PERSONAL STORIES

One of the areas that people find most comforting and supportive are the sometimes harrowing but often inspiring personal stories that our readers email in to us. On the one hand it is great to have professional opinions and information on certain areas, but sometimes people find great solace in relating to a real life story and the experiences of others. There is so much power in an authentic and sincere personal story that can’t be replicated by medical or professional language. They can allow us to realise that although we are all individuals, we often face common challenges. These personal stories are the central nervous system of this website. They highlight the very real implications of everyday life, how sometimes it can get on top of us, but also how we can learn to cope and triumph, and see how incredible humans can really be. Would you like to share your story?

Trust your gut – When I stopped looking for all the answers outside I found them within

I’ve come to think of my gut as an internal navigation system. In the past two years mine has been more like a driving stick or an aggressive handbrake

I sprained my mental health

I recently sprained my mental health, twisted it badly. I'm on crutches for a couple of weeks, possibly longer. "What happened?" they said

How living with someone with depression taught me the meaning of True Love

Christmas 2015, things got really tough. I came home from abroad to spend a couple of weeks with my family and friends over the holidays

The journey of a special needs mother – My road to acceptance

The anticipation - will it be a boy or a girl, who will they look like, the dreams, the hopes, please God let everything be okay. I was ten days overdue expecting my second child

When it’s not the most wonderful time of the year

I always loved Christmas as a child but like many people the novelty wore off as I grew into adulthood. Battling with Schizophrenia for years, especially in my early twenties

How sadness pushed me to be a better version of myself

Give me a person who has lived all their life without pain and I will show you someone who is living a life deprived of self-discovery

Countless shades of grey – Is it okay to talk about sexual orientation as a mental health...

Navigating the area of sexuality as a teenager with a traumatic history is anything but easy

Fu@k you eating disorder

When are you thin enough to have an eating disorder? How bad does it have to get? Well, let me make it easy for you, Don’t look at the size of your clothes; don’t body check

What do you do when you cry in the office?

Can you shut the door? Is there a door to shut? Do you try to make it to the safety of a bathroom cubicle first? Are you loud? Is it muffled, silent sobbing?

My mental story

I am a strong advocate for mental health awareness. If I were to indulge in some self-evaluation, I would characterise myself as a friendly, cheerful, social butterfly

Bottling up my sadness, grief and emotion caused my anxiety to grow – No more

The days are warm and Kilkenny is bustling with a mixture of tourists and everyone on holidays from school or college

How writing down my thoughts helped me renew myself after my son’s suicide

I remember receiving my first diary. It had a green plastic cover that felt smooth to the touch as it wrapped around the pages

1 year on from my cancer diagnosis – 11 powerful things I’ve learned

A year of your life to save your life…You hear that statement quite often at the beginning, just after you get the diagnosis

Running through the fear of a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis

Running towards the German parliament – or the Reichstag – I knew what lay around the next turn

Anxiety – my greatest ally in life

Anxiety: It’s all about perspective. My anxiety made me quit my job. Most people will perceive this as a negative statement. Reactions such as “The poor girl, that’s awful” come to mind

The chaos and the calm

When a tsunami of anxiety is washing over you, you wonder: “Why is this happening again?” A late morning turns into a missed day

If you are thinking of suicide, please talk to someone. It saved my life.

I am a 31 year old man who has and does occasionally still suffer from depression. I would first start out by saying that I had a great childhood with a loving family

Self-destructive behaviour and distractions did not help my depression – Talking did

Four years into my depression I could write a book on self-destructive behaviour, for now I suppose I’ll settle for an article!

Why ADHD is my super power

Growing up on the Isle of Mull in Scotland was idyllic. The farm we lived on had over 6 miles of rugged coastline and more trees than you could ever build tree houses. As young boys we had no such things as TV

Feeling guilt because of your anxiety

Have you ever felt guilty because you have let someone down? Better still, because you have let yourself down? Most people's answer will be yes. Now, imagine feeling this guilt because of something that is out of your control

My story as a teenager coping with self-harm and anxiety

I’m 17 and have struggled with anxiety since first year. I was always a bit of a worrier, but in first year panic attacks and anxiety completely took over my life

Why I’m thankful for medication and the dangers of stopping without support

Let’s take a few minutes to talk about medication. Antidepressants can be a useful tool in the battle against depression

