Saturday, 30 May 2015

The relationship between my Anorexia and Anxiety

At the moment it is only 2:12 am but I am unable to sleep because it is so terribly windy. When its windy, the little unit I live in rattles and shakes and it really is quite hard to sleep so I thought I may as well make good use of my time and write a post.
Yesterday I was having a conversation with one of my work colleagues about how different mental illnesses can go hand in hand with one another. In this conversation I found myself explaining the relationship between my two mental illnesses, anorexia and anxiety better then I have ever been able to explain it before so I thought I would share it with you too.

I see my anxiety as my primary mental illness and my anorexia as a secondary mental illness. This is because while I havent always had anorexia, I have always had anxiety. I  honestly think that my anorexia is just a a coping mechanism I developed for dealing with my underlying anxiety. To me, controlling my weight, food intake and exercise were all ways of making myself feel as though I was in control and 'safe'. Of course I can see now that my anorexia has only made my anxiety worse but at the time my anorexia was developing, it made me feel better.

I was incredibely self conscious and hated what I saw when I looked in the mirror. I started blaming the way I looked for everything bad in my life. I started to believe that if I could become beautiful, my life would be better. While I believe I will be recovered from anorexia one day, I know that my anxiety will always be with me. There will be hard times in my life when I feel anxious or panicked about what is happening around me but I need to find new ways to deal with my anxiety rather than by falling back into my anorexia.

I need to always remember that controlling my food, weight and exercise has not solved any of my problems in the past and that it wont fix anything in the future either. While turning to these types of behaviours will only ever make me feel more awful then I already do, there are other coping mechanisms I can use when my anxiety gets bad that aren't destructive to me. I find that simply talking myself through stressful situations and distracting myself helps me a lot.

At the moment my main coping mechanism is to just tell myself to breathe and that what I am feeling will soon pass. One thing that seems to help me a little is to get outside in the fresh air and take Tess for a walk. other times I put on a television series to try and distract me from my thoughts or I call my litle sister for a chat.
While distracting myself with these things can help me while I am at home, I cant do this at work. There is obviously a lot of responsibility involved in working in a bank as you are always dealing with large amounts of peoples money and this makes me incredibely anxious.

I second guess myself with nearly every transaction I make and am always terrified that I have miscouted money or made some kind of mistake. I try to tell myself that I am just being paranoid but I honestly cant help feeling this way. It isn't until I 'balance' at the end of the night (when all of the money I should have at my terminal in accounted for) that I am able to relax. Does anyone have any suggestions about how to deal with this anxiety I experience at work?


  1. Karly I was only just thinking about anxiety last night. I used to breathe a lot at work (not too close to anyone, that might freak them out?), make myself smile as much as possible as it is a natural stress reliever and listen to music on my way there. Trust yourself! You know what you are doing. You do your job brilliantly and have no need to be anxious. You have already shown that you can so brilliant things when you put your mind to it. Believe you will be fine and you are half way there <3

  2. Thankyou so much Anna. For saying such kind things to me as well as for sharing your own experience of anxiety and that wonderful advice. I really appreciate it <3 xx

  3. Dear Karly,
    I think that recovering from an eating disorder is a Little bit like recovering from anxiety, too. You face so many of your fears, you try new things, you step out of your comfort Zone ... an eating disorder is like anxiety. You are afraid, you want to cry, your stomach hurts, you have got Panic. Now you recover from your eating disorder and you do it very well!
    So don't say that you can't overcome your anxiety, too. Because you learn how to face your fears right now :)
    There will always be things that scare you - i think thats normal. But you learn how to breathe and face your fears. Don't give up! You don't have to live with anxiety your whole life only because it's your "first" mental illness.
    Keep on fighting. Things will geht better. ♥

    1. Thanks so much Anna. I Supose I kind of had accepted that I would have to live with my anxiety for the rest of my life but I guess recovering from anxiety is possible too, just like with anorexia. Thanks for making me realise I can fight for a life free of anxiety as well as free from anorexia! <3 Your positivity and outlook on life really is inspiring.xx

  4. I'm the same with comorbid mental illnesses. I think my main mental illness is BPD and then my anorexia developed as a way of dealing with the BPD, and within that, I experience anxiety, like you, and depression. Xx

    1. I dont really know much about BPD. Would you mind briefly explaining how it effects you? X

    2. BPD stands for Borderline Personality Disorder. I wrote a couple of blog posts about it if you want to have a read?

      It affects me every single day and I hate it more than I hate anorexia if that is even possible! My emotions are all over the place from manically high to suicidally low and I self harm although this is more under control now. It also affects my identity - I have no idea who I am and I can be a different person with different people. I don't feel like I belong anywhere and I never feel I've fitted in anywhere, like I'm an outsider. X