Hello everyone! Today I thought I would write a little bit about some events that happened over the last couple of days. Yesterday was, overall, a good day. My dad took me, my sister, and my cousin visiting from Colorado all out on our motor boat. We went to the lake, anchored, and despite my negative body image I decided to jump in the water and go swimming. As soon as I hit the water all of the negative thoughts and self conscious feelings vanished – because I was having so much fun and was just so happy to be in the water on such a hot day!
Looking back at the pictures from that event is a little difficult. I scrutinize my body wishing my arms were smaller, legs were thinner, etc. However, one thing that I DO notice in the pictures that is positive is that I look happy; you can easily read it from the smile on my face. Yes, I was…am…struggling with my body image, but when I shift my focus onto something else-like how much fun I had with my family and how nice the cool water felt-I am able to combat and negate some of those negative thoughts and beliefs about myself.
Today, I decided to take a leap of faith and say ‘screw you’ to my anxiety. As many of you probably already know, I started driving again, just a little bit at a time to get used to it. Well, today I decided to drive 20 minutes to Niagara Falls (by myself) to meet a friend of mine . As soon as I hopped in the car and pulled out of my driveway, I felt an instant burst of freedom and independence, something that I have not felt for a very long time now. We had a good time, got each other caught up because we haven’t seen each other in a few weeks (too long!) and it was very nice. When we left is when I started to fall apart. I put my walker in the trunk of my car, hopped in the front seat, and a wave of anxiety washed over me. I was shaking and crying, and then had a hard time catching my breath. I sat in the parking lot looking around like a deer in the headlights, worried that people would see my panic attack, worried that I caused the panic myself and that this was all my fault. I had flashbacks of when this same sort of thing would happen in the car before I went away to treatment, and I became even more afraid. At that moment, I wished I hadn’t driven myself and wanted more than anything for someone to pick me up. Thanks to Xanax, I was able to calm down after a good half hour of panicking in the car. I also tried really hard to imagine what my therapist and support team from Arizona would suggest in that moment: they would tell me to breathe. It felt like something heavy was falling on to my chest, but I repeated the word “breathe” over and over again and eventually I was able to breathe normally. Once I was able to collect myself, I turned the car on and drove home, still a little jittery and nerve racked, but in a better place than I was before.
The point to this story is this: Recovery…from ANYTHING, is not a straight road. There are bumps, detours, and sometimes dead ends. The most important thing to remember, though, is that you can always get through these obstacles and come out on the other side. It may take a lot of time and effort, but you CAN do this. You CAN recover. It is not a smooth road, and sometimes it really is one step forward one step back…but as long as you keep moving and do not give up, that is what really matters. Have a wonderful day loves, and stay strong! ❤