Mental health problems affect 1 in 4 people every year and no one should feel ashamed. By sharing our experiences, together we can end the stigma.

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Anxiety is more than being too sensitive

The doctors describe me as a patient with significant anxiety…but really, I feel like I’m just going a little crazy. It feels like people look at anxiety as a modern thing, something that’s new and can’t be easily understood. Some people describe it as putting a label on ‘being sensitive’, that ‘everything has a have a diagnosis these days’. 

I'm trying my best, like everyone else - don't treat me like a burden

I often feel like people in my life can be caring…but only for a short time and only if it doesn’t interfere with their own lives. 

There are times I haven’t left my bed for 3 or 4 days. My thoughts have turned against me. My mind battles to stay alive. I hear an overwhelming voice telling me my friends hate me, that they’re talking about me, laughing at me or plotting against me. 

At first it feels like my friends care, check in and worry about me. But soon it feels like I’m a burden and I hear things from them that aren’t helpful.

Dissociation doesn't mean I'm rude or antisocial

I have used dissociation as a way to cope when I feel I can’t, due to previous trauma and abuse as a child. I first did this as a way of protecting my mind. To me, this feels like I’m in a bubble and I can’t quite touch and connect with the real world. Everything feels a little bit hazy; I can look into someone’s eyes and yet feel like I’m looking far into the distance.

Don't want to date me because I have a mental illness? Your loss!

I’ve lived with anxiety and depression along with an eating disorder pretty much as long as I can remember, but understand that that doesn't define me: I am ME.

I have never really felt stigmatised because of this, and I’m very much a 'take me as I am' person, at least on the outside. Recently though, I had my first blatant experience of stigmatisation, and I’m so angry and shocked I feel I need to speak out about it...

Opening a dialogue made it easier to ask for support

I first started feeling really low and struggling around two year ago. Two years on and it regularly feels like I’m still stuck in that darkness.

Social media, TV and films seem to romanticise the battles that people with mental health problems face, and feed the idea that people hit a sudden turning point in their recovery and it’s all uphill from there. Well that’s wrong; at least it was for me. I reached breaking point a few months later, after months of lying to all those around me and becoming so isolated that I could barely leave my bedroom.

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