Raising awareness one story at a time!
If you would like to share your story, please contact me via the form below. Your message will be sent to my email and will not be visible to others.
All of the stories below have been provided by volunteers. I have full permission to post their stories alongside any photos that they have provided.
For more stories and inspirational content, visit my instagram page @anxietydepressionandme
1. Poppy’s story
Poppy was diagnosed with an anxiety related eating disorder when she was 10. This meant that she would skip meals and wouldn’t eat in public. This lead to her being bullied in school and missing many social events. As well as battling with suicidal thoughts, she was also told that if she didn’t begin to eat properly, it could lead to fatal consequences. It was being told this by her doctor that gave her the strength to fight against her mental health condition. She started to eat in public, wouldn’t skip as many meals and wouldn’t take bullies comments to heart. Although this was an incredibly difficult time, the challenges have shaped her into the strong person that she is today. At just 14 years of age, she has decided that her goal in life is to share her story and offer positivity and support to others in a similar situation to her.
She wants others to know that there isn’t an issue that cannot be resolved – no matter how big or small it is. She advises others in a similar situation to her to speak to someone they trust to gain the support that they need.
2. Alia’s story…
Alia is 17 and has been struggling with mental health for many years. She was initially diagnosed with social anxiety and an eating disorder at 15/16 years of age. She would like to raise awareness for eating disorders as they are often associated with being underweight. Alia described herself as being overweight and it’s heart breaking to hear that she tried to diet at 11 because she was fed up with feeling like she was less worthy because of her size. At 13 she developed anorexia and depression and began to self-harm. This time was understandably so difficult for her especially as she had also moved country and was trying to adapt to daily life again. When she started high school, her anxiety became worse and she started to experience major panic attacks. This all built up and lead to her unfortunately attempting suicide at 16. Her anorexia turned into bulimia and she kept pushing herself as her BMI was still classed as overweight. Just under a year ago she moved to a different country again. Her mood continued to fluctuate, her anxiety peaked and her bulimia worsened. She has had 3 therapists and 3 psychiatrists within the past 3 years and has been on and off 5 different medications in the last year.
This wonderful young lady is now fighting to eat again and to love herself. She’s learning to manage her moods in a healthy way and goes to therapy twice a week. She has now started to reach out to people as she believes that mental health shouldn’t make you feel isolated. Next year she finishes high school and is working hard to achieve the best she can. She plans to go to uni to study psychology further in order to help other people who are struggling. She wants to be part of the change and to be proof that beauty and strength can shine through darkness.
This is her message for you: She wants you to love yourself for who you are and to see that your life is a beautiful journey that has been crafted for you. Your health and happiness should always be your number one priority.
3. Lonnie’s story…
Lonnie is 39 and was diagnosed with Bipolar, PTSD, ADHD and general Anxiety. Lonnie is living proof that life can get better as he has survived 3 suicide attempts. He is still in search for the best ways for him to cope with his mental health conditions. Fortunately he has found that medication has helped him a lot. He also found a job where he can work from home which has also been very beneficial for him. He has found that over the years, the internet and social media platforms have helped him to learn that he is not alone and has acted like a support system for him.
His message to others is to receive support when it is needed and to keep going, no matter how difficult times may be. He has also found that the more he talks about his mental health journey, the more the stigma is reduced.
4. Shawn’s story…
Shawn is 43 and has been suffering from PTSD for over 20 years. To begin with things were great, he had just started his regular Army career and was recently married. Circumstances became difficult both at home and at work which lead to him breaking his contract. Following this, their son’s first Christmas was spent in the hospital as his wife had emergency gall bladder surgery. This resulted in the surgeon accidentally damaging her pancreas. This went unchecked for almost a month and she nearly lost her life whilst undergoing surgery to repair it. Later the following year, their second son was sadly still born just before Christmas. Two days after Christmas, his partner had a nervous breakdown and was hospitalised for almost 2 months. After she came home, their son was hospitalised with the flu 10 days later.
Despite the challenges that Shawn has faced, he has kept fighting. He is living proof that no matter how hard things get, there will always be better days.
5. Hollie’s story…
Hollie is 17. At 14 years old she was diagnosed with anxiety, social anxiety, severe depression and OCD. Until just recently, she hated herself, her mind and her body and felt like life would never get any better. Despite still having good days and smiling on the outside, in the back of her mind she just wanted to disappear. Hollie spent many months hiding her mental health as she was scared of being judged and thought that people wouldn’t understand.
She wants you to know that you’re not alone and that there are many people who are in a similar situation to you. Hollie urges you to ask for help and receive the support that you need. It’s okay not to be okay and every single one of you deserves to be valued.
Hollie is the proof that things will get better even if it seems like they never will.
6. Jenny’s story…
Jenny is 38 and is living with Bipolar. Bipolar is commonly defined as “a disorder with episodes of mood swings – ranging from depressive lows, to manic highs”. Jenny describes her Bipolar as “an emotional hypersensitivity” or “an inflammed emotional response”. She describes her childhood as full of academic troubles, mood swings, fear and isolation. During her adult life, many jobs and friendships haven’t worked out and she feels like she’s been in one toxic relationship after another. In Autumn 2011, she sought help and was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and Panic Disorder. Although she was relieved to have a diagnosis, she also feared to talk about her mental health condition. Jenny kept her Bipolar a secret for a little while. Through therapy and medication, she has learnt that her mental health does not define her.
This has enabled her to give you this message of hope… “Don’t be afraid to embrace your disorder and accept that it’s part of you. It does not define you and is not your whole identity. Your disorder is not a flaw; it is your unique brain chemistry, which helps you to see that you are stronger than you realise. Through sharing your story, you can help many others and also help yourself too.”