Anxiety: My “silent” struggle

So my blog name is “Bulimia to Bodybuilding” so obviously its about my struggles with my eating disorders. Well a lot of people who struggle with eating disorders also struggle with other things, for me it is anxiety. Anxiety has been apart of my life for as long as I can remember and I definitely think there was a link between my anxiety and my eating disorder.

Ever since I was a young young girl I have been all over the place. All of the stories that are told to me about my childhood involve me going crazy, being defiant, worrying, or not sleeping. I was over energized and never slept. When I got older (6-7) that didn’t change. At that age I was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety and as a result of that I was unable to sleep. At that age I was put on medication for all three of those problems, however I have since taken myself off my ADHD medication. Ever since then I have dealt with anxiety in all different forms, types, ways, etc. While I outgrew my ADHD it felt like as an adult I grew more into my anxiety. I have a very distinct memory of the first time my mom called me a “worry wart”. She parked under a light pole in the parking lot and I was convinced it would fall on the car and crush it. I had irrational thinking such as this my whole life. I will say that living with my anxiety was much much easier until about last Summer (2016). My Uncle in England suddenly died and I have pin pointed my anxiety getting much worse to that. I don’t know why this is exactly but it was probably because it was such a drastic change that I had absolutely no control over and it really has been bad since then. I had anxiety before then I just know that it got way worse at this point.

Now a days I am “diagnosed” by society as a high functioning anxiety type. This means I can live a normal life just like anyone else, do normal things like everyone else, function normally, but I am constantly dealing with my anxiety. There isn’t a day that goes by that is completely anxiety free but there are days that it is better than others. It is hard to live with anxiety day in and day out but it has become something I am used to. I still deal with it in a lot of ways, which I will go over shortly, but I am trying to find new methods to cope with it. My anxiety levels fluctuate, sometimes its just an increased heart rate that triggers negative emotions and other times it very hard for me to even want to get out of bed. While I am high-functioning and I can live a normal life it does not mean that anxiety never interferes with my life because it definitely does. It can be the root of a lot of issues because of how my anxious habits have formed and how I act.

Not everybody is going to deal with something like an eating disorder but a lot of people DO deal with things like anxiety, depression, etc and I wanted to reach out to them and let them know they aren’t alone as well. I am so open about my eating disorder that talking about my anxiety isn’t hard at all. However, I know A LOT of people struggle with being open about it and feel isolated so I want to let them know they aren’t alone.

Anxiety and my eating disorder: 

I am going to make a separate blog about this but my eating disorder and my anxiety are definitely linked in some way. Most episodes of my eating disorder were triggered by anxiety attacks over my weight, weighing myself, what I ate, etc. I would get down about my weight and my body and go into full on panic mode.

However, in recovering from my eating disorder I don’t think an anxiety attack over my weight would lead me to my eating disorder again. I have learned to not rely on my eating disorder as a coping mechanism for anxiety linked to weight and body image.

What triggers me/what are my habits? 

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Some days it easy to tell what my anxiety is linked to other days it is not. It is really hard for me to pinpoint all of my anxiety triggers but I am aware of some of them. I will just go over a few things that have really been points of bad anxiety for me.

  1. Being uncertain of plans: Don’t get me wrong I am okay with going with the flow at times and I love just sitting and unwinding at home but I like to have at least a little structure to what I am doing. Heck, even if I am sitting and unwinding I have planned times I am going to do that. I know this isn’t a good habit to have AT ALL but if things aren’t structured I get anxious. I think this may be because I am uncomfortable with situations that are out of my hands and I like to have at least a bit of an idea of what is going to happen. I often like to make and take care of all the plans myself, which can drive my loved ones insane so I am working on loosening the reigns a little.
  2. Becoming obsessive/overthinking: This specific one can come in many different forms. Obsessing over what someone said, something I said, situations, jumping to conclusions, you name it. I can become so obsessive over things that it literally consumes my whole entire thought process and I have a difficult time moving away from it until its resolved or someone can help me feel better about it.
  3. Thinking about loved ones injured: This one is pretty morbid but I get MAJOR anxiety over thinking about a love one getting hurt or worse. It gets so bad that when they are driving somewhere and I haven’t heard from them or I simply haven’t heard from them in a while I start automatically assuming the worst and causing a full on anxiety attack within myself. Its hard for me to not try and get into contact with them (text or call a whole bunch) because I just want to know if they are okay.
  4. Random fits of increased heart rate: This is one of my least favorites because at least I can pinpoint the reasoning behind the other ones. Sometimes when I am relaxing, out, or basically doing something OTHER than working out my heart race increases. When this happens I get super anxious and start feeling a lot of negative emotions that are not linked to anything. This is really hard to deal with because it is hard to cope with it if I don’t know what is happening. It is also hard to understand because when my heart race increases while I workout I DO NOT get any of these emotions. I am hoping one day I can understand why this happens.

These are not all something that I deal with to this extreme every single day nor are they this bad always. They are more of a worst case scenario and description of things I deal with when my anxiety is at its worst. There is probably a less dramatic version of them that I deal with daily but what I am explaining is me at my extremes. These are also just some of my anxious habits I have many more but these are obviously my worst, which is why I brought them to light.

What do I do to cope with the anxiety?

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Sometimes its hard to deal with anxiety and my coping mechanisms don’t always work  but having them in place and having them work a majority of the time is very helpful and better than having no coping mechanisms in place at all

  • Working out: Working out has helped me in so many ways from overcoming an eating disorder to helping with my anxiety. Its great, especially for anxiety about my body image and weight, because I know I am taking control of my life and can fix any issues I may have with myself through the gym. It is my time that directly benefits me and it is very calming.
  • Practicing self love: This can come in many forms. Relaxing, getting my nails done, reading, focusing on my mental health, etc. I love forms of self love (read my blog on Self-Love if you have not already) focusing on YOUR needs instead of worrying about everyone else even for just half an hour is extremely calming. It is important to do this all the time anxiety or not. We cannot be the best versions of ourselves if we do not practice self-love
  • Deep breathing: I do this the most with problem number 4 in my last section. When my heart rate gets super increased I attempt to lower it by using deep  breathing exercises. Usually when the heart rate gets back down the negative feelings go away.
  • Asking myself “What problem do you have in this moment” or “What are you anxious about”: If deep breathing doesn’t work I like to use this method and have found it very useful. Sometimes when I cannot pin point what is causing me to be anxious I try to truly think of what in the world is making me anxious in THAT moment. Is it something that is CURRENTLY occurring? Or is it something that happened in the past or am I worrying about the future? 99% of the time there is nothing going on in that exact moment that there is a need for me to be anxious about and I begin to take the moment as is. A good book on this is “The Power or Now” by Eckhart Toll. It teaches you to be in the moment because that is really all there s. We are always in THIS moment we aren’t in the past or in the future.
  • Unplugging from my phone even for a few minutes: I am easily over stimulated and sometimes if I sit on my phone for too long I can feel my anxiety increasing. I have found it helpful that even if its just for 5 minutes it feels good to not be connected to technology. In this time I like to read or focus on something non-technology related. Sometimes I even like to just close my eyes. Being constantly connected to the phone creates anxiety because there is so much information coming at us at once its a lot to process. Just take a few minute break from it a couple of times a day!
  • Law of attraction: I am not going to go into depth about the Law of attraction but I will suggest some great books to you about it. Simply put it has to do with keeping your vibrations high so that it matches the vibrations of the things you would like to attract. The things you want most in this world you have to believe are yours, are attainable, and you need to not focus on your lack of having it. When I use this, practice it, and think of it I know that I can have ANYTHING I want and so there is no reason to be worried or overly stressed because I have access to making it mine. There is so much more depth to this than what I am saying I just know you are better served reading a book about it than me explaining it to you. To understand more about this read
  • You are a Badass by Jen Sincero 
  • Law of Attraction by Michael J Losier 
  • The Law of Attraction: The teachings of Abraham by Esther and Jerry Hicks
  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne 

There are tons of books out there on this topic these are just a few that I know of. A lot of books on meditation will emphasize on this as well.

Recently, I started new methods of coping with anxiety.  If you told me to try these methods  last year I flat out would of made fun of you. I have always been spiritual, believed in paranormal, etc but if you told me that simple solutions like these can make your life better I literally would of laughed in your face and said yeah it doesn’t work like that (this includes the law of attraction)

  1. Meditation: So many different people told me that I should meditate for my anxiety and other issues but I was always scared to try. I felt like my anxiety would be a huge inhibitor. My mind races and is never silent it goes 1000 thoughts a minute and I felt sitting in silence would just increase this. I didn’t believe I was able to meditate to cure my anxiety BECAUSE of my anxiety. However, I have been using a guided meditation and its actually so wonderful because its the few minutes a day I actually do no have thoughts racing.
  2. Essential oils: It is pretty well known that lavender is supposed to help with anxiety so I decided to dig a little deeper into that. I had a bad reaction to hormones that I was given I was bloated, had digestive issues, was all over the place emotionally and I decided that I was kind of tired of relying on medication full of chemicals to fix everything. This and other things is what made me want to start looking for more natural remedies. So far I am really enjoying essential oils just the smell of some are extremely calming and it makes me happy knowing that I am finding more natural solutions to my issues. I am still new to them though so if you have any advice I will gladly take it.

I am medicated for anxiety but I am not going to list that as a coping mechanism. Even on medication anxiety still breaks through and I can’t rely on it to cure me so I have to come up with other ways. I am not telling you to go off your medication but to find ways to cope with it than solely that.

Why am I writing about this?

I spend a lot of time talking about how I am recovered from my eating disorder, however I wanted to write this blog because I wanted to bring attention to the fact that I am far from perfect or healed. I love to give advice on how I overcame what I overcame, fitness, etc. but I never want people to think I have it all together or think I think that. The truth about life is just because we overcome one HUGE thing doesn’t mean we are going to be free from trials and issues the rest of our lives. The thing we need to learn is that our life doesn’t need to be inhibited permanently from this and we can live with them. Don’t let your issues become your identity.

-I have now shared my struggle with anxiety with you guys and hope that it causes you to feel that you are not alone or that you do not have to be ashamed of your anxiety. Never hesitate to reach out to me with tips on how to improve anxiety, your anxiety stories success or failure, or really just about anything. I will talk about anxiety more in my blog but this is just what I wanted to share for now.

6 thoughts on “Anxiety: My “silent” struggle

  1. bodybyemilyrose says:

    I absolutely love that you wrote this and I can fully connect with you.. I have a similar story! ♡ I am hoping to blog about this topic too when I am ready..does it help writing it all down? So much respect for you and these tips are great..the gym has been my number one remedy!

    Like

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