October 26, 2012

Lucy, a Time to Change bloggerIf I had a broken leg, nobody would make me walk on it.

That sentence must be one most frequently used analogies about the struggle of living and coping with mental illness. I see blogs and articles peppered with it, usually written by people just like me who are expected to flick a switch and start coping again.

People who have never suffered are the ones who think that I need to just "stop worrying" or "be a bit stronger" or "enjoy life more". I can completely understand how a non-sufferer would find it difficult to grasp what it's really like to have a mental illness. I often liken it to trying to understand any ailment - I, for example, have never suffered with cancer or arthritis, so it is difficult for me to understand how that would feel, physically and mentally. There's something about mental illness, perhaps its invisibility, which makes people think it's OK to tell you how they think you should deal with it.

I am currently out of work due to anxiety and panic attacks.

I am currently out of work due to anxiety and panic attacks. After six years of living beneath an anxious cloud with occasional heavy showers in the form of panic attacks, my body finally gave up and told me I need to stop. I tried to carry on in my previous job, believing I needed to 'be stronger' and learn to cope and toughen up, which actually pushed my anxiety so far it was like my body just collapsed beneath me and I had no choice but to admit defeat.

It's easy to think that mental illness is a choice. There's this great belief that we control our mind and it doesn't control us. I think that works for a healthy person, but when your mind isn't working the way it should I don't think it applies. If I broke my leg, nobody would expect me to use my mind to overcome the breaks in my bones.

This summer, my boyfriend actually did break his leg. I saw the broken leg analogy play out in front of me.

This summer, my boyfriend actually did break his leg. I saw the broken leg analogy play out in front of me. In came the get well messages, the reassurances that not being able to go to work or social arrangements was fine and to just concentrate on getting better. His employers didn't want him to go back until he felt completely ready to do so, until the pain stopped. I don't think my previous employers thought I was in any pain at all.

As my poor boyfriend hobbles around on his crutches, people open doors, offer lifts, offer to come round and cook. His injury is visible and it's easy to relate to. Some people look awkward and clear their throats a lot when I try to talk about my anxiety. Absolutely nobody expects him to walk on a broken leg. So why are people with mental illness expected to think on a broken mind? When you're in the throes of anxiety, depression, OCD, or a psychotic episode, it's sometimes the hardest thing in the world just to wake up in the morning; let alone go to work, do a good job, be a good friend and keep a busy social calendar. Yet it's the bravest thing in the world to wake up, get up and carry on with your day. It's just that because a mental illness is often silent and invisible, people don't realise the daily struggle.

Not a lot of people would see me getting up, driving to work and getting through the day as brave.

People might say that managing to get through a doctor re-setting the bones in your leg without painkillers is brave, which it is. Not a lot of people would see me getting up, driving to work and getting through the day as brave. They don't realise it feels just as painful as having a broken bone reset, except the pain is emotional and sometimes it's hard to talk about.

I am very lucky to have a lot of very supportive people around me who do understand my struggles. There is still a lot of work to be done in changing people's attitude to living with mental illness though, especially in the workplace. It needs to be OK to talk about - it needs to be OK to tell somebody you don't feel fine and you need a bit of help.

So as my boyfriend rests his leg, I will rest my mind

So as my boyfriend rests his leg, I will rest my mind. Looking after him is giving my mind something else to think about, and caring for him makes me feel useful again. It will take 7 weeks for the bones in his ankle to heal, and then walking will be a bit wobbly for a while. I don't have a timescale for my anxiety. I'm having psychotherapy, which is really helping, and I plan to take as much time as I need to relax and let my nervous system recover. Then maybe I'll try to walk again, wobbly at first, but I know eventually I'll be back to full strength and able to get my life back again.

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Broken ankle or broken mind?

I've had both, and living with a broken mind is far worse. You're spot on with everything you say Lucy, and I wish both you and your boyfriend speedy and complete recoveries.

