Hi, who, why, where, what & when??

Not sure if I am posting this to correct place (my first dipping toe-in-water) to be honest not sure why I am doing this, if it will help or just help pass the next few minutes.

I am 45 yours old, I have never suffered any form of mental ill-health (though have other health challenges along the way). About 16 weeks ago I started experiencing panic attacks. At first I didn't know what was happening to me, but the frequency (5 to 6 day, everyday) and the intensity meant they very quickly impact what I was doing.

Within a matter of days there were followed by anxiety, my emotions become overwhelmed and would end-up in me being curled-up in floods and tears, unable to console myself.

I have no idea why these things came from, why, how to stop them or what to do.

As someone with my own business (employing 25 staff), I have always been very busy and focused. I enjoyed facing new challenges and was at my best when managing multiple overlapping tasks. (Despite what people say men can multi-task!)

At this time a long standing friend was having relationship problems and I focused on helping her. It was great, I get away from focusing on what was effecting me and felt I was helping someone else and making a real difference. Unfortunately, it didn't last.

This person took advantage of my situation and decreasing ability to focus on my issues, deliberately and knowingly took actions that caused me pain and after taking all the financial help I could provide, turned her back on our friendship to sequence her relationship with her new boyfriend (despite fact this was only possible because of support and encouragement I had provided).

Added to this my 15 year marriage was (is) in trouble. This is nothing new, we have become friends but have slept in separate rooms for 7+ years and share no physical intimacy (touching, holding hands, hugging). I do have a 10 year old son, who means the world to me.

My situation is further compounded as I have been unable to do a single days work in 8 weeks. I have simply dropped off the radar, leaving my manager to cope.

So, 16 weeks ago I started experiencing panic attacks, now, the depression has consumed every part of my life and doing anything is difficult.

I'm living alone, struggling to accept that setting holes such as getting out of bed before 2pm is acceptable.

The hardest things is seeing the impact on those around me, especially my son.

When with family, I am easily irritated and overwhelmed, I snap and find engaging in activates, just sitting with him playing a game impossible. I see his disappointment and his struggle to understand. He has a farther who no longer lives with him and when with him is on edge.

I know I should be doing more, I need to do more, that I have let my manager simply take on a huge work burden, at less than an ideal time, but I can't. Not one email, not one meeting and the work in mounting. I also know it's not sustainable and if this continues could destroy the business and people will loose their jobs. I know this, these people matter to me, so why can't I act and why so easly dismiss the things I need to do.

I have been seeing a experienced therapist for around 8 weeks and she is great, been very supportive. When I wasn't eating and had no food in the house, she gave me the oppertunity to get things sorted but if hadn't of gone to the shop myself she was going to order food on-line!

The CBT is helping (I think) but the depression seems to have eaten away at everything. However I felt when this started, I now feel I have no merrit, no purpose, no value and am responsible for so much damage and pain, I hate it.

I am also taking anti-depressants and again (think they are helping).

There isn't a single explanation, a simple answer and trying to understand what is happening is difficult. Learning to accept this as an illness and not focus on what I can't do is something I fail at time and time again.

The final part of my pain has been seeing the few friends I have/had (hard to maintain friendships when have family, running a business etc) distance themselves. Initially they asked 'how are you?' and offered to help, come round and talk. Now (by text) they say 'hope you ok' (they don't want to know). They are busy and can't meet or come round (I understand they have busy live, it's Christmas and who wants to spend time with someone feeling like me.)

In last few weeks there have been a couple of times I thought it would be better just to end things, let people get on with their lives and end my pain. Yet I know this isn't the answer, and causes more pain.

So... I find myself here (writing a long, rambling into (sorry about that)

I do feel, that if I can make a connection it will help and I wan't feel quite so alone.

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14 Replies

  • You mention other health issues not sure what they are but sometimes they can be connected

    This is a link to a site providing information on B12 Deficiency - one of the symptoms is depression and anxiety. You might find it useful to explore other symptoms and see if there is a fit.

    The site also gives you lots of advice on what to do if you feel that you may be suffering from a B12 deficiency. Getting a correct diagnosis can be a bit of a battle.


  • Hi Gambit62,

    The health issues I skipped over are a trio of auto immune conditions. One problem with auto-immune is that they can be difficult to diagnose/confirm.

