September 3, 2013

JessicaI find it exceedingly difficult to talk about my mental health with others. I worry that I’ll hear: “Just get on with it”, “Mind over matter, Jess!”, and “You’ll be fine”. On the one hand, I know these things are well-meant but I find them upsetting and infuriating, nonetheless.

I’ve experienced a lot of misunderstanding from some of the people closest to me. After having an anxiety disorder for six years, I’ve started to distance myself from this, though, and realise it’s difficult for others to understand. I’m grateful for the help and support I’ve received from loved ones but sometimes the help that means the most is the help that comes from unexpected places.

I’ve had a few more trips to the doctors than I’d like to admit

Over the years, I’ve had a few more trips to the doctors than I’d like to admit. And whilst they’re the obvious place to go for help, I’ve not very often found the doctors to be a great source of relief for my mental health. I know a lot of people have experienced indifference at best and discrimination at worst, and I’ve had a few bad experiences (mainly doctors attempting to persuade me, someone who has hypochondria, to go on medication, and one making me take Valium on the spot).

I respect that doctors have ten minutes with patients for each appointment. And I can understand how someone like me – going back about the same problems – can be frustrating. There’s the perception that people with hypochondria waste doctors’ time and fill up appointments. But it’s not a pleasant experience, it’s something that makes me feel really, really guilty.

But I’ve had a couple of eye-opening experiences with doctors that have helped to the point of making a shift in my progress - which is no easy feat in ten minutes.

Then he said "never underestimate the power of anxiety"

A few years ago I went to see a doctor after a particularly disquieting panic attack. After he reassured me that’s all it was, I got up to leave. Just as I started walking towards the door, he said “It must have been really horrible”, I turned around and I can still picture the look of empathy in his eyes. Then he said “never underestimate the power of anxiety”.

This short sentence has stayed with me ever since. Whenever I get chest pain, breathlessness or any other physical symptoms, I repeat it to myself and it helps me stay calm. I picture his expression and know with all of my heart that I can trust what he said.

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Anxiety Disorders. Still misunderstood and unresearched.

Hi Jessica. Thankyou for passing on the kind thoughts of your doctor. Your doctor, like mine, has a sympathy for mental health. However, when it comes to community mental health teams, things can be very different.... They are often the ones with the words you fear. Theire understanding of the realtime experience, their belief that thoughts lead to sensation (rather than the other way around, as it is with much non-dissmissive MH diagnosis) leaves a lot to be desired.... I find it helpful to read blogs like yours to remind myself that I'm not alone. :)

Definitely agree with this.

Definitely agree with this. It is so difficult finding people who won't either fire platitudes, throw medication at you or basically just shrug - I got a check up recently with a new GP who told me I should "find something good to get up for each day," which is just great advice for someone whose symptoms includes anhedonia... My GP at uni was fantastic, he was so supportive and helped me take some really positive steps, it's just such a shame I can't keep seeing him. I am thinking of joining a support group because at least that way the people who are talking to you really understand what you're going through, they know the ups and downs and they know you can't just wish it away. I'm certainly changing GPs at any rate!

Hi Jessica,

Hi Jessica, I have been suffering with anxiety since I was very young. I have experienced everything you have mentioned and it is so hard to actually explain to people how crippling it can be. Non of my close family or friends understand how debilitating it is to live with or how it affects your life on a day to day basis. Mine is mostly linked to health issues and it's been worse over the last year since my dad passed away. I have been prescribed propranolol but after reading the side effects such as slow heart rate I am too freaked out to take it. I hope eventually that people realise that anxiety is something which is so hard to control for people who suffer from it and isn't something which can just be 'gotten over'.

Hi Jessica, I can really

Hi Jessica, I can really sympathise with your blog post. Although not a mental health issue, i have been going to the doctors for the past three years many times with headaches and I have offered anti-depressants so many times I can't remember. Oh, did I mention I'm not depressed. I have a serious history of mental health problems, depression and addiction in my family, all of which the doctor knows about. I can really relate to the feeling of frustration of the lack of support. It's really great to hear you had support from one doctor though!


Having experienced and gone through the process of believing that i was in control and that somehow i suddenly lost it, being overwhelmed by the fear and its many manifestations, believing that it would never end and ultimately the only way out was self destruction, having worked relentlessly on myself, my body and mind, I can now say that if allowed, acknowledged or at all encouraged negativity will breed negativity and justify itself until the cows come home. I am well, i am positive, living out of possibility and creativity, in the knowledge that I am constantly recreating my life in every single moment, free from the past looking forward to living out of the future. Hey it's your life, your choice, your story, I've just made mine up...

well done for being so brave

well done for being so brave and telling people how you feel,trust me this is the best way forward in terms of getting help,also going to the doctors was brave but i understand your feelings about how some people just don't understand what's going on in our head. i sometimes find myself having to tell friends to read about anxiety disorders on the internet to make them understand that its not a simple matter of being 'fed up'. keep up the fight and continue this blog as it will help.


Hi Jessica, thank you for sharing your thoughts, its a brave thing to do. I've been mostly lucky with doctors. It's important to find a good doctor, so I've asked around and tried different doctors until i found one who has the best understanding of mental health. My latest doctor also suggested i book a double appointment if I needed more time to talk! And has been a real support after i came out of hospital last year. It's also worth considering referal to a psychiatrist or community mental health they are the specialists. I've found this to be a positive experience, though there can be long waiting lists and limited resources. Anyway, good luck and take care Jon

It steals your confidence

I've been lucky in that once I opened up, all 3 doctors I've seen at my local gp surgery have been good, if not great. One in particular when I was worrying about being a hypochondriac after another visit was that I wasn't to worry, he was always happy to see me, even if it was just for reassurance.


My 15 year old daughter has had an anxiety disorder for 2 years now, we have had varying help from doctors, with the latest one telling her she is nearly an adult and not making a very good job of it !

That's what's missing,

That's what's missing, empathy, doctors, family, friends must try to picture how it would be if they were feeling exactly like that. When a referred issued is legitimated by one of our helpers it's the time we feel their support and that we're not alone.

I know what your going through :)

Dear Jessica, I m sorry to hear about your anxiety. I know what its like to have anxiety its awful at times but I ve always taught myself to NOT LET FEAR CONTROL YOUR LIFE, YOU CONTROL FEAR. Excercise is a powerful weapon against anxiety, setting yourself fitness goals and excelling them is such a confidence booster, along with the proven psychological and physiological benefits such as improved heart rate and the release of endorphines (also known as 'happy hormone'), along with a good diet with all the vitamins and minerals. Together these two aspects will provide you with a formiddable opponent against your anxiety. Anxiety is an undesirable character with whom you have declared war against, and if the coin stops with as to whether you will win or lose, are you going to let that miserable bastard of affliction win?, NO, YOU CAN WIN! You just got to believe in yourself and YOU CAN DO ANYTHING!! SO NEVER GIVE UP!! Bottom line is you have the strength which you probably never new you had, you just have to realise that strength that lies within you, and you could be set to the glorious path of victory. I really hope the best for you. xx

my bubble

Hi Jessica thanks for sharing i to have bad anxiety i have recently told friends and work about struggles and ive also had cbt. I lived in my own bubble for years to scared to let any one in but im starting to realize its not a nice place to be x

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