The bravest Moon Lady

I'm so proud of you for writing this Lucyboo. I've witnessed your struggle since day one and the thing which frustrates me the most is not that it's so hard for you, but that other people make it so hard for you. I hate seeing you suffer, and as someone who also has a mental illness to cope with (OCD), I know how crippling anxiety can be. You work towards understanding your boundaries every day, and you're so determinedly proactive about overcoming this. Anyone who doesn't see that about you is blind - nobody deserves to succeed more than you my Moon Lady. I love you xxxxxxxxxxx

Love you loads Lucy-Lou.

Love you loads Lucy-Lou. Well done for writing this, am super proud of you for how well you're doing. Really am proud of you. Mwah xxx

My best friends story

Sitting here reading your story has brought me to tears, You know who I am, we have laughed together, cried together and held each other hands since we were little. You've been for my best friend for many years and supported me when I’ve needed you the most, I hope you can say the same about me. I've held your hand throughout the past year and can see how far you have come. I am so very proud of you for putting your struggles into words, I know how hard it must have been to write that, although your struggles are not over, I hope with the love and support you have around you that they will end soon. I'm always here for you luc, I love you like a sister. Please dont think that you have not been a good friend this year, you have and you're loved more than you could ever know. Love me and Ben :) x x

This was such a sweet

This was such a sweet comment, thank you... It was pretty hard to write and get it out there but I'm glad I did. I feel awful though - I actually can't work out who this is! I have 2 possible people in my head... let me know :) x

I agree! and I wish when I'm

I agree! and I wish when I'm in the middle of a depression episode that people would look after me the way they look after your boyfriend. I can barely manage to cook for my self or remember to get out of bed and put on clothes...It would be great to have acceptance and help, it would get me out of it much faster. Trisha Goddard said she felt depression was worst than cancer. "There is no get well card with mental illness" Here's some more what she said: http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/files/Trisha%20Goddard%20press%20ad.pdf


Absolutely flippin' brilliant. I've suffered from depression and anxiety since I was about 12 and actually lost my job 2 years ago because of it. I had to take time off, was forced back to work too quickly, my workplace ignored the reasonable adjustments suggested by the Occupational Health specialists and I was backed into a Compromise Agreement and left with very little money to live on while I recovered - unable to even try to find a new job. I tried to explain my position to them using the broken leg analogy and it was literally sneered at. I love this piece, it really describes mental health problems in a way that people can understand.

Broken leg vs broken mind

I tend to get the Kinks response from certain people if I don't feel I'm well enough mentally to do work for them (that well-known song, 'I Need You'). And then when someone is physically incapable, said person is all over them like a rash. I have also had the theme song from 'High Anxiety' sung at me by my mum.


Thank you for sharing this. I hope you can stay strong and get everything back. You illistrate the problems with invisiblity so well, its so important for people to hear and understand this message

Thank you for sharing this, I

Thank you for sharing this, I understand how you feel, I so hope that both you and all of us in life that are experiencing the same pain can find the one thing that will help us move back to a better way of life x

I think a lot of mental

I think a lot of mental illness can be attributed to poor diet, dysbiosis and lack of exercise. Unfortunately, how the current medical system works is that diet and nutrition just do not play a part. If you're depressed, you're offered anti-depressants and psychotherapy - nobody asks you what your diet is like and whether you could be deficient in key nutrients. Yet it's like putting petrol in a diesel car and expecting it to run. Whilst a vegan, I frequently suffered bouts of depression and anxiety. Only recently did I learn that depression is a symptom of Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamins A & D were 10 times higher in the brains of primitive ancestors who ate a diet rich in animal fats, cod liver oil and organ meats. Yet, we’re constantly told to avoid eating animal fats, as they're blamed for a myriad of health problems, when sugar is the real culprit and not just for its role in erratic blood sugar levels which cause mood swings. Additionally, 70% of the population are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, which are again essential to brain health. Foods rich in good bacteria, like yogurt and Kefir are generally missing from most people's diets, yet they replace the bacteria crucial to preventing dysbiosis, where nutrients from food cannot be absorbed properly. I suggest looking at websites like the Weston A. Price Foundation for information on mental health and diet. There's also a very interesting book called 'Gut & Psychology Syndrome’ by Natasha Campbell-McBride.

