My Battle with Anxiety and Depression
Back in late January 2016 i was enjoying a late night out with a few friends i was having a really great time when all of a sudden i started to feel uneasy and unsteady on my feet, my legs turned into jelly all of a sudden and i felt a like i was going to collapse, I became really anxious so i rushed outside for some fresh air.
I could feel my heart starting to beat rapidly in my chest to the point where i was struggling to catch my breath, At the time had never felt anything quite like it in my entire life i got the attention of a local police officer they called for help but said i was looking at about 30mins which made me panic as i thought the worst and thought i was going to die.
I got in my car with my friend and drove to the hospital in double quick time i still don’t know to this day how i managed to get there in one piece , by the time i got there i started vomiting my heart rate seemed to be going through the roof and showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
To cut a long story short i saw my life flashing before my eyes all i could think about was that if anything happened to me my 3 boys who were at home would be without their dad and my unborn son who was due anyday would be born without me the thought absolutely petrified me i have never been so scared in my entire life, That was until a month and a half later when i went to a football match away from home and was struck down again.
I went to Millwall away in March 2016 i started feeling unwell all of a sudden just like on the night out previously, I went to get medical attention i missed half the game which did not bother me as i was more concerned about the way i was feeling.
After the game we were penned in by the police i finally made it onto a packed train when all of a sudden i started having really strong palpitations i was already feeling very anxious that anxiety turned into blind panic when those palpitations came from nowhere to hit me like a tonne of bricks.
The scariest part of it all was not knowing what was happening to me and being 170 miles from home i had all sorts going through my mind the most upsetting of all was the thought of never seeing my 4 boys again i tried not to show how i was really feeling as i was with my friends and had the responsibility of driving us home from North London where i had parked my car.
Ever since those 2 incidents i have battled with Anxiety/Depression and panic attacks,It has had a major impact on my life it has had a major impact at home with me not being able to do the things i used to with my boys which made me sink into a state of depression.
I used to be able to go to the seaside and places hundreds of miles away at the drop of a hat,
now i am crippled by the fear of what if i have an anxiety/panic attack and something happens to me what will happen to my boys.
The thought of me being out with my boys and me being struck down with an anxiety/panic attack being miles from home and no one to help really upsets me i fear taking my boys any further than half an hour drive from home.
I desperately want to chat with people or hang out but initiating real conversations or making plans makes my heart start to race. I feel like I’m interrupting or annoying people. When thoughts move to the future I feel like I can’t breathe. Everything is still so gray; nothing is any clearer than it was a year ago Even day to day tasks feel overwhelming sometimes.
Since i started suffering with the anxiety i have become really withdrawn and unsociable i am constantly tired all the time and have little energy, I rarely socialise anymore and hardly ever see any of my friends which has left me feeling like it really is me against the world.
I realised i had a serious problem and that i needed to get help so i contacted my Local GP surgery they gave me the forms for therapy sessions i was told there was a wait of several months which is not what you want to hear as a person suffering with a mental illness such as Anxiety i felt really deflated because i didn’t know how much longer i could cope with the way i was feeling.
There were days where i felt useless and a burden to my boys and my family and i thought that i would be better off dead and that they would be far better off without me and my problems, Ever since that fateful night in January last year it has been a constant battle with my head.
There have been nights where i have Just froze and physically not been able to move there have been nights where i have been shaking like a leaf not able to pick up my phone not able to speak to anyone and ending up in a flood of tear wishing this anxiety would just leave me alone because it feels like a noose around my neck.
The pressure of being back at College on a NVQ Level 3 Plumbing course at Chesterfield College took it’s toll too because i had an increased amount of course work and revision to do and trying to find a work placement was making my anxiety go through the roof.
I feel trapped and i feel incredibly frustrated with it all i try my best to battle with the demons that i face day in day out, I struggle to sleep at night i fear going to sleep ,Sometimes i panic and fear that i will never wake up if i go to sleep, You may sit there reading this and think that sounds silly but it’s things like that which are a reality for me and many other sufferers of Anxiety.
I am on tablets for my Anxiety which are helping me to control it now to a certain degree i don’t end up ringing NHS 111 or taking myself to Hospital anymore which is a positive step forward in my battle against this -debilitating illness.
The pressure of finding a job is hard enough but trying to find one whilst battling severe Anxiety is incredibly difficult it is extremely demoralising as a proud father and as a real hard worker because anyone that i have worked for will confirm that i am a real grafter, I Just want to be able to be well again and make my boys proud and achieve my goals in life.
