Welp here is another real post for you. Anxiety can show itself in so many different ways in so many different people. For me, it started around 7th grade. I threw up after gorging myself on Trader Joe’s orange smoothie mix (so random) and turkey burgers. It was not a particularly traumatic experience but after that day I could not handle anything having to do with vomiting.
I remember going to therapy for it back then and was confused about how it would help me. I just wanted someone to promise me that I wouldn’t get sick, which in retrospect is very immature. I honestly can’t remember what we talked about but it didn’t last long and I learned to just “deal with it” in my own way from that point forward, mainly through avoidance.
All through high school I avoided eating before any swim or polo practices or competitions. I always wonder if I might have been faster or stronger had I fueled my body properly in terms of timing. I made it through high school, college and one year of my masters before I threw up, I did not throw up for over 10 years. What? And the reason I threw up then was because of unwashed blackberries. And to this day I do not eat blackberries… Avoidance in its purest form.
This anxiety has touched every part of my life and has morphed as time goes on. From cooking to eating out to vacations (traveling/motion sickness), it reaches far and sometimes can feel all encompassing. It is EXHAUSTING. But I can’t help it. And it isn’t even just me who is exhausted by it, my husband and family are probably over it too. My husband and I rarely fight and we do get into it over this and I know it is my anxiety causing the problem which makes me so mad that it reaches to him too.
Just to give you an idea about how my mind works…
- If someone is cooking chicken I can barely sit still thinking about how there is raw chicken juice over everything. After the cooking is done I usually have to have my husband check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer because I just won’t be able to enjoy the meal. I also have to sanitize everything, like two or more times. And even after that I will look at the dish towels, dishes, handles and counters thinking that they are infected with juices that will make me throw up.
- I rarely eat meat out at restaurants unless it is In-N-Out… I am terrified of getting food poisoning and that is my rationale to not eat meat, I know it is tripped out and doesn’t really help in preventing food borne illness but it “helps” my mind.
- I wash my hands all day… Now more so for Kade, but I worked really hard at doing my best to eliminate any potential way I could get sick by stress washing my hands. I worked in a gym for two years so I literally felt like I was COVERED in germs all day hahah
- If I hear of someone being sick (only vomiting illnesses) I will obsess over if I have had contact with them, who in my immediate group has had contact with them and how certain I am that I might get sick. With COVID and being distanced and not going out this hasn’t been as present for me but I know once everything opens back up I will be dealing with this again.
I recently went to therapy and stuck with it for two months but saw no results. The therapist basically told me it is all about control, which definitely might be part of it. But I wanted more concrete, actionable steps to take to improve my stress. He told me to buy an anxiety workbook and read it, okay why am I paying you?
Since having Kade it has gotten a little better, mainly because he consumes my days and I have no time or energy to think about anything else except feed, play and sleep. I have a few things I have been working on that I have seen improvements on. For one, my husband had an upset stomach a few weeks ago and normally I would have gone downward spiral for the whole night, high heart rate, flush skin and unrelenting thoughts about how I will get sick. But I just told myself if he does get sick everything will be fine, it happens and we will get through it. Just because he might get sick doesn’t mean I will. And I didn’t spiral out of control. I still thought about it because I was trying to work it out in my mind but I didn’t get myself to the place where I usually go which was a WIN!
Does anyone have anything that works well for them for anxiety? Let me know in the comments or feel free to email me if it is too private at email@example.com
Thanks for reading! See you tomorrow!!