Anxiety is destroying me - please help me!

Hi. I've just come across this forum and really hope someone can help me. I had a nervous breakdown in April 2012. This was brought on by a few big life changes happening at the same time - the girl I loves marrying someone else, loosing my job etc. At my lowest point (around this time last year) I couldn't even leave the house. The GP put me on Citalopram which had horrible side effects and I eventually went on Sertraline which had manageable side effects. I'm a 34 year old man and live with my parents. Although they don't understand mental health issues they gave me space and support to get back to some form of normality.

My biggest problem is around going back to work. I worked for 8 years in Financial Services for a good company with lots of opportunities to grow. However, I just sat there and wasted 8 years whilst all of my friends chose career paths and progressed in their chosen fields. I started to look for work last year and became incredibly anxious and depressed. The depression came from constantly thinking about how I messed things up and I should have taken advantage of the opportunities I had, or even at least given my career path some thought. Essentially I feel like I 'fucked it all up'. The anxiety comes from the knowledge that if I manage to get a job the money will be rubbish and I'll never be in a place where I'll have the opportunity to grow. In July 2012 I had 7 sessions with an ACT (similar to CBT) therapist to try and help me overcome this hurdle but it didn't work so I wasted the rest of 2012 thinking that I needed time to recover and that I'd start looking in 2013. I even weened myself of the medication because I was feeling ok.

When 2013 came I decided to go away for a few weeks before I started looking for work again. Now I've started looking all the anxiety and depression is coming back. I only manage to sleep for a few hours each night and wake up with a jolt due to the release of Adrenalin and this leaves me feeling really on edge. When I'm in bed like that at 3 in the morning I have the most horrendous scarey thoughts. I don't know what to do anymore. I feel like I've messed up my whole life. This is incredibly tough on my parents and my Mum keeps crying. I know I can go back to the Docs and get back on medication but the anxiety about work, any chance of a future, any chance of finding a wife and feelings of guilt are still going to be there.

I'm desperate. If there's anyone out there who has any advice please please can you help me.

PS I know there's people out there who've been through far more difficult and challenging situations but this is destroying me.

18 Replies

  • The 'Get Help' section of our website is a good place to start exploring the support available to you:

    For a more detailed explanation of anxiety disorders and how to deal with them we recommend the ‘Overcoming’ series of books. Understanding for yourself how anxiety works and why it becomes a problem will help you a great deal, and these books provide excellent explanations. You can see the range of titles here:

    I think you may also find it useful to look into our membership services. This costs £30 a year. For this you get access to a community of like-minded people who are suffering with anxiety issues but are attempting to manage them as much as possible. You will receive a quarterly magazine that has all the most up to date information of what’s going on in the world of anxiety research. Alongside this you have access to a variety of Specialist Helplines. There is also an opportunity for members to access therapy through ourselves.


  • Jay, wishing you all good thoughts, thinking of you.

  • Don't feel alone, there are many that struggle and answers are hard to find. Sometimes writing the scary thoughts down helps. look at them when you feel stronger.

  • Don't feel alone, there are many that struggle and answers are hard to find. Sometimes writing the scary thoughts down helps. look at them when you feel stronger.

  • Don't feel alone, there are many that struggle and answers are hard to find. Sometimes writing the scary thoughts down helps. look at them when you feel stronger.

  • Hi there, know exactly how you feel. I had too many things going on at once and it triggered lots of anxiety and panic attacks for me, they went fo a while, although my life never went back to normal, I just lived a 'half' life doing the least I could to put myself in 'my scary sinarios'. Life was good and I decided to go back to work, found a job through a friend, dragged myself to interview and they gave me the job, was as simple as that. But as soon as I left I had more anxiety than I've ever had in my life! I couldn't keep food down was waking early, soon like you my thoughts were chaotic and uncontrollable. That was 6 weeks ago, and I never managed to start the job I'm still being sick in the mornings but refuse to take any medication, so found a herbal product called NewRelax by Potters, (found in Holland and Barratt) just takes the edge off the tension. I'm looking to speak to a hypnotherapsit in the next few weeks as well. Your problem won't go until you shift whats going on underneath, you may be able to sick plasters over it but they come off, its your body telling you there is something wrong. Don't ignore it. Jobs come and go, whats your passion, what do you enjoy? Don't look at a job as a career, see it as a hobby. When better to do this than when you are financially better off at home??? We all lose a 'love' at some point, that will hurt, but it all happens for a reason, TRUST that there is a plan. Visit hypnosis they have some amazing mp3s, finding the right one can be hard but there isn't a wrong choice. I sometimes think that if only we could catch a glimpse of the life that existed if our decisions were different - Maybe YOU married her, and had children but she left anyway, how devastating to have a family tangled in it all. If you hadn't lost your job would you still be there but be miserable? Don't be a victim and take charge, for me, you are in a brilliant position to start ANYTHING, don't be afraid, get some counselling, start an evening course, read something inspiring, voluteer, but do something you haven't done before and you will get different results. There are lots of people that care, smile x

