It would probably come as a shock to a lot of my friends that I have depression and anxiety. It was only after being told this in December by my GP that particular times of my life now make sense.
Other people see me as outgoing, confident, self assured and sociable. But on and off since I was a teenager I have struggled to keep up this front. I was bullied in primary and secondary school. As a result, I was quiet and kept myself to myself, hating to be the centre of attention.
When I started university I met like minded people who shared similar interests to me. I came out of my shell during university. It was like I found myself. I was training to be a primary teacher. My first year placement was amazing. The school were supportive and I really felt I was meant to be a teacher. My second year placement was awful. The school I ended up in was a last minute change. They clearly didn’t want me there. Luckily, a friend was also on placement there. We were told on our first day that we were not allowed to go in the staff room. I was miserable during the entire placement. A friend who was also on my course managed to convince me to stick the placement out. My final year placement was a complete nightmare. I had a child with behavioural problems in the class I was in. I had no experience of this. The class teacher was the SENCO. I asked her for help in how to deal with this child. I was spending hours every night planning and sorting my lessons only for this child to totally disrupt my lessons. I was told to get on with it.
Looking back, I had a breakdown of sorts during this time. I would cry for hours on end, would hardly eat and had trouble sleeping. I ended up dropping teaching.
After graduating from university, I continued working as a playleader for disabled children which I did throughout university, until I got a job as a teaching assistant in an autistic school. I ended up working there for 4 years. I got a great deal from this job. I then got a job for an outreach service offering advice for autistic children in mainstream schools. Initially, I loved this job. It was extremely rewarding and I developed even further professionally. I even did autism awareness training for 60 police officers after being recommended by a police officer at a high school I frequently went into. However, the team manager was not strong minded. When a certain member of our team found out that myself and a colleague I done this training she went out of her way to undermine me – turning up to meetings when she hadn’t been invited, telling me last minute I would be delivering training to making comments about me in the office. I went into my manager’s office really upset. I was at breaking point. I got really upset and said that I felt that I was being bullied. She did nothing. I managed to get a doctors appointment for after work. Initially, I was signed off work with stress for two weeks. I ended up signed off work for 3 months with anxiety disorder, taking antidepressants and seeing a counsellor.
I stayed in this job until August 2014. I started my new job in an independent autistic in September 2014. My friend told me about this job and as it was around 35 miles away from where I live she said I could stay at her house. I couldn’t wait to leave the job I was bullied in. I shouldn’t have taken it. It was extremely stressful and I was exhausted. I would regularly spend my Sundays in tears dreading the week ahead.
On top of all this, my husband and I got married in October 2014! I think that wedding planning was a distraction from my fragile mental state. My husband and I had an amazing wedding day and minimoon. By November I was physically ill. I had a really bad chest infection, something I haven’t had since loosing all the weight. I was on antibiotics and steroids for weeks and was signed off work. I became really depressed. I didn’t leave the house for days at a time and even getting out of bed in the morning was a battle. At the beginning of December 2014 I broke down in front of my GP and told him everything. I was then diagnosed with moderate depression and anxiety. I made the decision after talking to my husband and family that I couldn’t go back to work.
I am now in the process of recovering. I don’t know what the future holds for me and that scares me. Depression and anxiety have robbed me of any confidence and self belief I have. I feel like a failure as a person. I experience huge amounts of guilt for not working and for being like this. I feel like a burden and often have suicidal thoughts. I genuinely feel that my family and friends would be better off without me. I find it hard to see how I will recover from all of this. But I am really trying not to let depression and anxiety have such a control over my life. I feel that when I was signed off work in my old job I never got to the root of my issues. Hopefully, without the pressure of work I can get some clarity and perspective which will help my recovery. I am tired of being like this. I don’t want to feel sick at the thought of leaving my house. I want to be able to have a decent night’s sleep. I don’t want to feel the utter despair I feel pretty much all the time.
I want to be the best I can possibly be. I won’t let depression and anxiety beat me.