Hi, My name is

Hello. My name is Joanne. And I have mental health problems. Seems easy that doesn’t it? It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard. It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit


My name is Joanne.

And I have mental health problems.

Seems easy that doesn’t it?

It’s not. It’s hard. It’s really hard.

It’s one of the hardest things that I’ve ever had to admit to myself.

That I had problems and I needed help.

That I needed help more than I could ever have imagined.

The trigger of my illness? My daughter suddenly passing so unexpectedly. Things I saw on that day. Things I didn’t want to see. Things I didn’t want to hear. Things that I had no control over. Things that I couldn’t stop. Things I couldn’t change.

Of course I was grieving for my daughter but I thought I was normal. I thought everyone grieved like I was.

Turns out that I wasn’t though.

I was one of the lucky ones. If you can call me that. I didn’t feel lucky after losing our daughter. Although I was lucky. Lucky to get quick access to an amazing NHS psychologist – because if I hadn’t have done, I know that I wouldn’t be here today.

That might sound dramatic. It’s not though, it’s the truth.

My darling husband realised that I wasn’t functioning as I should be. That I wasn’t grieving like he was. That I was different. That something was wrong.

I didn’t want to believe it. I’m glad he made me go to the doctors though. It saved me.

I was diagnosed with

Severe Anxiety

Severe Depression

Severe PTSD

Panic attacks

Complex Grief

So, as you can see. It turns out that I wasn’t just grieving.

It’s roughly 4 years down the line now since my first psychologist session, when I didn’t really say much,I just sat and cried and then got angry. It’s a little different nowadays I talk more, I pour my heart out sometimes. I was there just last week. It’s not an easy fix to deal with mental health problems.

It’s hard work.

Its emotional.

It’s heartbreaking.

It’s torturous.

But as the old saying goes, “it’s good to talk”. It truly is.

Some days I can’t function. I feel like I’m failure as a wife, as a Mum, as friend … as everything.

These illnesses nearly cost us our marriage, nearly cost us the chance of having more children. I could’ve ran away. I wanted Dan to be with someone who could make him happy. Not to be with someone who cried herself to sleep most nights, that woke up and didn’t want to speak to him, that didn’t want to socialise. I wanted to leave so he could be happy. But he loves me more than I could ever have imagined and he stood by me and he’s my rock.

Social media is full of all these fabulous photographs that are photoshopped, edited, filtered – often we only see what people want us to see. They want you to see that their life is perfect and oh so happy.

So here is an unfiltered, unedited, unattractive photograph of what I looked like after a very recent anxiety attack and this is after nearly 5 years of having them. I took this 3 weeks go, not knowing if or when I was going to show it – but today seems right to do so, on World Mental Health Day. There was a trigger for this attack, I’ll talk about it in another blog when I’m ready …

After this attack, I was burnt out for a couple of days. It’s not like this just for a few minutes, the after effects always last a few days and it takes a while to piece me back together – but Dan and Leo always do this for me and help me through it.

So now you’ve read this, I’ve said this before.

Time to text that friend who you might not have heard from in a while, that might have been distant, that might have seemed rude last time that you spoke to them.

They could need that text more than you could imagine tonight. Offer them a brew. It might take them 3 months to take you up on the offer, but they will, when they’re ready. Let them know you’ll wait.

Mental Health does scare people, that’s not a surprise at all.

But the person it scares the most, is the person who is suffering and they might not even know it.

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4 thoughts on “Hi, My name is

  1. Thank you, thank you for your honest post.
    I feel like this all the time and so often think I’m the only one in the world that could possibly feel the way I am.
    Sending so much love and admiration xx

  2. I dont know what to say………………it literally breaks my heart. You are an inspiration to so many, some who have gone through horrendous times and others who haven’t. Lots and lots of love to you and your family Joanne xx

  3. I finished 10 years of therapy a year ago and like yourself i have several diagnoses including PTSD and anxiety. I think I’m doing ok although as the time goes on the struggles seem to get gradually that bit bigger.
    Your picture to me is actually strikingly beautiful because it is real, it is honest and it says (to me at least) that if in the worst of moments we can just hang on that little bit longer the intense feelings of panic, fear, anger, sorrow, sadness, whatever, will pass and we can make it through to the other side (of the crisis event). Most of my worst suicidal episodes have been during periods of extreme anxiety, that feeling of just needing it to end, but I have learned to tell myself over and over that it won’t last forever, to seek help in whatever form i might need at any given time (gp, friends, A+E, etc), and to try to just go with it, let it happen and let it run it’s course.
    It is draining and when you are already worn out from being chronically depressed or anxious it literally floors you. I think grief is one of the toughest processes we will ever go through both mentally and physically and the grief for a lost child is the worst kind of grief there will ever be. You are so lucky to have found your Dan and that he has loved you and stood by you, but please don’t fall into the way of thinking that many of us with mental illness do and attribute this entirely to Dan’s strength, goodness and loyalty (all of which are amazing btw!). For Dan to love you this much you have to credit yourself with being worthy of this love (or it simply would not exist!), for him to want to be by your side no matter how hard you tried to push him away means that he must have a need to be there, that he would rather be there than anywhere else. And that’s because of who you are and what you bring to his life, even at your absolute worst, your most broken. His life was always better for having you in it. That’s pretty wonderful, hey? You are both utterly amazing people and i know that whatever comes your way you will get through it because you have faced the worst life has to offer and are still facing it all together.
    All we can do as far as mental illness goes is live day by day, sometimes hour by hour, and do the best we can. We will fail, we will fall, we will drown and we will hurt but as long as we keep on going, if that’s all we manage to do then we are doing enough. Sending you love and hope xxx

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