  • Hi. Thank you so much for your kind words, it's comforting to know that someone else out there is going through the a similar situation and I'm not alone. When I first had a breakdown (this time last year) I ended up doing some volunteering so to some extent this time feels worse because it's happening all over again. I also take your point about catching a glimpse of the future, there's no way of knowing how things would have turned out and like you say it might not have turned out well. In terms of work I think the best thing for me is to get back into work as soon as I can. Having a structure to my day, something to focus on, being around people, earning money etc will help me a lot. Although the anxiety I feel around work triggers a lot of my negative chaotic thought patterns so I'm going to seek out some help around this. I've started on medication again (just a low dosage) and this is helping me with sleep and taking the physical edge off my anxiety. It certainly doesn't feel like there's a plan, but who knows, maybe one day in the future I'll look at this time in my life and feel like this all happened for a reason. Thanks again x

  • Dear Jayk

    The breakdown comes when we start feeling that our life is falling down. We became overwhelmed by our little child that is inside ourselves. When we are into the spiral is really difficult to come out. Sometime only the breakdown could be the end of the worst and the beginning of our recovery.

    I suffer from bipolar disorder and, as you can guess, I have fucked up my life more than once. My story is similar to yours: I have lost my girlfriend and thrown away my business. Now I am 42 and I find that writing is really useful for me. I also believe that the live must be taken with philosophy. So I asked myself: what do I like to do? It’s not easy to find the answer but this week I found it. I like writing and I have always liked arts. From now onward I know that my career will not be the same of my friends or colleague but it will fit me only.

    Now I must say that I understand much better what I did in my life up to now and I feel confident that personal reliefs and satisfactions will come.

    You should understand and accept yourself.

    a warm hug :)


  • Hi. I think you hit the nail on the head with understand and accept yourself. Hopefully this will come

  • I have always thought we put to much emphasis on 'success' and the 'norm' in this country. There are an infinite number of ways to live your life. Personally, I don't think work is the main object and relationships are precarious anyway these days. I have a son who feels as you do, and I cry sometimes. But I cry when he isn't happy, not because he hasn't got a job and a permanent relationship. I love him as he is, although there are things I would change if I could (weed for one!) All us mums want is for you to be content, so don't beat yourself up while you are getting sorted and don't push yourself too hard or punish yourself. If you want to compare 'fuck ups' look at some of the really big ones - there are plenty around. Yours is not so huge and you can rebuild. You worked before, you can again. No need to go for anything too stressful. We can't all go after the so called ' top' jobs. Stuff it - work part time at a garden centre or with vulnerable people - something really useful. I should change my name to Bossywoman and I wish I had taken my own advice years ago! I wish you love and luck.xxxxx

  • Hi and thanks for coming back to me. You're right..I know all my Mum wants is for me to be happy, she wants to see my smile and joke around. I guess with the 'success' part is more to do with my sense of self. At various time I've called up helplines and they've all said that I'm so harsh on myself. I've always struggled to offer myself any sort of compassion. Regarding 'fuck ups' my Parents said the same thing - I haven't killed anyone or stolen from anyone so I shouldn't think of it as one almighty fuck up. I did some volunteer work with vulnerable adults after my breakdown last year so I feel frustrated because I'm back where I was this time last year. I also smoked a lot of weed from about 17-21. I have no doubt at all that the weed (combined with my personality) had a very detrimental effect on me. I know nothing about your Son, but I hope that the weed isn't keeping him in a bad head space. Thanks again for your kind words x

  • Lovely post bonkerswoman

  • Dear JayK.

