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Old 15-03-2011, 08:03 PM   #1
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"Growing out of mental illness"?

Hello. I don't post to these parts of the forums often (so I'm sorry if I have this in the wrong place) but I have a question and I hope you guys will be able to provide some insight...

I've been struggling with anxiety for as long as I can remember. For the past year it's been easier to deal with but in this past month it's been increasing difficult to do day to day activities (for example, going out of the house and to go to University) due to how strong it has become again; I ended up having a panic attack earlier today when somebody touched me unexpectedly on the shoulder . Due to the anxiety I haven't yet signed up to the doctors in the place where my University is. However, I still have infrequent contact with my CPN. I sent her a message today saying how strong the anxiety has become to which she replied that I will soon "grow out of it".

I don't know if I'm overreacting but I found that hurtful... I'm nearly 20, surely if it were possible I would have grown out of it by now? Do you think it's possible to simply grow out of mental illnesses? Was the CPN incorrect in saying that or am I being oversensitive? If she believes that for anxiety, what about depression and other disorders?

Hope you are all keeping safe x

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Old 15-03-2011, 08:13 PM   #2
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As someone who's 41 next week, those kinds of comments can bring up painful feelings in me. Principally that of shame.
But, people of all ages have mental illness. It's no respector of age. In fact, my anxiety in some ways became more intense with age, as I released the rigid defensive protective mechanisms around it. At least for me.

I think perhaps a comment along the lines of "Hopefully one day these symptoms will ease for you, or become more manageable, and we'll do our best to help that process along for you." is far more respectful and empathic than "You'll grow out of it." It makes feeling anxious sound such an immature thing. Let me just say that at work right now I am surrounded by adults of all ages, 20s to near retirement, and without fail each one of us is worried and anxious about our future employment [in the public sector]. Our expressions and degrees of anxiety vary according to our past histories and emotional make up, but we're all anxious and jumpy right now. Anxiety is a natural protective mechanism, which can become a disorder when it gets out of hand for whatever reason. It's not something you 'grow out of.' True, in recovery one looks at the past causes, and how the past is making itself heard in the present. But that should be explored with integrity and dignity.

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Old 15-03-2011, 11:07 PM   #3
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This reminds me of the time I spoke to my old GP about self-harm and how it was getting out of hand. Her exact response was "it's a kiddie thing to do and I should stop it"

I never seen a GP for years after that, and really, I had lost all faith in the NHS until recently.

These scars are mine!!!!!!!!!

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Old 15-03-2011, 11:11 PM   #4
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I hate this. Just because adolescence is often the stage in ones life when mental instability of whatever category and severity raises its ugly head that does not and should never mean that mental instability is childish and something to grow out of.

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Old 16-03-2011, 04:08 PM   #5
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I was told that a couple years ago when I was about 20-ish. It made me so angry. Just like with any long term illness, you don't "grow out of it". Maybe for some people it gets better with time, but it depends on the person and what they're dealing with.

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Old 16-03-2011, 04:33 PM   #6
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It's really sad that people with these mental issues are being faced with these sorts of attitudes. I think sometimes, some mental health illnesses can become more managable over time. But I personally feel that's just because you've lived with it for longer and that would make it more managable.

I feel you certainly didn't overreact, I think what she said sounded quite invalidating, I feel a lot of people would have been hurt by those sorts of comments, I know I would.

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Old 16-03-2011, 10:20 PM   #7
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hmm some MH issues can ease off with time and/ or help, it is said BPD often eases off.

Having said that saying 'your'll grow out of it' with respect to anxiety is ridiculous and not very helpful tbh.

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Old 16-03-2011, 10:26 PM   #8
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it's possible that they just worded it badly and meant something like "in time you will learn to manage it", or that they thought that maybe you were finding things harder due to the change of going university and that with some time that would improve. But regardless I feel that the line "you'll grow out of it" is fairly belittling and invalidating.
I honestly hope that it was just a misunderstanding/poor choice of words...

On the other hand maybe it was some sort of clever ploy to encourage you to seach help wheere you are now by pushing you away from him/her (the CPN)... Though if that;s the case then it's a bit of a risk and could easily backfire

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Old 16-03-2011, 10:38 PM   #9
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I wasn't diagnosed with BPD until my late 30s and please don't take it personally, but I hate being told that this is the time it lessens. It makes me feel a failure.

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Old 17-03-2011, 08:44 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by startingagain View Post
I wasn't diagnosed with BPD until my late 30s and please don't take it personally, but I hate being told that this is the time it lessens. It makes me feel a failure.

which is why i did say it is said it often eases rather than it definatley always goes away.

(im 29 and bpd btw)

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Old 21-03-2011, 02:02 PM   #11
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Ooof. If someone had said that to me, I would've thrown sommat at them.

I have depression and anxiety - and, although anxiety is something one can learn skills and coping mechanisms to deal with. It is rare that someone will just 'grow out' of them like a pair of sneakers.

Honestly - I would send a message back and ask what they meant by it, and that it is a frankly unprofessional and cruel thing to say. It feels very off-hand and flippant and there is no excuse for an attitude like that.

I hope you are able to register with the professionals closer to your Uni soon. In the mean time, be clear with your CPN that you deserve and expect more respect than that.

Be gentle with yourself.

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Old 21-03-2011, 04:47 PM   #12
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Completely understandable that was veru hurtful, I would of found that hurtful to.
I don't think mental illness is a simple case of 'growing out of it'. It's like telling someone with depression to just 'snap out of it'. We'd do it if it were that simple, you know?
I understand your anxiety is really bad at the moment, and it must be really horrible for you, but I think you should really get signed up at the doctors so you can have some support/maybe medication for your anxiety? Is there someone who could sign you up? Maybe get a friend to help you. Remember breathing exercises is the key to helping panic attacks/anxiety.
Hope you're okay. Please feel free to PM me anytime you want. :)
Take care. <3


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Old 22-03-2011, 12:59 AM   #13
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I got that once too. It was horrible. And I got "It'll all go away when you go to uni" - erm no, it actually got one hell of a lot worse! So I really feel for you. I'm 20 now, and it's no easier than when I was 16/17. :(

"Keep your heart open to dreams. For as long as there's a dream, there is hope, and as long as there is hope, there is joy in living."

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Old 26-03-2011, 12:48 AM   #14
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When I was 16 I was told that I was too young to be feeling as upset as I was and then when I was 18 I was told that I needed to grow up because this was a "childish" thing to do. I think that different professionals have completely different ways of seeing things, not entirely helpful.

I've had a very similar experience to Whispered Secret. I was told that once I left for University, being 3 hours away from my parents, everything would be so much better. I would be so much better. Not so much. That's when everything really fell apart.

Some symptoms of illnesses can lessen as patients get older but that doesn't mean they necessarily will. Try to focus on yourself. It doesn't really matter what is going on with everyone else, what matter to you in the end is you.

Best wishes

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Old 26-03-2011, 12:21 PM   #15
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It really depends on whether or not it is a mental illness. A teenager who thinks they are depressed may only be suffering from teenage angst, which is something they can grow out of, whereas clinical depression you can't. With some things changing your situation or environment (like going away to university, say) can help a lot, or it might make things worse. It really depends on the illness and the person.

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