Friday, 16 March 2018

Experiences of living with multiple mental health disorders (MHAM2018)

Hey guys! Today is the second MHAM gust post! It's from my friend Chloe who is talking about her personal experiences with living and dealing with a mental health disorder. If you would like to join in in brigning awearness to MH this march email me at

So, lets rewind 5 years ago. I was 16, still at school about to sit my GCSE’s, currently going through a traumatic family breakdown… from there until now I have been diagnosed with generalised anxiety disorder, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, with episodes of self-harm and suicidal intent. Ever since the day I can remember it has been a constant battle of being able to manage these and being happy. It can’t go without saying that these are only ‘diagnoses’ and do not define a person, but merely explain some struggles.

Currently I am on Sertraline 150mg (an antidepressant used to manage depression and anxiety disorders) and partaking in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) which is 2weekly sessions trying to change my thoughts and behaviours, more will be explained below.

I have come to realise that having both a depressive and anxiety related disorder it can impact my everyday life, as one will always be shining through more than the other. I’ll take an example from the other day; my OCD relates to security and protecting who I live with, in turn I will check every door, window, electrical socket and taps. Although this may seem okay, it’s the motion of checking it 81 times… until I do this my anxiety is high, thoughts racing around my head that if there was a flood, if there was a fire it would be my fault, I would have killed whoever was in the house. It is therefore these thoughts (obsessions) that make me do the actions followed (known as compulsions). The obsessions can be vivid, or can be a flying thought, these change, most of the time I have no control over them, which in reality having thoughts of being the reason someone died is distressing. I remember the time I tried to reduce my checking from 81 to 78; I physically couldn’t leave the door, I was shaking and crying, this was only trying to reduce it by a number of 3. Which if I haven’t mentioned number 3 is a number that I live by while I am checking. I remember when I was 16 I would only check the door 3 times, since then it has escalated to many different elements of the home and has multiplied in terms of numbers (3x3, repeat three times, repeat three times again until I reach 81).

This then led me onto the next day where I didn’t have the energy, motivation, or willingness to get out of bed. I didn’t eat, I didn’t see anyone, I simply isolated myself, this was due to the higher levels of anxiety the previous day of reducing 3 checks (which if I’m honest, I couldn’t do, I had to repeat the checking 3 more times). The depression element usually comes in waves, I seem to experience episodes of depression more frequently than having it a constantly. However, when it does hit, it hits hard; this is where the elements of suicidal thoughts and self-harm come in, as it gets to the point where I can no longer see a way out. My thoughts are so clouded, I now remover my last episode of depression (it lasted 3 months) it turned into an episode of psychotic depression, I had elements of delusions (loss of contact with reality) others can also experience hallucinations (seeing unseen stimuli). I have to say this is the most unwell I have ever been; along with feeling depressed I would hide behind doors and walls to listen to my friend’s conversation; as I was convinced they were talking about me, that they didn’t like me and that actually they didn’t want me around. I became incredibly paranoid. Further leading to isolation and living in a little bubble that was a vicious circle. This wasn’t the case, and this is what makes it delusional, in reality they were my friends and they were never talking about me, however I had convinced myself they were.

On that note, anyone who is reading this, if you are feeling at any way unhappy, depressed, anxious then seek help. I wish I had done sooner; there are so many organisations out there that can help support whatever you’re going through from talking therapies, group work, and medication. Reflecting, if I had accessed CBT initially, I doubt I would have got to the stage that I am at now, checking 81 times. Even though I am saying that, I didn’t know I was unwell until a couple of years into the illness; this is something that is common with OCD sufferers. As cliché as this sounds, it does get better. Currently, for me things are stable and I’m hoping to manage and keep it this way for as long as I possibly can.

For more information:
Psychotic depression

For support:
Sarmatians They are 24/7 – call on 116 123

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