Judgement and doubts

Posted , 7 users are following.

This isn't strictly about citalopram - more of a general subject of anxiety but I have been in this group for ages and feel comfortable posting in here.

I have been on citalopram for 6 months. I can now say I am happier and more myself and I don't have the constant agony of my anxiety. The doubts, the horrible thoughts, the stress, the projection, the anger, the alcohol problem, has all subsided. I still have bad days - sometimes a whole week. But I can actually see the person I used to be. I can be that person. Whether its for a week a day or even an hour I dont care because I had forgotten that person existed. I thought I was a bad person, a mean, selfish, crazy, imperfect, alcoholic. Turns out I'm not. I just lost myself in my mental health afflictions (I have GAD, OCD and depressive epsiodes).

My family and my partner have been so supportive of me. Before I started medication and throughout the awful 6 months of doubt and sickness and depression and stress that going on the meds brought with it. But I recently confided in a friend that I was on anti-depressants and she was absolutely shocked. She simply said "you don't need that you're fine". This is someone who I would consider a very close friend. Someone I have spent a huge amount of time with one  on one. It made me go through a thought process of how did I hide this? Do they even know the real me? How bad did things get? Am I really sick? Am I one of those people who takes the easy way out? Could I have gotten better without the meds? I ended up starting to try justify to her why I was on them - how bad I had been. But it felt so pointless. And embarrassing. Its private and I am not an open person. Sometimes when I discuss my anxiety people say comments like "oh yeh I get anxious" or "everyone has anxiety". I feel torn between feeling like I'm trying to make it all about me by saying how bad my situation is, and then feeling like a cop out if I don't try justify why I am on medication. Its really not enjoyable.

I am in therapy fortnightly. I was in therapy for a year before I started the medication. I didn't make this decision lightly. I have just started noticing a lot of judgement lately. When I fill a script at the chemist I feel I am almost dismissed or the person serving me immediately makes judgements about me. I feel like I almost have to say "I have a great job, I am an outstanding member of my family, I am a caring and loving girlfriend, I am smart and successful, I am not a failure".

My therapist agreed that there is a perceived stigma associated with mental health and medication. I wanted to know how everyone else gets treated? How do you justify this in your heads and your hearts? I know those people closest to me understand what I have been through. They have stood by helpless in my breakdowns. They have copped the screaming and abuse and fights. I just dont feel as ok outside of this circle. There is such a push in society/media to talk about mental health issues but I really dont believe it'll work.

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  • Posted

    Hi Pia, I have always been completely open about my mental health and that I have a pre disposition to anxiety and depression and have always found people to be supportive, some people have been surprised as when I'm well I'm a happy, confident, strong person who people say they like to be around, when ill I've always told them but to anyone who doesn't know me they wouldn't have a clue that I was suffering from anxiety or depression.

    I have no problem telling folk what medication I take if they ask and that even when I'm well I still take the anti depressants on a maintenance dose.

    There is still some prejudice to mental health but it doesn't bother me.

    People only see the exterior personality of you but don't see what's going on behind the eyes which is why folk don't know or have an incling that you are suffering from an illness unless you tell them.

    Like you what does annoy me is the dismissive comments such as "oh yeh I get anxious" or suggesting they are depressed when in fact they have just been miserable for a week but I put that down to the fact they haven't experienced an anxiety disorder or clinical depression so they are only speaking out of a general ignorance of the illness and just don't get it, I don't justify it to them as why should I.

    Your GP obviously thought you needed medication otherwise wouldn't have prescribed them and taking them is no less of a need that someone with diabetes, whilst you do have a choice given the alternative of trying to get better without I'd go for medication every time, why wouldn't you if it helps you get better from what is a very debilitating illness.

    At the end of the day you can treat everyone on a need to know basis, your not compelled to tell everyone if you simply don't want too, it's a private matter at the end of the day.

    Your right there is a push about mental health and like you I have my doubts as to how effective it's going to be but I am comforted that it has become a priority area for the NHS and is attracting more funding as my experience over the last 20 odd years has been that it has been woefully neglected.

    Kerp pushing on Pia!


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    • Posted

      Yes Neil thats very important point. Just because I am suffering on the inside doesnt mean anyone else can tell. I shouldnt be so harsh to feel hurt by their responses when I chose not to tell them in the first place.