My Battle with Depression
I have also been battling depression on and off since 2007 which stems from the
trauma of losing my twin boys that were were born 3 months prematurely in September 2007 i was 21 at the time i spent the best part of 1 month living in a hospital and was away from my eldest son for that period of time which made it even harder.
I had just come back off holiday when my ex partner complained of having flashing in her eyes and swelling in her feet so i took her to Chesterfield Royal Hospital we were plonked in a room and not told what the hell was going on which made me worry that something wasn’t quite right.
All of a sudden we found ourselves being rushed to Jessops Hospital in Sheffield in an Ambulance they said that they had to deliver our babies that day but wouldn’t tell us what the hell was happening.
We got to Jessops and after a while we were told the situation and what was happening, What was to come out of the doctors mouth next destroyed me in the matter of a few words.
The doctor explained that my ex was suffering with pre-eclampsia the doctor then told us that one of our twin boys that we called Joel his heart had stopped in the Ambulance my heart shattered into a million pieces when he came out with those words i felt like had been stabbed straight through the heart i came close to losing the plot the grief and shock that hit me was more painful than anything i have ever experienced in my life.
I had to go through the agony of being in theatre when they brought Joel out i was the first one to hold my son who was sadly born stillborn the pain was Indescribable i cant put it into words how much it hurt me then and still does to this very day.
Joels twin brother Kieran was taken to the special care baby unit where me and his mum stayed with him day and night for 3 weeks which were 3 of the longest and most painful weeks in my life.
On the morning of the 28th September 2007 me and my ex were awoken to the sound of alarms going off we were then told by the doctors that Kieran had become really sick in a short space of time.
We were told the full painful details which shook me to the core i couldn’t believe what i was hearing, the doctor told me that Kieran had developed a blood clot in his brain and that if they didn’t operate he would suffer immensely and that he would die.
We were told that our only option was an operation and told that if Kieran made it through the operation it was highly likely that he would be severely disabled and mentally handicapped for the rest of his life.
I cant put it into words what i felt when the doctor told me that i was stunned and utterly heartbroken i had to sign the paperwork along with his mum to say that they could operate we wee left with no choice.
We were told to go out for a bit and come back later we did and it was the longest and most painful wait i have ever been through the doctor came back and said that Kieran had made it through the operation but in his words as they were stitching him back together he passed away.
I Just crumpled i just could not believe what i was hearing i honestly felt like i didn’t want to live anymore it tore me up inside i could not sleep knowing i would never get to see my twin boys grow up with their big brother the thought tore me apart and nearly drove me to the edge literally.
I came very close to ending it all because i was in so much pain mentally it was torturing me, I went to visit Kieran & Joel in the chapel of rest several times seeing my boys laying there motionless is the worst feeling ever as a parent it is indescribable.
I had to go through the torture of two separate funerals and carrying their coffins to the church and to their graves killed me inside i don’t know how i managed to do it because inside i was breaking.
Having to return all the baby stuff and explain what had happened was pure torture especially as we had to go into the store and see all the baby stuff which added insult to injury.
In the coming weeks and months i just buried my head into the computer i just tried to keep my mind off everything because i was gone mentally i just could not cope with thinking about the loss of my boys.
I regret that i wasn’t there for my boys mum as much as i should have but there is no guidebook on how to deal with the loss of anyone let alone your twin baby boys 3 weeks apart.
I spent the coming months fundraising for Jessops Hospitals special care baby unit as a thank you to the wonderful staff that do an amazing job they did everything they could and went beyond the call of duty a few times to help us.
I also raised money for Sands Stillbirth and Neo Natal death charity because when i looked around message boards and did my research i realised that there are people that go through these kind of things and have no one there at all no friends and family to call on or talk too and that’s why i did that in memory of my boys by organising several charity football matches between my team Sheffield United and our Rivals across the city Sheffield Wednesday.
I am part of a messageboard called Bladesmad so we did a Bladesmad v Owlsmad charity matches and raised a quite a lot of money which went to Jessops SCBU and Sands.
I did a Radio Interview with BBC Radio Sheffield to raise awareness for Sands stillbirth and Neo Natal death charity and Jessops Special Care Unit I never realised 15 babies are born stillborn each day that is 15 families a day having their lives torn apart.
The strain and pressure that me and my boys mum went through caused us to split we did get back together for a fair while and had another son together but even 3 years later it was too much and we went our separate ways our eldest boys live with me.
That is what kick started my downward spiral into depression i didn’t have a clue what depression really was till the tragic events of September 2007.