    In my case the conditions where confirmed only after having a stoke (age 41) as result of blood clotting (caused by one of them). I spent several weeks in hospital, eating baby food, learning to walk and talk (sure there are times now, people wish I hadn’t regained that particular ability!) etc. These days you probably wouldn't know I had ever had a stroke and I consider myself very lucky.

    The auto immune conditions are now managed and have only occasional negative impact.

    That said, years of doctors, hospitals, tests etc., even though leading to final diagnosis and management of conditions could be a contributory factor.

    We all probably carry a lot of 'baggage' around with us and even matters we think might be 'resolved' take their toll.

    It is said, that it's the straw that breaks the camel’s back. For me, this is probably true. Whatever the trigger for my situation it was insignificant in comparison to many things that had gone before it, but whatever it was, it was too much

    (if you pardon the pun... not worth getting the hump over through!!)


  • If you have had a stroke and have auto-immune problems I would definitely make sure that medics have looked at your B12 levels. One cause of B12D is an autoimmune condition called Pernicious Anaemia. B12 deficiency is often linked to autoimmune conditions and one of the consequences of B12 deficiency is build up of homocysteine in your system (can also happen if folate levels are low as both are needed to recycle it to something safe and useful) ... and homocysteine is a major factor in cardio-vascular problems including strokes.

    Unfortunately it isn't on most medics radar so don't assume it has been looked at.

  • Thank you.

    Hope I didn't give impression in my reply that I had dismissed your suggestion (that was not my intention).

    I will, as you advise, ensure that my B12 level is checked.

  • Suggest that you also look at the PAS forum on health unlocked and you might find the following links useful/interesting.




    Unfortunately there isn't a really good test for B12 deficiency

  • Well first off your not alone, we will be feeling the pinch tonight, who wants to start next year feeling hopeless.

    Men are supposed to be good at logic, so I will appeal to your sense of reason, the biggest one being you cant change anything once your dead! They take your body and your mind off you.

    I had a panic attack once ...only once when my Dad died, it was shocking. In the middle of the night I thought my heart was going to stop! So I do understand. If you still have a therapist maybe ask if your attacks are cause by the same as mine was, I suddenly became aware of my own mortality, that I wasnt going to live forever! I know we all know it, but feeling it is something else, maybe it has just dawned on your brain?

    Either way Young Mark the Panic Attacks have to stop you cant keep going on like that!

    In the good corner you can take solice from the fact that at one point a number of your ducks were in a line, so if youve done it once in your life you can do it again. Why? Because YOU are the common denominator, it is your energy, your focus, your talents that brought it all together and whose still around...ah yes you.

    I think some of this is due to the curse that is New Years Eve, so forget that, treat it as any ole evening. Watch a film, rest, listen to music, chill out, nothing you can do tonight anyway. Everyone is on holiday!

    Really I would suggest for as long as you can, as often as you can DO NOTHING other than be super kind to yourself. You need some healing time, a rest, you will come back all the strong if you just let go of the oars for a bit.

    Maybe you could join an anxiety group if you need to talk and just talk to your friends about the weather, some friend are ill equipped to deal with others problems. Some friends maybe depressed themselves and you wouldn't know it.

    Im guessing you are off work for now, so rest you are ALLOWED to rest in the holidays. Try and remember who you were and what made you happy. Did you love the Arts, Music, History, Science, fixing things, go back to the things that used to make you happy 100 years ago, re-explore them and life will slowly feel like a the adventure it once was.

    I would suggest NOT trying to cure yourself, but trying to find a better feeling place, easing in to letting go and a big one trying to live in the moment (it will help you long term)

    Right sermon over, now if you want to tell me if money were no object what would you do what would make you happy. Thoughts, ideas, daydreaming costs nothing and hurt no one, everything in this life started with a thought first.

    The other's here are much better at the touchy feely stuff than me, but I did want to say " I hear you"

    Who knows what 2015 has instore for any of us, this time next year you could be sipping a cocktail on the beaches of Hawaii...only if you are, mind my towel please! If I have put my towel on that deck chair its mine!!...now move along.

    Big Hug XX

  • Thanks for your reply and my apologies for not responding sooner.

    It is very difficult for me to hear or even read (and impossible for me to write or say) anything with a positive message directed at myself.

    There have been times when I thought it would be better to end things, let people get on with their lives. Equally whilst I have taken steps along that path, I do know it's not ‘right’. (Not saying ‘wrong’ but for moment accepting it’s ‘not right’… there is a difference but you have to want it and it’s not worth the energy!)

