Mental Illness is so frustrating

TRIGGER WARNING: Sensitive content that deals with depression, anxiety and suicide. Read with caution.

This is my story about my decade long battle with mental illness- Anxiety, Depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

For as long as I can remember, I have always been a nervous person. The smallest things would make me nervous as a child. As a dancer, performing was always a very scary and big deal for me, no matter how many times I performed. Meeting new people always made me feel sick to my stomach, because I was nervous to meet them.

As I grew olser and life pressures became greater, my nervousness increased and became anxiety. We all feel anxious at times and all know how horrible the feeling can be. For me, there was a point in my life were all I felt every waking hour was anxiousness.

A majority of the time, I was anxious because of particular events that had happened at school and over social media. Other times I had no idea why I was so anxious which became the most frustrating part. Trying to explain anxiety to someone who had never been through it was hard. But attempting to explain anxiety to someone who doesn't understand when you have absolutely no idea why you are feeling anxious is the most frustrating thing ever. Sometimes I'm anxious for what seems like no reason, but deep down there is usually a reason that I just don't want to dig for;afraid of what it might be.

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Beginning of my battle with Depression

Anxiety lead to depression when I was 17 and in my final year of high school. This depression saw me start to withdraw from my friends, activities I enjoyed like dancing and music and withdraw from life itself. My studies became my only focus and I became obsessed with achieving the highest marks in my grade. This was when I first started showing signs of OCD. This obsession lead to me finishing in the top 4 of my grade and getting me into my university degree. Unfortunately though, this focus led me to lose friends along the way and disengage from dancing, something I had loved since the age of 3. Although I was happy with my results, I was still depressed.

After school, I felt a little lost. I didn't see my friends every day; I didn't have a formal routine and teachers there educating me. I've always loved learning and for some reason I didn't want to take a break. After I had recieved an offer into my degree, and a discussion with my parents, I decided that a gap year was the best thing for me. I found a job that gave me great hours, taught me so much and was something that I absolutely loved.

My gap year gave me the time I needed to get face some of my mental battles. I had certain hurdles along the way, like workplace bullying, but eventually I found my love of dancing again and figured out who those important people in my life were. I was the happiest I'd been in awhile and my anxiety was mostly dormant. Anxiety and other mental illnesses are a lot like a volcano- they lay dormant for awhile, slowing brewing until one day they erupt and cause a cascade of emotion.

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When I finally started university, of course I was excited. But I was also very anxious. I wondered if people would like me, what the workload would be like and if I would enjoy the course. I've always been an introvert and closed person, but my anxiety makes me almost seem like a snob at times.

Orientation week was great and I met lots of great people. I met all my educators who made me look forward to university life. I was excited about something for the first time in awhile. I enjoyed my time at uni, but struggled sometimes with the workload. I am a person who over-analyzes things and quite often I would do this with assignment and put a lot of pressure on myself. I'll admit that I'm my own worst enemy and let my mind own me rather than own my mind. It is frustrating but did lead to some great university results.

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Self destruction

Unfortunately, with my anxiety I learned ways of making myself feel better. One of these is anger- filtering my anxiety into anger to make other's feel bad so I feel better. It's a horrible thing and something I really resent about myself but it's something I am constantly trying to work on.

Another is blaming- I thought that if I blamed things on other people, it would take the focus off me. Again this is something I resent and since being engaged, have learned that taking responsibility for your actions actually makes me feel better because I don't carry that guilt along with the anxiety.

The worst thing that helped me feel better about myself was making myself sick. I'm not ashamed of this, because it has made me stronger.  I quickly found out that if I stressed myself out too much and bought on a panic attack, I would also bring on vomiting. I'm someone that absolutely hates bodily fluids but vomiting soon became a way of soothing my anxiety and getting rid of my 'anxious belly'. This didn't happen very often (like maybe once every few months) but it was an unhealthy way of dealing with my anxiety.

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Rock Bottom

A little over 4 years ago, I hit rock bottom; the lowest of lows. I withdrew from everyone- my own family and friends, work, dancing and music. I was going through a hard time and struggled to look past it. I plotted my own death and was convinced that it was the only thing for me to do in that moment. But seeing my family and friends respond to all these thoughts I was having made me realise how precious life is and I found who really cared about me. I scared myself out of my depression by realising how close I came to dying and how great my life actually was. From there, I convinced myself that it would be onwards and upwards.

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A new chapter

About 8 weeks after my downward spiral, I met somebody who saved my life- my fiance Patrick. He gave me a brand new outlook on life. He helped me through my tough times, something he still does now. On our second date I had a panic attack right in front of him. Being a negative minded person, I immediately thought the worst- that he would change his mind about me and think I was crazy. Instead, he helped calm me down and said that it was who I was and we would figure it out together. He is my rock and is so good whenever I have an anxiety attack. He will calm my down and tell me that everything is okay. When it comes to my OCD and obsession with organisation and things always having to be even, he accepts that it is how I am.

A psychologist once tried to explain to me how differently I see things to others and it makes sense. Those that don't have mental illnesses will often see situations in 50 shades of grey (not that kind of 50 shades). They will see all the possible outcomes and mostly focus on the positive. Someone like me will see black and white. For me, I see a situation as either good or bad with no other shades in the middle. Often I will focus on the black; the bad. I will fixate on it, over-analyze it and get myself worked up about it. I am gradually learning to talk about things with people to work through this, rather than only working it through my mind. It is a part of anxiety and depression that has made my life difficult.

A special part of me

Anxiety is something I will always battle. Depression comes and goes and at the moment I am not suffering from depression but it will always be with me.  Certain things trigger me and make me feel depressed for days or weeks at a time. Right now, my anxiety is my main struggle that I am trying to deal with a way that is healthy for me and those around me. Writing helps me deal with this as well as reading. I now also use dancing as a way to deal with my anxiety and after struggling with injuries for 2 years I am proving to myself how capable I still am.

I will never be completely healed of my mental illness- few rarely are. It is an invisible illness which makes it frustrating. People say that I don't look sick and look healthy. On the outside I do, but inside I feel sick, unhealthy and exhausted. I am happy and feel all these emotions which is what makes my life worth living.

There have been times when I have wanted to give up and give in to my demons but thanks to my support network and my stubbornness, I fight through it. It isn't easy, but few things in life are. Life is precious and amazing and worth living. You are never alone in life no matter how hard life gets. Every morning, you should say "How are you?" to anyone you come across. To someone like me when I am feeling low, this question makes a lot of difference and reminds me that you care.

Remember that you are never alone in this battle- someone out there cares so much about you. There are millions of people around the world going through the same battle as you. Embrace that and reach out.

If this article has triggered you in anyway, please call Lifeline: 13 11 14


  1. Hi Aimee
    I would have to say after reading your article, right till the end it is a credit to you for allowing people to read your journey. There are a lot of people who suffer from this illness (me included). The whole point is to seek professional help & that there is no shame in asking for it. Keep on moving in the right direction with your soon to be husband by your side.

    Regards Kate x

  2. Aimee Dechellis3 July 2018 at 07:23

    Thank you for your words Kate. It really means a lot. Mental Illness is a hard thing to battle but with the right help, it can be made easier. Your battle, along with others, is important. I am only a message away if you ever need someone to listen

  3. I’ve read this & read it again & I just wanted to say how proud I am of you for allowing others to see the most volnerable side of you .


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