Special Edition Post: My Battle with Anxiety & Depression / 20 Years of In Between
This is my second post on this not-so-glamorous topic. However, I feel that if it can help one person, it may be worth writing about. Sorry if it is not your cup of tea. I understand, though. This is a blog about weight loss and finding the core of why one uses food as a pacifier is crucial to fixing the problem. It is my journey.
When I was around the age of 21 I experienced a series of devastating tragedies. About 4 total (different from each other and not related) and some smaller ones as a consequence to those. I won’t go into detail about what exactly happened, but I want you to know that I did not want to live due to these unfortunate happenstances. It’s too bad it happened so early in life for me; your 20’s are usually spent getting started in life and dreaming of the future. They set up a mind-set that life is horrible and no one will ever love me the way I want/need them too. This is key: what you think – you become.
Add this to my already existing problems with panic attacks and depression; this was a perfect storm for a mental breakdown. It never got so dramatic that I needed to be hospitalized, but I needed outside help just to do daily functions. This is when I sought psychological treatments and also physical treatment due to one of the tragedies that happened. Nothing was working or helping. I felt as though I was spinning my wheels. Now some people in this type of situation would act out and rebel. They would take drugs (one sister of mine did this), alcohol, become sexually promiscuous, hang with the wrong crowds, party all night, etc. I did the opposite. I cornered myself off into a dark room for years on end (I still have a tendency to do this). While others were laughing, dating, starting families and marriages, I was crying and self-pitying alone. Most of my friends abandoned me (so I felt, and in some ways they really did). It was an awful time and when I look back upon my 20’s, I am glad it is behind me. Age has given me room to breathe.
Naturally, as I have said many times before, I have a healthy appetite. I am also heavy in the estrogen department, so I have large hips, thighs and rear end. Food was my one bright light. I learned and experimented with cooking during this time. It was fun and it gave me joy. I also started my, now, way too large collection of cookbooks (I will never stop!) There was also a stint working in the food industry and learning how to run a restaurant and perhaps go to cooking school. It gave me purpose and a reason for getting up in the morning. I never got too fat, always hovered around 15 pounds over-weight, but it was a time of yo-yo dieting and indulging/binge eating that set up some bad habits. What a mess!
When I turned 30, I started to let go of some of those old pains. One can’t just be sad and angry for so long. It takes up way too much energy. Some people can hold out for longer, sometimes even a lifetime, but bitterness was not what I wanted to feel for the rest of my life. Food gave me something to be happy about, and I wanted to feel that way more and more. Although I had found a new purpose, my panic attacks were bigger and more frequent than ever. It seems as though they were a mechanism for protecting me from experiencing anything like I had before. They were the warning beacon. The neon sign that said “STAY AWAY!” and/or “PROTECT YOURSELF!” Around age 32 I looked into getting treatment for this and then began the pill/therapy cycle that I told you in the last post, had given up recently.
Continued in Part 3…