June 22, 2017

What Chris wants you to know about his mental health problems.

"I want you to know that sometimes I can’t hang out in big groups because of my anxiety, not because I’m anti-social"

I avoid social settings due to some level of anxiety. If I’m surrounded by people who accept me then I’m relaxed. Formal conversations make me bored and uncomfortable, as I don’t feel as though I can be myself in those situations. I don’t exactly blame others for hindering my real personality coming out. If the general conversation is more superficial and not substantial, then I can go along with that for a while, but will duck out quickly. When talking with people, I analyse every angle of communication to figure out what is being said. I don’t drink but I’m sure that would be a respite from that.

In my twenties I did suffer from depressive / paranoid/ anxious thoughts which were a handicap but I would mask this effectively which isn’t that healthy. In my 40s I had psychodynamic psychotherapy (a form of in-depth psychological therapy) which helped take the edge off internal goblins which were hampering me.

I’m thin skinned and mop up the vibes around me. These are usually non-verbal like body language. I can quickly figure out the personalities in the room – I don’t mean that boastfully. If I was thick skinned and enjoyed talking just to cement relations with others then I’m sure it wouldn’t affect me as much. So if I’m around rude loud people I find that draining. Buses in London are difficult for this reason.

I have looked into Myers Briggs Typology (MBT – a form of personality testing) to find alternative explanations as a to why I avoid social settings. MBT divides people into introvert and extrovert. Extroverts need people to gain energy and feel valued. For introverts it’s the opposite. Introverts need to be away from others so they can regain energy to face the world again. My MBT type is INFJ and I feel that explains my personality just as well as a diagnosis of bi polar disorder

“I want you to know that I can’t just stop my obsessive thoughts – if I could, I would”

I’m not sure if my thoughts are always obsessive but my mind rarely switches off. I’m 45 now and have battled with these problems for 25 years, so I’m much better than I was. I did have crippling paranoia/inferiority and obsessive thoughts years ago and would dread a room full of people, who I generally felt inferior to. I would usually drink in the past to hide that and help me be more sociable and gregarious. I have found things in my life to help calm obsessive thoughts. For example when I’m at church, or in a state of prayer the outside world, and its drain on me vanishes for a while.

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