From Olivia

Dear You,

I was a healthy, athletic, mother who have never had a depression and any anxiety before. About a year and a half ago I fell ill after some excessive worry about a health issue (that turned out to be fine) as well as some very inconsiderate doctors who weren’t that great at identifying what was wrong with me and caused more worry by sending me to numerous tests to find out what 'mysterious illness' I had contracted.

I broke down in months, first with extreme insomnia (I could go for several nights without any sleep), then my body started hurting, knees locked up, muscles twitching and I would have anxiety 24/7 as well as panic attacks and depersonalisation. I thought I was dying. My new doctor sent me to all sorts of tests, as he wasn’t across what depression/anxiety can do to the body. Finally he sent me to an internist at the hospital who took a look at all my tests and my symptoms and diagnosed me with anxiety.

Once I was finally diagnosed I thought I would beat it by meditation, yoga, mindfulness and herbs. I was so wrong. The more I tried to beat it, the worse I got. My body and mind slowly went in to a depression without knowing it.

I spoke to a great psychologist, but we made no head way as there wasn’t any issues to treat, it was like my mind had been through a trauma and I was suffering the aftermath. I was unable to function properly and was in so much physical and mental pain.

I started loosing the battle and finally ended up taking a small dose of antidepressants that a new good GP had recommended. I had been so afraid to go on medication for the fear of the dreaded side effects as I was already in so much pain and had weird symptoms, but I had none! Within weeks I was feeling much better, and now, after 5 months, I am almost back to normal. I thought I would never laugh, travel, work, enjoy a sunny day or be able to play sports.

Today I work fulltime in a job I love, travelled to Europe last month, won a championship in a sport for my country and laugh, watch movies and see friends. My body doesn’t hurt and all I have left is a little twitch in my calf and some blurry vision.

I went through an immense trauma, so it is certainly not all behind me, I think about it almost every day, but remind myself to not worry about what happened in the past, but cherish the now. It happened, but this just happened - a new lease on life.

What made me get through it in the end was this site (I had one tab on one particular recovery letter that spoke to me that I read multiple times a day), a book about a recovered anxiety sufferer, sports, healthy eating, my husband & kids, my cat and a small glimmer of hope (sometimes the only hope I had was my husband’s hope, but you can live on other people’s hope).

Like the person who wrote the Recovery letter I kept reading “You, my friend, will also get through this.” I never thought I would, and I did. You will. It may just take a little time. Don’t worry about the time, the time when you are recovered will be so much more valuable to you that time passed will not matter. Do not worry is my mantra. Worry makes it worse.

We all find different ways to get better, but learning to get on with life, worry less, do not Google symptoms, see friends and try to have fun. For me the meds helped me up to a point for myself to get stronger and released my physical pain and got me some much needed sleep. I still wake up in the morning and say to myself with wonder – I slept, I am so lucky!

Today I am stronger, get less stressed, live more for the moment, want to realise my dreams and generally much happier than before.

You will make it. Trust me. Trust yourself.

Lots of love,

Olivia