Throughout my years of ups and downs of eating disorders I was put on anti-depressants in my late teens then again in my mid twenties for a few more years. My feelings of insecurities in myself and body were what ruled my mind for many years from a very young age. GPs diagnosed me with Depression as I generally felt very low in myself and incredibly negative towards myself and very sad and exhausted. My behaviour patterns were as many hours exercising as possible, constantly weighing myself repeatedly throughout the day, always worrying about what I had eaten and if I had gained weight the next day, and generally obsessing about my weight a million times a day, plus a binging nightly ritual of chocolate followed by laxatives. It was mentally and physically exhausting. Now as I reflect many years later I realise that I was actually suffering with ANXIETY. I now recognise these obsessive behaviours and thought patterns. Sadly most of us are MIS-DIAGNOSED with depression. The constant feeling like you cant catch your breath or always worrying about something that consumes you daily, the feeling like someone is pressing all the air out of your chest and even full blown panic attacks about the what if and the now.
In my mid twenties my life took a massive turn as I could not handle my obsessive desire to weigh under a certain amount, and I suffered a full break down. On the outside to everyone I was what seemed a fun loud character but in fact I was dying inside, hating myself daily. It was a shock for those that knew me. I was signed off sick from work in the office and moved away from home for therapy and to be a very different environment.
I had Psychotherapy to help me understand myself and where these habits had formed from and Life Coaching to help change my mindset. I was so fortunate from the support that those helped me begin to start my new world. Im not going to lie, it was (and I still have my moments) a tough road. I was also encouraged to do my Personal Training qualification to give me something to focus on and help me understand why nutrition is such a key part of our lives. I will always be incredibly thankful for that push. I had previously done an aerobics course but had not pursued working in the fitness world. After a year of learning and living elsewhere, I began to venture out in my new mind on a very different path. I was still on the anti depressants at the time and for a few more years but the dosage was gradually lessoned over time until I felt it was time to no longer need them.
I no longer weighed myself nor binged. Sleep became unbroken as no more laxatives were waking me up through the night. Food was becoming something I enjoyed and no longer feared. I was able to sit and have meals with people rather than isolating myself when I’d not eat all day to binge in the evenings. I could breath without the constant chatter in mind being disgusted by myself. I had a job in the gym and was starting a career that would enhance my life. I felt alive.
Unfortunately it was not smooth sailing. I was yet to battle Polycystic Ovaries, acne, hair loss, breakdowns of relationships….. with each new challenge came what I learnt to identify as ANXIETY. The constant obsessive behaviour with attacking my skin, the freak outs and fear of losing hair, the constant panic attacks when my home life flipped upside down. Its not a ‘POOR ME’ story here, its about recognising when we are fighting anxiety or even let it rule us. Perhaps from being able to even leave the house, or the fear that things are just so bad that they will never get better. Worrying about something that may or may not happen, the racing heart beat, all symptoms of ANXIETY.
The reason I wanted to blog about ANXIETY, is because it is lately something that many speak to me about, usually unaware that it is even anxiety that they are feeling, that worrying but sometimes not even knowing why they are even worrying. With my hair loss, I was so freaked out at the time that a new GP I saw diagnosed me with anxiety. I was given Beta Blockers (propranolol) that I could take up to 4 times a day and also if I felt a panic attack coming, they would slow the heart rate to calm you down within minutes. I was originally on these for 3 months and yes they massively helped, during that time I was also diagnosed with aneamia which explained the sudden hair loss and I began to treat it as naturally as I could. My hair got better and my anxiety practically disappeared….until the following year when I went through a massive shock in my home life in 2016. I fell apart instantly with panic attacks and crippling anxiety. I went straight back to the GP for more medication so I could just get through each day. Yes the pills helped again, however, I realised that I did not want to always rely on medication to treat whatever shit life decided to throw at me. I was also given CBT (Cognative Behavioural Therapy) which teaches us to not let our thoughts control us but to be mindful and live in the moment. I had began my Yoga journey earlier in the year as another string to my bow in my career. What I did not realise at the time, that Yoga would become such a massive holistic approach to handling my anxiety. I began making changes to my daily routines that just sound so simple but made significant differences to my life. I actually started to set aside time for myself to even just spend time outdoors doing yoga, or even just walking, sitting in the peace of the outside world. I made time for meditation, time for positive thinking and affirmations, I began reading again, I spent time with friends and family that grounded me, I spent time with myself, I removed myself from toxic people and situations, and I focused on me and not feel bad about that. I came off the medication over a year ago now and generally feel like my whole vibe has shifted. Things that may have bothered me for days, weeks, months may upset me shortly but then just disappear. It is so freeing. I am also exploring about out CHAKRA’s and how we have 7 in our body that when blocked or over stimulated can cause us to feel unbalanced.
The definition of MINDFULNESS is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations used a theraputic technique. This is something that I am enjoying learning about, it can be a battle but I feel so much more aware of these days and can apply in life in general. Whether you feel anxious, sad, stressed, here are some of my suggestions that I now apply to my life and I hope you will find them useful (in no particular order):
Surround yourself with people that make you feel happy
Listen to podcasts
Read books… I’m currently reading the Chakra Project
Meditate…I find guided meditation works well for me. Lots of great apps available and tons on UTube
Watch inspirational vidoes on Tube (LOVE this in the morning)
Keep a journal (I like to include my food and exercise from the day)
Eat well, plan your meals
Listen to music
Spend time outdoors (weather permitting)
Spend time with just YOU
Perhaps look into a hobby you have wanted to pursue, baking is incredibly therapeutic for me
Yoga…I have made a space at home for my own practice and there are so many fantastic yoga lessons on UTube if you want something to follow
Dont force something that is making you unhappy
Plan your day ( I love doing this the night before)
Get more sleep – I find setting myself a sleep schedule has helped get more into a routine)
Make time for rest and be ok to just decide to chill out
Take a detox from your phone, it may not sound like much but I find even keeping my phone in a different room on SILENT gives me headspace from its usual madness
Detox from refined sugars, alcohol and perhaps even meat
Let go of past situations
Feel gratitude for life
I could go on forever but here’s a few pages and people to check out for more support that I find so helpful:
Thank you for reading. Please message me @ammieelou_pt for any questions or more information