This summer has been a plethora of challenges: a big move, a new job, a boyfriend who also now works full-time – ultimately, a ton of life changes. Am I excited? Yes. Overwhelmed? Yes. Stressed out? Constantly. When these feelings arise, it’s easy for me to start feeling anxious, depressed, and… the very worst… out of control.
I’m going to upfront – this is going to be a very journal-y post and very… complain-y. But I promise it ends on a good – hopeful – note!
Lately I’ve been feeling really heavy. literally and figuratively. I’m pretty certain that I’ve gained some weight, and, while I’ve had this feeling before, I’m usually about to tell myself (and believe) that it’s okay *normal!* to fluctuate.
But this has been a different, prolonged, feeling. Usually I’m able to silence Ed’s voice through affirmative thinking and by simply ignoring those thoughts. I’ll go for a run, meditate, write… but with the pretty major life changes of the past couple of months, I haven’t really had much time to dedicated towards those things. Now that we’re pretty settled into our new apartment and I’m getting more acclimated at my new company, I’m slowly gaining more down time. But prior to the last week or so, that wasn’t the case and it seems to have really taken a toll on my mental wellbeing.
I feel like I’m in a foreign body, almost. I’m noticing things I haven’t before – For instance, right now as I lay on the couch, my head propped against a pillow, the slight touch of my chin against my neck irks me. Dare I say it – a double chin? It certainly feels like it. My arms feel weighted down. I feel bloated and undeniably fat. The past month I’ve been feeling really disgusted in myself and it’s the worst feeling, bringing me back to the worst parts of anorexia.
This morning, I was rummaging through my purse and I found the note pictured above.
Five or six years ago, after a teary-eyed peanut butter food challenge, my nutritionist, Carol, gave me a post-it with the note with the words, “You’ll do great. Believe.” written on it. She told me she knew how hard it was for me to face these challenges and that it would be hard for a while – it would take some time, but that her, my psychologist, and my parents knew I could do it. I ended up keeping the note as a reminder that even though I didn’t believe I could overcome, others did.
I hadn’t actually seen this note in probably four years. I’m not sure at which point it landed in this particular bag, but somehow I stumbled upon it at really, it’s most needed time. Do I still feel overwhelmed, stressed, and out of control? Of course. Bloated, fat, and weighted down? Yes. But it was nice to remember that there are people who believe in me. And it was definitely a reminder that Ed’s voice isn’t my voice. As I know the next few months will continue to be a challenge, and Ed’s voice will continue to be more present than usual, I’m planning on really focusing on self-awareness, focusing on when I’m feeling bad and why I’m feeling bad. Self-awareness was something I kind of pushed aside over the last year or so, but it was an especially helpful practice. And above anything else, I’ll keep believing.
All of that being said, I’ve got some questions for fellow recoverers:
- What strategies do you utilize to overcome rough patches?
- Do you practice self-awareness?
- What do you do to overcome stress and anxiety?