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Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Lately, my parents,friends,psychologist are pushing me to move out on my own (with my boyfriend, Aaron) and be independant. I don't have any money and I don't have a job. My first and only job was horrible! I have been suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder and other mental illness ever since. I'm terrified of going back to work or going to uni. I would like to, except I am so so so terrified. I get this awful choking feeling when I'm doing even the simplest of things. I try to explain to people that I'm not like everyone else and I can't just go out and get a uni degree or a job. But everyone just says I'm lazy, I'm making an excuse or that I think too negatively. Everybody makes me feel like a loser. My boyfriend is very supportive but he is in the same boat as me ( he has social anxiety ). We don't know what to do. How do you go to work/uni with a mental illness? I don't just mean the general advice like ' Just step out of your comfort zone' or the very insightful ' Just try and see what happens'. Surely someone out there has been through/ is going through what I am going through and has some helpful advice? HOW do I live a fulfilling life if I am scared of everyday life? I'm only 21 and I feel like life won't get any better - please somebody help me Smiley Sad

Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hey GraceInSpace93


I want you to know, I do understand where you're coming from. Anxiety can be a very crushing and disabling feeling. I do know others who have had to deal with quite bad anxiety, and I have seen the impact it can have on their lives. 


I know its also very difficult having others around you, who just really dont get how disabling it can feel to have anxiety issues. 


I want you to know, that you can have a fulfilling life. You can make the changes, and move into a positive well-being. You have the power to make the conscious choice. As much as I have seen anxiety affect lives negatively, I have seen a person close to me who got so anxious they couldnt finish their degree, but is now a fully qualified and employeed engineer.


I would like to remind you, that any change is going to be gradual and that there isnt an immediate quick fix. 


What I think would be best would be to find the right help and support for you, to learn how to deal with this anxiety.
If your current psychologist isn't offering the assitance you need, it might be a good idea to move along to someone else.


You may like to call the Kids Help Line on 1800 55 1800, or life line on 13 11 14. Give you some support, perhaps provide you with some information about where to go to find the support you need. 


I know it seems very difficult right now, you can make a change and you can improve your situation. With regards to people wanting you to move out, it would defintely be worthwhile to explain your current situation and state that you dont feel ready. 


Well done for being brave and posting, Im glad you came to our forums. I wish you good luck with your current situation, and remind you that we are always here.


Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hey @GraceInSpace93 - I'm sorry to hear some people in your life haven't been very understanding about your fears in returning to work/uni. It might be tough but it's definitely possible!


What kind of techniques have you and your psychologist worked on to manage your anxiety? Do you use counted breathing or relaxation? Exposure therapy (generally part of cognitive behaviour therapy) is proven to be very helpful for anxiety disorders, so it's worth discussing with your psych what kind of small steps you could take towards moving out and returning to work that will make you feel in control of the situation.


If uni is something you are considering, most campuses will have a mental health co-ordinator or advisor that you can talk to before or during your studies. They can arrange thigs like extensions when you feel overhwlemed. I know a few peeps here on Reach Out use this service, so maybe they can let you know how it works.

Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hey @GraceInSpace93,

I think the others both gave awesome advice, I just wanted to add that there are loads of resources here on ReachOut about anxiety disorders and GAD in particular but also about How to manage anxiety (hopefully those are the kinds of practical tips you were asking for).

And I totally agree with Nath when he said that if you don't feel like your current Psych is helping you, it's ok to seek out a new one.

Good luck and let us know how you are going.


Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hi there,

I also have extreme anxiety, I used to not go do things so I could avoid stressful situations and have found a counselor after trying 8 others that is helping me learn where my anxiety stems from, which for me is verbal abuse.  Mine has been a journey of 15 years of not getting help, being told I am the problem and finally learning what verbal abuse is, how to recognize it, how to have boundaries from it and to put my feelings first.  I have learned so much from my current counselor, not a psychiatrist as they are very much into medicine.  Medicine only covers up the root problem.  Do you have a counselor that you feel is reaching and helping you? I am learning to feel again and that feelings help me figure out my boundaries.  I am able to take classes, work and get together with friends.  I am not as social or outgoing as most people, but that is ok and I like that about me.  I love animals and dogs and cats are calming for me and are great companions.  Keep trying things to help figure out where your anxiety is stemmed from, then you can piece away any triggers that make your anixety come up or become worse, etc.

Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS


I just wanted to say I loved how you said "I am not as social or outgoing as most people, but that is ok and I like that about me." It's so great when people really know and accept who they are. That confidence is wonderful. Smiley Happy


@GraceInSpace93  - how are you doing?




Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hey @GraceInSpace93 

How are you doing now? The advice everyone has given is very helpful I hope you have found it useful and trying  to implement it in your everyday life. Having a mental illness can be very different to everyone I think sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is not let it take over your life, I can only imagine how hard it is but once you get to that point it'll get easier. 

Have you tried sitting with your parents and letting them know exactly what you're feeling and the fear you have. Maybe if you do this they will be more understanding and seeing where you are coming from. Sometimes you just need to vent to your parents for them to understand where you are coming from. 


I hope everything is working out well for you and continues to do so

Please keep us posted 


Re: Life with a Mental Illness - SOS

Hi there,


I can relate to some of the feelings you described in your post. I am a uni student and also happen to have schizophrenia and generalised anxiety disorder. For me, the reality of living with a mental illness and being a student is at times difficult, but my uni (as well as all uni's, I think) have disability counselors who you can see at any time. These professionals keep track of the subjects your studying and can arrange extra time in exams, or even having your own room in exams so your not overwhelmed by other people. There are also things like extensions for assignments, and they can organise tutors to help you with course content if you are feeling overwhelmed.


Before I went to uni I worked part-time. My mental illness got really bad after several months at this job, and as I had a permanent position I decided to tell my employer aboult my illness and I found that they were really supportive and gave me some time off. So if you think you'd like to work, some companies are more understanding than others and having a mental illness doesn't necessarily mean everyone won't want you to work for them.


It is really hard trying to have a 'normal life' like our peers who may not be suffering from a mental illness, but there are still oppurtunities out there even if they're harder to find or work around.


I hope all is well with you, all the best and hang in there.