April 26, 2017

Image of the author, Nat

I'm a 39 year old father of two, music producer and I’ve worked in many areas of the entertainment industry for the last 20 years. Although I’ve only just properly understood what mental health is, I've experienced anxiety and depression my entire life it seems, which has been further complicated by the suspected Asperger’s (high functioning autism) and ADHD that I'm halfway through diagnosis for. I’ve lived a very confused existence, not truly knowing who I am and being very insecure about why I feel and act the way I do.

I've been addicted to most drugs and alcohol, I’ve also had problems with over eating and binging whether it be with substances or food. I have physical health problems caused by my binge drinking and unhealthy lifestyle. I'm now totally free of these addictions and my liver has started to reverse. Over the years I've had serious accidents, fights, lost jobs, fallen out with countless people and had problems integrating into society and dealing with life as a whole. Throughout most of my existence I’ve always preferred to be isolated and away from society, as a coping mechanism for my insecurities and mainly because I tend not to get into misunderstandings when I’m on my own – life seems to be much more settled for me this way.

In 2014 I started a painful journey to the present day which ultimately ended in destruction of everything I cared about. It affected my family, I lost my partner of 24 years and ended up significantly in debt, all fuelled by my complications understanding the world and impulsive behaviour. I made a bad business decision which took away my structure, income and stability, culminating in me becoming very depressed and full of anxiety.

During this time I had several breakdowns and became unable to communicate, which resulted in self-referring myself to my GP for help to find out why I wasn’t coping. This then led me on the path to the present day with over 30 hours of counselling and 12 separate consultations later, I'm finally starting to get the answers to what has been going on in my life and giving me closure on many things I’ve lived a life of confusion about.

Ironically, I now feel the best I've ever felt about myself but have been left with a total mess of a life to look back and reflect on, with plenty of confusion and an inability to function some days. This didn't need to be the way it is, but I can understand that society is still in its infancy of being able to accept differences and that public knowledge has been very limited for the complications I've suffered.

Since getting the right support, making massive strides to better myself and understand my problems, in March 2017, I walked 200 miles throughout the month for Cancer Research. This was part of my rehabilitation, if you like, and it was a great way to mentally reflect on all the things that had happened in my life. Since December 2016, I have totally transformed my life in many areas that were causing me serious struggles before.

Talking is key – I cannot emphasise this enough. If I'd been able to talk years ago I wouldn't have needed to suffer and nor would the people around me. I believe that society as a whole was to blame in not understanding and treating metal illness as a second rate health problem. It feels like you should just get on with it and expect no support unless you became sectioned. As a teenager and young adult in the 90’s and 00’s, we never had discussions about depression or anxiety and I only really knew what they were properly last year, once I started the process of getting support for my problems.

For me, not having closure or the ability to discuss my problems with anyone created a world of pure confusion and deep insecurity about why my mind works the way it does and why I cannot connect with the emotions of others. It forced me to stay quiet and suffer in silence. If, as a society, we are all armed with important knowledge about how our emotions can affect us day to day, I believe that there would be far fewer people lost and turning to substances to create a world they feel normal in.

I’ve made it through a serious amount of challenges and I've not stopped fighting to get to a better place, despite continuous battles and problems always there to stop me. It’s a really hard place to be in where you have loads of friends and family but no one to talk to. That’s the biggest challenge in getting answers to your struggles, trying to get other people to understand and relate to the world you live in or have lived in your entire life.

I now talk loads about my emotions, but up until last year I hadn't spoken to a single person my entire life and naturally I was a ticking time bomb waiting to happen.

I signed up to become a Champion a couple of months back and intend to do as much as I can over the coming years to raise the volume on mental health awareness to try help people like myself get the answers and get them sooner.

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Comments

Great Post

Brilliant Nat, just brilliant. Really powerful stuff and great work on turning things completely 180. Inspirational stuff, stay he distance.

Anxiety

Thank you Nat. I have lived with mental illness since I was at university. I underachieved there and subsequently lost my job, which was my life goal at the time. I spent two periods in psychiatric hospital. After this period, I retrained as a teacher and have moved on to headship. I have made a success of life, having a partner and four children however, a very stressful recent time at work has made me I'll again. I have decided enough is enough, so I have agreed to finally see a psychologist to discuss my underlying unresolved issues. My first session is next week. My future awaits.....

Agreement with above Blog

I have had the same kind of life as you have but for a lot longer . I am a 70 year old pensioner and I am waiting for my report after a 2 hour appointment with a Psychiatrist and an OT Occupational Therapist which ended in a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome after years of diagnosis for Depression and Anxiety .Talking Therapies never helped me and there is no talking therapy in our CCG for Adult Autism .They only Commission Diagnosis No support look after yourself

My opinion on Nat's Blog

Most people that have a mental illness, even when they have family and friends, they feel alone and misunderstood. And Nat you are right about talking about it. The more you isolate and don't talk, you will dig the hole deeper. Finding someone who understands and talking about how you feel can really help. Most importantly, waking up and talking to God and thanking him for everything even if you can't find anything to be thankful for. At least for your breathe of life. There will always be a better day. I give you a star for changing your life around. Stay active and be positive.

Comment

Well done nat

I can so empathise....

Great post and really helpful, thank you for being so honest and open. I can really relate to your experiences! I have spent my entire adult life being unable to communicate my emotions. It's toxic! Talking is so important! I am now 50 years old and after 4 months of hell suffering with severe depression and suicidal thoughts and countless visits to my GP, I've have been referred for a proper mental health assessment. Good luck for your future. :-)

Am i Suffering?

Hello, My name is Nikita, i am from India. my father has schizophrenia, i dont know when he was diagnosed but he is suffering from the disorder since i was born in 1997. Right now i am 19 years old, by end of this month i will be 20. I am just like my dad, most of our qualities and lifestyle match. So, since past 3-4 days i am not feeling like i used to. i am very sad, i am having huge mood swings, depression sort of phase is going on, i cry every night without any reason. Generally i am a very strong girl, i do not cry without any major reason and crying without any reason is not at all normal. I cannot sleep properly at night, i wake up every night around 3am and its hard to sleep again. I live with my elder sister, i have been very rude to her, although i wish to tell her what all is going on with me, but i am not able to speak up. I don't talk to my family, i dont like talking to anyone and just like to sit alone in my room. When i lie down there is a huge rush of thoughts, not just one thought its like a giant wheel of thoughts which comes to me. some of those thoughts are suicidal as well. But i am not a suicidal person so i can easily shut thoughts down, but other thoughts are hard to shut. This is how i feel. If you understand what this is and think that i am suffering from some disorder it will be very helpful. I dont like the way i feel. I really want to go back to feeling normal me. i would be very thankful for any sort of help. Do i need medical assistance? Should i consult a doctor? i am ready to do all of this but before going to doctor i want to know if this is normal or i am suffering. Thank you. Nikita.

NIKITA

Hulloo Nikita please talk to your sister,i just read your reply and i am worried about you.I am gathering info about a bipolar disorder as theres a loved one suffering with it currently.Please open up to your sister cause the first step is admitting that something is not okay,bravo dearest...

Bi-polar son

I live a distance from my son, who's wife says he has mood swings and gets ugly and mean. She thinks he is bi-polar but will not seek help or meds. He has kids a job and a home. But his wife is getting warned down, she supports him and talks with him. Does bi-polar get worse with out meds. He is in his early 30's. How can I help him, our relationship is not good from past hurts and pain from his drinking. He is not drinking anymore for about 3 years. Any experience or helpful advise would be appreciated. Thanks

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