Baring my soles – Why I’m walking around the coast of Ireland barefoot

Two and a half months ago I set off from my hometown of Claremorris in County Mayo on a trek that so far has taken me all around the southern edges of the country

Life lessons and out of body experiences: The Seoul International Marathon

The usually chock-a-block streets were cleared for competition on that March morning, the deafening sound of beeping horns replaced by uplifting cheers from friendly onlookers

To live, I had no choice but to make friends with my depression

As I lift my head and say a silent prayer I hope beyond hope that God is listening. I'm not very religious and definitely only go to mass when it’s expected

I’m no longer ashamed of my depression – surviving it is a massive triumph

I feel it’s time to share my story in the best way I know how and that’s writing it down. I write a lot but I have never had the courage to write about this topic out of fear of the judgement

You are so much more than your mental health diagnosis

Now I knew why I had instinctively never told her about my own (Mental Health) diagnosis. In that moment though, it hit me that unless you’ve had your entirety summed up

When your high becomes your low: Life as a young footballer

I sat in the empty changing room. My kit was soaked through, boots and all. My body was aching like never before and there was a dull pain in my head

A Mum shares her story of postnatal depression – “You must take care of yourself.”

When my son Jamie was born, I couldn’t believe the special day was finally here and I was finally a mother. I had wanted this moment for so long

Medication and Me – My journey with anti-depressants

It can be hard to admit to people that, five years on, I continue to take anti-depressants daily. It’s this whole notion of recovery. The ‘No more down days, No more pills’ recovery

My rollercoaster journey towards wellness, while living with M.E.

This is my story of my rollercoaster journey towards wellness, while living with a long term invisible illness and how a holistic approach helps me challenge M.E

People are still scared of mental ill-health in Ireland

See Change, the National Stigma Reduction Partnership and many partner organisations are rolling out a month long national Green Ribbon Campaign to get people talking

Living through the heartbreak of losing our babies

So wrote Alastair Down in his brilliant article in the Racing Post following Mouse Morris’ win in the Aintree Grand National with “Rule the World”

Healing from abuse

Last year, while working in what I thought was the quintessential 'dream job' in the film and TV industry, something overcame me - I lost all hope, felt a constant anxiety looming over me, and was struggling to function

How breaking down can save you

At only 19 I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder, and more recently with an Anxiety Disorder. Breaking down recently was the best thing to happen to me: it made me stronger

I’ve lost an entire academic year to my battle with anxiety and depression

My second year of college wasn’t supposed to go like this. This was not what I had imagined. This was the year I was supposed to improve on the previous year’s achievements

How I manage my anxiety

As I begin writing this I question if I will truly be able to convey how difficult it is to manage anxiety. Until about three years ago the word anxiety didn't even feature much in my vocabulary, mainly because I didn't fully understand it
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The reason I set up Taxiwatch.ie – On the outside I was smiling, on the inside I...

In 2010, life could not have been any better. I had built a new house, bought a new car and was working away happily. Then BANG! I was hit from behind by a drunk driver

My story of healing from self harm

When I was 27 years old I was offered my dream job in London, which I accepted and went on to have the time of my life and make some friends that will be with me till we’re old and wrinkly

My struggle with peace of mind, before and after losing weight

I’m a little bit wacky, eccentric and unreliable and at least I’m the first to admit it. I’ve always been a circle trying to fit into a square box

Pandora’s box is depression

Oh no, not another article about depression, I wish it would go away. Funnily enough so do a lot of us. But it won't. It's here to stay, this 21st Century disease, or could there be signs of similar dark phantoms in the psyche of our past?

Healing the pain of miscarriage

September and November are months of celebration in our house. Both my sons were born in November and my daughter is a sunny September girl. But they are months of sadness too. Three years ago, I had my first miscarriage in my 13th week

My story of a visit to the college GP – Irish students deserve better mental health care

Sitting outside my GP’s office I feel I am about to die. My heart is beating uncontrollably, my palms are sweating and the thoughts that circle my head are enough to drain my last morsel of energy

Healing anorexia and brushing out what’s under the carpet

I am 28 this year and have battled an eating disorder for the latter part of my teenage years and throughout my college life. Anorexia almost took my life away but thankfully I have reclaimed what is mine