Beware of extremes

Sure, diet can contribute to mental illness AND physical illness, but it isn't the sole cause. For people with mental illness it can be quite upsetting to hear endless platitudes about diet and holidays. We would like to have our mental/psychological difficulties taken at face value and not attributed to something else. I suffer from depression without anxiety, it goes up and down and it probably always will in spite of having boosted my diet with Vitamin D, real sunshine, masses of fish oils etc ALL prescribed by my conventional shrink! However, without my pills and talking to her I would be a blubbering heap unable to string a sentence together or I'd be a few fragments left on the trunk of a tree somewhere I drove my car. Let's just have some empathy for others and not try to make them like the rest of the world. The blog author feels so bloody anxious & frightened of having panic attacks that she can't go to work. What a terrible situation! No way would I want anyone to suffer like that. Perhaps living next door I could offer her company, invite her out for a drive in the country- just be with her while she takes a little time out to repair herself. But I wouldn't immediately tell her she can fix herself with diet. You can't get rid of mental illness stigma by pretending it is something else like lack of vitamins. It's a widespread illness, it's real and it's there.


This. I have OCD, and it's not even the "fun" kind with the obsessive cleaning/light switch flicking that people popularly attribute, so even more invisible than normal, but all the same anxiety and psychological pain. I could eat and live the healthiest humanly possible and I'll never be rid of this. Part of the 'recovering OCD' path for me is having to accept--just like alcoholics--I can be recovering, but I'll never be truly 'clean', free of it. Especially because that false belief is what has held me back in the past, and left me open and more devastated when it inevitably spikes and attacks. Good diet is just common sense advice for any situation, it certainly cant hurt, but I think society needs to be more understanding. My OCD is a birth defect. I was born with this, and I'll die old and wizened, hopefully my partners hand in mine, and still have the OCD down there (short of some miraculous advance in neurological medicine and the wealth to partake of it). I think that diet statement still comes from the same place as the advice to "just get over it". Not meanly intended as such, but still the same ignorance. That mental illness is some ephemeral thing that can be 'gotten over'. Some of us were born with these demons, and we will die with them, in some sense the only people who don't leave this world alone, just like those born with more physical defects.

above subject "I THINK!"

YOU think.........thats where your opinion starts and ends!!!!!!!!!!!!!! its attitudes and people like you that make it even HARDER to carry on living, hate the stupidity and self asumiming "KNOW IT ALL" attitude. would i choose to get/have cancer der! ill health is what it says ill health, be it pysical or mental!! would a better diet help or prevent cancer?!!! debi ford..............


As someone who trains and watches what i eat i find your post unbelievable. I suffer with OCD, Social anxiety and i know scientists are doing more research on the brain then diet in mental illnesses. I can understand maybe someone who dosnt have a mental illness getting depressed by being overweight and eating foods knowing there unhealthy but to say someone with mental illness is just eating the wrong food is proof alone of how little people in general know about mental illness. I train 2/3 hours everyday & its not because i want to be fit but because its the only way i can get any relief without using alcohol.

