“You’re fine” “Everything is okay” “Just breathe” I tell myself as I see the beetle emerge from my freshly cleaned clothes. Any other day I would have completely lost my shit, maybe even thrown all the clothes away, and spiral into an anxiety induced itching frenzy; However, today I’m deciding to breathe. I reach for a shirt hung up in my closet and take the basket to the laundry to re wash it. One win for Marissa, anxiety zero. I go about my day as nothing ever happened. The next morning me and my fiancé have a nice day planned of beach festivities. It’s the Saturday before I go back to work so we want to get out and spend time together at our favorite place. I go into my clothes hamper once again to find my baiting suit. I pull it out with force because it’s stuck under a heap of graphic tees and cut off capris. I feel something crawling on my arm as I dislodged the suit. I look down and it’s a spider. Anxiety and panic start to send me into overdrive but I breathe. “You’re fine, everything is okay.” I tell myself. I walk the spider outside and remain calm. “Don’t ruin this day.”
The day was amazing. The sun was shining, the sand was warm, and bub was content with the crowd. The day couldn’t have been better. After the beach we headed to our usual vegan restaurant where I over stuffed myself on foods I couldn’t just go to a Denys and eat back home. I felt like I could burst. People have been monitoring my eating and mentioning things like portion control which has got me in a tail spin of calorie counting and over analyzing my eating habits. Which I know shouldn’t affect me because since going vegan I’ve done nothing but lose weight no matter how much I eat. You shouldn’t ever comment on how a person recovering from an eating disorder eats. It can send them right back to where they started. Which is what all this food was starting to do to me. “Marissa, you haven’t eaten all day, you’re fine.” I try to tell myself. But I decided that would be it for the day depending on what the scale said when I got home. “I can eat veggies Sunday if increased. Summer is approaching. You don’t want to look like a wha…” “Stop!” I tell myself. I don’t want to ruin this day.
On the drive home I just wasn’t feeling like myself. I felt very anxious and panicky. Obsessing over things that I couldn’t control. The glare of the sun, that I had loved before, the speed of traffic, colors of vehicles….things that I usually don’t worry about. I tried to breathe. But the breath wouldn’t come. When I walked through the front door I was overwhelmed with the heaping mounds of clothes I felt like I needed to wash. I decided I would take all my clothes to the laundromat. I thought of my car and how it would need to be cleaned before I could load my clothes in. I could feel myself spiraling wanting so bad to stay grounded. The cracks where my vents are, the scuffs on my walls. The color of my carpet, the dishes in the sink, the scum in the shower, everything started flooding in. I broke. My fiancé asked if I was okay. I began to tell him all the things running through my mind. As I started he interrupted in hopes of helping me not spiral out of control but i was already to far gone. His voice changed in my head. No longer his. It was like one of those whistles that make dogs cringe. I couldn’t take it. I just needed him to be quiet. A tiny piece of my brain was telling me to calm down. Everything was okay, just breathe, but I couldn’t. I screamed shut up and ran to the bathroom. In hopes of calming down I took off my shirts to enter the shower. “Stop! It’s not clean! You’ll just get dirty!” I tell myself. I grab the Ajax and rag and start scrubbing. My fiancé comes in and tells me this isn’t normal as he tries to take the rag from my hands. In a sobbing desperate final plea I beg him to leave me alone, I just need to shower. He reminds me that I had already showered. I try to explain to him but by now all logic is gone. I just need to get clean, I need the itching to stop I cry. He finally leaves me to my cleaning.
As I finish washing the Ajax from the freshly scrubbed walls I start to feel a sense of relief. I step in and scrub my hair, body, under my nails, and I’m finally free.
Anxiety and panic attacks are something I deal with everyday. They haven’t gotten this bad in such a long time. I reached out to my tribe and was reminded of how far I’ve come and received so much love and support my heart could explode. One of my favorites is to just dance. Dance it all away. When I feel the emotions coming to just feel it. Stay with it until there is emptiness and remain in it. I am every day battling something but I am not alone. I have to remind myself of that when I’m at my weakest. For those of you that suffer from anxiety you might also have some obsession like I do. During this time it’s hard to make the emotions and feelings stop. A friend told me to embrace it. Look at myself in the mirror and don’t break eye contact. Allow the feelings to come. Breathe it out. Cry, scream, but don’t break the gaze. Remind myself that I am loved. The commonly talked about “Fake it till you make it”. I’ve learned some amazing self help and coping techniques. I know when I’m going through it that it’s hard to remember them, but I know that I just if I want to avoid days like Saturday. I am in recovery, I am loved, I am good enough. Peoples opinions are just that, theirs to have but not to affect me or define who I am. Anxiety 1 Marissa 1 and feeling strong.