TESA DREW: CONQUERING MY ANXIETY

 

Anxiety, you will not win this time, I am much stronger

This summer I was the busiest I have ever been, working full time as a flight attendant. I can’t even put into words how much I love my job, and how grateful I am to have this career. 

Working days in a row, I had very little time for myself this summer. I didn't get to see my friends and family as often as I liked to, but it made it all worth it to have a job that I loved. I stopped attending my weekly support group meetings (most of the time because I was out of town, but other times I know I could have made the time to go). Being so busy, I didn't have much time to think about my recovery and to continue moving forwards. I found it very difficult to eat three structured meals a day with such a hectic schedule, but I am happy to say that I have not engaged in bulimic behaviours for quite some time now. I slowly saw myself slipping into restricting my food intake again; Although most days I was just too exhausted to fight with myself and just ate the proper nutrients in order to keep me going. 

Summer came to a close and and my crazy schedule began to slow down, but this is when I began to notice the anxiety slowly trying to consume me again. In a span of a week my great grandma had passed away, I found out my parents were selling our house and we would be moving from the city I had grown up in, to a new (completely different) home, and was also waiting to hear about my future with the company I was employed with. This may not seem like a lot, but to someone who has struggled with many things in the past, it had felt like my entire world was being turned upside down. I was really struggling to get through each day and to do the things I knew I needed to do for myself, without slipping back into my old ways again.

I loved my job and I knew being a flight attendant was something I wanted to do for a long time, and the thought of not being able to work full time doing what I loved, crushed me. When I found out I had received a casual position for the winter I was devastated. Looking back now, I know that it happened for a reason. It pushed me to apply for a larger airline based in Calgary, something that I would never have done if I didn't get that casual position. I went to Calgary from Vancouver for the interview, and two days later received a phone call with a job offer. I had mixed feelings about it. On one side it felt like my dream was coming true, I was going to get to see more of the world, but on the other side I was going to be moving out on my own, leaving my friends and family to start a new life in Calgary. I’ve never been good at stepping out of my comfort zone and taking risks mostly because of the anxiety that usually follows that, but this time will be different. I have lots of support and have learnt many different coping mechanisms to help me get through all this change. I am excited for what the future holds for me.

Jeremiah 29:11 - My plan for your future has always been filled with hope

Recovery is a constant roller coaster. You will have good days and you will have bad days but it’s all about how you react and treat yourself during those bad days. I no longer beat myself up if I miss a meal, or don't eat a “proper” portion. I no longer exercise excessively after eating a little too much at a family dinner. I understand that this is all apart of my journey and with each day I am getting a little bit stronger.

I am also very happy to say that I am no longer constantly haunted by thoughts about food. I am able to wake up some mornings and not be consumed by negative thoughts about myself and food. Living in the moment, I chose not to focus on what I had eaten the previous day or things that I did or didn't do. Each day is a fresh start and a new chance to do the things that you want to do for yourself. That alone is something I never ever thought was going to be possible for me.

John 16:33 - I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

There are so many things in life that you are not going to be able to control. Things will constantly change and most of the time there isn't anything you can do about it. Stressful times will come and go. People will come and go out of your life, but the sooner you try not to control everything and every aspect of your life, the sooner you will find peace. I had to take a step back during those tough times and really realize how little I could do about any of it and just put it in gods hands and let him take control. I am a strong believer of everything happens for a reason, and sometimes you may not know exactly what that reason is, but eventually everything works itself out. 

To anyone who is struggling, I want to give you hope. I have gone from the darkest of places; not wanting to live another day filled with misery, pain, self loathing and no hope. I never thought i’d be able to get to the place where I am now. I have found peace with myself, with the support of friends and family and learned many different coping mechanisms to help me during tough times.

Having a mental illness makes you no less of a person. If anything it just makes us all stronger, because we have to work and fight that much harder to overcome obstacles and achieve what we want. You can still accomplish anything you set your mind to. Your hopes and dreams CAN come true.