Diet and mental illness

Thank you very much for your  comment. Found it very informative . My husband suffers from anxiety and during our last visit to the doctor we were told that they simply don,t know what could cause the anxiety and just dished out pills to treat the simptoms . The problem is that the side effect of that  drug was even more severe anxiety and my poor husband is still recovering from it now. What about the daily  routine, does this help? Basically he find it very difficult to get out of bed in the morning, as its his "hide away from it all" place. The doctors advise was to try and find something to  do to get destructed from the depressive thought patten , but it easier said than done.... Many thanks E. Sent from my iPad


I take intensely physical dance classes at least 4 times a week and I take vitamin D & calcium and cod liver oil (alongside other vitamins and minerals)and have done for years, and I have anxiety and depression. This post feels like just another "just cheer up" invalidating the suffering I experience. I feel scared every time I open my email, I can't use the phone at all. It cuts me off from jobs and experiences. Sometimes it takes all my mental strength to get me to dance class and in very bad times I can't convince myself to go at all even though really I love it. I can't enjoy the company of new people and make friends because I just wonder what way this new person will find to hurt me in the end. It doesn't help that I keep trying to get back into education and being rejected. It's a vicious cycle of needing confidence to get training, but only being able to gain confidence if I'm in training. This is ruining my life, cod liver oil isn't doing to save me.

Not absolutely true.

The whole diet argument doesn't work for me to be honest. It was the first thing I tried when I got ill. I tried various exclusion diets, balanced diets, I was vegan for months, then I was a vegetarian for months. I ate nothing but organic - I spent a fortune on ' super foods '. I have been slim, athletic and now I am slightly overweight - a little chubby... and in all though occasions, my state of mind was the same, I was still mentally ill. Now I eat whatever I fancy and I don't give myself a hard time for it, because ultimately it is my state of mind that decides if my body is healthy. Healthy mind - healthy body... and not the other way around. When ruminate about negative things, and I feel really bad about my life situation.. and who I am, what I have been through... my body gets physically sick. I get tension headaches, my leg muscles tense up and I find walking painful. I get upset stomachs, acid reflux, red face, dizziness.. and finally horrible panic attacks. No amount of good food ever helped me to change my state of mind. CBT and appropriate medications are a start though.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but...

...words will hurt me more. That's how the saying goes, right? I've suffered with depression for over 20 years now, and you're right, those who are lucky enough not to have mental health issues do not understand what it's like. Since I was little, I've always been secretly thrilled by illness or injury, even a tiny papercut on my finger. Because it's something that people can see; something I know that people are more likely to give me sympathy for. But you can't ask for sympathy with depression; people will give it if they truly do understand, and if not, we can only hope they won't say anything to make us feel worthless, or like we are just 'putting it on'. We must try to educate the world by writing blogs such as this, and hope that people will slowly start to realise how the pain inside your head or your heart can hurt just as much as that in a more bony body part.

I really don't like the idea

I really don't like the idea that I'm "broken" because I have an anxiety disorder, thanks. I get what you're trying to say but thIs seems unbelievably counter-intuitive to removing the stigma from mental illness.

Hi Annie, I'm sorry if using

Hi Annie, I'm sorry if using the term 'broken mind' offended you in any way, I only really used it as a sort of analogy where I wrote "walking on a broken leg/thinking on a broken mind" (and because it flowed nicely written down), as I often find that when I'm going through an anxiety attack I physically cannot make my brain think straight or even formulate words - so to me it kind of feels like it has temporarily broken. I don't think someone with an anxiety disorder is broken, it was just to describe how it feels to have to carry on with a normal life and adult responsibilities when it's really hard to even think straight.

A bit broken too...

Brilliant blog post, Lucy - that has absolutely been my experience, sadly, but hopefully times are changing - albeit very, very slowly! Come to my blog (ohvivresavie.blogspot.com) and hang out with me and a bunch of other nervy panickers - get some genuine tea and sympathy from people who truly understand what you're going through! You'll get through this - I promise. I go through bad panic 'phases' - I think each attack breeds another until you get in a bit of a vicious cycle, but they *always* calm down, in the end. You WILL walk again! Viv x

Well said!

