Mental health questionnaire

Note: this may be triggering for some. Please don't read if you feel it will be. 

Although I've written my story of my mental health before, I feel a questionnaire of sorts may allow you to understand my journey and some aspects of mental illness itself in a little more detail. I hope it can help you in some way. 

Q: What have you been diagnosed with?
A: I have anxiety and depression. My main anxiety is health anxiety. 

Q: What does your anxiety and depression feel like to you?
A: My anxiety makes me feel very uncomfortable. I often can't sit still, I feel sick, I can't sleep and if I have a panic attack I feel tingly in my hands, I can't breathe and am very restless and I feel unsafe and unsure of what's happening around me. I can feel like I'm losing my mind. My depression takes my happiness away. I often struggle to do the simplest of tasks and even struggle to get out of bed. I can't think about the simplest areas of daily life and sometimes it feels like I'm in a hole which I can't get out of or I'm drowning and trying to keep my head above water. My health anxiety affects me on a daily basis by not eating certain foods, taking hygiene to the extreme with regular rituals, intrusive thoughts and sometimes even struggling to eat and drink anything with the fear it might make me ill. Even going out can sometimes be a struggle on a bad day. 

Q: How long have you battled mental illness?
A: I first went to the doctor in January of 2013. However, signs of mental illness began as early as the age of 8, with certain rituals I had to do before I left the house and so forth.

Q: When did you first feel suicidal?
A: I must have been around 15? That seemed to be a one off until I was 17 where I battled those thoughts on a daily basis. I'm now 20, and these thoughts are few and far between. 

Q: How do you cope with your illness?
A: I currently take anti-depressants (which also help with my anxiety) and I have a mental health mentor at university. Previously, I have been on beta blockers and have had four different stages of mental health counselling and hypnotherapy through the NHS and privately. My mum is my life saver and without her, I'm certain I wouldn't be here. Talking is important!

Q: Have you ever self harmed?
A: Yes, but this isn't often. However, I know for others that it can be a regular occurrence. 

Q: Have you experienced stigma?
A: Yes - luckily not as much as some people. It's something we as a community need to work on. 

Q: How did/does it affect you?
A: Although I feel I am over half way to my recovery, sometimes I find myself too anxious to go to university and sometimes I can still struggle with transport and other daily tasks. Health anxiety is part of my daily routine and depression can rear it's ugly head now and then, alongside suicidal thoughts. It used to crippling to the point where I couldn't leave my house, go to school, walk to the end of the road, catch public transport and so on.

Q: Any mental health memories?
A: Although I have some clear bad episodes of depression and anxiety that I will never forget, I will always remember the achievements and the day that my medication kicked in. It was the first time in 1 - 2 years that I felt happy! In fact looking back at my journal the other day, made me realise how far I have come! 

Q: Anything else you'd like to write?
A: Looking back, I realise how bad I was. I was beginning to run out of options available to me. I remember many a time I felt I had lost my mind and was speaking to doctor about further options to take because I was so hopeless and felt nothing was working. I want you know, that it does get better even if you think it never will. Just hold on in there. Talking is so important too. My blog here contains a lot of advice and support and I'm always available to talk to through my various social media. I feel I'm a at a good stage in my recovery and hoping to be able to come off my medication soon. I hope you can feel better too.

Wishing you all the best for your journey,
Amy Xx