I’ve seen a lot of post about anxiety trending lately. My only complaint is that most of these posts lump everyone with anxiety together. I appreciate the sentiment of those writing but only some feel applicable to my situation. So, I will make this clear now. I cannot speak for each individual with anxiety. I cannot speak for every person struggling with an eating disorder. What I CAN do is hope that as I heal, my story helps even one person. I struggled on whether or not to share my journey through this battle with anxiety. I pray that whoever is reading this gains perspective about what is like living with these disorders, gains the courage to seek treatment (therapy, medicine, meditation, any kind of treatment) and let others know about about your struggles, realizes they are not alone in this battle, and/or receives an ounce of hope that this is not a never-ending road to recovery.
I’ve talked a lot in my last two anxiety-related posts about my personal experience but not much about the daily life of having panic attacks and an eating disorder. So here is my “list”: the way I feel living with anxiety and an eating disorder and how I believe many others feel…
1.) Living with anxiety is so much more than being stressed. So many people misconstrue anxiety as a load of stress. It is stressful but anxiety feels like a constant waiting game, a ticking clock. Will I be okay today? Can I function normally today? What about tomorrow? How will other people react to me panicking? And when stress comes into play, it snowballs these thoughts and makes them more intense like being suffocated. Essentially it sucks.
2.) I do have good days. I am not full of anxious thoughts 24/7. While there may be days where I cry nonstop and can’t leave my couch snuggling with dogs (who are huge amounts of therapy for me), that is not me, I am not this ball of anxiety. I have some amazing days, full of giggles and spent with friends and family. Those days will happen more often and they are by far my favorite days. I love the days where I wake up singing showtunes, walk my dogs, go to yoga with friends, call my best friend and talk for hours; I want to live like that EVERYDAY and cannot wait until that is a possibility.
3.) I am not angry at you. I AM angry at my anxiety, my eating disorder and most importantly myself. I absolutely HATE HATE HATE my that my disorders hold me back from the things I want so badly in life. Not just my larger life goals like moving to New York to pursue theatre, but the small things. Fear stands in the way of so much of my life. I would love to go out to eat. I would love to spend the weekend in Salt Lake City or Boston with my two best friends. I want to travel. I want to be able to eat in front of people. I want to be the happy, bubbly, funny, amusing, slightly sarcastic girl I used to be and deep down I still am that girl. For right now this detour has prevented me from achieving my goals. Things that seem normal others scare me. I don’t want to have panic attacks in front of people. I don’t want them to see me as weak because I’m not weak, if I was I would not be able to fight as hard as I am right now. I am angry at myself. I want to be okay and I want to really live my life.
4.) Seeking help does not mean you are too weak to handle this. I thought that for the longest time. I didn’t want help because I thought I could do it by myself, when the truth was I needed help. I am brave because I asked for help. I put dreams aside to search for a way to get better so that when I am presented with another chance to live one of my dreams, I will be healthy and ready. My personal treatment includes various doctors’ appointments with an eating disorder specialist and nutritionist, therapy, yoga, going to church, spending quality time with the people and puppies I love and performing. Therapy comes in many different forms and finding the right method is important for each person.
5.) Lastly…I want the people in my life to know how much they mean to me. I love you all: every single person who is part of my support team, every friend who lets me call them no matter what time and vent, every family member who unconditionally loves me, my dogs who make me smile, the people who make me laugh and God for helping me through every moment of this. Every single one of you helps me become that girl I once was and please don’t feel like when I cancel plans or need to be alone that it has anything to do with you. I hate disappointing all of you and I never want to hurt you. So please never feel like it is your fault, but it isn’t mine either which is something I’ve only recently discovered. It’s anxiety. It’s my eating disorder. It’s the evil that is panic attacks and not eating for hours, sometimes days. It’s the fear. I choose you over the fear, all of you, but sometimes it still wins. Just know I’m still fighting for me and for you.