Ever since then i have been battling my demons day in day out it has had a profound effect on my relationships with my family and the partners because it has changed me i used to be a really happy go lucky lad that used to live life to the full and enjoyed life and when i lost my boys it was like a fell of a cliff edge and struggling to get back up
I have struggled with flashbacks and laid awake at night in tears i still do now nearly 10 years on i also stand looking up at the sky on a clear night looking at the stars thinking of my boys we had twinkle twinkle little star played at Kieran & Joels funerals and it reminds me of my boys.
I have been accused by sick trolls and so called friends of using the passing of my twin boys for sympathy which makes me really angry and upset because i don’t understand why anyone would think such a thing it is utterly ridiculous i have never needed anyone’s sympathy for the loss of my boys and never ever asked for sympathy that is not me at all and for people to accuse me of such things shows they never really knew me.
I have been through a lot of traumatic events since the loss of my boys i have had 3 other boys since the loss of my twin boys.
Sadly in December 2014 I lost another baby with my current partner through miscarriage that hit me like a tonne of bricks and set me right back I froze and didn’t have a clue what to do i was in a daze and lost my head and cut myself off I sunk into a massive depression again I was beginning to think I was cursed.
When we found out that she was pregnant with our youngest who is now 17 months we were told a few months in that we had lost him too.
My partner bad suffered a big bleed and we were told by the doctor at the hospital that we had lost him.
I tried to stay strong for my partner who was in absolute bits and inconsolable I was trying to re-assure her that he was still with us I believed deep down he was still there with us and kept telling her until a scan tells us otherwise let’s stay positive it was an horrendous few days to wait for a scan but we got it.
We got in the room for the scan we looked at the nurses who were giggling me and my partner were thinking why the hell are they giggling for we have been told we have lost our son and they are stood giggling how thoughtless.
That’s when they turned and said that our son was wriggling around all over the relief and emotion was overwhelming.
After all we had been put through it was such a relief as we had already prepared ourselves for the worst and told our families and friends that we had lost him it was so nice to be able to say that they had got it wrong he truly is a fighter and our miracle baby
All that coupled with the loss of other family members and friends which have hurt me a lot especially the loss of my nan and a really good friend of mine that was there for me whenever i needed to talk and never judged me really had a massive impact on my life.
The depression has made me very short tempered and made me feel on edge a lot i feel bad because my outbursts over the years have caused a lot of hurt and upset that i live with every day.
I have hurt a lot of good people when i didn’t mean too because i have been so down and depressed and that breaks my heart and is something i have to live with for the rest of my life.
I just wish my family would understand and wish my doctors would too they don’t understand what the depression and anxiety have done to me over the years and makes me incredibly frustrated.
My family say they understand but during arguments they will say things that hurt me and cut like a knife and sends me spiralling into a depression again they don’t understand the damage their words can cause.
Until you suffer with depression you can never really understand the damage nasty and personal comments can make my advice to anyone reading this if you have someone close in your life that is suffering from depression the worst thing you can do is get nasty and personal with them because what you may be able to laugh off can effect them for days and weeks afterwards and in some cases can have tragic consequences.
I am slowly getting to grips with this depression and know what i have to do to try and make things better it is going to be a long and hard road but i am determined to succeed and make my boys proud.
I decided in January 2017 to set up the UK and Ireland Anxiety and depression support group to help those in need, our group is titled Anxiety and Depression support group but we are here to help anyone that is suffering from a mental illness.
I know all too well the horrific effect mental health can have and the feeling of loneliness because i have been there myself.
The group is up to nearly 400 members the group is made up of people from all over the country and all different ages and all suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses.
The group is as friendly and as helpful as you will find anywhere in the world it is full of genuine people that are suffering but also want to help others too which is part of the ethos of the group.
They are all an amazing bunch of people and i am proud to say that i set up the group to help such a wonderful group of people my aim with my admins is to help as many people as possible.
If you know anyone that needs help please tell them to follow this link to the group
I set up the Facebook page to help raise awareness for the group and help people in need find some help and support and try and help through the dark days/nights
I am on a mission to raise as much awareness as i can about Anxiety/Depression i have found out the devastating effects first hand i want people to see past peoples mental health issues and be more caring and compassionate.
My own personal frustration is peoples ignorance to Anxiety and depression you may look fine on the outside but dieing in the inside yet people don’t notice and don’t
even seem to take any notice even when you try to explain what is going off in your head.
That is what i have been like for all these years because i am the master at disguising how i really feel and i know that is how many of the members on my group are too because we let it all out and we all understand how each other feel.
This blog is my own personal story cut down it is not my life story it is just to show and raise awareness of the devastating effects mental illness can have.