      I am so concerned it'll  be a tag that will stick with me I guess. I have always viewed it as such a hindrance, such a disability, and I have never had anything in life which has held me back. I have always been so fortunate, I dont know how to adjust I guess. I am not good at accepting help. Or admitting I cant do something because of my anxiety. I have made up so many excuses to avoid being honest about whats going on, its a big turn around for me. I think how much easier life wouldve been if I said to people I wasnt comfortable being in cars for very long, or driving on freeways or through tunnels, because of my anxiety and panic attacks. Rather than concocting elaborate stories as to why we would have to take detours, or worse, drinking before planned car trips to calm myself. It seems silly to care so much what others think of me. I guess thats been a big part of my life so far. Something that will hopefully change as I get older.

      Thanks for your support Neil.

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  • Posted

    Hi Pia

    As I am reading your post I think back to all the times I felt this way myself taking these meds especially around my family. I worked as a therapist for years and hid my disorder until I had a break down. I became very open and honest with my clients bc all of them were on medication and felt so stigmatized by the mental health field. Many were so relieved to know that I am on meds as well and have anciety. It made them feel connected to me and helped them to see they can get past the label, the stigma and live a normal life. Mental health today is so frowned upon yet 18 million people take antidepressants and hide it. We need to stop hiding. Everyone has their problems and no one, no one can say they haven't experienced depression or anxiety in their life. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking there is something wrong with you bc there isnt. Keep living your life and remember that 1 put of 10 people you see are on meds. We just don't know it

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    • Posted

      Hi Sabrina,

      Thats so interesting.. I couldnt imagine thinking of my therapist as suffering from anxiety.. I guess I think she just has it all together - and subsequently - that I dont. Thats amazing that you could help your patients in that way. 

      I know I work in the media and I feel we are constantly promoting stories of mental health awareness and acceptance but it feels like a lot of lip service. I struggle to think how my workplace could accommodate even my needs in relation to mental health issues. So I just keep my mouth shut and do my best. Let people assume things about me the rest of the time.

      A few members of my family have anxiety (sister and mum) so they are a great support. I guess I hold myself up to a high standard of what I think other people are and so struggle to accept myself and my flaws. My boyfriend is successful and adjusted and healthy - he is such a wonderful support, and endless champion of mine - but everything comes so easily to him. Not his work and fitness or anything, but like the fact he can drive in his car on a freeway, not have breakdowns after drinking alcohol, not constantly thinking about everyone you care for dying. Thats just the basics.. and I cant manage that. I feel I'll never achieve what I really could have if I didnt have any mental health issues.

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  • Posted

    Hi and amazing you feel better after 6mths. I have been on 6mths and still so up and down. I have learnt to juat be so open about my condition and the response has been amazing. You have nothing to hide. A diabetic doesn't so why should you. It is an imbalance in us and meds are needed for that. Love yourself and learn to not worry about what others think xx

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    • Posted

      I am overall happier. But I think the removal of my anxiety has revealed some ongoing issues with depression. Which I am still encountering. I just try put my head down and trust the process.

      Thank you for your support. Its great knowing I have people I can turn to, who understand what it's like.

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  • Posted

    You are not a failure ...... you don't have to say it, because there is nothing about being a failure with this condition.  You are an incredibly strong person to have come through this.  This condition would bring the strongest man in the world to his knees.

    I suffered with this for 16 long years and I hid it from everyone except my husband, who was my rock.  Within 6 months of taking meds I recovered, though I improved even more after this, probably for another 6 months and I have remained well ever since which is about 21 years now.

    I finally 'came out' about all this when my son also became ill some years ago with the same and I started speaking my mind, getting on my soapbox many times.  My son also recovered.  Yes I encountered exactly the same shock from people about taking medication and equally I have found many people close to me who have suffered too.

    I've had people say to me 'oh if I had anxiety I'd just deal with it myself'.  Yes, sure.  People are ignorant of the full horror of this condition.  It is nothing that they could ever imagine, and any explanation of it doesn't even reach the full depth of it.    People take life long medicine for all ailments from epilepsy, heart disease, diabetes, blood pressure and taking these medicines is no different.  However - you don't need to justify yourself to anyone.

    It is very common and becoming more accepted now, and even Prince Harry has spoken publicly about it and the stigma is weakening.  

    Personally I've found the more I talk about it the more people accept it.  I don't care anymore and I'm proud of what I have achieved and love life.  Being ill all those years and recovering, I actually feel I've something special that others who haven't suffered haven't got - I value happiness and life so much and love every little thing in life - its like I was handed back the gift of happiness and its even better second time around.  And for those who look down on you or poo-poo the condition ...... well that's their problem.  I'm sure they'd reach out if it happened to them.

    You've done amazingly well - you've come through and will continue to grow.  I know you will.

    K x

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    • Posted

      Thanks Kate. Once again giving me some wonderfully valuable words of advice and kindness. I wish I could be more confident. I worry a lot about how I would be viewed in my job. Its something I have struggled with, having to take days, sometimes weeks off work to deal with mental health issues, and having no obvious ailment to blame it on its tough. I would like to be more open with my friends and broader family - I hope it would aid their understanding of why I sometimes cancel things last minute, or appear to be in a bad mood, or out of sorts. But I can't trust that they would accept me. Not yet anyway. I have my small circle of support and that is pretty fantastic. I do take any opportunity I can when I see someone struggling to share my experience as to help them feel not alone. I guess I'm just worried about my reputation. Which might be just an immaturity thing - or a reflection on the people I associate with..

      I appreciate your words of support.. feels so good to be reminded that I am doing a good job. It's such a lonely battle. I will strive to feel more confident in my self. Be happy that I've made choices to lead a healthier and happier life. Form some good habits.

      Thank you again,

      P xx

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    • Posted

      Hi Pia

      It is difficult admitting to suffering with anxiety, depression or similar as people just don't understand.  If its not physically obvious, people don't get it either.  Also people will often ask you a week later if you're better, or assume a holiday or change of scene will make it all better.  I've heard people say that their husband / wife / partner is becoming exasperated with them and its too much for them to bear ...... so I've always pointed out that if its too much for them to bear then its 100x worse for the sufferer.

      Many years ago when I was ill and nobody knew, I also had days off work which I'd say was a migraine or something as didn't want to discuss it back then.  I feel different about it now and I still don't go around telling everyone - just those who need to know or sometimes the conversation crops up and then I'll say yes, I suffered with it.  I never informed my previous work, but some colleagues knew.  

      It did always seem to me that whenever I went to the doctors for something completely unrelated to anxiety, the doctor always seemed to bring the subject around to it and I felt there was this 'ah she's only here because she's anxious about this new problem'.  No, absolutely not.

      Remember anxiety is a physical ailment - the mental part of it is a side effect which is often the thing that keeps the sufferer in the anxiety loop.  If you didn't have anxiety then the mental issues wouldn't be there either.  But anyway, mental or physical, people do seem have this attitude towards people who do suffer as probably they aren't sure to what make of it.

      But I definitely have found that the more I've opened up about it, the more people I've discovered who are suffering exactly the same, and the more I've felt more confident about it.  If I meet anyone who poo-poo's it all I soon put them right now and ask if their attitude would be the same towards a person who was maybe suffering with diabetes, etc etc and what's the difference ..... they're all illnesses / conditions that millions suffer with.

      You are doing a good job, and there is no shame in suffering with anxiety.  Certainly keep it private, its nobody's business with anyone except those you choose to share it with.  There will always be that someone who thinks they know better when you do talk about it, and that's fine ..... they are just uneducated and ignorant about it.

      You just concentrate on your health and happiness - that's all that counts.

      K x

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  • Posted

    Sounds like you have done a lot of work on yourself! Wow! How inspiring! I would like to recommend that you watch Monkey Mind by Mingyur Rinpoche on youtube and his video on finding wisdom. It's pretty much what you're talking about. We forget how amazing we really are.

    I get judged too. I went to the hospital with a panic attack and was completely brushed off by 3 nurses. I was polite and calm but was asking to see someone because I couldnt breathe and was scared. They had no interest in helping me. Zero compassion. People judge because they have never experienced what we have. I have been to hell and back and judging someone for getting help is the last thing I would ever do. In fact, it's the bravest thing we can do.

    Negative thoughts about outselves are ALWAYS WRONG. No matter what we have done or what other people think, at our core, we are perfect, loving and loveable people. Everyone is. Thoughts are just thoughts. You are a tough, inspiring person. Thank you for sharing your story.

    Love to you from Canada,

    Sarah Jane

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