Depression – An open letter to someone struggling

Depression. That word we throw around so easily nowadays. That word we use to describe anything from a bad day to an overwhelming inability to live life. But as anyone with depression knows, it is much more than any one word

Overcoming anxiety to accomplish my first 5k run with A Lust for Life

I woke to the sound of my alarm, snoozed it about 3 times and struggled to get out of bed which meant I was already running behind schedule for the Vhi A Lust For Life run which took place in Phoenix Park recently

Looking after my mental health after losing my Mother

Battling mental health problems since childhood has never been an easy task. Living with Schizophrenia has become something I have spent my life accepting and adjusting to. From the age of four I have endlessly fought with demons

Mental fitness and the battle of becoming a positive me

Make no mistake; my use of the term “Mental fitness” does not derive from a lack of comfort of the term mental health. Coming from a GAA background my logic is simple, mental fitness implies that our state of mentality must be worked on

The loss of my sister – A journey of grief and beyond

My 33 year old sister died last August, shattering my life as I knew it. She’d been battling alcoholism and depression for years. She was on a lot of medication (which to me, just exacerbated her struggles) self-harmed

Running is my therapy

On Saturday, I ran the Vhi A Lust for Life 5k in the Phoenix Park. I was honoured to be interviewed by Karl Fitzgerald, a leader of the A Lust for Life – Runners’ Page, and was asked about why I run, and why I was taking part

How a support group helped save my life

I am 28 years old. I have a brilliant family. Supportive friends. An amazing fiancé. A permanent job in what I have always wanted to be since I was a little girl. I have what people would say, a fantastic life

‘Talking about your mental health is attention seeking!’ and other untruths

I want to write my story because recently I’ve encountered the attitude that talking about your mental health is attention seeking. This is absolutely not true

How I became friends with my mind again – from OCD to meditation

Your mind can be your best friend or worst enemy. To me I had a normal life, working late hours as an accountant overwhelmed by stress

Asperger Syndrome – Invisible challenges and hidden gifts

Asperger Syndrome can be a complex condition with no two people the same, although many people experience similarities in the difficulties they face

My journey of awakening to know that it’s okay not to feel okay, and to ask for...

In April 2014 I enrolled for the first three days of a fourteen day cycle, with Cycle Against Suicide. I had a general empathy with the focus of the cycle

Revelation on the mountain – healed by the beauty of nature

On one of those balmy days in April, 2015, I received a message. "You free for a short walk?" my friend, Mag had texted. Swift and sure-footed as a mountain goat, she sped

WRAP me up – Keep me safe

Before I had a Crisis Plan™, I was detained (sectioned) because I couldn’t communicate properly with health staff while at crisis point. When I’m well, I am soft spoken and articulate. When unwell due to an episode of mental health illness

No hair, do care: a personal view on hair loss during breast cancer treatment

Tackling Breast Cancer treatment, the approach by which we face it is so very individual. When described, many use the ‘fight’ word which is true in many ways

‘See you in two minutes, Ma!’ A mother writes her story of losing her son to suicide

‘See you in two minutes, Ma!’ The words echoed in the hallway as the front door closed and re-opened in a burst followed by a trundling of long legs up the stairs and down again as quickly

Beautiful letter from a Mum who has battled depression to her 1 year old son

Dear Joshua, a year ago, you decided to enter into this world. You weren't due until the end of March, but you arrived early for a reason. You knew that I was struggling

Gambling with life

Standing on the edge of a bridge wondering where your life is heading, all you can see are the negatives. You talk to yourself, you put yourself down, a few seconds of pain will end a few years of complete and utter destruction of your mind

Coping with panic attacks after being raped – my experience

Trigger Warning. If you have been affected by sexual violence please phone the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre National 24-Hour Helpline 1800 77 8888 or contact Rape Crises Network Ireland

How I changed the cycle of chronic pain and created The Ass Movement

March 2013, it was a typical weekend where I went out and got absolutely black out drunk. This is something I had done from the age of 17 nearly every single weekend until then (I was 26 years old in 2013)

My Jealousy: A Battle with Perfectionism

Grainne is a career woman who is well respected and known in her field. She is perceived to be irreplaceable in her job and does it with ease, positivity and everyone likes her. Shes is in a loving relationship and recently got approved for her mortgage

A false sense of insecurity – Learning to cope with anxiety

There is a powerful line in the film Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams tells Matt Damon 'you can do anything you want in this world, you are bound by nothing'