    I do know that it causes harm and gives no hope for reconciliation, reparation, re-building, and undermines the inherent value of life (not just detracting from an abstract concept of existence, but practically devaluing the worth, experience and value of those left behind).

    That said, I keeping hoping for a 'third way', just not found it yet.

    As you say, men are supposed to me logical, one of my ‘characteristics’ is I have a tendency to over-think things, considering a myriad of outcomes, responses and rebuttals to each. I follow each item to the next step, then forward and back to three others, link it to the other ‘thing’ and go round and round and round in circles. I keep trying to apply this to my current condition and I get nowhere, it doesn’t add up. The only logical conclusion, is that it is illogical. (Bit like human right legislation, you can argue it every which way and an ‘offence’ can be circumvented as the 'offender' has rights alongside the ‘offended’. Please, don't ask me why I chase that analogy, it's the irony of the application of legislation that amuses me!)

    Your comment with regards ‘your ducks were in a line’:

    (Wishing to avoid the ‘tongue-in-cheek’ response of saying: ‘crackers’!).

    (Sorry, who knew, by telling you what I wasn’t going to tell you, I accidently told you!).

    Thing is, I do take your point…BUT at moment everything is falling down (and I do mean everything). It seems increasingly likely that I may (by my inability to act) have to watch as things fall apart. The only glimmer I can see, is that if (sorry, when) I am able to overcome/manage my illness, I may be able to regain control of the attributes that enabled me to build my old life. (Feel s like letting an old building fall down, clearing the rubble, flattening the land and re-building.)

    The ‘falling down’ does seem inevitable, I see it happening. I see the impact on others, the consequences that cascade further and further each day. I hate that this is happening because of me, I know it’s my fault, I know I am responsible, I know I should have acted, I know I need to act……I know I can’t 

    On a more positive (though in comparison seemingly insignificant):

    1.I am learning to control the panic attacks – though they can be painful and very distressing.

    2.The number of anxiety ‘outbursts’ has decreased (if only because I don’t have the energy to main them)

    3.I am on anti-depressants – been taking them for about 8/10 weeks

    4.I do have an exceptional therapist (CBT, EMDR), who I see once, sometimes twice a week. She commits for more hours than I pay for and although on holiday had emailed me throughout Christmas and New Year.

    5.I will be seeing a Clinical Psychologist (this Wednesday)

    6.I have tried arranging for a ‘mental health support worker’, to work with me at home (one or two hours a day), help me focus, ensure I maintain minimum daily actions, provide motivation and feedback. Unfortunately first company I used, despite assurances sent someone who wasn’t experienced or qualifies. So back to drawing board on that one!

    I do struggle to accept the illness and its impact, I try not feeling that I should be able to do more or that it’s not my fault…but finding that very difficult.

    The extent to which I wholeheartedly and sincerely believe I am of no value, have nothing to offer, nothing to give, that I am unworthy, a waste of space, means that if someone says anything even remotely supportive (never mind positive about me as a person) I get upset, can’t face them, walk away and want to curl-up and disappear.

    There are things/activities I have done previously Skiing, Walking, Rock climbing, archery, tennis, swimming, cinema, meals out etc but I either don’t have the inclination to engage or where I do find no pleasure. I have a bag a packed, ready for the gym, still in hallway!

    You ask ‘if money were no object what would’...make me happy:

    Honest answer, I don’t know! It’s a good question and I have thought about it but nothing comes to mind. (I have plenty of ‘old’ ideas of what I would do if had had mountains of cash etc but these are just dreams that fix problems, none of them personal and as fanciful as being able to turn back the tide).

    There is something, somewhere inside me that is holding on to an aspiration that things will get better, that I can build something new, replenish and revitalise.. it’s there but it’s light shines a little less bright, it’s voice grows a little quitter (that’s not to say I am hearing voices – that would be a whole new problem!) each day.

    WOW… Sorry… nothing I have said is intended to detract from the support you have shown and the sound advice you have given.

    Thank you


  • Hiya

    Sent you a private message, I hope it stops the momentum for you and helps you breathe, fingers crossed.


  • As Caroline says you aren't alone and there is no way you should think that the world would be a better place without you in it.

    I think many can relate to having become overwhelmed with life, stress, anxiety in their 40s never having experienced anything previously.

    I had a breakdown this year. Severe anxiety. Didn't want to eat for several weeks. Unable to engage with anything or anybody. Lost friends. Didn't want to get up but had to as live with my partner. Would do anything not to leave the house. Didn't want to go back to work.

    You are doing everything you can. You have an illness and you are trying to treat this with medication and counselling. Give yourself time to get well. Goodness me you have a lot of stress and responsibility. Be kind to yourself and yes you are setting small goals like getting up before 2pm which probably seem ridiculous to someone so driven but remember be compassionate to yourself.

    Does your wife/ex wife understand what you are going through? Could she help to explain what is going on to your son? I'm sure he knows you love him, he just needs to know you aren't well at the moment.

    Again don't beat yourself up about what you aren't doing. I understand that you have concern about your business. If you aren't able to be involved at the moment is there someone else you trust and with the skills who could step in to help? Your wife? Or someone else to help your manager?

    Take care of yourself,

    Sarah x

  • Hi 21esme

    Firstly let me thank you for responding to my post and apologise for not replying sooner.

    Of all the ‘challenges’ presented by the depression the hurdle I keep tripping over, is that of simply accepting it. Instinctively, I want to work it out, I want to understand…WHY?

    It’s not deliberate, but I haven’t yet learned to accept that it’s different and consequently (automatically) applying established (old) skills to new situation. So, even now I battle with this and getting the balance of acceptance, insight and time to heal.

    My ex/wife does know what is happening and I have spoken to my son to try and explain (best I can) the illness and how it impacts. He is 10 years old, very sensible, bright and caring. When we spoke with him, he thanked me for telling him, for explaining and said ‘at least I now understand’.

    What is difficult for him (as it is for others) and me, are the day to day setbacks. No arrangement is set in stone, they can’t be and too many times no matter how much I want to, how much he needs me to, I can’t engage.

    Those times are hardest. I have let him down, that it’s the illness and not a wilful act of neglect, doesn’t really lesson the disappointment he fees or my feeling both at the inability to engage and then knowing the impact it will have. Where the hurt is less it’s only because it’s now not new!

    I do what I can…

    I speak to him on the phone, if not ‘Face time’ at least once a day and always tell him that I love him that he is important and I am proud of him. Guess fact that it’s difficult is a good thing in some ways and again comes back to me accepting. (I will get the message sooner or later).

    Thanks for your comments with regards my business. I do have a manager in place and other staff covering some duties whilst some projects on hold. Equally although still unable to engage, I know the impact could be significant. Practically, everything that can be done has been.

    That most of this feels negative; please know it doesn’t detract from your reply or my appreciation for your comments, advice and understanding.

    Although I wasn’t sure about joining never mind posting, I am glad I did. Early days, but I’ve started to appreciate that being here can help, that it does help.

    Thank you


  • Mark,

    Baby steps, early days. Just be kind and compassionate to yourself. It is hard to do that and acceptance is incredibly hard. It takes time. You are doing all you can and recovery will take how long it takes. Be patient.

    The forum helped me when I joined earlier this year as I didn't feel so alone. I didn't understand what I was going through and felt such a failure but just reading other people's posts made me on occasion less alone in how I was feeling.


  • Hi Mark

    Just reading your Post now and I want to welcome you here.

    Depression is hard to deal with and the trouble is that it

    Can impact on work, family/relationships and it can hit like a thunderbolt.

    You are doing all you can to get better, as you progress with your treatment,

    You will see little chinks of light beginning to show through

    Try and be really kind and gentle with yoursel as you deserve that, Sarah and Caroline have both written great Replys to you .

    Stay around and we will get to give you a bit of support , as you are worth it.

    You have brought up a lot of things that can happen to anyone who

    Is hit with Depression.


  • Hi Photogeek

    Thanks for welcoming me to the site and reply to my post.

    Coming to terms with depression is proving very difficult and I have been surprised by the impact it has had and my inability to manage better than I have.

    That I feel as I do about myself came out of nowhere. I don’t remember when it started or why but it’s now such a pervasive factor and so destructive.

    I wasn’t sure what to expect when I joined, not convinced that being part of such a community could make a difference. Although early days, I am glad I did and am sure it will be a big help.

    I do appreciate you taking the time to respond and the understanding you have shown.

    Thank you


  • Hi Mark

    Thanks for that. Yes I know it can be a hard thing to join a Forum like

    This, but it has helped me a lot. It's that feeling that I'm not alone,

    That other people here understand what I'm going through. I get

    Something from everyone here Mark, and everyone genuinely try's

    To help. It will take a while to get to know us all, but I think it will

    Help you.