One Of Those Posts…

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.

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Light Switch

Currently the power is out in my neighborhood. Weird how seemingly insignificant events like these make us more aware, alert even. I have discussed my anxiety here before. When it was almost “healed” (the only term that seems to fit), I thought I was better, I was “brave”. Turns out stopping treatment for my issues was premature. I went to Florida to participate in the Disney College Program (which by the way is a wonderful experience). It turns out I was only “healed” enough to function at home, in a safe controlled environment, but when my structured life was thrown a curve ball, I was thrown into the dark much like I’m sitting in now. I lost control.
For those of you who do not know me well, my anxiety forces me to want control in all aspects of my life. Clearly that task proves impossible, but I still try. My eating disorder returned, not anorexia or bulimia but a disorder called “AFRID” which stands for Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder, simply put a fear of eating. My fear stems from my food allergies which as I stated, I’ve discussed before. I feel like I’m allergic to everything. Even though I’ve been tested for other allergies, the fear persists. I proceeded in my last few weeks in Orlando to eat only toast, rice and occasionally broccoli. My water intake narrowed to one very forced cup a day. I refused eating in public. I feared people finding out and not understanding. Depression kicked in because as my doctor explained “malnourishment leads to lack of energy, sleep and ability to function properly”. I began feeling lost, like I would never beat this. There were days I would hide in my room and cry. I was failing at my dream of working in Disney. I was failing, not a concept I deal well with. I loved Disney World since childhood. I met wonderful people during my program. I had five amazing roommates whom I miss terribly and honestly I would not have made it as long as I did without their kindness. I really owe them more than they know. I made the choice to come home, probably the hardest choice I’ve made thus far.
Since I’ve been home, I attend an average of 3 doctors appointments every week. I eat about 2 meals a day and even though I know that is not enough, I am slowly gaining back my strength and my mental function. It is difficult. I thought that I was better and starting back at square one scares me, but I force myself to wake up every day and try. Try to eat. Try to live. I thank God every day that I don’t have a reaction, every day that I can eat, every day that I have an amazing support team of family, friends and two puppies who make me smile. Thank you to those people who remind to choose living in the light even when it is easier to stay in the dark. Hopefully the power is back on soon. As Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light”.

1 Month, 30 Days, 730 Hours, 43829 Minutes,

Today marks one month of DCP life. Wow! That feels weird to say, one month, thirty days, four weeks, however you phrase it, it has been an amazing adventure thus far.

My roommates are the kindest, sweetest, most wonderful people who always are there to play in the parks, chat or cheer each other up when we are struggling. Yes, there are struggles that come with doing the DCP. I miss my family, puppies and friends every day. I’ve already cried twice while calling my mom because it is strange not seeing anyone from home, at all. Of course, there are also the natural issues with moving to a new place such as learning to balance my classes, work and a vlogging channel. I’ve learned how important it is for me to make time to call my family, go to the parks with my roommates and make new friends. I have always loved making new friends, but found that the people I met at the beginning of the program (when I had time off to breathe) I haven’t seen many of since. Time management is my advice for anyone applying or who has been accepted to the DCP. Time management. It amazes me that 30 days have gone by in one blink.

With that said, everyone has been very friendly and I look forward to making more time for all of the wonderful people here. Life has been hectic to say the least but it is amazing here in Orlando. I’m working with all of the characters I looked up to as a child. I have the opportunity to make kids smile today like I did the first time I came here. The magic made me want to come back to Disney World as much as possible growing up. I hope that I can have even a small impact on the creating that same magic for the guests I meet everyday. I’m so proud to work for a company that makes dreams come true. As they say in Up, “Adventure is out there”. My adventure is just beginning and I cannot wait to see where it takes me.
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Happy Birthday Alan Menken

Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Hercules, Enchanted, Newsies, Little Shop of Horrors and the list goes on to show the marvelous achievements of an amazing man, Alan Menken. I wanted to write this post because I feel that I owe my love of Disney music and musical theatre to this inspiring person.

As a child, and occasionally as an adult, I would walk around my house with a book in my hand and my hair tied back in a bow singing to my dog ” Oh isn’t this amazing? Its my favorite part because you’ll see” (I bet you sang the words) , from the song “Belle”. Beauty and the Beast will forever and always be my favorite story of “far off places, daring sword fights, magic spells, a prince in disguise”, but songs like “Under the Sea” from the Little Mermaid, “Friend Like Me” from Aladdin (and performed by my favorite actor, Robin Williams), and “Just Around the Riverbend” from Pocahontas were all in my repertoire at age seven of songs I could act out while singing with my little baby soprano voice. This music molded me, taught me lessons about connecting with nature (thank you “Colors of the Wind”), allowed me to see people for their heart rather than their appearance (a la what Angela Lansbury’s Mrs. Potts told us in “Beauty and the Beast”) and of course let me have a dream (pretty much all of his music but let’s go with “Go The Distance” and “I Have a Dream”).

