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A Week of Journaling: Exploring Anxiety

Sunday, October 18, 2020

Hello fellow Sparks!

This week, I am tasked with journaling for a week, and I plan to delve into some sticky topics that I have had to deal with over the years when it comes to weight loss. I'm going to begin with anxiety, because it is the newest issue I've become familiar with on my quest to become more mentally healthy, and also to deal with my "issues" surrounding my weight issues.

If I take it all the way back to the first time I realize I was "fat" it was probably second grade. I was always in bigger sizes than the other girls, even though I didn't think I was fat, I was always receiving signs that I was. "Oh you wear an 8??" or even my mother telling me to ask the other girls what size they wore to see if mine was higher.

I've had size anxiety FOREVER. Going into stores and hoping the clothes there will fit me. Then having to go just to Lane Bryant, or to the "fat side" of Dress Barn, and not even bothering to look for clothes in my size in the "normal" stores.

So back in 2018 when I lost a ton of weight and got all the way down to a size 16, I was beside myself. I could actually shop at JC Penney. I could find my size. And they fit! After regaining 50 pounds due to who knows what reason besides lack of focus, I now cannot fit those jeans, and it makes me sad.

I don't just have anxiety about size though. I have it about so many things. I always convinced myself that I worried enough about something, it wouldn't come true. I can remember many sleepless nights where I would lie in bed and just worry about everything-- from dying, loved ones dying, people not liking me, people talking about me, my job, money-- you name it, I was worrying about it. Then when my worries were unfounded, I always felt somewhat of a sense of relief, like I'd done myself some huge favor. When in actuality, I'd just lost sleep, and usually would "celebrate" my unfound feelings with food.

Whenever my job was tough, I'd dream my way out of it by imagining all the things I'd buy on the way home from work and eat and eat and eat until I couldn't eat anymore. Of course, I'd have some guilty feelings afterwards, and I'd always tell myself... "I'll start tomorrow." But tomorrow didn't come for years and years.

Anxiety has definitely crept to the forefront admist COVID. I know I packed on the COVID 20 just from having severe anxiety about if tomorrow would actually ever come for months. Even though we are still in the midst of it, things have started to settle and I've refocused my efforts to my health.

Now the question is, how do I deal with anxiety? What can I do differently from here forward to not have to worry about the unknown? Lately, I've tried to meditate before falling asleep, which helps, but it doesn't always cure everything. At this point, I am happy I am at least aware of it.

And there will be no more celebrations with food.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JILLIAN0216
    I come from a long line of worriers. Seriously, if it were an Olympic sport, my family would be gold medalists. I have been there. Lately I have learned to rein it in some. I wish you success on your journey.
    97 days ago
    Hi Emily,

    I enjoyed reading your log and the comments. My daughter is 12 and she has anxiety somewhat and struggles with it. I don't know if it's just puberty or she is really having anxiety issues and how to give her relief from her feelings. I have learned not to care what others think but she wants everyone to like her and worries about that constantly. I hope you can a solution to youranxietyand to the issues that are causing it.
    97 days ago
    "Worry about everything and maybe it won't come true"
    I could have written that. It began at age 10 when I was suddenly stricken with acute appendicitis and whisked into the operating room. All was fine except it was during the flu epidemic of 1957 and the hospital was quarantined. NO VISITORS! I was there for 1 week, alone on the adult ward with a lot of moaning, groaning and yelling, no TV, nothing to take my mind off what happened and where I was. I was never the same after that.

    I hid it quite well from the world. My parents, and later my husband called it the "scaries"
    I tried a variety of natural solutions Chamomile tea works pretty well. but now I carry xanax .. That may seem like a cop out, but I don't have to actually take them. Just knowing that I CAN take one if I can't handle things on my own, has been enough that 30 pills last me 4 to 6 months. Well, somewhat less with COVID and what my doctor said is true, no chance of becoming dependent at that rate,

    Good luck. Anxiety can be as debilitating as a physical handicap. I hope you find a solution that works for you.
    97 days ago
    You are a beautiful soul no matter what size the outside is!
    97 days ago
    I let it go. If it is beyond my control I have to let it go. My mental well being is key for my health. Hugs,
    98 days ago
    i would like to know is where is this anxiety coming from? was i born that way? how did i learn this behavior? why am i wasting so much time being so anxious about this stuff? some of it is real and a lot isn't...
    its time i toss this baggage out the door
    98 days ago
    Baby steps. Acknowledge your feelings is the first step...and one you may have to repeat every day. The anxiety didn’t happen overnight...neither will conquering it. So don’t let it control you. Acknowledge it...and love yourself...you’ll get there!
    98 days ago
    Sweet Emily,,, have you asked others "What do you like about me?" BUT first make sure they'll be honest with you, but NOT hurt you. In doing this you can NOT tell them they're wrong or even allow yourself the luxury of THINKING that. Rather take it in. Write them down.

