Anxiety and self-harm: You will find someone who will listen, trust me!

“Don’t worry about it, you’re a girl, of course you get mood swings”.sarahakabmg

Those words stayed with me as I walked dispassionately back from the doctors. It had taken me so much courage to go; I had bravely refused my friend’s offer to go with me, sure I’d be taken seriously. I went in the hope I’d get some sort of therapy to help me with my self-harm and anxiety. Yes, I’m a girl, but that shouldn’t mean it’s okay for me to be sobbing for hours and self-harming due to immense self hatred.

As soon as someone dismisses your feelings it's like a blow

As soon as someone dismisses your feelings like that it’s like a blow to the stomach. For a while I was angry and embarrassed and then as I continued to have ups and downs I began to wonder if I was imagining it. Was I maybe making a big deal out of nothing like the doctor clearly thought? Maybe all teenagers felt like this.

Certainly my parents must have used the excuse of the teenage angst on me, although I wasn’t a particularly rebellious teen. I’d make sarcastic comments and snap a bit but most of my upset and anger I’d turn onto myself.

That was the first time I went to the doctors about my anxiety and self harm. I had been warned it might be unhelpful but perhaps naively had assumed mine would be different. I guess I didn’t phrase it properly...I didn’t really know how to explain how I was feeling but I expected more compassion. I definitely didn’t expect a small smirk as I talked about my extreme mood swings. I didn’t mention self harm, it felt too personal but perhaps thats why he didn’t help.

I was so nervous during the appointment that I was struggling to talk normally

The second time was slightly better. I was so nervous during the appointment that I was shaking violently and struggling to talk normally because my heart was beating so fast...I felt like exclaiming, “See!!! This is what happens each time I have to speak to someone new!!!” I had basically gone into her office and asked bluntly for antidepressants as I had read somewhere that you were more likely to get tablets than therapeutic help on the NHS. She informed me that it’s better to use antidepressants along with therapy, which I already knew. However she did give me a leaflet about a charity I could call for therapy as I stuttered to her about my problems with anxiety about basic things such as food shopping and speaking in front of more than two people.

Of course, I was too scared to actually phone the charity and instead emailed them. Surprise surprise, there was no reply. I was also still feeling disappointed with the doctors. Perhaps this was childish or selfish, but I wanted them to sort out the help for me as it was so difficult to admit my problems to every new person. Did I really want to keep explaining my problems and issues to each new person only to be passed along to someone else?

"I was wondering if I can maybe get some help?"

Oh well.

Third time lucky?

Thankfully it was! By this time I knew I had to have a pretty direct approach when enquiring about help. After a few awkward stutters, ahhs and umms, I blurted out my question.

“So like I was wondering if I can maybe get some help?”

I wasn’t particularly hopeful. So it was a shock when he nodded and explained that there was and that yes, I did need help. Finally someone was taking me seriously!

It was such a relief knowing someone was on my side

From that moment onwards I felt lighter and walking home was a huge contrast to the first time, some two years previously. I had a definite bounce in my step (I know it’s cliche but it’s honestly how I felt). It was such a relief knowing someone was on my side, after all this time.

So I guess my advice is to not give up no matter how disheartening it is when someone (especially someone you trust) tells you to basically ignore your feelings. You will find someone who will listen, trust me! It just might not be the first person you tell, or the second.

But it’s definitely worth it in the end.

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Comments

Me too!

I'm in the progress of seeking therapy and maybe a diagnosis, and I actually sent an email on friday instead of calling (like you I was way too anxious) but I actually got a reply and I'm going to try to call them soon. Best of luck with the rest of your journey :)

Very touching, very true

Thank you so much for your wonderfully written, very engaging blog post. Great to hear a positive story. Self harm is not an issue that should ever be dismissed. Nobody should ever pass off someone else's feelings as not "real enough". Thank you for highlighting that this is not okay, and showing us that there is hope of finding someone who will listen :) Been there myself, and I've been dissatisfied with treatment from some professionals, but this gives me hope that there is always help, even if it is not the right one at first. Great post!! Thank you!!

Anxiety Attacks

Personally, I do not thankfully suffer from any (Known) mental health problems but my 28 year step daughter has been suffering from anxiety attacks for around 5 years now. Since these attacks started she has not worked, lost contact with her friends and become a virtual recluse, basically down the lack of positive help or care from the NHS. Yes - she was allocated a counsellor, who operated from an office so far away that she was unable to get there on her own resulting in my wife having to take time off work to accompany her for each visit. Not that they lasted long as she refused to attend after 2-3 visits as she could not face the journey to see him. The last 'him' didn't help as she is an exremely shy person - partially due to her condition - and could not "open up" to a strange male. I do not know what the future holds for her as, at this moment in time, we do not see any solution to the problem. I shall however encourage her to visit this site and maybe leave a blog of her own - it may help her to 'anonymously' express her feelings and hopefully be the start of her road to recovery.

Anxiety

I have been through CBT to combat anxiety and panic attacks. I was told that I shouldn't run away from situations but confront them and try breathing through them. They couldn't grasp the concept that when I have a panic attack there is no time for thinking, just to get the hell away

Super scared!

Recently I've been getting a lot worse in what I think might be anxiety... so I've also been thinking a lot about getting some help. I've never booked myself an appointment with the doctors, it's always been my mum, so I'm really scared about asking her to book me an appointment. Your article, although a little scary, has helped me to see that even if the initial response sucks, it's worth it to get the help. Thank you.

Thank you so much for this

Thank you so much for this blog, I really was convinced I was the only one who had been rejected proper treatment or help the first time I'd sought it and then was consequently convinced that I was simply 'imagining' there was something wrong. This has helped so much, thank you so so much!

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