eating disorder · recovery

Anxiety is reasonless

Anxiety is an incredibly frustrating mental illness, because it comes on for no reason.

When I was first diagnosed with anxiety over two years ago I was still at the point when it only set in when I had a legitimate reason to feel anxious. If I was stressed at college, if family was ill, if i lost touch with friends etc but I knew that there was a logical reason.

As my anxiety has progressed this is no longer the case though, and it hits me when I’m least expecting it.

I have had the most amazing holiday week with my boyfriend
We’ve been relaxing, seeing friends and laughing together and I’ve been feeling so positive about my anorexia and putting on weight. Unfortunately there are still moments when I get overwhelmed by my anxiety, my heart starts thumping and my mind starts racing: I’m too thin, I’m too fat, I have to keep the conversation going and be interesting, I’m sounding stupid, I’m not sounding intelligent enough, I look stupid etc.

I feel awful at times like this because I know that I am actually incredibly happy, I have amazing friends and family who I love and I have no reason to feel so overwhelmed and unhappy.

The only solution I have found so far is taking a deep breath and telling myself that my anxious feelings of stress, worthlessness and panic won’t last.

Although it’s the hardest thing in the world to overcome because it’s in your own head I am absolutely committed to overcoming it. I will not let my anxiety stop me enjoying the amazing life and relationships I have.

Be brave, battle your anxiety ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

Enjoying exercise

During anxiety and anorexia recovery I have found it really hard to work out the right amount of exercise.

The standard advice seems to be to stop exercise all together, but, although this makes sense from a recovery and weight gain perspective, I know that for many sufferers this isn’t a realistic option. If you suffer from anxiety and anorexia it is likely that you are an extremely high-functioning, sometimes obsessive person who struggles to be completely inactive for long periods of time. I know that when I tried to completely stop exercising I felt anxious, guilty and restless and it actually increased my anxiety as I felt like I should be doing something that I was simultaneously banning myself from doing.

There is also the other, positive side of the argument – exercise releases hormones that boost your mood, it is an opportunity for fresh air and sunshine and it can allow you to clear your head and get a fresh perspective. So here are my top tips for maintaining healthy exercise in moderation this summer:

  1. Plan your weekly exercise regime when you aren’t feeling stressed – for many anorexia sufferers exercise can be a go-to when you feel out of control of other areas of your life, so it’s important not to fall into the trap of exercising as soon as you feel stressed. Make a plan of two gentle exercise sessions a week at a time when you are feeling calm, so youย don’t feel the need to add in loads of sessions.
  2. Stick to your plan – just because you have some spare time doesn’t mean that you have to exercise in it just because you potentially could. This may temporarily relieve your anxiety but this feeling won’t last.
  3. Decide on an exercise alternative – pick a designated activity e.g. colouring, baking, meditating etc. which you can instantly go to if you feel like you want to start exercising outside of your designated slots. Try to make this activity something that you really enjoy and something that makes you feel calm and collected.
  4. Try a new, gentler form of exercise – Try something new so that you’re not comparing yourself to the amount and intensity of exercise you were doing before recovery. Something with low cardio impact like yoga, flexibility, walking etc. are good alternatives to high energy exercise which burns more calories than you want to be when you are in recovery.

I know how difficult it is to change an exercise regime when it has become something that you rely on to feel in control, but unfortunately this is as crucial as eating properly during recovery. Although sticking to your old exercise habits may make you feel better and more in control temporarily, you know that your old waves of anxiety and tiredness will soon come back. Extreme exercise is not a long-term or healthy solution for stress-management.

Change your exercise regime this summer, it will be a massively positive step ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

The worth of relaxation

Since the start of my anxiety and anorexia recovery people have been telling me that I don’t have to deserve relaxation, and I think I’m finally starting to believe it.

Anxiety warps your thought patterns and, atleast in my experience, makes you feel like you only deserve to relax and look after yourself if you have done something impressive to deserve it. I have always taken time out to relax and look after myself, but have felt that I have to push myself extremely hard to deserve even a day or two of relaxation.

I’ve started to realised though that this strategy won’t work for recovery. If your relaxation is only ever making up for pushing yourself, then you will always remain at 0 on your recovery scale and never move forward.

I know that if you suffer from anorexia or anxiety then the thought of resting, relaxing, and treating your body with regular food and sleep feels wrong and unnatural. But I promise you that the more you challenge yourself to do this, the easier it will become.

Since I’ve started relaxing this summer I have started feeling calmer, more centered and more stable. I have been able to sleep better, my mind hasn’t been racing as much and I haven’t been so irritable with my friends and family.

