Men Tell Their Stories

Mental Health and Me

Where do I even begin? A little over ten years ago, I was a 'normal' functioning member of society.  I travelled, I went to school and the biggest fear I had was finishing the school year and waiting for summer break. Fast forward to the present and you will find a much different person.

Today I have OCD, agoraphobia, anxiety, and severe panic attacks.  Not to mention depression. So how did it come to this? Where did I go wrong?

Anyone that has suffered, or is suffering, from mental health issues has asked that very same question.  The answer is ….I have no idea.  I have wondered and thought about it till I'm sick.  Still no answers and where am I now? My agoraphobia and OCD have crept into every part of my life and taken control. I am a shadow of my former self.  I try not to think about it too much because it depresses me more than I already am.

My 'normal' day is so tedious that I'm almost too embarrassed to share it.  First off my morning starts off the night before and how the good, or bad, I feel is directly related to how much sleep I get.  Recently I have developed insomnia and it has been hard to get a good night's sleep.  Then from the moment I open my eyes till I lay back down to sleep, it's all about my anxiety and how I'm gonna control it.

For reasons that I can't explain, my anxiety, panic and OCD manifest themselves in my stomach and I use food to try and keep myself panic / anxiety free.  That is to say, that I carry or buy a ridiculous amount of food with me everywhere I go.

If you were to look in my truck it would look like homeless people lives there and they just decided to go camping.  So what happens if I don't have all my “panic” items? I have to go back home or I have to go buy it.  The items can range from carrots to french fries to chicken.  Seriously I pack enough food so that there isn't enough room for anyone else to get in my truck with me.  I pack like I'm going on a walkabout in Australia and I'm Crocodile Dundee.

So how has that affected my life? Well I have to leave an hour before I need to be somewhere so I can buy all the food I need to be somewhat panic free.  This has also translated into growing food costs.  I now live paycheck to paycheck due to the amount of food I buy.  Panic attacks have sent me home from work early, so it has affected my job as well.

Due to my agoraphobia I have also not traveled in years. The area that I am able to travel to is getting smaller and smaller.  Like I said before, I try and not think about it too much because it makes me sad.  I have missed family gatherings , graduations, vacations. It has robbed me of so much!  So what am I doing now?

I am taking several different medications.  Hydroxyzine and sertraline are the two I'm staring out with.  I am also trying self-hypnosis, hell I even looked up magic spells, just for good measure.  I am documenting my journey on Periscope and Twitter (linked below).  I hope that it's not too little, too late but I am an open book and welcome all questions.


A fascinating insight into Manuel's life. I'm sure we can all relate to at least some of his story. We're with you brother. Have you got any tips for Manuel or do you recognise parts of his story in your own life? Let us know in the comments below.

If you want to read more from Manuel, you can on his very own blog over at chavezanxiety.blogspot.co.uk. You can also follow him on Twitter, where he's @roach_az. He's also a big user of Periscope and you can follow him on there right here.