Struggling with mental health

I wrote this in the middle of the night recently, crying, unable to sleep, overwhelmed with panic and despair. The first version went up on Facebook. I’m mostly trying to out a brave face onto my online presence – easy to hide behind a screen. But, I doubt I’m the only one feeling this way and I think it needs talking about.

TW – Suicide issues.

Like a lot of people, I was suffering from anxiety and depression before the virus. There has never been much help available for us, and now there will be less.

Many of us have lost key things that were keeping us going. We may express hurt over that online – the loss of the gym, the dance class, the pub time, the live music – we may not be being super selfish when we express distress. We may be talking about the things that helped us stay alive. Depression also kills people. Knocking people back for expressing distress or difficult, really doesn’t help.

It’s really hard for me, reading people saying ‘stay in’ and ‘don’t see anyone’ with a clear message that anything other than total isolation makes you a terrible person. I’m really struggling with feeling like a terrible person, I expect I’m not alone. I don’t do much going out at the moment, and I’m being careful and have been for weeks. But I’m also not sleeping, and crying a lot, and terrified of being trapped in this flat and what that would do to my already poor mental health.

Tom has some serious anxiety issues and for him, being trapped in a building is deeply problematic.

So maybe don’t share the memes about how all you have to do is sit on the couch, it isn’t that hard. For some of us, isolation could well be a death sentence.

And yes, lots of anxiety about how selfish I am in not wanting to end up suicidal. I’ve been through periods of wanting to kill myself before now, I’m fighting not to go back there. I’m seeing people online hoping the virus will take them quickly because they’ve already lost the will to live. I see the same thoughts creeping in with me. ‘Selfish’ can be something of a trigger term for me and again I suspect I’m not alone. I think people who kill themselves often do so because they think its the best thing they can do for the people around them. What else is there, if the things you do to try and stay alive are deemed selfish?

I know many of you are new to massive anxiety, and you just want everyone else to be more sensible so you and your loved ones are safe. Of course you want that. But some of us were only ever holding on by our fingertips, and now things are worse. Please, when you go online to vent your fear, consider how it might sound to someone who is having a mental breakdown. Someone – for example – for whom going outside for a run, or a walk is the one tool they have left to manage their failing mental health.

Your suicidal friend probably won’t tell you how they feel because that’s part of how this illness plays out. They won’t ask for help, especially not if what they need is time with another human being. You won’t know who is in trouble, most likely. Yes, isolation saves lives. Kindness also saves lives, and your depressed friends need to know that their lives matter too and that they are not failing as human beings for wanting or needing things that are difficult at the moment.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

46 responses to “Struggling with mental health

  • locksley2010

    I am very sorry to read you feel this way. Anything more I can do to help?

  • druidcat

    Solidarity and more understanding than I wish we both had. Virtual hugs and distance love to you all xx

  • Helen Bell

    I hear you – struggling with depression and anxiety is incredibly difficult and an everyday fact for many many people. There is nothing selfish about feeling the loss of things which support your mental health. As you say, there’s precious little help out there at the best of times. I wish you well.

  • SharonJayne

    I hear you, and just want to say that I read every word with my head nodding in agreement. Your life matters to me. Sending much cyber-caring your way, Nimue.

  • anaelleamaya

    I understand you. Your life matters ๐Ÿ’– I am very interested to read your blog every day. I am sending you hugs and prayers ๐ŸŒป You can also write to me if you want. Is it possible for you to talk via e.g. Skype to your friends? And I also try to have some exercise at home. Sometimes even dancing alone home (Wishing that no-one sees me : ) ๐ŸŒบ Love, we all care about you ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’– ๐Ÿ’– Do not give up on depression!

    • Nimue Brown

      One of the things for me is that the more trouble I am in, the less able I am to interact with people. Things I need to work on.

      • anaelleamaya

        Yeah, I understand. I also (I am sorry about it …) am not so talkative or social. I left Facebook because of it. It was too social, stressfull :/ I consider being here in blog, and reading different people’s writings much more useful. And I am too busy – trying to learn witchcraft. But if you want to talk, just any time, please write to my e-mail: I try to answer straight I am having time ๐Ÿค— ๐ŸŒธ When I am not online, my cat is demanding attention ๐Ÿ˜ฟ He is very jealous to my PC ๐Ÿ˜‚

      • Nimue Brown

        thank you for the thought. The underlying nature of what’s awry with me makes it difficult to talk to people when I’m really in trouble, which is unhelpful.

      • anaelleamaya

        I see, I think you know the best, what to do when this ‘anxiety’ strikes. I believe it, because I have found my own medicine for that also ๐ŸŒบ Have a lovely Sunday ๐ŸŒบ

  • Yvonne Aburrow

    You matter to me, Nimue, your writing matters, your voice matters. You very often articulate feelings that other people do not. This is really important. Sending hugs, even if they are virtual ones.

    You are still allowed to go out for a walk in most places, as far as I know. It’s also OK to mute/block/unfollow anyone who is saying unhelpful things. I don’t know if you are still on Facebook, but I found that my mental health improved immeasurably after I quit Facebook. It’s almost as if it is designed to be depressing.

    The root of my depression was unresolved anger. I don’t know if that is the case for you, but just mentioning it in case it is helpful. I still have depressive tendencies, but once the main cause of the anger was resolved, it was less intense.

  • neptunesdolphins

    As long as you get out of bed, you are stronger than the depression. Make your bed demonstrates you can make order out of chaos. Making a cup of tea shows you care about yourself. If you do nothing else, you will still be having a good day.

