Welcome to MENTAL

A collection of stories ON mental health experiences

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“I would like to give a massive pat on the back to everyone who suffers with any type of mental illness. You are so strong, and please be gentle with yourself.”

I have had anxiety all of my life.  When I was around the age of six it got bad. Then I grew up, and it hid away most of the time - only coming out for the occasional hello.

In December of 2016, my anxiety overstayed its usual hello. It started off slowly. At first I just withdrew myself a little and blamed it on the excuse - "I'm just reading a really good book". I left my house and went out occasionally. Then all of a sudden it was like I was drowning and there was nothing I could do to help myself, everyone was throwing life jackets to me, but I couldn't grip any of them.

I withdrew completely. I stopped leaving my house, then I stopped leaving my room. I would stay in my room, in my bed with the door shut and not come out until everyone was asleep. Only then would I go to the bathroom or maybe eat for the first time that day. I didn't shower, brush my teeth or hair; I was a wreck. The anxiety wasn't just anxiety anymore, it had invited its friend depression to the party.

When you don't leave your room you get sad. It hurt me so badly every time I was invited somewhere or I missed out on something. I so badly wanted to go but I couldn't bring myself to do it. A lot of people say to me, "it's easy, nothing about this is scary just do it". When your entire being is telling you that you can't do something, finding the strength to overcome that is something I was unable to muster.  

I can't say it got better on its own, like magic. It didn't. I ended up on antidepressants to help my anxiety and give me an extra push. They did their job;, I started leaving the house again, going to family events and then doing a course to help me get my levels.

It was not easy, not at all. Recovering is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life. Alongside my mental illnesses, I also have Type 1 Diabetes, which I have had since I was six years old. Dealing with that while I was in the state I was last year is a whole other story. But the meds did their job and life got a little less bad, yet the side effects for myself personally were terrible. I experienced constant nausea, which sounds horrible for anyone, but for me it was worse. I have emetophobia - a fear of vomit. Not a fun combination.

A little over a month ago I weaned myself off the medication (with the help of a doctor) and have been experiencing much less nausea. I still have bad days and moments, but life does get better. I am going to therapy to try and help with my phobia, then move onto another type of therapy to help me develop coping methods.

If I can do it, I think anyone can.

I would like to give a massive pat on the back to everyone who suffers with any type of mental illness. You are so strong, and please be gentle with yourself. You are not alone. There are people who understand. This probably isn't going to go away on its own, but if you reach out and get help then it will make daily life less of a struggle.


If the content on this website is distressing or triggering, or, if you are worried about your or someone else's mental health, we have provided in contact details below for you to speak with a professional. If you or someone else is in danger or endangering others, call the police immediately on 111.

• NEED TO TALK? Free call or text 1737 any time for support from a trained counsellor (available 24/7)
• LIFELINE: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• SUICIDE CRISIS HELPLINE: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• YOUTHLINE: 0800 376 633
• KIDSLINE: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
•WHATSUP: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)

“I’m 51-year-old NZ male and my story starts at an early age of 12 years old.”

“To this day, being with horses is the one thing that can allow my brain to rest and simply focus on what I am doing in the moment.”