Welcome to my life

by Charlotte Fantelli

Hello! It is a fine and beautiful day here on the south coast (at least the glare from the window hitting the computer screen tells me as such). This is my first blog post, and a very strange feeling it is too. I am a writer (obviously) and have written for many different mediums, but I feel almost exposed at the thought of a blog!

Who am I?

So let me introduce myself, I am Charlotte Fantelli - I used to be Lotty, but now hate it when people call me that! I shed that alter-ego some years ago! Charlie is fine, but most people call me Charlotte. I inherited the Fantelli from my gorgeous Italian husband Gabriele.

Name dropping :-) (My life now!)

My life right now is a roller-coaster ride (as I like it if I'm honest! Although I am sure you will hear me moan about the lack of sleep/long days from time to time.) I am a wife to a wonderful man and a mum to a very vibrant and beautiful, non-stop three-year-old.

In business I am partnered with one of the most successful businessmen in the country (Simon Dolan). I am blessed to work with some fantastic pioneers and experts such as Dr Rob Hicks, Anthony Worrall Thompson and Marjorie Wallace CBE (Founder of SANE), and I am lucky to count amazing people such as Duncan Bannatyne OBE as contacts.

So I have an easy life? Well, six years ago I was completely agoraphobic, six and a half stone, living on water, cigarettes and the occasional tranquilliser to keep me sane! So no, it hasn't been easy - but it has been VERY worthwhile!

Agoraphobia, OCD and panic disorder (to name but a few!)

I started my recovery at rock bottom, July 31st 2005. For the first time in many years (even through abuse) I shed a tear, as I realised I was in a predicament - I was scared to die, but I was even more scared of living. I had not been out the house for three months and the thought petrified me.

Not going out was no solution, my home could not protect me from the panic attacks or OCD, and I lived my life like a prisoner without a release date. Right there and then I made a promise, I promised myself, God, the universe, the little girl I had lost two years earlier - that if I survived this, if I found the strength to turn my life around I would make a difference in the world.

Now it is my time to fulfil that promise, that is why I created Uncovered magazine and this site.

The future

I will, I am sure, share the 'How I did it' story with you throughout my blog posts. But I also want to share with you how I still live my life everyday with a mental illness. I now manage my conditions and live a full life, despite my OCD and panic disorder, but they are nonetheless a constant fight.

I hope you enjoy joining me on my journey,

Charlotte x


What an inspirational blog. You are truly amazing.

Thank you very much

Ocd is a form of anxiety and its a serious mental illness. Sleeping Tablets Online

Just wanted to say your magazine and website have really been helpful to me as a sufferer of OCD and generally anxious person! Congratulations on all you have achieved and I look forward to reading your future blogs.

Thanks Mel :-)

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It's amazing that you admit to 'managing' your condition, so many people try and sell false 'cures' and fix its! As if there is a huge divide between the 'mentally ill' and the 'miraculously cured'. Knowing that you can manage a condition and still live a happy life is so much more obtainable and real- gives us all hope!!! Sarah

Thanks Sarah, there is no miracle cure, but there is a wonderful life to be had!

Thanks for sharng your story. I development agoraphobia after loosing my little girl. It took me there years to pull out of it. I made a promise to her that i will make a difference in this world in her honar. I still struggle, but that promise has keep my on this path of a wonderful journey. Thanks for sharing your story and teaching out to others. L

John that really touched me, thank you for your comment. Losing a child, well there is nothing like it in the world, whatever the circumstance. But we are still here aren't we and just got to live every day we have been given to make better what we have. I am grateful for you sharing this with me - keep on keeping our promises :-)

God bless you for sharing on your blog, and for all that you do to help others cope better in living with daily mental health conditions. I have bi-polar and have been suicidal innumerous times. God has helped and protected me or i would not be here now.

Hi Gillian, what a miracle this life is, and what a journey to take. Thank you for sharing this with me. It helps to know that others walk the same path. If you struggle again, I hope you find Uncovered a support. God bless x

Thanks for sharing

Well done Charlotte you deserve a happy life full of gifts and peace, keep up good work. Geoff P

Hi Geoff - is it the Geoff P I think it is...? Summer 1999 :-) If not, you won't have a clue what that means... Thank you for your kind comments, it hasn't been the easiest ride but hey it's been an adventure! Hope you are doing well too, Charlotte

Stellar work there evreyone. I'll keep on reading.

Thank you very much, I look forward to your future comments, Charlotte

Charlotte, first of all - well done. On coming so far on your journey and thank you for sharing it with us. I would say that it is definately about managing mental health illnesses, as a cure is not always possible. I have recently started to develop my own writing skills and am using it as a tool to express myself and my experiences. It is so important for people to have a voice so thank you for providing a forum to do just that. Lisa

Thank you so much Lisa for your kindness. I am so glad you are using writing to express your own feelings, this is how I started and look where it took me :) VERY best of luck in your journey, keep us posted. Charlotte

Hi Charlotte, One of my goals is to be off my medication when possible. I am currently on Venlalic (after an episode provoking increased anxiety). Before then I was on Citalopram for quite a while which worked well. I have had other talking therapies to supplement - CBT and Counselling to address panic, anxiety and self esteem issues. I feel more empowered having had these treatments and have learnt strategies to help me in the future if anxiety troubles me. I will of course be asking my doctor about this and seeking his professional advice. However, my concern is that if I reduce / eventually come off medication, how will I know how much is me coping and how much is it that the tablets do to help me cope? It leaves me wondering how much of my progress is me and how much are tablets helping me? I tried coming off medication a couple of years ago but did it on my own accord out of frustration and not feeling in control. This time I want to do it properly and I want to see the "me" that is just me - not on tablets. What do you think Charlotte?

Hi there, thank you for posting this. I MUST say that I am not trained in medicine and that you definitely need to speak to your GP about this. With any type of treatment it will be carefully considered for your individual circumstances (or at least it should be). 

What I do know is that even on medication YOU need to do the work yourself to really feel the benefit. There is no miracle cure and the drugs you speak of will only be a part of where you are at today, value your own achievements. If you and your GP start a program to come off the medication you need to do it with the right support and with an open mind. Continue educating yourself, implementing self-help strategies and talk about your feelings every step of the way; this will help you answer the question 'how much is me?' and ease the transition into being drug free. 

It may help you to keep a journal as this will track your mind and moods as you take this journey and help you relate back to your health care provider.

Being drug free is a wonderful 'ideal' however being on drugs that help you live a happy life is NOT a failure. VERY best of luck with everything.

Perfect, this is a huge help, especially the bit about keeping a journal, I like that idea. Many thanks Charlotte :)
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