  • ingvenning

    Keeping you and yours in my thoughts and prayers!

  • Jill

    You DO matter.
    Sending lots of love and blessings xxx

  • emberbear

    You matter a lot, Nimue. I care about you. Big hugs and love. ๐Ÿ’–

  • Finding Dara

    Some people may not understand, but some do. So please know that what you’re feeling is not wrong, it isn’t selfish. And you matter more than what you think. Sending virtual hugs. ๐Ÿ’•

  • Rick Finney

    Thanks, Nimue โ€” this is very timely, and I hope many people will read it. Taking this to heart could really help save lives. Iโ€™ve written to you before under a different name but can use my own name now as Iโ€™m writing on my private phone, and not a phone issued by my office. Please take care of yourself. You have a lot of friends out there.

  • Scott Tizzard

    Hi Nimue. I know you only through your books that I’ve read and your posts.In fact, I just finished reading your contribution in the book Godless Paganism regarding “Of Gods and Stories”. Thanks for that contribution; it was great! I read about your struggles and how bluntly open you are with your personal life and struggles. You literaly let people into your mind (and you into our hearts). I personaly think that you are one of the most courageous people I have come to know in a manner. No matter what shit gets thrown your way; no matter how craptastic a day you are having, you keep going. You find that strength within you to continue to walk forward. Somedays you may walk only a few feet and other days a few miles, so to speak, but you really don’t give up. That tells me alot about you. You are strong in your weakness; courageous in your fear; eloquent in your silence. You find a way and it isn’t always pretty or poetic, but who says life is always pretty and poetic. That spark in you; that alchemy of whatever the fuck keeps you walking is not the stuff of magic; it is your howling howl to the rest of us that says “never let the bastards keep you down”. It’s a whisper in the dark message to the ears of so many people that they, too, can get up and keep walking. That’s you Nimue; a human being doing the best she knows how. And, you know what, that’s good enough for each and every day. Blessings to you, Nimue /|\

  • Sana

    Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable!

  • potter

    Hey! I hope you are doing fine I just want to say that you are a beautiful being and so are your words. I appreciate the strength that you keep onto. Keep going and never lose Hope!โ™ก

  • Arisha Jana

    Worth a read for everyone!

  • greetingsmind

    You are totally not alone in this feeling, so please remember you are not isolated in that respect! If you read my post ‘Am I crazy?’ you’d find proof of that. I am hoping to create a safe space of trust and encouragement where we can discuss our issues and help eachother to keep strong and keep going. Be proud of yourself everyday just for getting up and surviving. These are hard scary times and you are doing brilliantly!

  • Dr. Naeema Rasheed

    Accidentally bumbed into this article. Got interested and read through as i am a doctor with keen interest in mental health. I was wondering if you haven’t considered medication, because this sounds like you need some help, and i don’t know if you already have. I practice Homeopathy and i have helped many patients come out of anxiety and depression, hence i also know how hard it is, from the experience of working with them. You can write to me at in case you need any help from my side. Very well written article btw. Stay strong and take care ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nimue Brown

      My understanding is that medication can only by me time in which to deal with underlying issues. There are reasons I am how I am, and without dealing with the trauma legacy, that won’t change. I’m working on it, and I’m a lot better than I used to be.

      • Dr. Naeema Rasheed

        Yea, maybe psychotropic drugs can only relieve you temporarily. But if you are interested, you can give a try with Homeopathy. Every emotional issues will have some background of trauma, sometimes you know it in the conscious mind, sometimes subconscious. Homeopathic medicines usually help the system to deal with the trauma in a healthier way and to bring on a healthy emotional reaction to it. Just like we do with physical diseases. Explaining to you just in case you need it anytime. Anyways, good to know that you are doing better. May you heal soon. All the best๐Ÿ‘

  • stacey.sydney9

    You DO matter, sending hugs x

  • bekindtoyourself20

    Stay strong! We will get through it together! X

  • colleenmac917

    Thank you for sharing this! Earlier in the pandemic my mental health took a huge it and I am slowly working on getting to a better place ๐Ÿ’œ.

    I made a blog with some trepidation to talk about some of mental health experiences, specifically with relationships. Give it a gander if you like:

  • mollyandersxn

    This is so important. I feel as if lockdown has been a massive struggle for those with mental health issues, as we have been stripped of our daily distractions and have been left to face our inner demons, some of which we may not be ready to face. We have been thrown into the deep end without warning. It’s not easy but I hope you’re staying strong x

  • Voicing-Upwards

    Never feel bad about how you feel!

  • Musings&Roses

    Hi! Just stumbled upon this post. And I read every single line. This is me saying You are not alone!
    Sending warm hugs and love your way! ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ’›

  • Tanmay Tripathi

    Woah!! I must say every single word and every single line you wrote here depicts your strength. You are a beautiful soul, and what you must understand is life is too short to live!
    Stay strong! Stay blessed! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Eyilayo๐Ÿซโœจ

    I’m struggling with the same thing, even terrible I don’t know what to do about it, I’m hopeful that things will get better, thank you for this โค๏ธ

    • Nimue Brown

      Sorry to hear this. I find it helps to focus on the most basic issues of physical wellbeing – take care of your body because that’s fairly easy to think about and will support your mental health. Take everything gently. I hope you are able to find some support and respite.

  • asafeplacewithtochie

    Wooowww ๐Ÿ‘, this is so deep and touching.. sending love and light to you, you are not alone โ™ฅ๏ธโ™ฅ๏ธ…

  • Ifra Aiman

    new york free health care Anything thatโ€™s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.

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