Anxiety - the ugly truth
One of the biggest hurdles I still face is food addiction. Normally food has always been my best friend. It's been my comfort, my happiness, my sadness, my "shoulder to lean on", my excuse to continue being unhealthy. And the other night, while in the middle of this really terrifying panic attack - I thought about eating. I thought that if I just ate something - I would feel better. But I didn't.
I'll try to describe to you what having a panic disorder is like. I don't know that words can adequately describe it - but I'll try.
It's the loneliest feeling in the world. When the attack first started coming on - I was on line. I quickly went through my cell phone looking for someone to call. And there were people - but then this voice (the demon as I like to call it) repeatedly told me put the phone down. No one gives shit about you. No one wants to hear you sniffling, and whining, and your sorry excuse for a life. No one wants to be called at 10pm on a work night to be disrupted by someone as worthless and meaningless as me to talk me off the ledge, because I'm such a failure at being a well put together adult. It felt as though my heart was being strangled, and my chest was being crushed under slabs of stone, and that my brain was going to turn to sludge and fall out of my nose. This went on for a good hour. And I cried. I sat in my living room, on my sofa, starring at my phone. And I just cried. I felt so alone. And what's worse is I was making myself feel that way. But at the time, I felt so helpless to fight against this panic inside my brain. After about an hour, I went upstairs. Normally, I would just crawl in bed, and cry as quietly as I possibly can to not wake up Bj. This night, however, I didn't do that. I woke him up.
Bj has never had to experience a panic attack of this magnitude with me. I was in a fit of frenzy and hysteria - and I was violently convulsing. He tried to hold me down to stop the shaking - tried calming me - but that "demon" in my head just got louder, and louder, and louder.
And the thing that this particular "demon" likes to say over and over again is "YOU ARE WORTHLESS. YOU SHOULD JUST KILL YOURSELF".
The voice of that demon? It's mine. It's never some foreign unknown voice. It's always my voice.
Bj didn't let me go. He held me until I fell asleep, and it was the safest I have felt in a long time. Specifically, safe from myself. I find killing myself with food is my preferred way of "suicide". And I think, really, that's what I've been doing for the past 20 years. I've just been killing myself to shut that voice up in my head, and by proxy, killing "me". Food really had taken over my life.
The scary thing about being a food addict is - there isn't true "Rehab" from it. You have to eat. Humans require food to sustain life. I'm not saying that food addiction is worse than drug or alcohol or gambling, etc... I think they are all equally destructive. But the one difference is - you HAVE TO have food. You don't have to have drugs, or alcohol, or gamble - to sustain life. So for me, dealing with this food addiction - it's sometimes paralyzing. Finding a balance between eating food you like to eat, and eating healthy, is sometimes a hard balance to find.
But the fact that I didn't succumb to my desire to stuff my face to "eat the pain away" the other night - that's a big step for me. I have pretty weak will power most of the time.
I think that there has been such a negative stigma in society surrounding mental health issues that most people are afraid to talk about this kind of thing. But, I think as a society - the more we talk about it, the more we bring these kinds of disorders to light - the better chance there is for us to heal from it, and help others face and deal with their "Demons", too. I'm not ashamed that I have a anxiety disorder. I'm not ashamed that I have depression, and struggle with a food addiction. I'm not ashamed that I'm still struggling to find my feet in this world. It's my journey, and I'm not ashamed of that.
I've been thinking about getting a new tattoo for some time. But I didn't know what I wanted to get. Putting something permanent on your body is an expression of who you are through art. It should mean something to you - it's part of your story. And I finally found the perfect piece that I want to have inked on me.
This will be going on my inner left forearm. I think it's a good reminder to myself when I'm in these dark places in my head that it doesn't matter what lies this "demon" tries to tell me - I AM enough. I am perfectly imperfect. And I'm a work in progress. I will be free of this addiction. I will succeed at being happy. I will be me. Whatever the cost.