21:40

A New Chapter: Goodbye Anxiety, Hello Life

'Your life does not get better my chance, it gets better by change.'

Generalised Anxiety Disorder (and numerous horrific bi-products) consumed my mind and my life for far too long. The lines are blurred when it comes to 'recovery', but I realised recently that for the first time I referred to my struggle as a thing of the past. My name is Amy, and  I had anxiety. Yes I am still battling… yes every day is a struggle… yes sometimes I still want to curl up and give in- but I don't. And that, for me, is what 'recovery' is all about. It's not ridding your mind of the thoughts altogether, but having the strength not to act upon them.

People often struggle to understand mental health issues, especially when these situations happen to people like me. People who come from a loving family, live in a nice house, are well educated and on the outside appear to have everything required to live a happy and healthy life. But despite that, I was trapped by my own mind. It started out very simply: the death of my granddad confused me. At 8 years old I watched a strong man I loved and cared about more than anything in the world become weak as he battled with Cancer. There were a lot of thoughts inside my head which I couldn't piece together, and the only rational way my mind could possibly comprehend the situation was to convince myself that as long as my granddad remained stronger than me, was bigger than me and was proud of me, he would be OK. Eventually, he lost his five year battle and passed away. Distraught and guilt ridden, I couldn't bring myself to attend his funeral, I refused to accept the reality that a man I admired and cared about so much was no longer there. And I felt immensely guilty about it. What started out as grief developed into a relentless ten year inner battle of self-destruction.

Anxiety was like a friend. A friend that bitched behind my back, and didn't invite me to parties, yet I loved it unconditionally despite this. It lured me into a false sense of security and then trapped me. It used me and humiliated me, but it also protected me. Anxiety made me fear everything, but anxiety was my comfort blanket. To let go and take on the world alone was a frightening prospect- anxiety lessened this fear, but all the time I knew that it was the root of all my problems. Anxiety was both the cause and the solution. I stayed locked up in my room where no one could see me, speak to me or harm me. Never once did I realise that the very thing that was harming me was my own mind, and being alone with the most destructive weapon I owned was the quickest way to ensure I sprinted head first into disaster.

It all came to a head when I was 18. When I was no longer just feeling stressed, no longer just feeling lonely, no longer just losing weight, but also losing my reality, my personality, my friends. I began a destructive cycle in which I pushed everything away from me and became an empty shell of the person that I once was. Internally I have always been very strong willed, but externally I have continually searched for approval from everyone around me. From as young as I can remember I have always allowed friends to control me. As I grew up, I allowed boys, hormones and emotions to control me. And then I allowed stress to control me. And then I allowed food to control me. And then I lost all control. Anxiety was in 100% control of me and my life. I was no longer Amy. I was a reclusive, destructive, introverted shell. 

A shell so frightened of life that I no longer lived at all. So frightened that I not only stopped eating, but stopped drinking water too. So frightened of myself that I refused to look in a mirror, some days refused to switch on a light, and some days refused to even open my eyes and leave my bed at all.

And then I realised that I had two options: 1. To spend every single day of the rest of my life existing in the way I was currently existing. 2. To live.

And I chose to live. I realised that life was hard and life was unfair, but being cruel and horrible to myself was not going to make it any easier. I was a bully. I spent ten years of my life treating myself in a way that I would never dream of treating another person, yet I never regarded myself as being worthy of the same treatment as anyone else. In my head I was worthless, I didn't deserve success or happiness because I was weak and guilty. I tried to redeem myself through working, becoming a straight A student, but it wasn't enough, I tried to make myself as small as possible, hoping that I would eventually fade away so maybe people would begin to see past me and ignore me, but it didn't work. So eventually I stopped doing anything at all, and would lie in a dark room for days with no other human contact. I deserved to be ill. The countless blood tests and doctors visits were punishment to myself. But deep down, I no longer wanted to be punished. So I tried really really hard to stop. The two years and five months since I made that decision have been the hardest of my life. It is physically exhausting battling with yourself from the moment you wake up at 4am to the moment you go to sleep at 11pm, but here I am, stronger and healthier than I ever dreamed I could be.

I realise now that strength is not what I once thought it was. My granddad never lost his strength, he was and always will be the strongest person I have ever had the honour of knowing and loving.

I'm not really 100% sure why I was inspired to write this blog post… maybe it was the recent realisation that this journey is a slow process, but quitting won't speed it up. The realisation that on a day to day basis things don't seem any different, but when you take a moment to step back everything has changed. Maybe it was the fact that it was reading blog posts similar to this one that encouraged me to seek help in the first place, the fact that reading other people's stories gave me the strength to see that there is another happier and healthier life beyond anxiety. Or maybe it's the hope that someone in the world will be feeling like I once felt, and this may help them to realise that there is always a choice.
I chose life and you can too.

