The Frustration At Not Getting Better From Mental Health Problems

I like to think of myself as a fairly calm person (watch as my anxiety laughs hysterically in the corner), but lately, I have found myself getting angry, like proper smoke coming out of the ears angry, and the same is happening with my mum. Nay, maybe angry is the wrong word for I am not exactly angry right now but frustrated, and this frustration is aimed entirely at my mental health and the fact that no matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, my mental health is not improving/is sliding further and further into the abyss of insanity, and now even the professionals are at a loss as to what to do.

You see, ever since I left inpatient, things have been going in a downward spiral, and I am finding myself becoming hysterical and requiring my “emergency” medication to calm me down practically every night. Hell the other night things got so terrible that even my mum took some of my emergency calm down medication just to stop her from going completely bonkers herself and all in all it is getting out of hand. We have been phoning the crisis team almost daily in our attempts to manage my latest series of breakdowns and it has just got me asking, staring up at the sky and shaking my fist asking why, why is all of this happening?

It isn’t even as if I am one of these people who thinks life is supposed to be fair, far from it, I am one of those people who, when others protest “life is so unfair” ask them “my dear, who on earth ever told you that it was?” but this is ridiculous. I just don’t understand it. I have been in mental health treatment for almost 15 years now, 15 long years. Think about how many hours of 1:1 sessions with psychologists that includes, think about how many months as an inpatient in hospital that involves, the number of different medications tried (so many that when you shake me I rattle like a bottle of tablets and a leaflet of side effects falls out of my left nostril), and all for what? For me to still be completely insane…IT DOESN’T MAKE ANY SENSE.

What frustrates me is that I know how lucky I am and I know how grateful I am and should be for all the help I have received over the years. There are people across the country who have been suffering for as long as I have, maybe longer and they have not been given the support or access to help that I have been blessed with, they have not had the supportive family that I am lucky enough to be a part of, so logically I should be ok. Logically I should be doing better than most people out there, but I am not and it has me sitting here feeling angry and asking what the hell is wrong with me. What is it about me that seems so untreatable and why are my mental health problems so resistant to every form of treatment?

I think when you live with mental health problems you are expected to feel sad about them and to be fair I have felt sad about my sorry state of affairs many times but this anger is new, this rage at the fact that I have been ill for such a long time with no improvement and I wonder if this is an experience common to people with mental health problems out there. I have to ask, is it? Are there other people out there who, like me, have stopped feeling despair at their situations and have started feeling angry? Angry that no matter what they do or no matter how hard they try, their brains will not co-operate?

I have heard it said that it isn’t until you get angry at your disorders that you can actually get better from them because you need that anger in you to fight, but at the moment this anger doesn’t feel like it is doing anything constructive, rather it feels like a block that is holding me back in my therapy sessions and appointments. Rarely do I meet with a psychologist now with an open mind, now it is always a case of me going in enraged that things haven’t improved after the last session and show no sign of changing any time soon. I think I wouldn’t mind this anger so much if somebody else knew what to do with it, but I find I am dragging it around with me in a bin bag wondering where on earth to put it and the professionals don’t know either.

Today I went to an appointment with my ED support worker and the rage was bubbling, so I asked her what to do. I asked what we could do to treat me, where we could go from here, what new treatments we could try over the next few weeks to see if they help, and you know what she said? “I don’t know” or to be more specific “I don’t know what to do with you at the moment”…She doesn’t know what to do with me? Doesn’t know what to do with me? What am I supposed to do with that!? What is anyone supposed to do with that? Indeed, what on earth is one supposed to do when even the professionals are at a loss as to how to help or resolve the situation? What do you do when the person with all the answers tells you that they do not have any more answers, or even rough guesses, to have a go at answering your question? When I left that appointment I felt like a grocery shopper who had gone to a bakery and asked a baker how to make bread only to be told that the baker had no idea. What use is that? What use is a baker who doesn’t know how to bake? What is the point in a baker who just slaps flour around the place and wears a funny apron and chef’s hat? Sure it may be entertaining to watch someone slap flour about (for we all know that much hilarity can take place when a person is gallivanting with flour), but what use is it?
What do you do with that?

