“I am someone who struggles with their weight. Like most of you, I am sure, I hate my body. I have struggled with weight my whole life, going up and down, up and down like a yoyo. I am by no means obese, but I am overweight, and it bothers me. If I am not careful, I can let it consume me. By that I mean, weigh myself twice a day, get obsessed with a diet, and ask people a million times, ‘Do I look fat in that?’ Taking pictures of me? Forget it. It would have to be selfies only, just of the face, in a certain angle and lighting, never sitting, always standing… the list goes on and on…
I finally got to a weight I liked, over a year ago, but it came with a cost. It came with a ton of anxiety, and I couldn’t really eat. The anxiety was all-consuming, and the thought of eating anything made me want to puke. The feeling was AWFUL, but I liked my weight. It was quite the predicament I was in.
I saw a psychologist who said my anxiety was way too intense and all-consuming. I was no longer able to focus at work, focus on my friends, or even focus on my daughter. I lost a huge chunk of my life, BUT I liked my weight. My psychologist suggested I go on anxiety medication to help ease my mind and my thoughts a little, so I could come back to being me again. Anxiety medication? No. way. Aren’t people who take anxiety medication crazy? Aren’t they judged and looked upon as ‘unwell?’ And, worst of all, don’t they gain weight? I’d heard horror stories of people gaining 20, 30, and 40 pounds. I cannot gain that; I’d rather suffer through my anxiety than gain one single pound.
Well, guess what? My anxiety won, and I was drowning. I was a complete mess — OCD, anxious, full of fear, and I needed to be there for my daughter more than anyone. So, I agreed to go see my doctor. I tried to play my anxiety down, but I guess the crying didn’t help my case. Of course, he put me on medication only after my therapy, meditation, and exercising were not doing the trick. I needed something to help me, so he prescribed me a low dose. At first, I took it and it made me nauseous. I couldn’t really eat, and I thought, ‘Okay! This is great. I will get my anxiety under control and lose weight at the same time. Winning!’ But the nausea subsided after a few days, and after a few weeks, the medication started to kick in.
Months went by, and my anxiety was completely gone. I was able to breathe again. I could function. I was great at work and with my friends. I let go of past relationships. I was back to being the mom my daughter knew. I was feeling great, and I could breathe. Unfortunately, though, the weight started to come on. At first, it was a few pounds, and I was okay with that. Then, I started seeing numbers like 5, 10, 13, 15, and now 20 pounds. It didn’t matter what I did, I could not stop it from adding up. Maybe I was eating a bit more? Retaining water? Or because I feel zero anxiety, my body is not running a million miles an hour inside? Who knows. I can just tell you, as someone who has weight issues and is unhappy with that, gaining 20 pounds is hard to see. BUT, I can breathe again.
So, what’s the point in my story? The point is, a healthy mind outweighs anything at all. I am a better person spiritually and emotionally than I have ever been before. I still get a hint of fear because I’m used to feeling a certain way. So, when that feeling is gone, I wonder if I am okay. But then I realize, I am always going to be okay. If there is ever a choice between your mental health and your physical appearance, choose your mental health first. I will join Weight Watchers, and I will fight this weight gain in a healthy manner. I will be anxiety-free at the same time, and I will be okay. Who cares if I am thinner if it means I am anxiety-ridden? I would much rather have a healthy mind, because with a healthy mind, you can make good choices, and with good choices comes freedom.
The person I am today is not the person I was a year ago, or even 6 months ago. For the first time in my life, I can make rational decisions based on my healthy mind. When something stressful comes along, I am able to stop, pause, think, and then react. Please note, I am not pushing medication on anyone. This is just what worked for me after trying so many other methods first.
Now, when someone takes my picture, I will gladly sit down to do it.
To anyone who is struggling out there — whether it be mental health, weight, body image, sexuality, anything at all — always choose your mental health first. Everything else will fall into place after that.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jennifer Chaitman. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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