My goal with both the website and charity is to support and encourage other sufferers of anxiety and depression, giving them the strength to fight back and help themselves, while waiting for professional support.
It’s also about raising awareness regarding Mental Health, and encouraging others to come forward and speak out if they need support. There is no shame in being ill, and it doesn’t mean that you are weak. Some people are genetically prone to both anxiety and depression, and we often simply live more stressful and demanding lives then others. I am certainly not weak. My vision is to become part of the solution, rather than wallow in a perpetual droned state of learned helplessness. I have not yet been able to completely conquer PTSD, Anxiety and Clinical Depression, but I continue to improve day by day. I have regained my life by fighting back and taking control. Sitting around and making excuses doesn’t accomplish anything; it simply prolongs the suffering.
On my blog I will write about topics that I think may be of interest to others, and share personal experiences. However, please understand that I am primarily providing support and sharing thoughts, ideas and information. I am NOT a medical professional, and the information here should not be taken as medical advice, nor deemed to replace such.
What I do have, however, is first-hand experience with anxiety and depression. I have studied and lived with it for many years. Doctors and psychiatrists are highly educated, but not all of them understand the toll it takes to go through pharmacological treatment for a condition such as extreme anxiety or major depression. There are certain experiences (e.g. medication side effects, withdrawals and coping) that are best described from a patient’s perspective. I withdrew from medication almost 3 years ago and can cope better now than ever before.
It is important to understand that we can recover from these crippling disorders. I am well on my way to recovering, and thousands of others have recovered before me. You just need to keep fighting and never give up; you cannot rule out recovery until you have tried every treatment method, of which there are many. Remember, it just takes time and you’re certainly not alone. It is estimated that one in five people suffer from anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. We need to learn how to relax and look after our body and mind properly. That’s why we are here at Anxious Minds.
After leaving the Armed Forces, I was diagnosed with clinical Depression, chronic Anxiety and PTSD.
I found myself on a waiting list for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and was offered mind-altering medication to help me until my name came up. This was not acceptable to me, but I had little choice; there were few other options available at the time. So I waited, and weeks turned into months. All the time, I was getting worse, and I had heard nothing back from the NHS.
Eventually, I got a place with a mental health nurse from a mental health charity that supported veterans. I would see him once every two weeks for an hour, and he would tell me all about the anxiety cycle. If I was having a good day, I would attend, and if not, I just wouldn’t make it to the treatment. After two months, I gave up because I felt it was simply not enough support for me to recover. My panic attacks were getting more frequent, and I could barely function as a person.
I found myself doing what is typical of anxiety and depression sufferers; isolating myself by withdrawing, and locking myself away. Life was one big battle, and one that I was losing.
I ended up contacting all of the other charities that supported veterans and begged for support, but nobody could help me. They would just refer me back to the NHS, who’s waiting list I was already on. One other veteran charity gave me a little money that they got from my regiment, so I could see a private mental health specialist and be treated for a couple more weeks until the money ran out. Feeling lost and alone, I didn’t know what to do or where to turn. So, with the encouragement of a close friend, I decided that if I’m ever going to get better and make a recovery, I would need to do this by myself.
By this time, almost 2 years of my life had passed and I was still no further forward in making a recovery. If anything, I was getting worse. I started educating myself about anxiety and the mind, and looked at self-help techniques. I started treating myself regularly, together with a nutritional diet and fitness program.
Within mere weeks, my panic attacks had stopped, and I could leave the house and go to the shops again. Already I could feel my anxiety decreasing and my depression lifting. A year on, I am almost totally cured and still fighting, every day getting stronger and stronger. I am determined to beat anxiety and depression for good, and of that I am 100% sure. I have achieved so much in a short period of time, and my life has changed for the better since I started fighting back. I lost the first battle, by doing nothing when waiting for professional support, but I will win the war.
Now I’m helping and encouraging as many others as possible to take up the fight; it’s about taking control of your own life, and understanding what is happening and how to deal with each situation as it arises. I have identified every factor that has helped me on my journey back on the road to recovery, and this has enabled me to pinpoint exactly what techniques do and don’t work for most people. I have not yet found a person that we have not been able to support and who hasn’t been helped by my techniques and the numbers continue to grow.
It is crucial to understand that, no matter how much of a grip your anxiety or depression has on you at the moment, it CAN be removed.
Suffering from anxiety can waste years of your life. Anxious Minds offers support to all sufferers of anxiety and depression while waiting for or considering professional mental health treatment. We empower people to help themselves; you can recover. I am, and thousands of others have before me. Join our Facebook group here.