I think the main thing that is frustrating me however is the fact that whilst other people don’t have the answers, I don’t have them either, and if anyone should know how to help a person it is the person who understands the problem better than all others. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but I would say I understand my mental health problems pretty well, I have explored them so much over the years that I am familiar with every nook and cranny (particularly the one in the far left…damn that is a tricky cranny), yet I am no more familiar with how to solve my problems than anyone off the street who has never spoken to me a day in their life.

Truth be told here, as I am writing this I am starting to think that maybe I am not angry, maybe my mother (who has also been getting frustrated at my current decline – not angry with me you understand, rather like me angry with the fact that no matter what we try we are not seeing any improvement) isn’t angry, maybe we are just scared because we cannot see the answers and when you are being stared at in the face by a pretty massive problem it is scary not being able to see any way around it. It is scary to be stuck in a vice getting tighter and tighter by the day with no sign of relief and hell, maybe some of that fear is what I am writing about rather than anger because in reality I don’t think I am angry with anyone in particular. I am not angry at my psychologist for not knowing what to do with me at the moment, I am scared, I am scared that if she doesn’t know what to do then nobody ever will and I will be stuck like this forever. It just doesn’t make sense to me. I have friends who have received the same levels of treatment as I have, who have been to the same hospitals as I have and they have recovered and that is another thing that scares me. If I have had the same treatment why have I not had the same outcome? Why am i different? Why do the answers for one person not serve as the answers for another? Is there something wrong with me or am I just one of those people who is doomed to never get better? How will I know? Will I ever know or am I just going to find myself sitting here asking these same old questions for years until I am blue in the face (and then indigo followed by a vibrant shade of violet).

To be honest I feel I have lost track of what I am even talking about and barely know what I am saying anymore but I had to get this out, this anger, this fear or whatever this is that is bubbling up inside me like the contents of a witches cauldron. Everyone knows that living with mental illness is sad, but I think today my message is that sometimes, when you don’t have the answers to your problems, that sadness turns to rage or maybe fear. Who knows, like I said I am confused myself, but I at least wanted to write about it in the hopes of finding some sense in all of this. Maybe I haven’t made sense here, maybe I have, but either way if anyone has the answers to any of my questions or feels the same as I do now, I would really appreciate knowing about it. I hope you are all well and know I am thinking of and supporting you all.

Take care everyone x

Frustrated

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22 thoughts on “The Frustration At Not Getting Better From Mental Health Problems

    • Thank you so much sweet. I am sorry I have not been in contact more, things are really chaotic and mad my end but I hope you know that I am thinking of you every day and love you very much. Stay strong and keep fighting beautiful, I believe in you xxxxxxx

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  1. Oh, Katie, I’m so sorry! I Wish I could help you, I wish I could give you the answers that you need. But I can’t. I feel that I am 90% recovered and to be honest I don’t know how I did it. I guess I got so tired of everything, of living like this that, I just thought “I can’t live like this anymore, I’m wasting my life! I need to change my life right now”. It was like, go big or go home. It’s like I said, I don’t know how I did it.
    I know you’re frustrated and angry and I don’t know how to make you feel better. This situation makes me really sad because you are my best friend online! You helped me so many times! Times when I thought I was alone and you came to rescue me. I just wish I could do the same for you.
    All I can do is pray for you. I know you don’t believe in God but that’s not important. What matters is that I’ll be thinking of you and send all my love and support. You know you can talk to me right? Please Katie, if you need you know where to find me. I’m here for you 24/7.
    Do not give up! You’re so much stronger than you think. I KNOW you are!
    Take care beautiful…
    Kisses from Portugal ❤
    P.S: I'm crying right now. I just want you to be happy.

