When did you start noticing you were feeling anxious?
I started noticing I was anxious when I was around 11-12 years old.
How did your family handle it?
My mom was supportive because she has anxiety and would try to help me cope. Other family members didn’t really know because it’s not spoken about and the few that knew would try to brush it off as if it wasn’t important.
Do you have advice for a family member, friends, or spouse on supporting people with anxiety or depression?
My advice to those that are supporting loved ones who have anxiety or depression is to please have patience. It is incredibly difficult and having someone who is patient and understanding will help. Not judging and taking a moment to put yourself in the person’s shoes could really make a difference in that loved one’s day.
What are your triggers?
My triggers are being in a new situation or having a lot of attention to me like public speaking.
What do people say to you that you wish they wouldn’t?
I wish people would stop saying “oh just get over it” and “stop being so dramatic”. Minimizing your thoughts and feelings really makes it more difficult to stay positive.
Do you think the health care system is doing enough?
Unfortunately, the healthcare system is not doing enough. I see it first hand how many people truly need help and are unable to get the help they want, need and deserve. As a therapist, I’ve experienced being unable to help those who truly want it because of insurance coverage. This is a much bigger issue that needs to be addressed and mental health needs to be prioritized just as much as physical health.
When did you start noticing your relationship with food and your body changing?
I became more aware of my body changing around 5th grade. I started developing and was slightly overweight so people commented on my weight. My relationship with food changed from sustenance and eating what I liked to counting calories and seeing food as “bad”.
When did you notice it becoming a problem?
I noticed it was a problem in 10th grade when it was all I was thinking about. Food, calories, and weight.
How did your family and friends handle it?
Family and friends didn’t know how to handle it. They tried to brush it off and tell me to just eat and exercise. Once I have diagnosed my mom was extremely supportive and my close friends admitted they didn’t get it but asked questions and tried to understand which was incredibly helpful.
What is the scariest thing that has happened due to your eating disorder?
I was sent to the hospital with chest pain. I had gone so long without eating it was taking a toll on my heart. That was the scariest feeling that I was no longer in control even though I thought I was.
What advice would you give others struggling?
I would tell those struggling it’s okay. There are some bad days but that doesn’t mean every day will be bad. Celebrate little victories and if you took a step back that’s okay. Recovery isn’t the same for everyone and you might have some setbacks. That’s okay. All that matters is you keep looking forward and try again next meal or another day. It’s okay not to be okay and just acknowledge what you are feeling in the moment.
What keeps you motivated and positive?
Being a therapist I remind myself to stay motivated in order to help others. I also stay motivated by reminding myself of all the victories no matter how small. I try to combat the negative thoughts with positive ones. Some days it’s hard and I just remind myself if I had one difficult day that’s okay I’m human and that’s okay. I try to remind myself not to be so hard on myself.
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