Hi Lucy I shared this blog post on Facebook as I think you've nailed this on the head, you are a great inspiration and brave women. I suffered a nervous breakdown in January this year and still recovering. I know how you feel, unfortunately unless you've had a mental illness or been close to someone who has suffered it's difficult to understand the pain, put it this way I'd rather have had my leg broken 100 times. If I'd had a penny for every time someone said to me, oh you look too good to have a mental illness, I'd be rich. As I'm sure you're aware this ignorance is enough to make you want to scream, what does mental illness look like exactly? I think of myself now as a stronger, loving and more understanding person and I guess this is where the silver lining lies. You've inspired me to submit my own blog post, my friend actually thought I had written this and wrote a lovely comment above (Lucy's friend) . We had a little giggle when I told her it wasn't me but she still said you sound like a wonderful person and we both wish you all the health and happiness. My GodMum always tells me that today is the first day of the rest of my life, it's a nice thought ;) All the best! X


This is fantastic! I've had depression and anxiety since i was 14 and i'm now 32. I've now hit the point where i just cannot get a job as it scares me so much! I saw the broken ankle/broken mind thing myself when i broke my foot a couple of years ago. Family and some friends were far more keen to help with shopping, support etc when i had my leg in plaster but when i was shaking, sweating, dizzy and couldn't go to the shop when i wasn't in plaster.....i got the "pull yourself together/don't be so lazy and pathetic attitude. I'm now trying to set up my own business from home as even agoraphobics need to pay bills. I'm hoping that if it takes off i will look to employ others with mental health problems. You are a fabulous writer!!! Well done and again...thankyou!

Lucy. You are a legend. I'm

Lucy. You are a legend. I'm so proud of you for writing this, it's so well written and so brave. I've had the priviledge of knowing you for 8 years. I've seen you well and I've seen you not well. I KNOW you are going to get well again. Love you loads, Laura and The Other Bears xxx

Some people just don't get it

I am posting this in 2 halves as it won’t let me post altogether (even though I’m under the word limit): I don’t know you, but I do know of your friend who has commented. 7 yrs ago my mum suffered a breakdown. For 18mths she was passed pillar to post, drugged up to the eyeballs, & rushed back to work. Mum felt like she couldn’t go on & took her own life. 3 yrs ago my brother had a psychotic episode & was sectioned. Only in the past 6mths he has been released from his after care worker & is now seen as “normal”. So I can’t say I know how you feel, because I don’t. What I can say is that I’ve sat from the other side of the mirror & watched. To see the torment, anguish, frustration – just to name a few of the emotions, of someone you love due to what is happening inside their mind is just traumatic.

Some people just don't get it - part 2

I am posting this in 2 halves as it won’t let me post altogether (even though I’m under the word limit): Part 2: So if it feels this bad from the outside looking in, I can’t imagine how hard it is to be the sufferer. Every situation is different & every person is different. I likened getting help to an analogy of trying on shoes: If you find a pair that you’re not sure of, keep looking until it’s the right fit & it’s what you need & want. Counselling is not for everyone. Drugs aren’t for everyone. Change of diet won’t work for everyone. Mental illness is a very individualistic diagnosis & the treatment has to feel right. Too many people are quick to judge mental illness, but with brave people like yourself making your story heard, I am sure we can make a clearer understanding of what happens. Thank you for your bravery. I genuinely wish you every success on your journey & recovery. Take care.

Good Analogy

Thanks for writing about your anxiety Lucy. I have just gone back to work after several months off with anxiety and depression and also used the broken leg analogy to reassure myself that if I needed a break and some time off to get better, that was ok. If I had a broken leg, would people get inpatient because it hadn't healed yet or would I feel bad for having it? Sometimes you need to be able to accept that it's ok to have anxiety before you can begin to feel better.

Great post!

I completely agree with everything you are saying and love your analogy of a broken leg. I too never get any "get well soon" card when I am in the middle of depression!!!