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    • Aww Maria you are so unbelievably sweet. You are going to make me cry too! I love you so incredibly much and really appreciate such a lovely comment filled with so much kindness and support. I truly was touched after reading your words and want you to know how much they meant to me. Honestly you always say how much you want to help but I don’t think you realise just how much you do help me just by being there and hearing that you count yourself as 90% recovered makes me happier than anything else you could say. It also inspires me to keep fighting because if you can get there then damn it I can too and I am truly very grateful for all your kind words today. Thank you so much for being so lovely and helpful and thank you for being the best online friend there could be in the world. You are the best and I love you very much. Take care my gorgeous, kisses from England xxxxxxxx

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  2. I’ve just discovered your blog a few days ago and I can honestly relate to everything you’re saying (even your love of penguins, I’ve always been obsessed!) but even penguins don’t take away this frustration I’ve also felt lately. I think I’m sort of mirroring the frustration I get from those around me about my ED and it is a good sign as it shows I’m gradually getting more detached from my ED and can see it from an external view (and not that irrational but comforting place when you give in to all of your ED’s orders). I know it doesn’t feel constructive, I also continue with my behaviours regardless (though in the past in recovery I’ve felt equally as frustrated at not being able to continue my ED behaviour) so I think it shows that regardless of what you do, give in to your ED or not, your mind is just getting sick and tired of this imposter. Hopefully we can both try to channel this anger into something more constructive but already talking and writing should help us to understand it. Things will get easier and as they do, the anger will subside xx

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    • Ahh! A fellow penguin lover! Hello and thank you for finding and reading my blog! I am very pleased to meet you/have you here and am very grateful that you took the time to read and talk to me! I am sorry to hear that you are feeling this frustration as well although I have to say it is nice not to be alone in feeling that way. Sometimes it is comforting just to hear someone else say “me too” when you are feeling like this and I certainly found that with your comment. Like you I very much hope that we can both channel our anger into something constructive so that things can get easier eventually. I hold the hope out for both of us and am fighting right alongside you! Thank you for reading my blog and take care of your lovely self! Much love xxxxx

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  3. Everyone is different. That’s the beauty of human beings. Yet it is also means it’s a huge limitation for treatment services as knowing the nook and cranny of every individual on earth would take longer than we’d ever have time for. It’s not ideal and I wholeheartedly agree it is beyond frustrating when you want to battle your brain with reinforced dragon-stone swords but you’re given little wooden twigs instead.

    I empathise with you, my dear. My own brain has a tendency to give me hell and most days it will leave me shaking and screaming ‘why’. Why does this happen and what can I do to make it stop? I’m sure those closest feel the same.

    So get mad. Be angry. Because damn it you’re allowed to be. To an extent, your brain probably feels that way too (although not for the same reasons). It is proof you’re still fighting and holding on for a better tomorrow.

    What I will say is that resilience is tiring and fighting against your own brain can drain you of energy and motivation. When you feel like the anger is being replaced, don’t take that as a sign of giving up. Be gentle and allow yourself to rest and recuperate. There is no easy road but know that wherever it leads, you will always have people who will stand with you.

    Take care x

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    • Thank you so so much Beth, the was such a lovely comment and it is so lovely to hear from someone who understands this frustration I am feeling. Damn it you are right, I am allowed to be angry and so are you! We are struggling and that is not acceptable! GRRR THE RAGE. I also really liked your advice about trying to be gentle and allow myself to rest as well as feeling all of these feelings. I find that I often get so caught up in feeling one thing that I don’t allow myself to feel that way and that is never constructive. Thank you so much both for the advice and for making me feel less alone. It means the world to hear that you are standing with me and I really appreciate it. Thank you for being such a good friend, much love and hugs ❤ xxxxx

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    • Oh God Yes the guilt too! That is even more frustrating! I hope you know that no matter how much you struggle and how guilty you feel for your children none of this is your fault. We may be ill and have the responsibility to seek help but we are not to blame when that help doesn’t work immediately! Thinking of you, keep fighting xx

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  4. Hi there! You are not alone in this! I have been dealing with mental illness for 18 years (Depression, anxiety, ADD) and while it ebbs and flows – the years of constant pressure really start to wear on me. Like, why, after 18 years have I not been “cured” or at least found an effective treatment? Last week I was even considering asking about ECT or TCMS. My memory is already horrible from the illness anyway, how much worse could the damage from ECT be?
    I remember talking to my counselor about how happy some people with physical disabilities can be despite their issues. I told her, “I’d lose both of my legs if it meant I could finally be happy.” How messed up is that?

