Some people (who clearly have never experienced a mental health problem) believe that those of us that suffer from a mental illness are attention seekers. Of course, this isn’t true. As someone who has experienced anxiety, the last thing I want is for the attention to be on me.
I think I’ve shown traits of both OCD and GAD since a very young age, which have gradually increased as I got older. On New Years Eve 2013 I lost my father. We have a family business and to go from working for your father to then having to maintain a business, all while dealing with your grief, was for me extremely traumatic.
In my experience, and I imagine most people’s, dealing with others’ suggestions of what to do about your mental health can be like fending off thrown stones when you’re already down. ‘Why don’t you try’ and ‘you should consider’ ring through your already frazzled mind and make you feel worse for each one you don’t attempt or accomplish. Whether you can’t manage the advised course or have already tried it, or if it’s not right for you, the result is the same – you feel like a failure because of it.
I work in a large factory, so I meet a lot of people with very different attitudes and opinions about mental health. I was diagnosed with severe depression just over 8 years ago. At that time I had a few months off work, had counselling and went on to medication. My employers were good and understanding. But the people I work with are a different matter.
I don’t advertise that I have depression but I make no secret of it. If someone wants to talk to me about it, I will talk. And a few people have genuinely been interested.