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I thought I might share about anxiety in case it helps someone as it’s likely with Coronavirus that this is likely to be affecting a lot of us right now.

I’ve generally suffered from some form of anxiety a lot of my life, which has often been made worse by stress. The type of anxiety I suffer from is that I tend to overthink things a lot. It comes and goes and most of the time it is manageable but every so often it can get out of control. I will overthink a situation until my fears and worries get out of proportion compared to what has actually happened or is likely to happen. When I start to overthink things this can cause me to become very anxious leading to insomnia and sometimes I can get a feeling like a pain in my chest (which can feel like all my worries crushing my chest) and it will generally end in tears at some point usually over something very trivial that generally wouldn’t bother me at any other time. It also takes up a lot of time when I could be enjoying myself instead of feeling worried. I often struggle to believe that I’m doing a good job and if I make a mistake I will generally beat myself up about it (imposter syndrome). I also worry about whether people like me or not and what they think about me and again let this get out of control in my head.

I have found that my main coping technique is through talking to friends and family to try to get things back into proportion and through exercise I tend to go the gym or do a run or walk most days. Since the lockdown I’ve been able to get outside a lot more and this has really helped dealing with the current situation. I’ve really enjoyed getting out in the fresh air for an early morning walk, run or work out. I have found fresh air, exercise and trying to bring your mind back to the present are really great ways of calming myself down.

Knowing that my partner was having suicidal thoughts was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. My natural instinct told me to support him, give him anything he needs, do anything I can – which I feel I did.

However, the flip side of this was it actually made me very ill too. I would do anything to help him get out of the downward spiral he was in, but it started having an effect on my own mental health.

There were periods of time when he wasn’t getting better – I had feelings of failure as a partner, times when I felt unable to help because I just didn’t know how to, times I thought he’d be better off without me because what if I was making him worse?! How can I support him when I felt like I was falling apart myself.

That’s when my support network plays the biggest part ever. If I can cope better myself then I can help him more – and this is exactly what I did. I reached out to a few special people in my life who stood by me, I reached out to my GP who also supported me, but I also used the BHSF Connect service on a number of occasions. 1 occasion specifically sticks with me when a very caring colleague actually started the ball rolling for me as she could see that I was really struggling.

When I’m feeling better I’m a better support for him. We work through it together, and together we come out the other side.

When my friend took her own life I spiralled out of control and if it wasn’t for my family and friends I think I really would have suffered. COVID and Lockdown has been on a completely different scale. It has filled me with lots of emotions that I never knew existed. During lockdown my family lost 6 relatives in the space of 8 weeks. Watching my mom cry when her sister passed knowing I couldn’t hug her was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I was asking myself, why me, why my family, this is so unfair. Some days I didn’t want to get out of bed, I wasn’t sleeping, eating nothing…. but I had to get out my bed as I had my children to look after. They really have been my saving grace.

In July I found out I was pregnant. After trying for over 6 years, at first I was in shock, as I didn’t think it would happen again (it took us 5 years to fall pregnant with my daughter). I was then overjoyed and started to imagine what the future would be like with another little one. Everything was fine and we were happy. Then in August I had a miscarriage, and I was heartbroken. It was such a dark time for me, as when a woman has a miscarriage, it feels like it’s her fault. I completely blamed myself, and felt as I must’ve done something wrong as everything was fine at my first checkup – telling my husband (who was very excited) was the hardest thing I have had to do. The truth is 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and no-one will ever know why it happened or if there was anything that could’ve been done differently to change what happened. But when you’re going through it, nothing makes sense and the anger and upset you feel is unbearable. For me my husband was my rock, even though he was going through the heartbreak of the loss too, he realised I needed to vent and be angry, he listened and didn’t say anything and in time the pain lessened but still hasn’t gone away. It will always be there but for me talking about it, and being heard is what helped me come to terms with it. My family and friends have been amazing and I honestly believe the support was vital.

I think most of us have had bad days, weeks and maybe month’s where we have suffered with depression that may lead to unhelpful thought patterns.

Would I be better off dead? This is one of the first thoughts I’ve had when hitting the lows of depression and the endless circles of Bipolar Disorder (BPD).

I try not to dwell on these dark times in my life but also acknowledge that these are my past, when I think of these times I try to remember the people who have shown support. This is the biggest dilemma I’m faced with, I don’t want to see anyone or have any type of human contact and it’s almost like I’m blinded and cannot see that reaching out is the start of recovery.

It’s the family and friends, new and old that I have around me and I’m very lucky that they have stuck around even when I’m rude and don’t reply to them for weeks and months at a time. It’s not the words of wisdom they give, it’s just simply being there. They don’t need to say it but by sending that text, making that phone call or just turning up when I don’t reply – these are the things I remember and  the help that guides me away from Suicidal thoughts.

From past experiences I’ve learned to open up about my thoughts and feelings but as a man it’s not been easy. Suicide statistics show that men aged between 40 – 49 are at a higher risk of suicide.

It’s vital that we encourage the men and woman in our life’s to talk about how they feel and be pro-active about the concerns we have for our loved ones and friends.

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