I suffered from depression

I suffered from depression for about 2 years, both in the last year of uni and the first year out - I know exactly what you mean when you're on about broken mind. I know how everyday life can be a ridiculous struggle, and the endless physical weariness. I disagree with the comment about diet. Although diet and exercise do play a part, (30 minutes to an hour of exercise a day is supposedly a similar effect to low-dosage anti-depressants, and better nutrition helps) you're making out like a lot of people's mental illness could have been avoided by eating the right foods and exercise, which I very much doubt. Most people are blood-tested when they first go to the doctors with depression, and many (like mine) show that no nutrients are lacking, and that fitness is at a good level. Depression is in fact one of the hardest illnesses to diagnose/treat/understand. I was depressed, thought I was getting better and stopped taking the tablets cold-turkey and ended up making myself a lot worse and being signed off on the sick. I am lucky that I now know things that can trigger negative thoughts, and I have learnt enough to keep a close eye on how I think, and my mental wellbeing. I feel for you, Lucy and I pray that you have the strength to carry on and keep fighting the battle that everyone with mental illness fights. I also hope that people will see this story (and also my comment) and be strengthened by it. Nothing lasts forever, both the good times and the bad. Best wishes, Dom


I've been off work myself now for 4 months struggling with bi polar, anxiety disorder and BPD. Life can be hell and my illnesses are chronic :( When I first went off work, my boss asked me to sign a consent form in order to get a doctors report (as if I was making it up). Fellow colleagues have taken time off work in the past and have been inundated with cards and bouquets of flowers. All I got was a letter to my dic asking what my likely return date to work was :-(


Lucy, you rule. This is awesome. Well done. The top two comments have missed the point. But I think this blog is relatable and brilliant. Well done for writing this, standing up & being honest about this helps others too & that makes you amazing - please feel useful!! I just have one thing left to say - PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, CHIN UP, IT COULD BE WORSE! Hahahaha. Love you lots Christina xxx Ps I'm going to link to this on 100happy, hope is ok?


I agree with the person who posted about nutrition. Doctors really fail us when it comes to treating mental illness. Surgery and drugs are how they treat most other illness. No attention is paid to the the root causes, and I believe that diet is key to so much of what affects us mentally and physically. It's only when I started reading about food and hormones and consulting with a nutrition specialist that I started to make real headway with my depression.

broken mind

Such a common problem, and so hushed-up. The "System" is hopeless at dealing with it - psychiatric intervention often makes things worse, and even normal well-meaning people tend to react negatively to ones negative state. I strongly endorse the comment about diet; i was seriously depressive for most of my life until I gave up sugar and gluten - these are the commonest culprits but there may be others, especially all junk foods. Also we lead very unnatural lives these days - even going to work every day in an indoor environment with artificial light etc. is unnatural and unhealthy. Most people now are part of a really sick world. I recommend long country walks, gardening and contact with animals. It is possible to be very happy, if you can break the pattern the world has imposed on you.

Excellent reading.

This analogy, I've never heard it before, but it makes sense to me. The one thing I am terrified about is my working future; after the breakdown of my relationship a couple of years back (we were together for 11 years), I have been riddled with depression. It all started when I started feeling unwanted, useless and generally not good enough for my partner and we separated. We ended up moving back in together and the problems got much, much worse - drug and alcohol abuse, social detachment, wouldn't keep myself, could hardly make a decision without spamming out..... Here I am two years later, no real career prospects in sight, in debt, no real home of my own and massive self-esteem, confidence and anger issues. My nerves are shredded, bright lights and loud noises really agitate me, I get furious for no reason and am prone to bursting into tears at the drop of a hat (and usually when the worthlessness takes hold). I can't even get out of bed in the morning some days, and have been stuck in temping roles for two years which may be making it worse, I don't know.

Excellent reading.

