By Chiara | Guest Blogger
I’m not a victim anymore. Today I started owning my recovery for the first time in years. I still can’t fathom how much God has blessed me throughout this journey. I pray God will use my vulnerability and honesty to give you hope and encouragement to keep fighting for freedom, peace and healing.
Let me start from the beginning. I’ve always been a bit of a worrier and an introvert, it’s in my blood. That’s how God created me. But unfortunately that’s not how the world around me wanted me to be. By the time I started school I was bombarded with lies. You’re too silent. You have to speak more. Why do you talk so little? You should be more like that. You should be more like this. Family, friends and teachers all said the same, in different ways but with the same message. Because I was just a kid I didn’t really realize the effect it had on me. But it did and with the years I slowly lost my self-confidence completely.
I began to think something was wrong me, that I wasn’t good enough, that I had to change somehow to please and be completely accepted and loved by those around me. And so I tried to change. Of course it didn’t work. By the time I was in high school I was struggling with such a severe anxiety that I desperately needed a quick fix in order to keep going. That’s when I turned to food. I thought, if I couldn’t change who I was, I could at least change how I looked. Maybe, if I get skinny enough people would focus on my appearance instead of my personality and I wouldn’t have to hear all those judging comments anymore? If only skinny enough had solved the problem.
I remember watching a documentary about eating disorders just a few years earlier and thinking to myself this could never happen to me. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened. My anxiety turned into eating disorders at the age of 15. For about 6 years I suffered from both anorexia and bulimia.
My eating disorders obviously didn’t help my anxiety but only made it worse and added more issues to my life. The more weight I lost, the more unworthy, insecure and ugly I felt. It didn’t take long until I turned to cutting. It became my new quick fix to get release from my increased anxiety. Now I wasn’t only suffering from anxiety, depression and eating disorders, but also with a dangerous addiction.
Today, after years of suffering and wrong medication, which lead me to literally face my own death more than once, I finally met with a psychiatrist who gave me a diagnosis yesterday: Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I’m almost crying out of joy and relief while I’m writing this. I’m turning 24 this year so after having suffered from this for so many years and not understanding why, this just brings me so much peace because for me it’s really a reassurance that I’m actually not crazy or weird in any way.
Yes, it’s a disorder, so there’s something wrong but it’s just like any other disease really just that it’s mental. There is anti-anxiety medication I could take but it would mean I’d have to keep taking it for the rest of my life because it wouldn’t solve the problem, only hide it. The bad thing with medication is also that it makes you quite numb because it tries to level out your mood. As much as I’d love to live an anxiety-free life, I wouldn’t want to give up experiencing the real highs and lows of life. So I’ve decided to fight this in a more healthy way, with continuous counseling through MIHI, together with my faith and as much joy as possible. The severe anxiety I’m suffering from means I’m constantly out of energy because I constantly have to fight my anxiety at the same time as I’m doing the things normal people (for lack of a better word) would just simply do and be able to enjoy.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. – Jeremiah 11:29
All I have to do now is pick up my cross and follow Him. Of course it’s easier said than done, and I know it’s a massive challenge. But I’m tired of living in a cage. I will pick up this cross and face all those situations that make me anxious. As much as it is a life-sentence because my diagnosis means I will have to deal with this for the rest of my life, I’m not the victim I was anymore but slowly breaking free as much as I can. It’s all a process. Healing takes time, patience, perseverance, energy and lots of grace! I’ll still get panic attacks, involuntary muscle spasms and all other symptoms that come along with this little cross but I don’t have to be scared anymore because I know why it’s happening. There’s so much peace, hope and joy to realize that the crosses that God is asking us to pick up are going to lead us closer to Him, which means holiness. I couldn’t be more blessed to know this.
Please check out and like Chiara’s awesome Facebook page: Daughter’s of God. The mission of her page: To encourage women to become who God meant them to be so that they can set the world on fire for Him.
P.S. You are enough.