Story By Shelly
Shelly came to me after some soul searching just needing someone to talk to. Her story is real and emotional. So many people are going through a similar thing and all it takes is for one person to lend a helping hand to make a struggling time better.
I’m so sorry, I know this isn’t your problem, but I’ve tried reaching out to people that ‘get it’ and nothing happens. Mental health advocates, suicide survivors, people I trust, my workplace. I message them in my moments of sheer desperation and it’s radio silence, or I talk to my boss and they just say the necessary HR things. I’ve been on medications since I was 14, and seeing psychologists equally as long. They don’t get it.
You get it.
It was my 31st birthday 15 minutes ago (16th of October), and my first day back at work after a week of attempting to improve my declining mental health. Driving home on the freeway I had tears streaming down my cheeks and my self loathing was peaking.
Arriving home, I threw my bags down and made a beeline for the shower. I wanted today off my body. I just stood under the water, sobbing until I felt ‘clean’ enough and sat on the cold bathroom tiles crying some more.
It progressed to hyperventilating which I simply could not control. I couldn’t stop. I was shaking, my muscles were hurting, and I was sweating. I vomited. And then I couldn’t stop that either.
40 minutes later and the panic attack had subsided considerably. My second worst panic attack ever. I made my way to the couch and sat there in the dark, staring at nothing in particular. My partner finally arrived home and he just sat with me and hugged me. He told me it would be okay. It’s what I needed to hear, but it doesn’t feel like it’s going to be okay. Another less-intense panic attack developed and all he could do was hug me tighter. It helped, but it also made me cry harder.
It’s now a few hours later and I still feel horribly nauseous. Y’know that awful feeling you get before you’re about to vom? The welling of saliva in your mouth. It’s not going away.
Life is feeling impossible. I’m stuck.
Everyone hates me. I have no redeeming features. I’m incompetent. Everyone thinks I’m useless. Everyone thinks I’m disgusting. Everyone thinks I have no personality. I’m a total downer that makes other people feel shit, just by being in their presence. I’m immature. I cry too much and it makes me pathetic and needy. That look they gave me means they’re disappointed in me. They hate me. That thing I said was offensive and now they hate me. They’ll tell all their friends that I’m a worthless piece of crap.
Anxiety and depression have utterly convinced me that these are facts and I will argue them until I’m blue in the face. I truly believe them. They are constantly swirling in my head. Constantly.
I talked to my boss about my mental health in relatively general terms. The conversation felt supportive, but the time off I was asking for became very prescriptive; only when it suited the business, and when my other colleagues had taken their time off first. I realised afterwards that it pissed me off. If I broke all my fingers and came into work requesting time off to recover, I would never be told to wait. I’d be sent home straight away. But I wasn’t. I waited a month for that week off, and it was so hard showing up every day.
I can’t leave. I don’t have any qualifications. I’ve lost myself in this mental illness and I don’t even know what I like and love anymore. I don’t really care. I can’t leave because I have bills to pay. And if I did, I couldn’t find a new job that would both make me feel fulfilled, and pay me enough. If I did leave, I’ll be judged for being pathetic, immature, and not resilient. It will put pressure on my partner and he is already so terribly burdened by me. I should be strong, mature, and very resilient at age 31… I feel like I will never be normal.
First day of 31 years on this planet and I wish I could have a do-over. A day do-over or a life do-over. Just more chances to finally be free of all the unhelpful thoughts.
If this story has raised concerns for you or someone you know contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.