Hello and welcome to mikesmind.org!
I’m Mike and this is my site and my attempt to document my journey through my mental health issues and to discuss my progress, what has helped me in the past and what I am currently trying. I also hope to create a set of resources that others with similar challenges may find useful.
I’m 40 years old and live in Leeds with my ridiculously patient wife. I have been experiencing mental health issues on and off for around 20 years. The first major incident I can remember was when I was 19 and had recently joined the Armed Forces.
Whilst I enjoyed some aspects of the experience, ultimately the lifestyle and culture did not work for me and I ended up taking a number of overdoses of painkillers. I don’t think there was ever a genuine intent to commit suicide and I believe now that it was more the classic cry for help. Clearly it’s not a good idea to be equipping people with mental health issues with automatic rifles so I ultimately was given an honourable discharge.
After leaving the Army I drifted between various different jobs including being a car valeter, a bar tender and working in a processed meat factory ( I didn’t each luncheon meat for a LONG time after that one…)
Ultimately I somehow ended up working in web development and Internet marketing which is what stuck and I am still doing that today.
During that time I went through intermittent bouts of depression, stress and anxiety leading to a period of self-harm and whilst I haven’t deliberately tried to harm myself for over 15 years, I still have both the physical and mental scars today to remind me of that time.
I tried medication around that time and went on a course of Fluoxetine (Prozac) but gave up early on, not fully appreciating at the time that it wasn’t an immediate fix. I also started a course of CBT but again at the time I didn’t give it a chance and was fairly dismissive of the process and decided to try and just battle through things on my own.
Around 8 years ago my Mum was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and passed away 5 years ago. My dad having previously passed away when I was 15 years old and this proved to be a particularly difficult time and any progress that I had made previously started to slip.
A number of unfortunate events a couple of years ago led me to look again at some form of support. I was referred for CBT and was diagnosed with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and OCD. It has also been observed that I show many traits consistent with ADHD.
The second attempt at CBT was much more successful and I stuck with it for the whole course of treatment despite it being an extremely unpleasant process at times!
Around 8 months ago I had another bout of bad luck and that combined with the pressures of starting a new job finally pushed me to revisit the medication route and about 3 months ago I started on a course of anti anxiety and anti depression medication. I am also working on arranging a further course of CBT Treatment as well as making a number of lifestyle changes which I will discuss elsewhere.
About the Site
As I mention above, my aim for this site is both to document my own progress, use it as a storage place for any resources I find and also hopefully to try and help others. There is still a huge stigma around mental health and there are many issues that are not treated in the same was as more tangible physical conditions and I hope to contribute towards changing this.
There are already many sites on the topic out there but every case is different and what works for some people doesn’t work for others and I hope that by talking about my own experiences I can contribute to building a greater number of coping meachnisms and thinsg that people can try.