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From Emily

 I’m Emily. I’m 33, living in Bristol, and I’ve been battling with severe anxiety and depression for years. It’s a constant struggle, and lately, it feels like I’m losing the fight. I work in healthcare, and the pressures of my job combined with my mental health issues are pushing me to my breaking point.

Being a nurse, you’d think I’d look on my own health, but mental health is a different beast. The pandemic made everything worse. The constant fear, the long hours, the trauma – it was too much. I’m burnt out, physically and mentally. Every day is a battle to get out of bed, to put on a brave face for my patients and colleagues.

I’ve always been a high achiever, but now, even simple tasks feel monumental. The anxiety is crippling. I’m constantly worried about making mistakes, about not being good enough. The depression makes it hard to find joy in anything. I used to love my job, but now it’s just a source of stress and misery.

My family and friends try to be supportive, but they don’t really get it. They see me as strong, capable, but inside I’m falling apart. I’ve pushed people away because I don’t want them to see me like this. It’s lonely, isolating. The few people who do know the extent of my struggles urge me to take time off, but the guilt of leaving my team short-staffed is unbearable. Plus, I’m terrified that if I stop, I won’t be able to start again.

Therapy helps, but it’s slow going. Some days, I feel like I’m making progress, and then something happens to set me back. It’s two steps forward, one step back. Medication helps too, but finding the right balance is a challenge. I hate feeling dependent on pills, but I know I need them to function.

The worst part is the feeling of hopelessness. It’s like a dark cloud hanging over me, no matter what I do. I’ve thought about ending it all more times than I care to admit. The only thing that stops me is thinking about my family. They need me, even if I don’t feel like I’m much use to anyone right now.

Work is a constant source of stress. The healthcare system is stretched thin, and all are feeling the strain. The lack of resources, the constant pressure, the emotional toll – it’s relentless. I’ve seen doctors leave, unable to cope, and I don’t blame them. But I can’t bring myself to do it. I’ve dedicated my life to this job, and walking away feels like giving up.

I try to take care of myself, to find moments of peace in the chaos. Yoga, meditation, long walks – they help, but it’s never enough. The anxiety and depression are always there, like fucking ghosts under my bed.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time

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