This is a new experience for me: talking so publicly about myself. I feel this is important to do so, especially on World Mental Health Day, because talking about my mental health in the first place was the first step in making positive changes to my life.
My name is Marc and I found out this year that I have been trying to live with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) for most of my life. I was always aware that I worried a lot about things, was quite shy and would go through bouts of depression (which led twice to me trying to end my life) – but didn't realise I could get help. I just accepted it was who I was. That was until a life changing event made me visit my GP. This is when I began to talk.
My marriage had ended and I felt so low that I went to the doctor to discuss medication; an antidepressant is what I thought I needed. I was prescribed the drugs but I was also introduced to a counsellor. The counsellor I saw was there to help me with the recent events and coming to terms with the break up. As I spoke about myself in the sessions, it was apparent there was much more that needed discussing and looking at to help me feel better.
I felt happy that I could move on from counselling and I was encouraged to see a CBT therapist. This is when the GAD came to light. It was strange how having GAD recognised as a condition gave me hope that the crippling anxiety I had experienced for the past 30 years could maybe be dealt with. I now had hope that I could learn to live a life with a better mental health.
At first I kept this all a secret as I was ashamed of being seen to be “weak”, but as time went on, I learnt more about myself. I built up a bit of self confidence and was a bit happier overall. This, coupled with the antidepressants, gave me the opportunity to start to talk to people about my mental health. To my surprise people listened and did not judge, some even could relate with similar experiences of their own. I felt so relieved. This built my confidence further and it also gave others confidence to talk about mental health making it less of a taboo.
In July of this year, I had another life changing event: I started a new career. I left the job I had been doing for 12 years and decided to start a career as a domiciliary care worker. I would never have considered this line of work before because my low self esteem and my anxieties would have prevented me from doing so. But thanks to me talking and being open about my mental health condition (I even mentioned it in the job interview) I am now in a position where I feel good about my life and the help I bring to others.
Talking has helped me to be me.