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Topic: Who will I be without my Anxiety?

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Bones17
    Bones17 avatar
    4 posts
    16 January 2020


    I was recently diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression last year. I have recently begun seeking treatment from a psychologist and taking medication to support my journey to a more positive life, after my good friend helped me to realise just how much assistance I needed.

    As a person in my early 20's, I have never known my life to be any different to the often sad, and scary thoughts I have had. It has always been there ready to hurt me at any given moment. As a child I was bullied, tormented and left out and really, I didn't know any different. It wasn't until recently that I have begun to realise just how much my past has affected me. I am unable to open up to people and keep a constant wall up around me. It has effected my ability to form close relationships and friendships with other people. When attending university the bullying continued and I really couldn't see a way out.

    I want to live a life where I see everything in a more positive light; where the sun shines brighter and the sky is bluer. I am struggling however, to see my life as any different than this. Who am I without my anxiety, depression and panic attacks? I have recently only found a select few people in my life that truly do care about me and want the best for me, but often at times I am feeling so angry that I emotionally hurt them and then spend days trying not to beat myself up about it because I know they just don't deserve it! It frightens me to think about the person I could be. Is it too late to find my true self without all of this? I know I have an extremely long battle and road ahead of me. But I also think this worry of who I 'might be' is constantly playing in the back of my head and it is impacting on my ability to get better. And really, it is hard not too when the majority of my time is spent worrying and feeling sad...

    I want to get better, however I experience so much sadness and anger that my feelings just swirl around in my body, often leaving me an emotional wreck and having no energy to do anything else. Is this my body's way of dealing with the emotions? Will things get worse before they get better?

    Does or has anyone experienced similar feelings and emotions?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. White Rose
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    White Rose avatar
    6086 posts
    16 January 2020 in reply to Bones17

    Dear Bones

    Welcome to the forum. Please know this is a safe place to talk about your feelings and thoughts. No one will bully you here or be unkind. We have all experienced a mental illness in our lives and want to help others through their road to recovery.

    I was very sad to read your story but pleased you felt able to tell us. What you have described is fairly common, especially when the person concerned has no idea what is wrong or even if something is wrong. Not being able to make friends is very hard so I am pleased you have found several people who can help.

    Beyondblue has heaps of information on depression, anxiety and panic attacks which I think you may find useful. Look under The Facts at the top of the page and scroll to the areas you want to look at. You may find it helpful to complete the K10 checklist, print out the result and take it to your psychologist. It's not a diagnostic tool but gives an indication of where you are.

    You can download any of the facts sheets and send for the booklets. No charge. Some of the information is designed for family and friends to help them understand what is happening for you. Your friends may be pleased to have a copy and maybe one or two fact sheets to talk about with you. This information is very helpful and accurate. Also have a look under the Get Support tab.

    How long have you been seeing the psychologist? Has it been helpful? Like all good relationships it may take a little while for you both to become comfortable but this is true in any relationship. The important thing is to trust him/her.

    Your determination to become well is great and I am sure you will get there. It will be a long journey as I know only too well. There is hope. I am here as living proof. My depression was horrendous and like you I had no idea what was happening. A work colleague realised and insisted on taking me to a doctor. The doctor referred me to a psychiatrist. I felt ashamed of seeing him, after all only crazy people needed a psychiatrist. However I persevered and began to see what was happening in my life.

    I think I deserved an Oscar for acting like someone without a care in the world.

    This is an introductory email. I would love to talk some more with you if you would like.


  3. Bones17
    Bones17 avatar
    4 posts
    17 January 2020 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Mary,

    Thank you for your reply. I had the K10 test completed when I initially went to see my GP who then referred on to the psychologist. I have seen her three times, however due to her busy caseload it has only been every 4 or 5 weeks which does make it hard to build that rapport and talk about not so good things.

    It has definitely been a difficult time because I have had people tell me just how negative I have been or how I have been making them feel and I really have not had any idea about how bad my feelings really are and just how much they have an impact on others. I guess my feelings have become my 'normal' as such, so when I do talk about how I have been feeling or what I have a desire to do, I don't realise just how bad those comments are and how they make others feel.

    I definitely can relate to the 'acting with no care in the world'. I have hid my feelings and dark thoughts for over 10 years from all my family and friends. I am yet to have that conversation with my family about what I have been going through just over fear that they will look at me and treat me differently or worry more than they already do about me. Putting up a 'I'm fine' front has been me for more than half my life.

  4. Bones17
    Bones17 avatar
    4 posts
    17 January 2020 in reply to White Rose

    To continue on from the previous post....

    I have become so good at hiding my feelings that I end up exhausted by the end of the day, not wanting to socialise or talk to others. People then ask me "What's wrong?" and all I can really say is "I'm tired from work" or "Just not feeling well today" when really I just want to scream and let them know that I am not okay.

    I think the stigma surrounding mental health is still so apparent in today's society. And as much as people say that they won't judge you or don't think you are crazy, it is hard not to think that there is just some part of them that thinks that way. After all, we can't see mental illness and unless you go through it you can never entirely understand what it feels like. And as much as I want to get better, it is hard to see a way out of this trap that I am caught in.

  5. Step Twelve
    Step Twelve avatar
    32 posts
    17 January 2020 in reply to Bones17
    Hi Bones,

    I have to say that your post made me feel a little sad, I'll try my best to explain why. This journey of uncovering your authentic self (the 'you' that has always been there, free from all the self-torment and truculent thoughts that have become your 'normal') is a truly exciting time in your life filled with hope and new discoveries. When I first opened up to therapy and medication it was a major revelation to me that what goes on in my mind and the torment I put myself through is absolutely not required, and another way of being -a better way- exists. What could be more exciting?!

    It sounds as though your anxiety has worked its way into your thinking and experiences around this subject of recovery. That's not surprising - it's what anxiety does. Whatever is salient in your mind today is what anxiety will latch onto, gradually working its way in unnoticed and turning all of the positive feelings, enjoyment and hope into feelings of worry and inadequacy.

    I don't mean to describe anxiety as malevolent here, it's simply trying to protect us (and our difficult pasts tell it that we require a lot of protecting!). But this protection mechanism is overactive so it becomes unhelpful and sometimes corrosive.

    Hopefully, your psychologist has you learning some cognitive behavioural therapy along with the usual management techniques like eating well, sleeping enough, exercising, etc. My advice would be to apply these techniques to the things you've just written about in the same way you apply it to other worries or negative thoughts. Recognise this as just another thing that anxiety does, and trust that your new techniques for managing your issues will apply and they will work.

    I'm so glad you're on this path to discovering what kind of person you can be when your anxiety and depression are under control. It's an awesome time and I have no doubt you'll crush it.

    All the best.

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