SHARE:

34 comments

  1. Amazing post, so many truths behind this but so glad to see you living your life how you want to now no matter how you feel! Wish you all the luck in your recovery and feeling 100% better

    CharlotteSamantha // www.charlottesamantha.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. I love your honesty in this post. I agree that Anxiety can be like your best friend and worst enemy rolled into one. It's a difficult thing to overcome, so well done and good luck on the rest of your journey to recovery.
    xxx
    Tasmin | Grandiose Days

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for writing this very honest post. I am so glad to hear you have been able to slowly work your way back from having anxiety. I have also let anxiety control my life for way to long and I hope to be able to take that control back and start living my life the way I want to live it.
    I hope you continue on your road to recovery.
    All the best and take care.
    Kelly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such a brilliantly written post. I admire your honesty on this subject. I am somebody lucky enough to never have experienced anything like this, and I know that if I ever did I am not the type of person to be so positive about it, and also so honest. I am so glad you chose to live. You have so much to live for like all of us do. I hope you know that.

    Love,

    Laura (www.smileatstyle.blogspot.com) xx

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, this is a painful topic. When I was a teen I was similarly guilty of a self-destructive cycle, it's difficult to imagine now why I would have ever done that. I'm glad that you are progressing away from this & agreed, it is a long journey, that isn't always easy, but I have faith in you. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Such a great post, I'm glad you're starting to feel better and can see the progress you're making!

    www.saturdays--girl.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is such an amazing post! Your honesty is so inspiring xxx

    ReplyDelete
  8. Aww, this is such a heartwarmingpost. Thank you for bringing such a personal experience into your blog. Anxiety is definitely the bitchy friend we can't live without but we have to in order to keep going. You're so strong, Amy <3


    xx Bash | Bash Says Hey | bloglovin'

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amazing hun, that you have got it all written down, meaning if you do have a really low day/week you can go back and re read it and get your strength back wish i had the same strength as you hun x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Such a beautifully written, honest post. I feel as though you've poured your heart out and I admire you for doing that. I wish you all the best on your road to recovery. xxxx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you for sharing this with us, and congrats on 3000 followers, you totally deserve it and you're one of my faves x

    franalibi.blogspot.co.uk (formerly annaboho)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Very touching story and I can say I totally know what you went thought bc something similar happen to me as well, but it is great that you have improved and that you are positive and willing to share with us and also with this you might help many people. P.S thx for visiting our blog we would love to collaborate if you are interested. Please let us know if you are interested

    Lot of love and stay strong
    Nakedlydressed

    ReplyDelete
  13. thank you for linking me to this! i understand completely, anxiety has completely ruined my life really and it's a day to day struggle to try and rebuild, it's hard to see so many people in my life are so far forward and i've been left behind and it's no ones fault but mine! So many things i've missed out on. Like you said 'trapped in my own mind'! It's definitely a journey, but helps so much when you see other people who have gone through it too!

    Thanks lovely xo

    thewatercolourjar.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww no i hope you find the strength to recover, keep fighting lovely xx

      Delete
  14. Dear Amy,

    What a wonderful topic to raise awareness of, as have I recently here http://www.charlottelizabeth.com/2015/05/mental-health-awareness-week-2015.html. Anxiety is such a cruel illness, it can shift its shape in so many ways and interfere with so many aspects of our lives. I myself haven't left the house alone in a year and a half after a health scare, instead of beating myself up about it I learn to accept that time and trial and error can be the only thing to get me back and out again. Keep going, remember you haven't lived with anxiety all your life, you can always get back to the state where you didn't have it. Feel free to chat about it to me anytime!

    Best wishes,

    Charlotte.

    www.charlottelizabeth.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww thank you!! I'm so glad to hear that you are back living your life again!! xx

      Delete
  15. I love the analogy you gave about it being like a friend. I suffer with panic attacks and honestly the way you explained you could not be more spot on. It's great to feel that I'm not alone and someone as beautiful and talented as you is dealing with something that I'm dealing with too. Thank you for this beautiful personal vulnerable post. You are not alone and I and so many other people are with you and fighting it with you and know you can overcome this! Anxiety comes with fear and fear is NOT REAL. It really isn't xx

    http://lilliemysel.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww i love this comment so much!! xx

      Delete
  16. This is one of the best posts I have read on anxiety so far. I struggle with anxiety but I am slowly but surely recovering. This post has actually opened my eyes, it's made me realise that I can overcome this so I can't thank you enough for sharing this.

    Yas xx

    The Not So Secret Lives Of Pizza Lovers

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. wow what a lovely comment thank you so much! xx

      Delete
  17. Such a brave post. Your line that you treated yourself in a way you would never treat another another person really resonated with me. It seems that nowadays we need to be hard on ourselves or hate ourselves otherwise we are labelled arrogant. I touched on a similar subject on one of my blogposts where I said that I want to stop bodyshaming myself. It was quite liberating to publish that article and I hope you feel proud of yourself and relieved that you published this one. I wish you all the best in your journey :) xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. aww thnk you so much lovely, I'm going to go and read your post, it sounds great! xx

      Delete

© Amy Elizabeth | Manchester Heath and Lifestyle Blog | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig