A couple of years ago my friends travelled all the way to London–where I’d studied for the past couple of months–to visit me for Thanksgiving. It was our first night out on the town, we were at the concert of a band we all really love, and I couldn’t stop sobbing in the corner.
I thought I could control it. I thought I wouldn’t feel this way when friends were here, or at least, I thought I could hide it while they were here.
Yet there they were: the anxiety, the thoughts.
They made quite the pair in my life all of a sudden those past few weeks, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t get rid of them.
Actually, saying “I couldn’t get rid of them” implies I felt some kind of authority in the situation. In reality, I was quickly losing control.
The anxiety was ever-present, and the thoughts and fears tramped and bashed inside my head all day, exerting their dominance over my life in an aggressively terrifying way.
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I was clawing at the hours every day, just trying to survive. I had lost my stability, my assuredness, and my functionality.
Whatever was happening to me, it was dominating me.
Even now, having recovered from that bleak time, my heart beats faster as I recount this period in my life. Yet this is how we heal: sharing and showing our messy parts.
I began to open up more about what was happening to me, and little by little I began to get a hold on my life again. The best way to get help for yourself is to ask for it, and that’s what I did.
It was through the incredible patience and courage of helpers in my life that I came to find stability and control again. Bringing my darkness into the light helped me see it for what it was, and I found sweet relief as my shame and fear began to diminish.
You cannot be mastered by something you are not afraid of.
I look back and see how terrifying being ruled by an illness was, but do you know what was possibly even scarier? In my darkest hours, when I hadn’t eaten for days and had cried countless times, it was the lie that I wouldn’t get better. That this was my lot for the rest of my life.
That there was no hope for me to recover from this.
Friends, I am here to say there is always hope for recovery.
There is hope that you will find control again, you can be forgiven, you will have a good day, you will eat and not hate yourself, you will conquer your fears, you will feel joy around others instead of isolation.
That you will have seen the void of darkness inside of you, yet will not have been overcome by it.
I found recovery and freedom through reaching out for help and through speaking about my experience.
Though there will always be the chance I once again feel out of control from the anxieties and thoughts which flash through me, I know there is always hope, for me and for you.
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