“No sorry, I can’t. I’ve got a date with Anxiety.”
Whether it be work, leisure, academic or sport related, spontaneity in regards to plans, ceases to currently exist in my life; which ironically, 18 months ago, was a trait I once considered essential in a potential relationship! Meticulous organisation and preparation days in advance, were my tools for reliance and I sometimes couldn’t or seriously struggle to manage the overwhelming anxiety caused by a sudden change in plans.
I never even considered or realised, what feels like the tens of unforeseen repercussions that seem to just be thrown in alongside the disorder; almost like the 1001 junk e-mails that appear in your inbox, after you’ve regrettably entered your e-mail address on some third-party website, that now feels the need to advise you every hour, how to best control your debt and claim your lucky £1 million prize… Nonetheless, at least you can unsubscribe to these.
Unfortunately for me, and maybe others; simply forcing yourself to stomach the hunger pains and the scrutiny of saying no, are not the only deals you make with the demons in your head. The anxiety, the indecision, the isolation and social detachment; the inability to focus on anything for longer than 10 seconds that isn’t illness related, the worthlessness, the irrational mentality, the submission to the illness controlling every aspect of your life; the depression, the ill-attraction to the opposite sex (sorry mum), the lack of emotion and the fear of losing the illness; are just some of the repercussions I couldn’t seem to unsubscribe to.
A serious point to which I knew I was well and truly encompassed by this illness, was all the new emotion I now felt towards social interaction, inclusion and events. I would love to think, that for anybody that knew me, especially during university, that I was a complete social dynamic! I’m convinced I had probably actually reached the stage of annoyance among my social circles, with my relentless desire to achieve the wasteness of a white girl, at each and every opportunity I could, and them telling me that they didn’t fancy it that evening, was like pulling the short straw to feeding a hungry tiger. At the turn of last year, I, (as did they) slowly began to see and feel the phantom I was now unwillingly becoming within these different circle of friends, with each and every convenient excuse and declination I made to social events.
As anomalous as this may seem, the only analogy I can fashion that can be made relatable to the emotions I felt, would be an overpowering, controlling relationship or friendship. I personify the illness as a withstanding friend that isolated me from everything and everyone but itself, and if it felt that I was disregarding it or attempting to migrate away from it, even for a few short minutes, it would oppress me with such incredible guilt that it wouldn’t be worth trying to fight against it. Thus leaving me once again succumbed to isolation, with the illness triumphantly smirking as it prevailed, time and time again.
Unless I was hungry, pounding the belt of the treadmill or the streets, eating a seriously confined selection of foods at the exact same time every day, ensuring I was always expending more calories than I was consuming, displaying decreased results on the scales, or generally feeling down in the dumps; the personified illness wouldn’t be content and thereby initiate my anxiety.
On occasion, I still experience such feelings, however over the course of the past few months, this definitely feels like a significant hurdle I am gradually overcoming. Though I generally still insist on particular aspects relating to the disorder remaining in a regimented, meticulous and organised routine, I’ve been consciously implementing spontaniety, to chip away (however small) from the bigger problem. This has even been as small as changing some of the vegetables in my dinner each evening, or altering the way I have my banana for breakfast (hot, not cold) or actually being able to turn up to the gym and leave the session in the capabale control of the Orange Theory fitness instructor, instead of me.
As a result… I definitely feel like the smirk isn’t as smug anymore!