    Later on when you start to compare yourself to others (As a child it's so unfair of anyone asking you to ask the other girls such a question, even if done in love) it's humiliating. My Mom when I was 9 ,, she was an AVON lady (plus 2 other jobs ,, single parent 5 kids) had a customer who's D had grown out of some very pretty dresses. So she gave them to my Mom. I wore a very pretty one to school the next day. It was first thing in the morning, fall time, a little cold. I had just walked onto the playground and this girl who was maybe a year older than I was I didn't know HOLLERS "YOU HAVE MY OLD DIRTY DRESS ON!!" and ALL the girls with her LAUGHED AND LAUGHED!!

    Later on when you read those comments over (TELL Them to be NICE ONLY) repeat them to yourself. Since those are perceptions from others, you can't dismiss them, but you can allow them into your mind, heart.

    To this DAY I will NOT go outside unless I look ever just so. Things that happened to us as kids, that we could not control, we do our best to control now as adults.

    That can create an unreal amount of anxiety. Been there, done that, got the tee shirt, OWN the tee shirt store!!

    What helped me? Someone mentioned prayer, and that's BIG for me. Also though was day (this was recently with the skin cancer) I realized and wrote out ALL the times, that I could recall ,,, the things I worried about,, in one column "Did they happen?" "NOT Happen" and YO all but 1 was NOT HAPPEN. I realized Emily ALL that energy WASTED, So much SLEEP WASTED, TIME, WASTED.

    Now when I feel anxious is it a REAL reason? or my mind taking off?

    If it's my mind taking off, I simply remind myself "Don't allow it to take off." Is that EASY? It takes practice, for the mind is so QUICK. But I immediately now do something else. If it's as I fall asleep and this DID TAKE practice (The Honest Guys on Youtube sleep mediation) helped me so that now I just do a 30 second breathing technique they do and all , but maybe once possibly twice a month I am OUT and ASLEEP.

    A friend writes things down that are bothering her as she climbs into bed. SHUTS the notebook,,,, telling herself "They'll be here in the morning" and she says that helps a lot.

    I find walking is so HELPFUL when I am upset or even when not. Especially when I have energy more so.
    98 days ago

    Comment edited on: 10/19/2020 12:43:51 AM
    Great comment from WallaHalla! I just read a technique for this, but I can't recall it just now. And I think it was in a magazine I purged last recycle day. But, if I remember it (or find it) I'll come back to relay it!
    98 days ago
    Good stuff here! I struggle with crippling anxiety and take meds for it at this point. That was the only thing I could do to help myself out. I rarely eat my emotions anymore. Doing a gratitude journal daily helps me too.
    98 days ago
    I'm sorry you're struggling with this. I've struggling with anxiety since I was a child. I've been diagnosed with several anxiety disorders - severe OCD along with GAD, and PTSD. I take medications, but other things are helpful, too. Praying (if you're a spiritual or religious person), spending time outside with nature, reading anxiety self-help books (especially if they include a workbook), deep breathing and exercising. It's hard and my heart goes out to you. I hope you find the peace, comfort, and answers you're seeking. You're not alone.
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    98 days ago
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    98 days ago
    What helped me break the anxiety habit was to make myself list 10 different blessings and things to feel grateful for for each anxious thought. Some days it was irritating and I berated myself for having trouble coming up with 10 new things. I made myself a google doc so I couldn't cheat. It was a great reminder of all the good stuff as I read over my list again and again making sure I wasn't repeating myself and coming up with new things to add. It changed my way of thinking, and had me looking for things in my day to add to my list if I needed it. It also taught me to stop and tell myself "I am NOT going to go there. It isn't worth my time to have to type more things on my list when I can just quickly thank God for them now." I'm not saying it worked overnight, but it sure has helped me alot. It is also fun to add things to my blessings list just because I want to and not because I have to.
    98 days ago
  • TEDYBEAR2838
    You are on the right path. Continue on and you will succeed!

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    98 days ago
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