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crazy??

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sapper3491

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Founding Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
14
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
I dont really know if this is the right place to put this post, but basically i have suffered some pretty bad mental health issues for a few years and I thought I would come on this site to try and get some advice.

This is quite a long story so i will try and keep it as brief as i can.

My earliest recollection of any "issues" with my mental health were at approximately the age of 8 or 9. I can clearly remember looking in the mirror in my bathroom and having this stange feeling like my soul or my being was somehow separate from my body.

It’s an extremely difficult feeling to describe, but basically I felt seperated from myself and i had this horrible feeling of panic as I struggled to understand what I was feeling.

At school I was badly bullied for most of my time at school and due to this I was very paranoid about getting beat up and depressed about not wanting to leave the house etc. I feel that this had a big effect on my mental health since the period in which I felt anxious about going to school was over approximately 5-6 years.

After leaving school at 16 I had a couple of years when I felt relatively “normal”. In the back of my mind I always thought something was not quite right but I could not put my finger on it.

When I was 17 I joined the army and the training really worked wonders for my confidence. On one occasion when I was back home on leave I went to a local nightclub with my friends. While in there, my friends were taking ecstasy, and suggested I try it. I did and really did not enjoy the intensity of the drug. The next day I noticed a shift in my mental health.

Over the next few months I became more insular and found it more and more difficult to face social situations. I became more and more anxious and depressed as a result. I began having extremely vivid disturbing dreams.

I began to struggle to maintain my concentration at work since I had so much going on in my thoughts. I was sent to Sierra Leone on detachment, and while there I contracted Malaria. I was sent back to the UK for treatment and almost died. I was in an ambulance and had what I can only describe as an outer body experience. I received treatment and recovered from the Malaria after about 4 days in hospital.

Over the next few weeks I started having panic attacks, which were at the time very scary. I was put onto Beta blockers which gave me chest pains and did not really help with the panic attacks. I received some CBT at my local surgery which helped me to understand the physiological side to the panic attacks and helped me to control them.

Since that time I feel detached from myself, I have extreme thoughts about my own being and feel paranoid and anxious all the time. I have dreams which seem to spill into my everyday life and my ability to tell what’s real with what’s not real is blurred. I am concerned that I am going crazy and basically would appreciate your opinion on what you think I should do?
 
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Louise 28

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Joined
Mar 29, 2008
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142
hi

Hi
I cant tell you what you should do, but, if you feel you need some help, seeking it is a good move.
Im presuming you may have seen a GP in the past, as you've had beta blockers...so, perhaps if you havent already recently confided in them on how you feel now, then maybe- maybe they should be one option you could think about?
Good luck.
 
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Dollit

Guest
The feeling you had looking in the mirror when you were a child brings back memories to me of my first depressive episode. I was standing by the dining table and looking at my mum in the kitchen. The kitchen door was open and there was sunlight shining through it and I could hear my sister and brother in the garden playing. Then a wall of glass came down between me and the world and my life changed forever in that instant.

Drugs certainly changed things for me too - their over use made me psychotic and unpredictable and I do think that they damaged me mentally in a permanent way.

I know that when I was in hospital and I had a major blood loss after a minor op went awry and was complicated with a gangrenous infection that when I was at the point when I could go either way it was a beautiful feeling, I've never felt so peaceful. Oxygen starvation but for the first time in my life I was actually unafraid.

The feeling of being detached is called dissociation - it's a protective mechanism that the mind employs - it sort of switches off and goes on remote. I look up sometimes and find myself in a street that I've known for years but don't recognize it. That happens when I'm stressed and from what I can gather you feel pretty stressed right now.

You're not going crazy - you need some real help to cope. Can you print off your post and take it in to your GP - it's a good and comprehensive history of what's been going on in your life over the past how ever many years it is.

Sorry about the length of the reply but I read your post and there was a strong sense of identification of us being on a parallel path. And welcome to the forum. :hug:
 
S

sapper3491

Member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
14
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Thanks to everyone for their massages,

There are a few other points I feel I need to include which I forgot to mention in my original post.

I have agoraphobic tendencies since I started having panic attacks. I can control the feeling of panic with breathing etc but I still have trouble dealing with walking around outdoors. I rarely travel anywhere on public transport as it makes me feel out of control. As long as I go somewhere in my car I feel better as I can leave when I please.

My son was born last year so I get to push his pram around when we are out and about which helps me to feel less dizzy and more balanced.

When I feel troubled by being outdoors it’s like a feeling that I want to curl up in a ball because of the enormity of the sky above me, this may sound weird but it’s the best way I can describe it. I have the same feeling when I am naked, like when in the shower etc, I also find it difficult to watch programmes about space just for the sheer enormity of it all. This might sound strange but when I don’t have the comfort of leaning on my sons pram I always make sure I wear a jacket which has pockets, when I put my hands in my pockets its like leaning against myself. I realise that might sound ridiculous.

