I have problems with severe anxiety, I tend to feel more comfortable staying in by myself and so that I don’t have to interact with others. Have no close friends. Have experienced several traumatic experiences from age 20 and up: death of both parents, miscarriage, physically and mentally abusive relationships (2). I was diagnosed with depression 6 years ago. No therapy given. I have 6 suicide attempts, none in the last 3 years but always in my mind. I self harm, (cutting).
Sometimes I feel like I am going insane. I can’t control my thoughts, I spend all day doing nothing, can’t focus. Could I have a mental illness and how to get help?
The fact that you have severe anxiety may indicate that you have an anxiety disorder. Generally speaking, when anxiety is left untreated it tends to become worse. By only engaging in activities that make you feel comfortable and by avoiding all anxiety-provoking situations, you could be making your anxiety worse. Fear and avoidance reinforces anxiety. Think of it as a form of self-sabotage; short-term relief, long-term harm.
Anxiety seems to be a problem but so does trauma. You experienced several significant traumas which could be negatively impacting your life. The traumas may be linked to your depression and anxiety.
It’s possible that you have a mental health disorder or several, but it’s much more important to focus on seeking treatment. Depression and anxiety are some of the most common mental health conditions. They are easily treated with psychotherapy and medication. Many people successfully overcome these conditions and you can too, but you must be willing to fully participate in treatment to have the best chance for success. Therapy only works if someone wants to change and is willing to do what is necessary to make those changes.
These issues have plagued you for at least six years. It’s time that you made the decision to seek treatment so you can avoid spending the next six years, or the rest your life, needlessly suffering with symptoms that are curable. Choose a therapist who specializes in trauma, depression and anxiety. Primary care physicians can provide referrals to mental health professionals. You may also want to ask your friends or family if they can recommend a good therapist. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle