“It’s a speed bump, not a road block.” – something my mom used to tell me daily during my first eating disorder at age 10.
I remember reluctantly driving to therapy asking my mom “why me? Why do I have to have anxiety?” feeling so alone & lost like I was the only kid dealing with this.
I felt so unlike my peers. They could eat lunch in the cafeteria while I sat in the secretary’s office because my anxiety was too strong.
They could play at recess while I was in the guidance counselors office playing games & trying to get my mind off of my fears.
I remember feeling like I’d never get through these feelings. They consumed my life & my families lives.
A feeling of losing control when I switched schools at a young age triggered my anxiety for years to come.
What started out as fear, turned into controlling my food to be in control of something.
Anxiety has a way of making up rules in your head that you follow to be in control.
I’d only let myself eat at certain times on the clock, only eat certain foods together, & be afraid to eat anything that I thought could make me sick, because being sick was my “fear” (aka losing control).”
I lost over 15lbs from the 5th to 6th grade at a time where I should’ve been thriving…but I wouldn’t trade it.
I truly believe therapy & support saved me & you go through things to help others down the road.
School was the last place I wanted to be as a kid, but in the future I went to school to be a Phys Ed teacher. How crazy, right!? The place I feared the most became the place I wanted to make a difference.
In college, my old being in control patterns flared up when I chose to compete in a bodybuilding show. I could control the way my body looked & how it made me feel.
I overdid fitness & restricted my food long past my “dieting phase” because I was afraid to gain weight back.
This led to no menstrual cycle, hair falling out, & fatigued.
I hit a point where I knew things had to change. I needed to go back to my routes of getting help through therapy & challenging myself to grow from the inside out.
Everyone’s story is unique to them. There is no one way to struggle & those speed bumps can still show up, but we keep driving through, because the other side is worth it.
Things that I recommend doing if you’re struggling:
- Get help. Find a therapist by simply googling some local names or ask around. Therapy saved us during this time.
- Tell others how you’re feeling. Don’t keep it all in. This is what helped me realize I wasn’t alone.
- Know that any challenge you have to go THROUGH, not AROUND. Once you go through the tough times, it will get better on the other end because they seem smaller than when started.
- Use resources like NEDA where you can contact their helpline.
- Write things out. The more you put these fears in front of you, the less they become.
I hope this helps anyone who may need it. My intention with sharing my story is to always help others. I remember thinking I’d never overcome what I was going through but after hard work, I can help others. I’m not 100% over any of these feelings as they will always be a voice in my head but it’s how I manage them now and the tools I have to keep moving forward.
Be true to you,