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Coming to terms with my mental health problems

Thursday, 23 February 2017 Jeff

Jeff, a volunteer at Swansea Mind talks about coming to terms with having a mental health problem and seeking help.

Hi, my name’s Jeff. I want to talk to you about coming to terms with mental health issues.

I never thought I had mental health problems. My friends could see it in me but I didn’t think I ever had anything like that. My friends could see when I would get depressed, anxious, really upset around certain times of the year because of traumatic events that happened growing up.

"And they said to me why don’t you come to a place called Mind."

So I went. When I got here I was talking to people and it was, like, wow, they’re going through some of the stuff that I’m going through. But I never thought it… I never had mental health problem until talking to them, I thought maybe I should go to a doctor. And so I went to a doctor and was informally diagnosed with depression, anxiety and all that.

The doctor prescribed me medication and it didn’t really help, to be honest, didn’t give me bad side effects because of other medication that I’m on as well, so.

But coming to actual terms with it was… I always knew I had problems but, you know, you get a lot of misconceptions in the press, you know, mental patient escaped from hospital and stabbed someone, and I always thought would I be capable of doing something like that. And, you know, it scared me, it worried me but I got through it. 

The doctor referred me to a sociologist, or a psychiatrist, something like that. When I got there he was very dismissive of what I had to say. He didn’t believe things. He would… he actually used the words pull yourself together; you’re having a bad day. And that made me feel really bad.

"I think a lot of doctors in the NHS just gloss over the issue. They don’t really tend to give their full attention to what it is."

And he said, oh, I’ll refer you for some CBT, and that was two years ago and I’m still waiting. The process just seems like it’s taking forever and ever.

So, hopefully, some time soon I will get a full diagnosis of what is wrong with me but coming to terms with mental is a hard thing, you know. You never think it’s you. You always think you’ve got problems, you know. You don’t think, oh, I’ve got a mental health problem.

But coming to Mind really opened my eyes and people here really helped me and they’ve pushed me forward to do things. So if you ever feel lonely, ever feel scared, you’ve got panic attacks
, depression, talk to someone. Don’t be afraid to do something about it. It’s never too late.

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