Growing up with an alcoholic parent

As far back as I can remember my mother was an alcoholic. I would wait at school for her to collect me, filled with dread of what would greet me when I hopped in the car. She would often pick me up from school drunk

Men, look after your mental health – speak up and take action today

This is something we hear about all the time when it comes to men; they keep their problems to themselves and don’t speak up and seek help because it might affect their macho image

Depression; a story of acceptance

I choked the first time I said it aloud. It was the beginning of the Christmas holidays and I was relieved to have a two week break from Leaving Certificate stress. I was in my bedroom with the girl I had been friends with since Junior Infants

Dig deep, reach out and exercise your way through the tough times

I was always a happy guy, glass half full, never half empty. Things happened to other people, not to me and I always could take care of it - whatever it happened to be

Your body loves you – The other side of an eating disorder

Few months ago I started college and that incurred understandable anxiety as I am in a new place with new people. I noticed my anorexia began to flare up

No longer running away

I used to be a runner. I used to write this cool running blog; I was one of the most driven, ambitious people you were likely to meet. I had a vision of a new career, making a fresh start as a personal trainer

Stopping my panic attacks before they hit

I was sitting on the bus with my family watching the world go by when everything would suddenly get too much. Loud noises became deafening. Bright lights became blinding

A young Mum’s fight against a breast cancer diagnosis – navigating the darkness to live amongst the...

Two months ago, I was diagnosed with stage 2, Her2 positive Breast Cancer. Clearly they got that wrong

Finding your soul: An inner journey towards positive mental health

Thanks to the A Lust for Life reader who emailed us in their story. “I wanted to share my story with A Lust for Life readers with the hope that it could support other people out there who might be going through a tough time like I did.”

The story behind why I don’t have any more children

Admitting infertility to yourself is probably a time in your life where you see yourself at your most raw. I am so lucky to have a little boy who fills my life but he is my only child, not through choice

Living with schizophrenia

I have suffered from schizophrenia since I was 26 years old. I had my first psychotic episode then. I can only describe it as a terrifying experience

Keeping anxiety a secret makes it thrive

When I had my first major anxiety attack it took me completely by surprise. Yes, I’d felt nervous in the past but really only natural nerves, the kind you get before a big presentation or job interview

Type two bipolar disorder and me

My name is Charlene. I am a stay at home Mum to three boys. I am originally from Liverpool and am a huge fan of Liverpool Football Club. I have Type 2 Bipolar Disorder

Going against what and who you are is torture

‘I am not what I am.’ These words come from Othello, a play I studied for my leaving cert. They are birthed from the most malignant villain in literature

‘I’m a single Dad living with anxiety’

Understanding depression, anxiety or any of that bad stuff is like understanding any chronic illness

A reboot of the mind

As this story unfolds, my mind seems cleaner. It's not working overtime and it's not demanding me to think hazardous thoughts

Secret Diary of an Agoraphobic

I was just like any typical 21 year old when I had my first panic attack. I was in the process of moving from Waterford to Dublin

General Anxiety Disorder: A Game of Give and Take

Anxiety for me has always been a game of give and take. In the early part of my adolescence it took from me

Gambling addiction – from the other side

Thanks to the writer of this personal story for emailing it in to A Lust for Life. She felt it important to express from her side how difficult she found it, and still finds it

The Bottom Of The Glass: Alcohol and Mental Health

Irish adults binge drink more than their counterparts in any other European country

Time (and other infuriating societal attitudes to infertility)…The Great Healer!

A must read blog from A Lust For Life reader illustrating the emotional, mental and physical distress of their journey through infertility and it’s various treatments

Dreaming above 2000m

A mist is surrounding my eyes as water begins to fall. Gasping for breath as my mind tries to figure out that final piece…

My steps to recovery and how to avoid relapse from an eating disorder

For the past six years of my life I have been living with an eating disorder which also caused depression and anxiety

Road to recovery from gambling addiction

Read this Offaly forward’s deeply personal story of the desperate power of gambling addiction and also some advice on how to pull yourself out of it

How did we get here? The Loss of a Child to SUDC And Subsequent Parenthood

This is a powerful personal story written by Stephanie O’Loughlin on how she coped with the loss of her son Patrick to SUDC – Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood