Anorexia & Anxiety… DOUBLE WHAMMY. & DOUBLE THE FUN!
Okay, so for some reason, this gloomy Thursday has me super-duper motivated.
So, once again, yep, for the 2nd time today, I’m about to go all-MOTIVATIONAL on your butts!
I spent my afternoon SIPPING ON MY ‘BUCH (DUH!) & starting this super interesting read (Anxiety for Beginners by Eleanor Morgan! P.S. I picked it up at Indigo, BUT you could also buy it on Amazon). In fact, I saw the title & was like, “OH, buying that. It’s SO ME!” You are probably wondering… Who gets excited when a book all about anxiety seems to describe them? Right? Let me explain.
Did you guys know that of all the disorders co-occurring with anorexia, anxiety is the most common? In fact, studies have shown that anxiety usually precedes the ED & remains even after recovery (Shit, that’s kinda scary). Some researchers have even hinted that the ED may be better classified as an anxiety disorder.
I mean… are you guys really surprised?
Anorexia orbits around anxiety – a constant worry, concern & obsession with calories, exercise & food. In fact, in my darkest ED days, my mind was LITERALLY a broken record incessantly playing the same messages over & over again:
don’t see your friends or family!
burn every calorie you eat!
weigh yourself NOW!
weigh yourself again!
don’t drink that, it’ll make the numbers go up!
you’re fat & you’re ugly!
you’re useless & you’re not worth anything!
& so on.
I mean, when you think about it, anxiety is quite broad & depicts numerous disorders that influence NERVOUSNESS, FEAR & WORRYING. At the end of the day, it’s an emotion that we all experience at some point in time & is a NORMAL response to stressful situations.
BUT, in my case, the anxiety surrounding food & social situations became so extreme & disproportionate that it’s safe to say IT CO-EXISTED & CO-OCCURRED WITH MY EATING DISORDER. Scary, right? I know. It’s like, being affected by the ED wasn’t enough, I JUST had to throw another one in there.
AND the worst part is, like eating disorders, anxiety disorders are frequently INVISIBLE, MISUNDERSTOOD & SHROUDED IN SHAME. So basically, I went through a double whammy. Ouch. What a hit.
BUT, THEN, RECOVERY HAPPENED & allowed me to KILL TWO REALLY UGLY BIRDS WITH ONE STONE.
What’s wonderful about eating disorder recovery is that it not only allows you to kick the ED (a.k.a. anorexia) in the butt, but it also allows you to look deep within yourself & to explore the root of not only the ED itself, but the other issues, experiences & events surrounding it. Ergo, my journey towards recovery has allowed me to:
Come to terms with the fact & ACCEPT that yes, I have anxiety.
That said anxiety was (& is) a by-product of not only the anorexia, but also of other traumatic events I have been through throughout my life & especially, in the past four to five years.
And best of all, has allowed me to find coping mechanisms to face, understand & deal with said anxiety & slowly watch it SLIP THE EFF AWAY!!!!
I wish I could put into words how far I’ve come but it’s hard. Real effing hard. But, since you all know I’m good with words (Sometimes, too good, ergo, I do not shaddup), I’ll try my best!
For starters, one of the biggest sources of my anxiety was talking & opening up about my mom & even being around others who were doing just that.
Like, it would give me SO MUCH ANXIETY that all I wanted to do was block my ears, scream or simply just RUN AWAY, literally. Now that I’m recovering, I’ve come to terms with that anxiety and I’ve also come to realize its source: I knew, very deep down inside of my soul, that I had
not properly (HECK, AT ALL) grieved my mom’s passing & this was something I had come to HATE about myself. It mind boggled me how EVERYONE AROUND ME, family & friends, had grieved her loss but that me, HER OWN DAUGHTER, couldn’t & hadn’t. So by not talking about it, by not opening up about it, by isolating myself from people who had grieved, who talked about it & who opened up about it, I avoided that self-hate. I avoided the acceptance of the fact that I had not grieved the most horrible loss in my life. I shut it out. I put a wall up. And then, I found myself in a dark, dark, tunnel. A tunnel filled with bottled-up anger, frustration, anxiety… and then, POOF, an eating disorder.
But, today & every single day moving forward, AFTER A LOT OF HARD WORK & A HECK OF A LOT OF MINDWORK, all I want to do is talk about her. All I want to do is reminisce about the beautiful childhood she provided me with. About the beautiful memories we shared. About the inspiring & admirable marriage she shared with my dad. About the good times. The bad times. The horrible times. Her last few days. & Her last few moments.
A few months ago, had you asked me to do ANY OF THIS, I would have run SO FAR & SO FAST & I WOULD HAVE DONE EVERYTHING & ANYTHING IN MY POWER TO AVOID IT. So, I think it’s SAFE-AF TO SAY THAT THIS IS ONE OF THE ANXIETIES THAT I HAVE COME A HECK OF A LONG WAY WITH.
Did I overcome it entirely? NO.
Will I ever? YES.
It takes time. It takes effort. It takes mind work. It takes commitment. & It takes willpower. But it’s doable, my loves. And whether your anxieties are sourced in horrible loss, traumatic life experiences or are associated with other stressors in your lives, PLEASE TAKE MY ACCOMPLISHMENT AS A SIGN THAT YOU WILL OVERCOME THEM, NO MATTER HOW FAR GONE, ERGO, IMPOSSIBLE, IT MAY SEEM.
(P.S. I love & miss you SO MUCH, MOMMY. I’ve thanked you a million times but I’ll thank you again. THANK YOU FOR THE STRENGTH YOU SEND ME EVERY SINGLE DAY. EVERY SINGLE WAKING MINUTE. IT IS YOUR STRENGTH, THIS STRENGTH, THAT KEEPS ME GOING, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.)
My second biggest source of anxiety developed progressively, as my eating disorder progressed & degenerated into HELL. OBVIOUSLY, you have most probably already assumed that said anxiety found its source in two main components:
1) FOOD. FOOD. FOOD. &
2) SOCIAL SITUATIONS.
Basically, when you think about it, THOSE ARE THE TWO THINGS THAT MAKE UP OUR DAY-TO-DAY LIVES, so essentially, I DEVELOPED SUCH SEVERE ANXIETY THAT I WAS ANXIOUS ABOUT LIFE. Now, that is freaking, SCARY-AF. In the moment, this was not something I realized, let alone acknowledged. But, now, looking back, all I have to say is WOW. Let me explain.
As I’ve previously told you guys, as my eating disorder progressed & slowly spiralled out of control & I reached my lowest point, I developed SUCH anxiety regarding food that I literally ATE THE SAME THING EVERY DAY, TO A T.
I reached a point where I would count my strawberries, grapes, blueberries & cherry tomatoes… It was bad. Real bad.
I would weigh myself before ingesting ANYTHING, yes guys, even before taking a sip of water.
And the second, YES THE SECOND, the numbers on the scale were SLIGHTLY, YES, slightly, off, I zipped my mouth shut for the rest of the day. No matter what time it was & no matter how little I had eaten. Crazy, right? (And wanna know what’s even crazier? The fact that certain people KNOW ALL OF THIS & still have the audacity to blame me for choosing to starve myself, heck, for choosing anorexia altogether. I mean, WHO IN THEIR RIGHT MIND WOULD CHOOSE TO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN USCH A STATE OF DEPRIVATION? Anywho, that’s a whole other ball game).
All this to say, ANOREXIA LITERALLY CONTROLLED ME. TOOK OVER ME. TURNED ME INTO A SELF-DEPRIVED & STARVED 20-SOMETHING YEAR OLD & all of this was a product of the anxieties that I developed as a result of HER (HER, BEING ANOREXIA).
And because of all the anxieties surrounding food, not to mention the fact that ANOREXIA convinced me I was ugly, unlovable, useless, worthless & overall, IMPERFECT (when I was supposed to be this perfect-little-skinny-mini-angel), I HATED. I MEAN, HATED, DESPISED and LOATHED being around people or being in ANY & I mean, ANY, social situation. I legit isolated myself. LIKE A BEAR WITH MAJOR ANXIETY & IN MAD-HIBERNATION STATUS. Not even joking. It was scary. It became automatic.
Kelly was not going ANYWHERE.
Kelly did not want to do ANYTHING.
Kelly was ALWAYS AT HOME.
Kelly was NOT FEELING WELL.
Kelly was SICK.
& so, I stayed home, cooped up under the covers, ANXIOUS AS HELL (LIKE, ANXIETY-MODE IN FULL FLEDGE), pondering about when I’d feel pretty, lovable, useful, worth it & PERFECT (in my own way!!!!) to go out & show myself to the world, heck, to my FAMILY & FRIENDS WHO LOVE ME, CARE FOR ME & MOST IMPORTANTLY, ARE STILL HERE FOR ME TODAY & WHO DID NOT & WILL NEVER LET ME DOWN.
But then, I chose recovery
(BEST FREAKING DECISION OF LIFE!!!!)
And at the end of every single week, as I reflect on my progress from the week before, I see these anxieties slowly slipping away, AND LET ME TELL YOU, I’M NOT USUALLY GOOD WITH GOODBYES, but these are THE. BEST. GOODBYES. EVER. For example?
I’m no longer afraid of CHICKEN.
NUTS (I’m talkin’ cashews, almonds, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts. HECK, I MAKE MY OWN HALZENUT BUTTER!!!!).
CHOCOLATE (I’m talkin’ full-fat real-deal chocolate).
BREAD (Hi Ezekiel, I love you).
Pasta & all ‘dat other starchy stuff.
BASICALLY, I’M NO LONGER AFRAID OF FOOD. & I NO LONGER EAT THE SAME THING EVERY SINGLE DAY (I think you munchkins must have noticed that, ergo, my INSTA/SNAPCHAT FEED, eh?).
I no longer count my freaking fruits & veggies. I LAYER THEM, PILE THEM, DEVOUR THEM, WHO CARES!
LIFE IS ABOUT ENJOYING FOOD.
LIFE IS ABOUT GIVING YOUR BODY WHAT IT WANTS, NEEDS & CRAVES.
LIFE IS ABOUT NOURISHMENT, NOT DEPRIVATION.
DEPRIVATION IS STUPID. DEPRIVATION MAKES YOU WEAK. DEPRIVATION MAKES YOU SICK. DEPRIVATION KILLS YOU.
I don’t care about the number on the scale. It no longer defines me.
It has become a mere indication not that I am succeeding because I lost another 0.1lb, BUT RATHER THAT RECOVERY IS WORTH IT & WORKING BECAUSE I’M KEEPING THE GAINS & not only am I keeping ‘em, BUT THEY’RE INCREASING, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY!!!!
& Best of all, I LOVE MY FAMILY & FRIENDS. I WANT TO SEE THEM. I WANT TO TALK TO THEM. I WANT TO SPEND TIME WITH THEM. I WANT TO SHARE MY DAILY PROGRESS WITH THEM.
I want to show them all the love I neglected to show them for SO LONG (I’m sorry my loves, I loved you all along, I SWEAR) because of you, YES, YOU, ANOREXIA, I’M TALKING TO YOU.
I want to go out.
Take in the freaking fresh air.
Go for walks & go to the mall.
EAT AT RESTAURANTS &
I only want to be cooped up on my sofa under the covers with SOME HOMEMADE KALE CHIPS (SEASONED-AF) if it’s raining like cray-cray & I’M ON A NETFLIX BINGE. (I mean, do you guys blame me? Come watch with me!!!! Ya dig?).
All this to say, I STARTED A NEW BOOK TODAY ABOUT ANXIETY & IT OPENED UP A CAN OF WORMS (IS THAT THE EXPRESSION?) Basically, I started a new book today about anxiety & it motivated me to open up to all of you (whom I LOVE SO DEARLY) & to tell you just a little bit about my struggles with NOT ONLY ANOREXIA, BUT WITH ANXIETY. AND LET ME TELL YOU, IT FEELS AMAZING.
A few months ago, I came out about my anorexia. Today, I came out about my anxiety. WHO KNOWS WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS?
ALL I KNOW IS IT’S WAY FREAKING BRIGHTER THAN IT HAS BEEN IN A HECK OF A LONG TIME & THIS, MY LOVES, MAKES ME HAPPY, HECK, IT MAKES ME ECSTATIC!!!!!!
NOW, ONE LAST THING:
Today, May, 25th, 2017, am I completely recovered from anorexia? No.
Am I completely over all my anxieties? No.
BUT, HAVE I MADE PROGRESS? HELL YES. HELL YES. HELL YES.
Am I discouraged? NO.
Am I demotivated? NO.
I HAVE COME TO LEARN THAT TO RECOVER FROM ANOREXIA & TO GET OVER MY ANXIETIES:
THERE IS NO QUICK FIX.
THERE IS NO FAST LANE.
THERE IS NO EXPRESSWAY.
THERE IS NO NEXUS.
It’s a process. A long one. A hard one. A battle. A war. A constant struggle. An obstacle course. A procedure.
WITH UPS & DOWNS.
& I’M TAKING THAT PROCESS ON HEAD STRONG, WITH ALL THAT IT ENTAILS. THE GOOD. THE BAD. THE UGLY. &
I’m doing it with MY SKILLET IN HAND.
MY SPATULA IN THE OTHER.
MY APRON TIED TIGHTLY.
MIXING BOWLS OUT.
MY SPICE RACK & PANTRY ON FLEEK.
AND BEST OF ALL, I’M DOING IT WITH THE BIGGEST FREAKING SMILE ON MY FACE.
NOW, try to tell me I’m not SUPERWOMAN, YEP, EVEN IF I HAVE ANOREXIA & ANXIETY (DOUBLE THE FUN!) & I just might have to FLY OVER TO YOU & TEACH YOU A THING OR TWO. OR THREE. (& IF YOU’RE NICE, MAYBE EVEN SHARE A RECIPE!)
I LOVE YOU ALL!!!!