Shauna, July 11, 2018

Quotation from the blogger, Shauna

When you look at this picture you probably see a happy girl enjoying a night out with her partner. What you don’t see is the story behind the picture. Three days before, I had a nervous breakdown and had just been signed off work with anxiety and depression.

The theatre tickets were booked months in advance to celebrate our fifth anniversary, and my partner thought that going might help me feel a little brighter. Before the show I had an anxiety attack. I barely remember the show itself but do remember looking at the exits and wanting to escape.

Four days before this picture I went to my doctors for a routine appointment. I had been suffering with depression for 10 years but had always struggled on regardless of how I was feeling. That day I admitted to my doctor I was seriously struggling to cope and although my doctor wanted to sign me off work, I declined.

The next day I went to work as normal but asked to speak to my manager as I was worried about my job performance and wanted to give her a heads up that I wasn’t feeling the greatest. In my 8 years with the company I had never let my depression affect my work and I was terrified of the thought of being off sick.

It was 3pm before my manager had time to talk to me and too me into a little room. My manager was in shock. I was happy and upbeat, and was the last person she ever thought would struggle with such severe depression and sit in front of her crying, calling herself a failure. I left work that day feeling relieved that, but also completely lifeless.

Both before and after that day I suffered severe suicidal thoughts and anxiety. Although I had lots of wonderful people in my life I no longer wanted to live it. The doctor described it as my head being broken, just in the same way as people break an arm or a leg. However, the issue with mental health is that no-one can see the extent of the damage. Without the support of my partner, family, friends and manager, I am not sure I would still be here today.

The weeks and months that followed were extremely difficult and involved yoga, counselling and a change of anti-depressants but gradually I started to feel like Shauna again. At the start my aim was to try and leave the house on a daily basis regardless of whether I ventured to the shops or a little walk. The anxiety I felt while in crowds was overwhelming but gradually it started to get easier and I started to get my confidence back again.

Four months later I made it back to work. Everyone had been excellent and although no-one knew what the problem was, they know it was mental health related and that I will tell them when I am ready.

It’s now almost a year after my breakdown and feeling much more like my old self and have made plans for the summer and can see a future again. I still have my bad days when I just want to cry and stay in bed but, but I will tell my family, partner and my manager I am having them. I have also accepted that it is likely my depression will never fully go away and when I look back at how bad things got, I have a renewed sense of determination to live my life to its fullest.

I get asked a lot what triggered my breakdown but the truth is there was no one thing that triggered it. Lots of little things built up over time until one day I couldn’t keep going. I always hid my mental health issues, viewed them as my dirty little secret and thought if people knew, they would think I was a weak person and a complete failure.

My depression makes me more resilient but also more understanding of how people around me might be feeling. I don’t want sympathy or for people to feel sorry for me but I want to raise awareness for mental health and depression.

The picture at the start of my story is to show that just because someone looks ok on the outside, it doesn’t mean they are. If writing this makes one person sit down to ask if a friend or family member is ok, then writing this has served its purpose.

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Too many people are made to feel ashamed. By sharing your story, you can help spread knowledge and perspective about mental illness that could change the way people think about it.

Comments

Thank you for sharing your

Thank you for sharing your words Shauna, this is the post that has resonated with me the most. You're brave for telling your story in the way you have. I wish you all the best (22 years old)

Im glad you find you can

Im glad you find you can relate to it Jay and I hope that it has helped. Its only by actually telling my story that i feel that i can truly get better as hiding it made things so much worse and I want to help as many people as I can.

Anxiety

This story has reassured me that it is not weak abnormal to feel anxiety, Also that it does not you a weak or a lesser person. It is a normal mental health problem and you can get treatment and feel much better. I am encouraged and hopeful that as a person who many times experiences this feeling, i can get help be well and enjoy my life to the fullest. Thank you Shauna for sharing your life experience with anxiety and depression.

Im glad you found it helpful

Im glad you found it helpful and its not weak at all, in fact im feeling stronger now than I have in a long time. I still get the anxiety attacks but its all about learning how to best deal with them. I hope things get better for you.

This was a good post for me

This was a good post for me to read. I Hhad a similar build up and am now much better but still struggle. Thank you for sharing :)

Anxiety & Depression

Thank you for sharing your story, I too have experienced a breakdown earlier in the year and can relate to your comments. It is such a hard process but reading similar stories like yours gives people hope. Six months on and I am having more positive days and have started to enjoy life again. Still having bad days though with anxiety and depression, it is such a rollercoaster to deal with this illness I never thought I would ever go through something like this. I have always suffered with anxiety since my early twenties but was such a strong person and was able to cope and get on with life. It can happen to the strongest of people and when you read how common this is you realise that you are not alone in your experience.

Depression

Shauna, thank you so much for sharing your story. For the first time in my life, I have chosen to seek out someone who may be going through the same experience as myself. I have suffered from depression and anxiety for over 25 years. I have lost jobs, quit jobs, locked myself in the house. Counseling, medication, yoga and anything else I could do to manage my disease. I still struggle every single day. It helps to know there are others like me who also struggle. Nothing makes me feel more alone than my illness even though I have a very supportive family. I am hoping by seeking out this new avenue of information it may help.

Depression

Im so glad reading my story has helped and truthfully it was only after embracing my depression that things have started to get better. As much as sharing my story was difficult it has been a turning point in my life. I have recently rescued a dog who is fantastic and although i broke my wrist after slipping while walking her, after my breakdown I feel can cope with anything.

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