel, thanks.



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Hey Mark, if you're at the bottom... where else can you go? I'm not trying to be flippant, just wanted to point out that "the bottom" is the lowest point you can reach. You're here. At the start of your journey. That has to be a positive, right?

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I have similar problems with jobs. I'm always scared that everyone else is doing a better job than me and that I'm going to be fired. Being fired is a horrible, horrible experience. (I was fired last year and it actually led to my third - and most serious - breakdown.) Thank you for sharing your story, and I added you as a friend:)

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