its hard sometimes realizing how far you’ve come, but yet, realizing how far you still have to go. realizing that even though i’ve shifted my mindset hugely over the past few months, and let go of so many things that weren’t benefiting me physically or mentally, that when i remove all of these unhealthy coping mechanisms I’ve created for myself externally to help myself feel in control of my life and anxiety, the issue lies deep within.
it was never really about studying too hard or over-working myself, or about food and exercise, or about my body.
these anxiety driven thought processes come from a place of fear, deep inside of me. discomfort in being in my own skin, in my physical shell, a need to be distracted; a way to ignore, to be removed, to cope with those feelings.
a fear that I won’t ever be good enough. a fear of losing people, a belief that in relationships and friendships i’m always second best, second choice. not ever feeling like i really fit in in school, a constant fear of what people were saying about me behind my back, judging me for who i am, where i’ve been, what i believe. in their eyes, i wasn’t good enough, and i believed it. not funny or witty or pretty enough to be in that clique, to be his girlfriend, to be invited to that party. a fear that if i open my heart again, it still won’t be good enough. i’ll still be second choice. a fear that everyone i do have around me could crumble away at any moment, could suddenly detach from me like they have so many times before.
these thoughts told me i needed to be better, needed to improve, achieve; whether that be portrayed onto exams, or extra curricular achievements, or grades, or the quality or quantity of food I ingested, or my fitness level, or my external appearance. a fear of failure; that I wouldn’t be successful if I didn’t achieve in the way that was expected of me, that I expected of me. that I would never succeed if I were to follow my heart and not my head. that I wouldn’t be worthy unless I was worthy in my academia, and then later, in my ‘health’… and of course, no matter what i did, it was never enough. never satisfied. never really feeling that proud on exams results day as I achieved those grades or my uni acceptance or as I changed in the mirror. Maybe at times I was happy. But this ‘happiness’ resulted from momentarily dampening that fear. And never for long. Always focusing on the minuscule; always trying to find those extra marks or putting myself down for any percentage loss, always focused on eating purer and cleaner, on that one area of my body, wanting to shrink it away, shrink away the pain in my mind. Always feeling like i could do better, should do better.
so instead i transposed that onto things i could control, that maybe one day i would feel good enough at. maybe if i get 100% on every test, maybe if I have the perfect diet, maybe if i get abs, maybe if i do that uni degree, maybe if I help people and the world and do something great, something beyond myself, maybe if i bring joy and health and happiness into other peoples lives, i might feel it in my own, I might finally feel worthy.
Crippling anxiety, irrational thoughts and beliefs that have built up over years, until they caused me to burn out completely.
I’ve worked through so much in the past 3 months, and through doing so I’ve been led to what i need to work on within myself. My self-love and self-esteem.
The next part of my journey is not going to be an easy one, and as much as I wish I could, it’s not something I can magic out of thin air overnight. But awareness leads to action which leads to change, and I know in a few months from now, a year from now, 10 years from now, i’ll be able to look back and this point of my life will seem like a blur, and that person I was, that mindset filled with insecurity and fear will hardly be recognizable.
You are not what has happened. You are what you choose to become. And with each day, the person I know I am inside becomes stronger and stronger, and the anxieties become weaker and weaker. The deep fog is slowly lifting.
Slowly letting the sun shine through.