This is the 67th story of the mental Illness Recovery Series. Aaron has had a difficult life, but he has been able to pull through by keeping himself occupied and positive. This is his story:
Aaron is from the UK and he is into video games, music and movies. He likes things that are expressive, creative and different. Anything experimental interests him. Aaron would like to overall be a happy person. He said, “Within the next five years I would like to finish University with good results, get a job within the game industry, hopefully somewhere in the UK or Germany. Get into a nice stable and loving relationship, and get a morgage on my first house.”
Aaron was diagnosed with and still suffers from Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and depression, but thankfully he is slowly getting better. He believes his mental disorders were caused by several traumatic events. He said, “A mixture of my grandma dying, unhappiness with my progress in life, a failing relationship with a partner who cheated multiple times; it’s the lies that hurt more than the act of what happened.” Not only that, but Aaron didn’t have much of a happy childhood either, and hasn’t seen or spoken to his father in over 10 years. Over time his feelings got worse and ended up seeing a doctor when his mother recommended it.
Aaron ended up taking anti-depressants and attend talking-therapy sessions for approximately three months, before he dropped out. He said, “Honestly the therapy was the worst experience of my life; I have never felt as low as I did in those sessions, every symptom worsened each time I would attend. In the end I dropped out and I am currently ‘winging it’ and trying to get better.” Aaron still deals with numerous symptoms. He said, “I am continually tired, but at the same time unable to sleep properly. Sleeping for one hour has the same effect as sleeping for ten, I still feel exhausted when I wake up.” He also becomes irritable towards other people, even if it’s in the presence of anyone he loves. Most of the time Aaron wishes to isolate himself and have space to breath. He dreads not trying out new things, but feels on edge when trying. Not only that, but he constantly has a dry mouth and is always thirsty. Aaron usually feels sick to the point he doesn’t eat.
Due to this Aaron’s life became affected. He said, “I feel a sense of dread that something is going to go wrong, like I am going to upset someone and cause a problem. I spent a lot of time each day over thinking conversations and interacts I have had with people.” He also said, “Sometimes I get through a day fine and feel happy, sometimes it is the total opposite. It is really easy to slip into a thinking pattern that is only negative. Initially it was so bad that I couldn’t go to work most days and when I did go into work I would end up breaking down in tears in a panic attack at least once throughout the day.” Aaron often thinks about suicide, but thankfully has no intention of ever doing it.
He has had difficulty maintaining relationships with other. Aaron said, “Multiple romantic partners have told me that they can’t deal with the emotional baggage that this brings. I think it is hard for someone who has never suffered with a mental disorder to understand the perspective of someone who has.” It is hard for him to explain to friends how he feels or why he feels that way. He said, “I feel very guilty being depressed and anxious with no real reason. It becomes easy to just shut down and never express emotion.” Because of this Aaron felt lonely and empty. He said, “It is hard to explain what it feels like to be empty. Somehow it feels like deep my chest there is a chasm or a gap that somehow isn’t filled. A lot of people have said that they have no idea what I mean by this and I don’t really understand either.”
Aaron does not feel like he has to overcome his mental disorders. Although he feels like he’s made progress. The strategies he uses to maintain control is to keep himself busy by getting on with coursework or revision, reading a book, playing video games or listening to music. Others have helped him by simply being there are giving him a hug when he needs it the most. The lesson Aaron learned from this ordeal is to listen to that voice in his head that is telling him to get help. He said, “Don’t let yourself believe how you feel is normal and you’ll just be okay by leaving it. Do something about it, you’ve got to take action and kick yourself up the arse. In words of Shia Labeouf, JUST DO IT.”
Aaron’s outlook in life also changed. He now appreciates the small things in life such as, being a healthy and happy person. He values this much more than being successful and wealthy. This is his advice to those going through similar situations:
“Ask for help when you need it. There are people you can talk to. It is okay to not be okay, it is okay to ask for help. It is okay to be different and it is okay to be YOU.”
Help me make a difference by sharing your story. If you or anyone you know needs a safe place to vent out and recieve advice feel free to become a member of the Mental Illness Recovery Series Group on Facebook.