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    • Thank you so much for making me feel less alone although I am so sorry to hear that you have been suffering with your illnesses for so long. It is funny that you mention ECT at this point too because just the other day my mum was suggesting that to me! It is always something I have been completely against but I think sometimes when the illnesses have been there and so strong for so long you get to the point that you are willing to try anything so I definitely relate to you there. Either way I hope we both manage to make progress and get genuinely useful help without having to go to those extremes but if it comes to it then hell, if it works! Also don’t feel messed up for being willing to lose your legs for happiness! Trust me I would do anything too and am very much understanding of your mind set and situation! I feel that we would get on well and are incredibly similar actually so thank you for being my companion in all of this. I really hope that you know that I will keep fighting alongside you in all this and that you are not alone in how you feel. Thank you for reminding me that I am not alone either. In the meantime I will hold the hope there for both of us, take care and have a fabulous day xxxxx

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  5. Part of how I started recovering from OCD (and it’s a long, long, LONG process) is by refusing to allow the disorder to control absolutely everything I do. That’s the toughest thing in the world, I know, but as long as I was doing the same things in the same way, I was not getting any better – how could it? Things couldn’t change as long as I was still obeying the compulsions to the letter. I still have probably years of work ahead of me, and a lifetime of taking medications, but that’s a place to start. I’ve managed to get rid of three major compulsions in the last two years. Given that I have hundreds of compulsions which I still must obey, it doesn’t sound like much, but recovery is a war of inches, and I’ve reclaimed some ground after almost twenty years.

    The positive thing is that this anger and frustration you’re feeling is exactly the same thing I felt which finally allowed me to yell at my disorders ‘THIS IS STUPID! I DON’T WANT THIS!’

    Telling myself ‘this is stupid’ every time I obey a compulsion, and getting angry at the fact that I ‘have’ to do it, has been life-changing for me. It has slowly started to chip away at my feeling that they are all absolutely necessary. Although I still feel that I have to do them, and I still panic and only feel okay (briefly) when they’re done, I have another, opposing voice that knows all of this is weird and illogical, and one day I hope that voice – which is *my* voice! – will be stronger than the ones that come from illness.

    To give you a simile (because I know you love those) I think of it as being like fighting off the Imperius Curse. You might still be doing cartwheels and jumping on the tables and singing soprano because the Curse is telling you to do it, but your own voice, your own anger is saying, ‘no, I don’t like this, I don’t want to, WHY am I doing this?’ and that voice will eventually start to get stronger and stronger, as long as you keep feeding it, and keep hearing it, even if you can’t do what it says right now.

    So my advice is this: even if you can’t physically stop yourself doing the things your illness tells you to do, let yourself fight back mentally, let that voice of anger say that you deserve better, that mental illness makes us do silly illogical things like wash until our hands are red-raw, or pull off layer after layer of skin, or starve ourselves, or deny ourselves bathroom breaks – and that is ANNOYING and STUPID, and even if we still have to do it right now, we know it’s ANNOYING and STUPID, and knowing is half the battle ❤

    I'm not better, and I don't know if I'll ever be like other people. But I think maybe I can slowly, slowly reclaim my own brain. And I think you can too. Anger and patience. Celebrating small victories. Inch by inch.

    I love you, Katie. I know it's so horrible to feel this right now, but I promise your anger can be an asset to you.

