Anxiety: It’s a War

I’ve been silent lately, on this blog.  I guess I’ve had many things on my mind, good and bad.

There’s the good:

– I’m writing songs feverishly while riding the bus… and yesterday I got a great intro to a song going.  My style is advancing beyond what it was before.

– My family circumstances have changed as such, that I am enjoying my family more than I have in several years.  It’s too personal to write here, but I just want to say that our family is having good times these days.  Which is very important to me.

– I am settled in at my job, and am no longer *fresh* and *new.”  I have organized my files and documents well, and have developed a whole system that is very streamlined and efficient.  My colleagues appreciate me for this as well.

And then… the bad.  Well… there’s just 1 “bad.”  It is…

I keep thinking I’m fat.  Whenever I look in the mirror, I just see the rolls of fat.  My arms.  My stomach.  Legs.  I used to weigh myself every day with enthusiasm.  Now I do it with a bit of terror.  I do it so that I can make sure I don’t eat too much.

People say that I’m thin.  I know that I’m healthy.  My BMI’s about 22.  But I see those people in the workout videos with shredded muscles, and I worry.  I worry that I will go back to being borderline obese, like I was 3.5 years ago.  Rationally, I know that I will not.  My eating habits are so ingrained, that I never crave garbage.  Yesterday was a cheat day… ish?  I had about 6 pita chips and about 6 pieces of cheddar popcorn.  I don’t usually eat bread.

People say I sound obsessive.  I guess I do.  They usually will respond with a “Hey, you look great!” or “Wow, I’m really worried about you.  I wish you’d stop obsessing.”  I know that they care, but it just bothers me further.  Because when people say this, the only thing it tells me to do is SHUT UP.

I mean, let’s say I did stop obsessing.  I wouldn’t really have a need to talk to anyone about my eating anymore.  And if I don’t talk about it anymore, people assume that I don’t have the problem anymore.  So… basically, I can make people feel better if I just shut up.  Because if I don’t talk about it, I don’t have the problem, right?  And if people don’t think I have the problem anymore, then I don’t, right?

You see where I’m going.

That’s what stigma is.  It’s a big “SHUT UP.”  I mean, I know my friends care about me.  But we have to also understand something else.  If a person is complaining to you about their symptoms, or if a person is being “symptomatic” around you… you shouldn’t shut them down.  You should be GLAD.  Because…

They’re communicating.  To YOU.

If someone with an eating disorder is lamenting to you about being fat, be glad.  Be glad that he is talking to you about it, instead of holding his thoughts in.  Be glad, that she is sharing her thoughts with you.  Because even if her thoughts are “symptomatic”… it doesn’t matter.  They’re still HER thoughts, and they’re still just as valuable as yours or anyone else who is “healthy.”

I know that I have underlying issues with eating.  I freak a lot about it.  But do know, I’m not a skeleton, and I’m not starving myself.  My BMI is around 22, I eat fruits, veggies, lean meats, beans and nuts.  And I always have my coffee with skim milk and no sugar, etc.

Then again… I had 3 cans of beans 2 nights ago, and I’m STILL getting gas pains.  Maybe I have a bingeing disorder?  My rationale for eating the beans was that I was terribly dehydrated and sun-sick.  My meds make me very weak in the sun.  I felt a lot better after eating the beans, and I read that they have electrolytes.

See, this is what I freak about.  Stuff like that.

I guess… I am just in a state of disbelief.  Like, doctors say that, if you eat xyz, and if you exercise abc amount of time, n times per week, you will lose weight, or gain muscle, or whatever.  But… I just don’t believe it.

Why don’t I believe?  Because… well… it just goes back to the mental illness thing.  For me… it goes back to my college years, in music conservatory.  I was in the practice room, with my viola in hand, my music on the stand… and delusions, haunting me.  But it didn’t feel like delusions.  It was just me.  I’ve always had them.  But… no matter how hard I tried to get better at my instrument, I didn’t improve.  I saw my colleagues improving, but I didn’t.

It’s complicated.  Maybe I wasn’t talented.  Or maybe I didn’t try hard enough.  Or maybe I wasn’t taking the right meds?  That’s probably it… but it doesn’t matter!  The thing is, some people work really hard and are rewarded, and then other people work just as hard, and they’re not rewarded.

Like sports.  Some kids are good at it naturally, others aren’t.  Or learning disabilities.  Or any disability.  I mean… if you’re blind, and can’t see… no matter how hard you try to read a book that’s not in braille… you’re never going to read it!

That’s what it feels like with food and weight with me.  I know that the scientists say that if you do bla-di-blah, you’ll be healthy and in the clear.  But I don’t believe it.  Because… maybe it’s not meant for everyone?  I guess that’s what they call genetics.

I mean I’m really complaining like a princess here.  Many people say that I’m very beautiful and have a body to kill for.  But… I’m writing this anyway.  I’m writing it because this is a real insecurity that billions of people have.  It’s an insecurity have too.

What it boils down to is… even if you do everything in your power to be healthy, your health is not 100% guaranteed.  I’ve heard of athletes in their prime dying of brain aneurysms and heart attacks.  What did they do wrong?  Things like this make me think that the war is never over.

That’s right.  War.  The mind, struggling to have control over what I eat and what I look like… it’s a war.  I’m fighting on both sides, body against mind… and yet I feel like I’m losing.  How can I lose a war if I’m the prime general on both sides?

Such is anxiety.  Such is disordered eating.  Such is mental illness.  Such is worry.


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