I know that to sufferers reading this, relaxation and taking care of yourself is a really scary challenge to take on because you feel like if you start it then you won’t ever be able to go back to being organised, fit and efficient.

I would really encourage anybody to accept this challenge though. If you have got to the point of needing recovery then you need to start being kinder to yourself and your body. I know this is scary, but I can absolutely guarantee you will feel happier, stronger and calmer.

I still have days when I feel the anxiety rising in my chest and it’s really hard to persevere with my recovery but I know that it’s worth it. I am better than any illness and I am going to beat it by committing to taking care of myself.

Relaxation will make you a better version of you, accept it and start getting stronger ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

Anxiety is awful, but manageable

Anxiety is difficult because you feel overwhelmed by stuff that other people find really easy to deal with.

It’s awful because you start feeling really anxious and rubbish when someone talks about something that’s slightly difficult for you to deal with.

I know that I feel really embarrassed to show that side of myself in front of my family. I know that they love me and think of me as strong and don’t want to see me with an episode of depression or anxiety. It makes me feel crap and unwanted when I can’t appear in the strong, coping way I want to in front of my family.

I’m trying to stay positive but I do find it hard to stay calm and centered when I feel overwhelmed. It’s easier when you leave home, go to university, arrive in new spaces etc but it can feel very oppressive and negative when you return to the spaces and situations where your anxiety started.

For anyone suffering from a similar thing all I can advise is taking deep breaths, try and keep things in perspective and remember that you’re probably being much harder on yourself than other people are being on yourself.

Stay strong, anxiety is part of you but doesn’t define you ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

Taking ownership

Once you start putting on weight and making positive progress, the next step in anorexia and anxiety recovery is taking ownership.

I have always found it much easier to eat well, relax and take care of myself when other people tell me to do it. If a dietitian gives me a food plan I have to stick to, if I friend asks me to share a cake with them, if my mum tells me that I should be taking it easy then my task is simple.

When you suffer from anorexia and anxiety I think it is so much easier to justify your decisions during recovery when somebody else is encouraging you, because you can convince yourself that you sort of have to do it and it’s out of your control.

It’s a lot harder to eat regularly, relax and not exercise and just genuinely take care of yourself when you have to make the decisions yourself. It is natural to feel guilty and unsettled by making these decisions, as they are the exact opposite of what you have been doing to your body for the past months or years, but that is exactly why you need to make them.

It will be difficult to take ownership of your recovery and acknowledge that you are making the decisions to put on weight, but this is actually an incredibly positive thing. Along with putting on weight comes feeling happier, calmer, more stable and being able to enjoy all your relationships so much more.

Take ownership of your recovery, you deserve to make decisions that make you well and happy ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

The talk

During anorexia and anxiety recovery I’ve been finding it really difficultโ€‹ when other people talk about food.

It sounds stupid but when you’re trying to develop a normal attitude towards eating and not constantly be obsessing about food then it makes it so difficult when other people are constantly talking about it.

When people are talking about the different meals they’ve had/where they’re going to eat/that they couldn’t eat the amount that I’m eating then it makes me feel really greedy and horrible. It makes me feel like I should be thinking about food all the time and it really make me struggle when I’m trying to not obsess over eating.

Unfortunately, I know that people will always talk about food though. Unlike people that struggle from an alcohol or drug addiction I am not able to totally avoid the cause of my illness, I have to confront it everyday.

Having to deal with food and eating everyday during my recovery, even when I’m finding those issues overwhelming, is a huge challenge.

For those of you that are struggling with a similar thing, all I can recommend is taking long, deep breaths and try to remember all the positive progress you’ve made. When it feels overwhelming then just remember that you are strong enough to cope with everything that’s being thrown at you and you will come out the other side even stronger.

Ignore the talk, you are stronger than you think ๐Ÿ™‚ xx

eating disorder · recovery

Accepting help

Sometimes it’s easy to forget how many people support and love you.

Anxiety can really change your perspective and make you feel so isolated, but it is important to remember that your friends and family are there to support and take care of you, and they are probably going to judge you a lot less harshly than you are judging yourself.

After having a panic attack in front of a group of old friends I realised that (no matter how harshly you judge yourself and feel embarrassed and think you should be stronger) the people that love you will cut you a lot more slack. I have always felt like I have to be constantly strong and hold things together, but I am starting to realise that it’s okay to accept support from people and it actually makes your relationship with them stronger.

Accept help from other people, it doesn’t make you weak it just means you’re human ๐Ÿ™‚ xx