    I can relate to your situation on so many different levels, I had my first bout of anxiety in 1997 when I found out that someone had used my personal details in a big mortgage fraud. The following year it happened again. I was only 19 and 20 ant the time. We are both the same age. From then on, anxiety detached me from others, I have always been a private person, but I felt and still feel very isolated in the fact that I perceive myself as being different.

    I am going through another serious bout of anxiety, it has been coming on since January of this year, I have been burring my head in the sand and hoping it would go away but it just worsened. Last year, I went through another situation were I thought someone was my friend and she just turned out to be a scamming bitch! Basically, she ripped me off and got me arrested and I was in court. This was another period last year that I had heightened anxiety and by that time I went to the GP and was referred to a mental health worker. I was then diagnosed with GAD Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I had previously been taking Citalopram and now was also prescribed Pregabalin. I must admit. I stopped taking the Citalopram and just carried on with the Pregabalin. January - Early May 2013 is when I stopped the meds. I noticed a few side-affect but thought I was dealing with them. I started taking the Citapram again along-side the other meds and this is how I believe I ended up how I am right now.

    Recently I have felt suicidal. My main problem is if I do not get any sleep then my current symptoms are off the scale. Feel like I am going off my head. Today I have been trying to look for answers on the net and came across this site and your story.

    Basically to summarise. I feel like a no waster. I know how it came about this time as I was dealing with coming of the Citalopram and I have been doing my house up and have loads of un finished jobs. I was thinking of them constantly and planning to do them and nothing was changing. I also have so much family stress where they are all back stabbers. I have no support from my family What-So-Ever. I talk top my mum. She is a different generation and does not understand. I grew up in a family where I was constantly tormented and picked on by my So-Called older brother. He is a nasty piece of work!

    I now know I am going to have to use this bout of illness as a turning point in my life as it will break my to a point of no return.

    I hope you can reflect on this. I welcome any support from others.

    Thank you.

  • Hi. I'm sorry to hear that you're going through such a bad time. I truly hope that you can use this bout of illness to turn your life around. Have you tried reaching out to any support groups? e.g. depression or anxiety support groups. You may find comfort in meeting other people who feel like you do. I understand how the lack of sleep can have a really damaging effect. When I originally wrote the post I had only slept about 3 hours per night for that whole week and I felt mentally and physically screwed up. I've now gone back onto a low dos of meds and that's helped a lot. I really hope things improve for you x

  • Thanks JayK.

    We are all as one. Struggling to soldier on. I think a support group would do me go. I need to find one. x

  • Hello young Brummie, I used to live in dear old Brum. I miss it in many ways. There is, I think, more support there than where I live now. More opportunity too.

    I relate to you feeling different. So would my mother have done. So does my son. We aren't really different from the human race, we just don't see things in quite the same way. i guess if you asked many many people, they would say they feel different too. Especially if you are different from the rest of your family and it sounds like you are.

    It is so hard for lads in their thirties at this time. My lot have been lucky - born after the war and able to find work fairly easily and growing up in an atmosphere of hope - it is harder for you. But I think of my Dad and how he was born before WW2 and had to go East to fight for 6 years. If he had known what was coming, he wouldn't have wanted to be born. He never really got over the things he saw. Life is a great big lottery.

    I hope that you buy a winning ticket at some point and that your life turns around. Take it easy and try to concentrate on what is good in life. Take small steps and congratulate yourself on what you have achieved, because you have achieved much. You have come through this far!

    i wish you

  • Hello.

    I think you were replying to my blog? Your king words of wisdom are very welcome. I have never been offered any help like counselling, just medication.

    Thank you x

  • Hi I don't if this will help. Ihave been through a lot in life there's more than I can mention. I had a child when I was 18 got married 2 years later found out my sisters having an affair with my husband they ended up getting married. I lived from pillar to post. I remarried had a son in 2004 he passed away at 3 in 2008 my daughter ended up in hospital dat killed me. The remarried had 2 kids sold my house thinkin I want to do a business things didn't work out I lost my car and eveything using citalopram it helps but want to leave it and take something herbal cz these pills are more damaging. But I won't lie it helps. But think about it first. U can take it but many people have to take it for years

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