I think the worst part about anxiety is the feeling of isolation you get as a result. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’ve been putting myself out there for this group but beyond that, I’ve been trying so hard to give back on there. To not just “like” a comment, but really find something encouraging, positive, or at least empathetic on all of the posts that come through. There’s just over 400 of us so yes, I definitely miss some, but I try, and I love it.
When you have anxiety, or you struggle with your weight, it can be so easy to become an island. You quickly feel like no one understands you (and sometimes you’re right) and then your actual anxiety or weight gets in the way physically and mentally, and boom, you’re cutting yourself off from the world because you’re afraid or ashamed or hurt. The worst part is that the more you remove yourself and hide, the worse your anxiety can get, the more you’ll want to turn to food as your comfort and support since you have no one else.
I speak from experience. It became so easy to assume no one would understand if I tried to explain my anxiety, that I stopped trying. I convinced myself that I was alone, and I was the only one who could get me back out. Which, as you can imagine, worked horribly. Anxiety and isolation caused food binges caused weight gain caused depression and more anxiety, leading to more isolation. I was alone, and miserable, and still convinced that since I did this to myself, I was the only one that could get me back.
I still put a lot of pressure on myself to solve everything by myself, and to be perfect on the first attempt, but I have also grown and come quite far over the last year. I met a great therapist and she and I dug deep. We unearthed some things I had been hanging onto since grade school and we slowly worked me past those moments. I know it was me putting in the work and getting to that place, but I am incredibly grateful for her guidance and encouragement.
Finding a group of 400 people that share similar struggles has been the last piece for me. I slowly came out of my shell to my sister, my best friend, and even my husband, but throwing myself in front of 400 people saying, “this is who I am, flaws and all!” has done me a world of good. I realize being an island and going through this by myself was in some ways just as unhealthy as all my other anxious behaviors.
I still struggle. Believe me, I still struggle. In fact, part of this group is all about meal planning and my confession is that I’m horrible at meal planning and haven’t even tried yet. But, that’s what I love about this new opportunity. I’m not the only one anymore. There are dozens of people out there across the world just waiting to tell me, “It’s okay, start today!” and they’re right. Where I used to wallow by myself and get caught up in my own negative thought cycle, I have any number of people now that can stop that cycle before it even starts and cheer me on a new path. All I had to do was get off my island.