Working on Us – Week 5

Beckiesmentalmess blog has posted week 5 of “working on us”! I chose prompt 1.

Q1: If an eating disorder isn’t about food or weight, what is it all about? And, what has it done to you personally?

Well, I once knew a girl who had an eating disorder. She suffered from bulimia, but not in a way most of us imagine. Her eating disorder started when she was very young. Before grade school from what I was told. She was the skinniest of everyone in her family, who were all very average weights. The problem with this girl was that her stomach would not hold down food. No matter what she ate, she would vomit it back up. She had to take medicine for it. I don’t know exactly what caused this problem, whether it was trauma or something, but it was diagnosed as an eating disorder. To this day she is still very thin. I haven’t spoken to her since she was in grade school, but I’m sure it still affects her, as she is still skinnier than everyone else in her family and it appears borderline unhealthy. From this, I can guess that it can sometimes be illness or even trauma related.

For me personally, I suffered from body dysmorphia, causing me to be somewhere between bulimic and anorexic. I would often times fast a whole day to make up for overeating the day before (when I didn’t actually overeat). I practically worshiped the scale. I saw myself as much bigger than I was. Even at my smallest. As many times as I was told I had a problem, I never listened. I assumed everyone was like me when it came to being weight conscious. It wasn’t until I started my anxiety medication for my OCD that I began being comfortable with my body image. It still feels weird to look in a mirror and see myself just right. My body had depressed me for years. I would work out, eat little, eat only certain “healthy foods”. I feel much more free now.

Q2: What is the most difficult thing to handle with your disorder?

The most difficult thing to handle from my OCD are intrusive thoughts, hands down!

Working on Us – Mental Health Prompt

I’m doing another one of BeckiesMentalMessWorking on Us” prompt!

I’ve decided to go with prompt #1 and answer a couple of questions.

How do you deal with the stigma surrounding your mental disorder/illness? If so, in what way?

The stigma around OCD is usually being a neat freak or germaphobe. But this is simply not the only way OCD affects those with the disorder. Usually when I do a compulsion, I get the “Mikayla are you OCD?” and I will laugh and say yes. Some people will laugh and think I’m just being funny…which seems to be another thing that comes about with OCD. I simply explain to them that I actually do have OCD and that it’s a real problem that causes a ton of anxiety. I usually like to explain how there are inward compulsions and outward compulsions if people are genially interested in understanding the disorder. I’m not a neat freak, mine is more inward, but things being out of a certain order will cause me panic… most everything about these things are because I feel like I will go crazy if I don’t check, fix, or avoid certain things. Which is unfortunately pretty counter productive. People are usually very understanding of it and will start to add it to my personality, which I really like. I don’t mind being teased for my OCD. It makes me feel better about having it…or being that way. Even though a bad episode will give me severe panic attacks.

I won’t scrutinize people for being uneducated about OCD. I don’t share the darker parts. I have a problem with letting people know how much I really am suffering. I feel like OCD makes me very weak, and if people knew how much it really hurts me I will be treated differently. I leave the heavier bits for my closer circle, like Daniel and my mom. I just want to be normal. So if people want to make light of it…that’s fine by me.

Does the stigma associated with mental health bother you? If so, in what way?

I’m not too bothered by the stigmas out there. One thing that does kinda bother me is that sometimes people think mental illnesses cause limitations for everyone else. Like in a classroom.

Diary Entry: Anxiety

I went to the doctor, yesterday. I have had some issues with anxiety, but I never felt the need to go until Daniel recommended it. I lied about the severity of my anxiety to the doctor, because I really didn’t want to sound crazy. I have pure-o. It’s like OCD but all in your head. And it is not something I enjoy describing to people.

I got on a small amount of anxiety medication for my “test anxiety” (which I do have as well) and that little bit of extra serotonin really helped me out. I was feeling pretty good. Better than I had in a long while. I also had to start taking Vitamin D because I lack it apparently. Did you know a lack of VD can cause anxiety problems?!

Well, my 6 months of using the pills were coming to an end, and so was that easiness. I had to space the pills out so I could ease myself off them. And it was not going well. Daniel said that he could see me going back to the old anxious ways and recommended I talk SERIOUSLY with my doctor about what all is REALLY going on. So, I did.

I explained to my doctor yesterday that I think I have OCD, pure-o. These horrible thoughts that haunt me and I hate them and stress causes them and they cause me stress and so I get more anxious. And how coming off the medicines was causing them to start up again. I told her I’ve never actually been diagnosed but I just know that this is what’s going on. I gave her examples…which probably made me look crazy. Especially since I was panicking while talking to her about it. At least I didn’t cry. I cried about it with Daniel the first time I explained it to him. I hate talking about it!

Afterwards, she brought in a counselor to speak with me. And…I have been diagnosed with severe anxiety.

The counselor was super sweet and told me her story. She gave me some calming techniques. I got my prescriptions refilled. And got some lab work done. My VD is still low, so I have to take 50mcg a day. Opposed to 25mcg.

I need to get out more and go walking.

—The thoughts I have are not always a problem for me. I can dismiss them sometimes like a normal human, but other times I let them eat me alive. They’re like lil episodes. Some worse than others. Some episodes last months, some last days. If I’m not having an episode, then I’m not having the thoughts at all. It just depends on how much stress I’m experiencing. And University has kicked my butt. So just note…it’s not an everyday thing. The regular anxiety tends to be, though.—