My story – Paul.

I was born in Keighley in the early 1960’s. I grew up living in the area and stayed at school until the Sixth Form.

My main employment over a period of 26 years was with the Army and Ministry of Defence. I have had various jobs over the last 8 years in the local area.

I have had problems with constant anxiety since I left the Army and this has led to bouts of severe depression that have involved extended time off work. Sometimes it has taken several months to recover to a point where I can work again.

I have been treated with medication, talking therapies, cognitive behaviour therapy and I’ve used mindfulness techniques. The physical symptoms have led to me having MRI scans, angiograms, and endoscopy explorations with no physical illnesses being revealed. In fact I’m actually in fine physical health, and very active.

I am never fully well and life is a great struggle with the physical symptoms of the anxiety making the simplest activities difficult. It’s like living with a permanent hangover and makes me very withdrawn. Any periods of pressure in my life, especially at work, can lead to severe depression which makes me very ill. This has been my life for over 20 years.

The best thing that’s happened to me as far as my illness is concerned is getting involved with Moving Forward following a telephone call to the mental health charity Mind in Bradford. It was the first time I had mixed with others with similar problems. It’s probably been said before, but instead of facing a situation alone, life feels much better knowing that I’ve got the shared experience of Moving Forward behind me.

The group has helped me recover from my latest severe depression and the wellness strategies I’ve learned are helping me stay as well as can be. I feel that I’m now part of a joint adventure of coping with mental illness whilst living a “normal” working life.

I strongly recommend that any man in the area, who is suffering from a mental disability, should come to the group it will add to your life.

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