When I close my eyes at night to go to sleep, I can make out the shape of someone’s face, it’s always the same face and the longer I concentrate on it the more I looks like it’s in distress. I don’t communicate with this face but it is always there and a bit disconcerting.
 
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Dollit

Guest
The face you see when you close your eyes to sleep - I had a talk to my GP about this and he said he sees the faces before he goes to sleep too and he said that it's nothing to worry about. I really trust my GP and so I just look upon it as part of the process of closing my eyes before I'm quite ready for sleep.

Where you in Sierra Leone prior to 2002?

Can I really just say sapper nothing you say sounds crazy - you've had a hard time along the line and now your head just isn't coping. You're not mad, you're not bad you just need some help. And that little boy is helping his dad and he doesn't even know it - love is a powerful healer. :hug:
 
S

sapper3491

Member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
14
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
The face you see when you close your eyes to sleep - I had a talk to my GP about this and he said he sees the faces before he goes to sleep too and he said that it's nothing to worry about. I really trust my GP and so I just look upon it as part of the process of closing my eyes before I'm quite ready for sleep.

Where you in Sierra Leone prior to 2002?

Can I really just say sapper nothing you say sounds crazy - you've had a hard time along the line and now your head just isn't coping. You're not mad, you're not bad you just need some help. And that little boy is helping his dad and he doesn't even know it - love is a powerful healer. :hug:
I went to sierra Leone in 2003. Interesting that both you and your GP have the face thing. That makes me feel alot better.
My son is the most amazing little boy, i guess since he has been around i have became more focused to seek help for these problems.
 
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maudikie

Guest
Sapper.

You've had some bad experiences by the sound of it. I will try to make some suggestions which might help - no guarantees given!
First I notice that you don't mention any family. What is the situation there? Are your parets alive? Have you any brothers or sisters? Or ineed any other close relatives?
Why were you bullied at school? Were you very shy or what?
You seem to have enjoyed your spell in the army, and that can be a tough life. Did the bullying go on there? It sounds not.
Have you a group of friends now - I presume you are now out of the army.
If they offer you extasy or any other drugs then I wouldn't class them as friends. Any "street drugs" are dangerous. You don't know what effect they have on you, and you don't know what "rubbish" they contain. So I would certainly advise you to keep away from them.. Perhaps you could find some new friends who aren't in the drug scene.
The malaria was bad luck, but you came out of that, although there is always a risk that it could return, or so I believe. So look after your general health, and see your doctor if you feel physically ill at all.
I think you said that your doc. had not been very nice to you. You can always change your G.P. and find one who is a bit more sympathetic to your condition. Unfortunately the older G.Ps didn't have sufficient training in any mental health problems, and in mitigation I wold say that they have a very busy time, and a lot of people who say "I'm depressed" when they are really just fed up! I don't think from the sound of your long history that you are one of those. It migt be a good thing for you to get contact with your Mental Health Team. You said the CBT helped you so perhaps another sessin of that might help you again. What are you doing at present? I imagine you are no longer in the forces. Are you working? Have you joined any clubs - I don't mean night clubs, but something that would give you a good interest? There are x-forces clubs of course.
I seem to have asked you an awful lot of questions, and you don't need to answer them if you prefer not to. But do keep in contact on this website, and let us know if we can help . I hope you enjoy the jolly little smilies. they fascinate me! So i will send you some! After I've had:tea:
:unsure::clap::flowers:(y):welcome::grouphug:
 
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Dollit

Guest
The reason why I asked about Sierra Leone is that it was technically in a state of war until 2002 but I don't suppose it was actually that much better in 2003. Being posted there, then succumbing to Malaria and being seriously ill has left its mark. No wonder you feel vulnerable and exposed and unprotected. But your baby boy will help you grow, you can grow with him and for him. And for what it's worth the people here will help as best we can. :hug:
 
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sapper3491

Member
Founding Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
14
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Thanks for your post Maudikie.

There are a lot of questions there so I will work my way through them methodically.

I would say that I have a good family life. Both of my parents are still alive, they are both in their 60's. I have a sister who is three years older than me. As far as mental health goes my father and sister are both fine, my mother has taken anti depressants for over 20 years. My uncle (mother brother) committed suicide when he was in his twenties. My mother’s aunt also committed suicide so I guess you could say there is a history of depression. Not sure if that kind of thing is inherited though.

I think the reason that I was bullied at school is because I was quite shy and did not fit into any group. Not really good at sports so not on any teams. I guess I was an easy target for people who had a point to prove.