Continued: Does anyone really have the answers? I've never accepted help before now, but things are getting worse and I'm not sure I can keep the 'mask' up for much longer. I've felt like such a 'dosser' for a while now; my previous partner didn't understand or want to have to deal with it, she thought shunning then dropping me was the way forward although looking back I can see why. My current partner understands, but isn't aware of the full extent of the issues. But the broken leg vs broken mind thing makes sense. I'm just terrified of not having enough money to live on in these harsh times, and losing all chance of a 'normal' life

What an amazing portrait of

What an amazing portrait of how you feel. The two of us have spoken many times about anxiety as its something I've suffered with in the past, as you know for a couple of years I felt like I'd lost my mind and was on deaths door. It's easy to forget how anxiety and panic feels after its not come over you for a few years, however I've had a reminder myself over the last month as its shown its ugly face again. I will absolutely not let it take over me this time or whenever I feel it start because I know that when i'm in the thick of it, it's too hard to escape from it. I feel that i can now, shake myself and literally 'mind over matter' it away as I just start to feel that horrid sensation. I am starting to realise why I have had it (along with other symptoms of stress which I won't put on here!), getting to the root cause is the only way to assure its dead and buried forever...so keep going with therapy and/or any diet issues that someone posted about before. (P.s. Rhinos are my fave ;-p) Xxxx

Good Luck

Thank you for sharing your experience. I too am stuck in the throes of anxiety and, (understandably) nobody around me truly understands, the worst part is that most people don't even try. I am lucky enough to have a few close to me though who have patience with me. I hope you find your way.

Lucky to have support

I totally agree with you Lucy. My psychologist says I add an extra layer to my illness by beating myself up for it happening. I think I've been lucky with the support I've had from family and friends, and work. Most people understand it but it still makes me cringe when I have to explain it to someone for the first time. My biggest worry is loss of independence and money plus getting left behind in my career. I know I've missed out on opportunities to progress because I have a disability. I'm lucky that my boss is supportive and this last time of being unwell made it easy for me to continue working on reduced duties. My last blip happened because I came off medication to have children, which is a plan that's on hold now. It's been hard for my husband and I worry about the pressure it puts on him, especially if I can't work one day. There are days I've struggled into work and broken it down into stages just to make it to lunch time, then to the afternoon, then to get home and face cooking. I didn't take a single day off this time (although I took two months off last year) but as Lucy says, would I walk around on a broken leg just because it looked weak if I didn't? I hope attitudes change too and it makes it easier for everyone to deal with this.

You put it in words that I couldn't

Thank you Lucy! You have articulated how I feel to a tee. I completely agree- I''ve got to the point where my body is just telling me to stop. Palpitations, nausea, breathlessness, chest pains, sleeplessness, forgetfulness...... I've pushed on at work thinking that 'I just need to be stronger',' I should just pull myself together' and 'It's not as bad as I'm making it out to be'. It doesn't work that way though does it? I think it's now time I took some leave and rested my mind and stopped worrying what people are going to think if I do......

Taken the words out of my mouth

I have currently returned to work after 3 weeks off with chronic anxiety. I don't feel ready to go back, my mind is still screwed up, but I have felt pressured to return as people have stated I am attention seeking, I am not helping myself, and I am wallowing in self pity. I am currently awaiting my first appointment with my local psychology team, something I have been waiting to be referred for for over 4 and a half years. I see this as helping myself, but my workplace are trying to force me to try meds; I would rather explore into my mind and find answers which will hopefully make me better for good, in my view meds work for physical ailments but don't ever cure mental health, mental health needs to be explored to find the route cause before you can get better. Nobody understands my right to get better in the way I wish and I am being threatened because I am not taking medication. It is refreshing hearing from people who are in a similar position to me and I just wish everybody could get rid of the stigmas and give all of us with mental health problems the time to let our minds heal, more importantly in the ways in which we would like them to heal :)

Thank you :)

Lucy this blog is amazing. It is incredible that you have managed to write this in such a clear yet incredibly sincere way. I suffer from anxiety myself and reading your blog I had a few tears in my eyes; happy ones though because I have always deep down blamed myself I think. It is so good to see it put like this and relate to so many of the points you made. So thank you :).

Genious analogy!

Congratulations! This analogy (broken leg vs depression or OCD) was simple the best Ive ever see! Thanks!

you wrote this from the heart and inspired me.

