This Week's Featured Speak Out - Rache's Story
Rachel's Story -
TRIGGER WARNING (mention of s**cide) . “Anxiety has been my constant companion since childhood. I had my first panic attack at the age of 5 on a school field trip. Growing up was hard not only because of my anxiety, but also because my family environment was toxic and abusive. My father was an alcoholic and a drug addict and the uncertainty that he caused in my day-to-day life made my anxiety all the more prevalent. By the 5th grade I was battling depression and bulimia as well as anxiety. The chaos in my home made it possible for me to hide my problems and evade getting help. After my father committed suicide when I was 17, life got even more complicated and my mental health declined even more. I still refused to admit that I needed help though and continued to cope in maladaptive ways. It wasn’t until I graduated college and began my professional career that I realized I had to make some changes. I had been living a life that I thought would make me happy, ticking boxes on some imaginary list that said what I needed to do to be okay. It looked good on paper, but it wasn’t working for me. I was severely depressed, my eating disorder was still ruling my life, and I was having panic attacks regularly. I decided I had to make a change.
The first thing I did was reach out and talk about what I was feeling with a trusted family member. They connected me with a therapist and I began working on healing the trauma of my childhood and recovering from my eating disorder. I also began taking medication for my anxiety and depression as well as making lifestyle changes.
Today, I am living a life I could never have imagined for myself 10 years ago. I have gone back to school to pursue a career I love in dietetics. I nourish my body with food and exercise instead of punishing it. I prioritize my wellness and I have developed a sense of self love that guides me above all else. Furthermore, I haven’t had a panic attack in 5 years. Life is so much better! My advice to anyone struggling is first to reach out and talk to someone you feel safe with. Once you let out the feelings you have bottled within, you can begin the work of healing. That will look different for everyone. For me it’s taking my meds, getting enough sleep, getting outside, feeding myself well, and nourishing my mind with writing, reading, and learning. For you, it could be so many other things. Experiment. Get help. And don’t wait until you reach a breaking point to make a change. You are worth it and you are loved."