Stories, skills, and positivity- to anxiety sufferers from anxiety sufferers.
Ever since I was little I have been dealing with anxiety. It has manifested in many different ways over the years, from separation anxiety to anorexia and depression. When I was in my final year of high school, I became obsessed with my weight, thinking I needed to lose five pounds to look perfect in my prom dress. The only problem was that no matter how much weight I lost, it was never enough.
I became fixated on counting calories and lowering my intake as fast as I could. After continuing this behaviour for three weeks and losing almost twenty pounds in that time frame, I ended up in the hospital due to fears from my doctor that my heart would fail. The first night, it almost did. When I was released, I thought I was better but I would battle anorexia and bulimia through my first two years of university. The funny thing about eating disorders is that it not only changes your physical characteristics, it changes you emotionally.
Whenever I was battling my eating disorder, I acted like a completely different person. I became mean, distracted, and lethargic and I would have crazy mood swings. When people think of eating disorders, they think of a girl who picks at her food, or someone throwing up their lunch in the bathroom without any other repercussions. Anorexia and bulimia are not glamorous illnesses. Your skin dries out and turns yellow, your nails start to split and go brittle. My hair fell out in chunks and my friends described me as a walking corpse. When you purge, your cheeks swell up and your esophagus rips, I had constant acid reflux and the skin on my fingers was getting sores from the acid.
The one comment that pushed me to try and get better was when my mentor who I look up to more than anyone, told me that I had lost my sparkle. Her words have stuck with me for the past four years and any time I feel myself on the verge of relapsing I think of it and push myself to get help. Just having someone to talk to without judgement made me feel so much better. I was able to implement changes into my life and recover from the anorexia.
Unfortunately life didn’t become magically easier, my anxiety still exists. During this past year, my anxiety got so bad that I was having up to twenty attacks a day. I wasn’t motivated to get assignments done or to study for midterms or finals. I started to feel depressed and the only reason I would get out of bed some days was because I have a dog who relies on me. After realizing that it was impacting my grades and my day to day life, I decided it was time to get help again. I started seeing my counsellor again and I started taking medication to help control my attacks.
Immediately I noticed an improvement. I just felt lighter and happier. I finally felt like I could live my life without this constant hindrance. Now, I finally feel at home in my body and I’ve learned to appreciate it for what it is. My self-image has improved immensely and I am so much happier than I was even just a few months ago. Of course I still live with anxiety and I still have days where I fall back into eating disorder habits, but I just focus on moving forward past it. It’s all about learning to cope. The biggest thing that has helped me is talking about my struggles. My hope is that someone will hear my problems and realize that they are not alone and that even though times may be tough, things do get better.
5/15/2016 06:31:37 am
strongest girl i know <3
Leave a Reply.
Katie McLean holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and bases her anxiety aid in personal experience, as well as techniques that have been passed on to her by counsellors, friends, and fellow anxiety sufferers.