Reading your story was such an inspiration i have suffered from anxiety for 14 years, it really is a struggle getting up in the morning or just the simple things like cleaning up or talking, you feel like your in a black hole thats just getting darker and darker, orr your in a room full of all your closer people but yet you still feel alone, i wish you all the best for ever. lots of love xoxo

Hi Lucy....

After searching for about 6 month I finally found something or someon, that describes what is a mental illness so clearly for people that are not going trough this can understand the way we feel. I've been struggling with GAD and panic attacks for about 8 months now. Currently out of work due to the same reason. My life had changed so much that I am afraid I will never be the same. I would like to know how you are doing, and if there is a way out of this terrible cage where my brain choose to be. I hate my self for to been able to cope with this on my own. I am currently on meds and it seems to help a little but still feeling trapped in my onw-self. I hope this makes sense since my English is very poor. (My first language is Spanish) Wish u the best in the process of overcoming anxiety.

I don't really know what to

I don't really know what to say other than i relate so much to your story. For years i got up and i went to University, I lived at my partners house, I forced myself to carry on with my anxiety. Then just over a year ago i couldnt do it anymore. Something just broke inside of me, and i didn't feel as though i had the strength to push, and fight down my anxieties. My family doesn't really understand, they tell me to "man up", "just don't think about it" and the very common "stop worrying". I don't know how long it'll be until I'm me again. Your story really touched me, it made me feel as though i wasn't alone

I suffered with extreme

I suffered with extreme anxiety and depression for about a year. My friends, family and boyfriend were hugely supportive. I have to day that I did get some flowers and get well cards and no-one ever gave up on me. If only everyone could be this enlightened. Sounds like you have good friends too Lucy.

I've been suffering from GAD

I've been suffering from GAD for a while, and broke my elbow - and sprained my ankle - recently. While I was recovering from that, my mood was actually better than it was before the break, and better than it's been since recovery. If you've got your arm in a sling, then people are really good about it and care for you properly. If it's your mind, it's much harder to get the care and support you need.


The problem to date, as I see it, is that we understand bones. You can set them when they break and there is a timetable for the healing process. When you ask for understanding with a broken limb, people know your marrow and bone and tendons need time to bind and become whole again. There is no timetable for healing mental illness. We still understand so little about the mind, even the healthy ones. Asking for understanding is ludicrous. Even those of us who suffer from debilitating anxiety or depression are left wondering how and why we are disabled. Not to mention the fact that we may never be whole again. We may never have another week of smooth sailing - another day of glorious content - as horrible and taboo as that is to say. Nothing looks quite like splintered bone poking out at odd angles from our appendages. A sprain is markedly different from a compound fracture. But what empirical evidence can one show to establish the severity of one's mental illness. Everyone experiences anxiety at some point. How can you explain that the butterflies you felt in your stomach are a paper cut when compared to the perpetual and debilitating self-doubt and loathing, from which people such as ourselves do suffer. Perception is reality and the invisibility of our disease is its most insidious, and painful, symptom. - Truly Caring and Empathetic

My broken world.

I've dealt with Anxiety and Depression since I was an adolescent. My mid-late twenties eventually landed me on medication for it for years. Progressively, symptoms would worsen and pill doses grew stronger (they didn't help anymore). I was able to finally stop medications and learn to deal with my emotions again. I had three amazing years with only minor anxiety and zero depression. A few months ago, I "broke" again and am just struggling to put me back together. Seeking out other stories of folks with like experiences seemed like something good to try. Your story was nice to read. My work is having a difficult time "understanding" what is happening with me. Even though I've explained it and offered different perspectives for them to look at, it's hard for them to really know what to make of me. I do my all to be strong at work and for my wife and two boys, but at those "broken" moments, I'm so weak. My responses to some situations are just down right impossible for me to control. It comes from such an emotional place that thinking is difficult to do at all. Thank you for offering me those much needed words of comfort to read :-)


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