When I joined the army everyone was subjected to the same treatment no matter who you were so there were no favourites. The lessons I had learned at school by the mistakes I made I did not repeat when I joined the army. I saw it as a chance to become somebody new, surrounded by people who did not know me.

I did have a group of friends who I mixed with, this was people who I knew from my local estate and I used to socialise with them when I came home on leave from the army. They were into clubbing and taking recreational drugs. I guess the only thing I really had in common with them was getting drunk and partying. When I went through the initial stages of panic attacks etc my participation in going out with them was ended almost immediately. None of them bothered with me after that. That was a couple of years back.

Apart from my wife I don’t have any friends. My work requires me to travel alone so I don’t have any friends at work either. That said, I don’t really make an effort to find friends because I can’t be arsed to explain to them how I feel about social situations and have them judge me, I’d rather not bother.

The doctors in the Tropical diseases unit assured me that the strength of the drugs available today are so powerful that they can ensure that the malaria never returns.

My doctor is an older gent who has a cynical attitude towards mental health matters I believe. When I was trying to explain how I felt he kept interrupting me and trying to put words into my mouth. I found it very difficult to pout my point across. I think trying to describe psychological feelings is hard at the best of times. Where can I access a mental health team? Do I need a referral from my GP?

I left the forces in 2004, voluntarily. I had been on sick leave after having malaria for 6 months. I returned back to work and received absolutely no support. At this point I was still suffering from panic attacks and depression and so I opted to leave. I did not qualify for a pension or compensation, so I just thought it best to move on.

I work full time as an Engineer. I service a fleet of access platforms (cherry Pickers) I am not a member of any clubs.

Hope this helps to paint a more complete picture for you.
 
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Dollit

Guest
Is there another GP in the practise you could see. You do need a referral from a GP for mental health services normally.

I think that one of the important things I learned about was my boundaries and limitations though I'm not good about sticking to either of them. I know I should sometimes do less but don't because I love challenges and love being stretched to the limit. But the more you learn about yourself the better things can become.

You seem to have a really realistic view of what's going on and that sort of insight does help, self awareness is a good thing to have whoever you are.

I know Maudie asked a lot of questions - self confessed chatterbox is Maudie - but do remember that you can ask just as many back! Keep coming back - I love cherry pickers, but then I love machinery! :)
 
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sapper3491

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Founding Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2008
Messages
14
Location
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Yeah there is more than one GP, I think there are about 10 altogether.
I think I will go this week and make an appointment.

I try to keep a realistic view about what’s going on, I’m trying to stop thinking "I wish I felt like a used to" since that only makes matters worse, I think part of getting better or coping, is accepting how you feel and trying to embrace it.

I have noticed since I have had mental difficulties, that my memory is very patchy, sometimes I get really bad tension headaches and I find it difficult sometimes impossible to concentrate. I often get what I can only refer to as brain freeze where I can’t think there is so much going on in my thoughts.

My temper is very short and I snap at the littlest thing. I have a VERY understanding wife which is a blessing.

Sometimes I my eyes hurt like they are sensitive to light and they feel hot and itchy. I get a strange metallic taste in my mouth and I have pins and needles in my feet quite a lot. I also get this sensation where when I am looking at something, focusing in; my eyes start to move back and forth or seem to be. It’s a very strange feeling and makes me feel sick. This especially happens when I am in a dark room looking at a TV.

I will continue to come here everyone I have talked with seems very nice and supportive. To be honest putting all this down in writing has already made me feel a little better. :)
 
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Dollit

Guest
Tell the GP everything, all the physical symptoms you've described - about serving in Sierra Leone, the whole lot. My consultant said to me recently that the big thing to remember is that long after your head has got itself round an idea and you have the idea intellectually sound your heart and emotions can suddenly kick in and react. Stress we feel one day may not be even remotely related to what we've went through that day or even that week.

If you can get to Lush they do a temple rub to help sleep and I use that when I get tense - very relaxing and it lasts a long time.

You've got a great attitude and I'm sure you're going to be an asset here! :hug:
 
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maudikie

Guest
Sapper.

Thanks for being so open about your problems. I hope it will help you. It's a good idea to see another G.P. and Dollit has given you the info. I suggest you don't delay in getting an appointment.If you have any difficulty in remembeing things write it all down. It's easy to come out after the consultation and remember something important you should have told him.
Cheers - best wishes, and please get on with seeing another doctor.:)
 
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maudikie

Guest
Sapper.

I think that Dollit has given you some great advice. As sual I have a question to ask.
How about your finances? Do you get anything from the forces? If not do you get any Benefits.
When you have tme, a letter to your m.P. might help both yourself, and other forces members who have returned to civvie life.
Best wishes. Hope the new Doc will be a bit more sympathetic.:)
 
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