Like me, Veronica Hill of Story of My Life suffers from, among other things, anxiety and food issues. However, while I struggle with bingeing everything bad for me, she has other concerns. Here is just another way that mental illness (anxiety) plays a role in our daily lives.
Let’s Talk About Anxiety
By Veronica Hill, Story Of My Life
So, as I’m pretty sure you’ve figured out by now, I have generalized anxiety disorder. That’s just a part of my life I’m learning to live and cope with, just like my other illnesses. It’s fairly well controlled, but there are definitely times when it gets worse. When I’m stressed or feel like I’m losing control, things are a little worse. To add to it, I’m also a Type A personality, which means I like to plan and I like to have control of the situation basically all the time.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I am excellent with planning in advance, and that works in my favor a lot. It’s the reason for me graduating a semester early and getting the apartment I wanted for the fall semester. I love planning trips and packing, and I like being a very organized, pulled together person. When you live with a chronic illness, planning makes life much easier. Actually, I think the reason I am Type A with an anxiety disorder is because I am chronically ill. I’m not in control of what my body does most of the time, so I need to have control in other areas of my life.
And that brings me to my main point. You probably wouldn’t realize this unless you’re fairly close to me, but I have a bit of a control issue with food. And by “control issue”, I mean I’m a little obsessed with what I eat. Fair warning, this is a little personal and tough for me to write about, but bear with me.
I wouldn’t consider myself to have an eating disorder at all. I don’t restrict my food in a ridiculous way or have episodes of binging and purging. For a college student, I eat very well and fairly healthy. I just think about what I eat all the time. I used to have panic attacks over what I ate, until I began treatment for my anxiety disorder. Now that rarely happens, thank goodness.
But I am what you would consider obsessive. Again, I think it’s a control thing. Food seems to be the one constant I can always control. So I do. I track what I eat and my exercise on myfitnesspal, and I can’t go a day without eating vegetables. I eat a very balanced diet and I am really conscious of what I’m eating, calorie content, and nutrition. I also think this is based partly on the fact that I am a health major, and many of my classes discuss the importance of proper nutrition and diet. My medications I take also tend to mess with my appetite and weight, so I am very aware of what is going on with my relationship with food.
Coconut, chocolate, and sweets are my weakness
I think for a while before I started treatment for GAD, I wasn’t in a good place. It’s not something I mention very often except to people I’m very close too, but I was really negatively obsessed with food. I tried tracking what I ate, and it would start off okay, but quickly spiral into panic attacks and beating myself up for what I ate. Once I started treatment and my anxiety got better, this negativity went away, thank goodness. Now I have a much more positive view of food. Food is no longer inherently “bad” or “good”. I do focus a lot on nutritional content, but I am working towards making sure I am getting enough calories (my appetite sucks because of sulfazine) and getting all my nutrients.
I am that person who loves veggies in their smoothies
I’m doing well. And I think it will be better over the summer when I’m home and cooking again, and in the fall when I’m living in an apartment and not relying on cafeteria food. But at the same time, I’m a little annoyed right now. I eat very well for a college student, and that’s super beneficial to my health and well-being, but at the same time, I’d really like to just eat without automatically thinking about the calorie and nutrition content. It’s a pain in the ass at times, and I sometimes wish I could just turn off the anxious part of my brain for a while. But that’s not the reality of this all.