So this post is to thank you, Alan Menken, wherever you are and even though you will more than likely never read this post. I am just sending my love of your work out into the universe, thanking you for continuing to inspire me to “have a dream” like Rapunzel, “sing a happy working song” like Giselle and as Katherine Plumber says “watch what happens”.

Happy Birthday Alan Menken!

More reading:

Alan Menken Official Site

Entertainment Weekly Article

DISNEY COLLEGE PROGRAM

Exicited for DCP but missing my long Merida hair:)
Exicited for DCP but missing my long Merida hair:)

WOOHOOO! If I may, that is the only way to describe how I feel about my upcoming internship in Walt Disney World. I will officially be a character attendant for the Fall 2015 Disney College Program (or DCP as it is commonly referred to). To those of you who do not know what that means, I am the awesome kid in the blue shirt who says “Here’s Mickey Mouse!!” and guides people as they meet and greet with their favorite characters.

Now to everyone yelling, “What?!? You’re not friends with a princess?” or “I thought you wanted to be an actor?” or my personal favorite “Why would you want to do that?” Glad you asked.

I took my first full-fledged adventure to Disney World at age 4, since then I have been there about 8 times and loved each moment of each trip. I love Disney. Not ashamed of it and call me a child because I take it as a compliment. Not only is Disney one of the most successful companies in the world between movies, tv, theme parks and merchandise, Disney is all about entertainment.

Connecting the dots? Entertainment…..acting. I knew you would get it. Now do I expect to be put in a major motion picture because I did a college internship? Clearly not. However, Disney opens many doors and as many people know is a family. I will still be part of the show and referred to as a cast member during my 4 month internship and honestly I cannot wait.

What could be better than creating magic for families from all over the world as Disney does so well? I will keep everyone posted when my adventure begins August 24th! Keep checking here and youtube.com/lexifazz for DCP updates!

Thanks for reading!

-Lexi

Mentality, honest.

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Yesterday, I finally dragged my mother to the movies to experience the newest Pixar film, “Inside Out”. I promise this will not be a grueling movie review discussing my take of each character and the critics opinions versus mine. I also swear that I will be 100% honest during this post. So if you want a movie review or a juicy and embellished story, sorry this post will not be helpful to you.

First of all let us get out of the way that the movie was great and although my mother was reluctant to see it, she also loved it. Now that I am done promoting the film, I want to divulge into something a little more serious than a cartoon. The movie discusses feelings and how each one is necessary at different times for different people. Essentially, this movie addresses how a healthy and unhealthy brain functions based on emotions.

Honestly (since I am being honest), this brought me survey my own thought and emotions. Why? Because four short years ago, I was diagnosed with severe anxiety and situational depression. To those of you who already knew this, you have been helping me through something that has truly affected my entire life. It is strange to know how many people suffer daily from their emotions shutting off or fear (as he does in the movie) taking over.

I will not sit here and whine about my problems or ask for pity because I have no desire to be pitied. If anything, I want the opposite of being singled out, normalcy. I had an allergic reaction to mint when I was 18 which made the anxiety that had grown inside me for so long, reach full bloom. I feared eating. From having anaphylactic reaction I developed PTSD and an eating disorder. Things spiraled out of control. I left school on medical leave. I refused to eat or see friends. And really truly honestly, I lost a large piece of the once bubbly and   fearless girl I was before.

I spent the next three and a half years in and out of therapy and for the past year and a half, I was on medication. It is scary to admit because if someone said to me five years ago that I would fall apart, I would have laughed.

Laughter, cliche enough, brought me back to life. I took moments to appreciate all of the amazing people who make me laugh, smile and feel like I am worth something. Every person I have encountered along this recovering journey has touched my life for the better. Each one has shown me something unique about myself and reminded me why I need to choose happiness and why I chose the career path that may seem impossible, being an actor. Acting allows me to embrace life and get others through a rainy day and that is why it is so important to me to continue pursuing my dreams. I finally feel ready to do so.

I am now just 9 days off of my medicine, out of therapy and ready to launch myself back into the world. That bubbly, sarcastic and fun-loving girl is finally returning. The reason I am writing this in case you are asking, “what is the point?” is that I want every person who struggles with mental illness to know they are not alone. You can beat this, even when the world seems a little inside out.

-Lexi

Blog Time!

Hellloooo worlddddd! I have finally decided to start blogging! I want to follow some of my adventures and daily life moments which I feel the need to share with anyone who wants to listen. As I grow nearer to my next adventure, working in the Disney College Program in Walt Disney World in Florida, I thought this would be a good way to keep in touch with my family and friends and those who follow my life on YouTube , Instagram, my Actor Website , Twitter  and  Facebook . So feel free to subscribe and follow the social media you like best! I am very excited to start this week’s blogs with a Disney College Program post, a favorite recipe and a personal story. Thanks for reading!

-Lexi