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    • Wow Quen, this comment made me so so proud of you that I actually teared up a little. I know you said that you still have hundreds of OCD compulsions to tackle but the fact you said that you had been tackling any of them is really so damn impressive as I know just how hard that must have been/must be for you. You really are the definition of a true fighter in my eyes and have inspired me to try and be stricter with myself. If you can challenge your compulsions then hell I can too. I also absolutely loved your example of the imperious curse and by goodness was it a great one. You really are a very wise human bean aren’t you? Gah I feel so lucky to have you in my life as a friend right now I am almost giddy. Thank you so so much for all of your support, kindness and advice in this comment, I really sincerely appreciate it and am going to believe in your words, especially when you say that this anger can be an asset to me and that I can actually use it as a good thing to make progress. I really think I have said thank you too many times in this reply so I worry that the phrase has lost all meaning but I really want you to know how grateful I was for all of this. You are awesome and damn it you have inspired me to fight harder than ever today. Thank you Quen, I love you dearly. Take care, have a fabulous day and know that I am always here for you if you need ❤ xxxxxx

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  6. I think you’re very justified in being angry because it’s not fair. I went through an anger phase years ago and then I actually did get better, but at the time I had no reason to believe that I would. I remember one particular morning I couldn’t find my keys and I proceeded to kick and throw every single object in my bedroom while screaming “I hate my life” over and over. Maybe that anger kept me going or maybe it didn’t, but it did prove that I was still sane enough to know I deserved better. Better existed somewhere and I was hopping mad to be stuck in this evil miasma year after year. Nothing dramatic happened after that; I just continued to plod along forcing myself to do extremely uncomfortable things for several more years in the name of recovery and eventually found I’d turned a corner. Come to think of it, this is the worst pep talk ever. Whenever I think of how far I’ve come I remember that rage, though, so I think it might have been part of the vital energy that got me through. When I was at my worst I never made anything beautiful like this blog. I was more of a throwing-things-and-screaming performance artist. My act was quite unpopular and generally failed to inspire people. This blog, in contrast, is a delightful garden of fun and helpful truth telling and camaraderie. We love you because you’re a scrapper and you care about us. Just steam away and we will be cheering you on.

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    • THIS WAS SUCH A LOVELY COMMENT. I have never had my blog described as a “delightful garden of fun” but I like that description very much! I also like the fact that, as horrible as it is that you have felt this rage too, you have made me feel less alone in all of this and I really appreciate your support there. I would say you gave a pretty good pep talk in my opinion. Certainly cheered me up anyway especially in being so lovely about my blog. Thank you for making me feel less alone and for calling me a scrapper, I hope you know that I really do care about you and am cheering you on as much as you are cheering along for me. You are never alone dear friend and I am always here to support you if you need! Thank you very much for making me smile today and I really hope that you know how much I appreciate your help in letting me feel justified in my anger. You are awesome, have a fabulous day xxxx

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  7. I love you so very much and I have always always believed you will find the energy to fight for yourself with utter complete commitment. Maybe this is it, maybe it isn’t, I don’t have the answer, I wish I did. Thank you for being so honest about this all xxxxx

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  8. I am so sorry things are so difficult for you right now. Have you considered some of the newer, alternatives to medication? EMDR has been growing here in the US as a treatment for PTSD and OCD. It is now being used with anxiety and depression as well. The results have been promising. I am certainly not recommending this in lieu of your providers, but maybe something to consider as an adjunct with their consent. I am not sure whether this is offered where you are and it might not be something you’re interested in. I just thought I’d throw it out there. It is personally something I will try if my OCD flares up badly again.

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    • Funnily enough I have heard of EMDR but have never been offered it personally nor do I know if it would be an option for me. However after reading your comment it is definitely something I will be looking into even if I have to look into it privately and not on the NHS because at the moment when it comes to OCD and depression and ED right now I am willing to try anything. Thank you very much for your suggestion, I sincerely hope I can do some research and that some good can come of it. Thank you for reading my blog and for supporting me as always, love to you and the family xxxxx

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