This Week on The Blog - Special Time to Talk Guest Post Edition - Jacob Blackwell
Hey, I'm Jacob! I'm not really the type of person who opens up about my personal life and issues that often, especially online. I'm very private when it comes to discussing things that have affected me, that have bothered me, or that I generally don't like. However as today is Time To Talk Day, I thought I'd take the opportunity to give you a little insight into my life, my previous problems and how I overcame them.
I always worry that this type of blog post is going to be interpreted as a plead for attention and pity. Maybe that's why I've not actually written one before? Who knows... But before anyone assumes that, I'm actually writing this post for those of you who may be suffering from similar problems, who are losing motivation or the hope that things get better. I promise that they do. This post is just going to be an insight into my experience, that'll hopefully give you some motivation or belief that things can improve!
I've always been quite an anxious person. Sure I've had times where it's not bothered me so much, but the issue has always always been there. I believe the form of anxiety I have is primarily social anxiety, y'know, the type which makes it so much harder to actually face everyday social situations. The first time where I actually noticed it, or realised that I had the issue was probably back when I began high school in 2010. It's a scary time for everyone really, starting a new school. There's a new environment, new teachers, new classmates. It's like moving from a fish tank to the ocean. (I think that's the phrase, I may be wrong.) I don't know why, but that was when my anxiety really kicked in. Gradually as the years went on it never really got any better, I felt too anxious to speak to new people, too anxious to answer questions in class because of the fear of getting the answer wrong. If I got a haircut I was anxious that I'd be judged for it. Own clothes day was a nightmare, I was terrified that I would be laughed at for how I dressed, mocked for not keeping up with the latest styles. They're fears everyone has, but in my head, they were life or death situations.
This in itself was a problem....
In 2014 following a long period of confusion and thought, I eventually came out as gay to both my friends and family. What was such a freeing and happy time was also one which also brought its own negatives. Stress and negativity followed in small quantities, but the increase in emotions at the time made it much harder to deal with, following which I developed an eating disorder.
There's a common misconception that eating disorders strive purely from an obsession with appearance, however, this is not always the case. Eating disorders act as a control technique. When everything is out of control in the sufferer's life, be it their emotions, relationships etc... their minds begin to focus on the one thing which they can control, their weight. For me, this was more so the case. Food restriction and increased exercise particularly. Looking back on the situation it was obviously not a good thing to start doing. But at the time I didn't care. What was physically hurting me, in the moment acted as a form of relief, allowing me to feel more "stable" in the messy situation. Time passed and my weight dropped, taking my happiness with it.
Eating disorders and depression can go hand in hand. The lack of nutrients and energy you're providing your body, the less it's able to function correctly (in many ways.) I developed depression as a result of the stress and behaviour I'd put my body through.... What had started out as a way to manage and control my life had started ruining it further. At the time though I was unable to see this, and continued doing what I had been in a desperate attempt to "help myself."
As I mentioned, Eating Disorders do not always stem directly from negative feelings towards your weight or appearance, but those insecurities become much more prominent as time goes on.....
In mid-2015 I was referred to CAMHS a UK service which stands for "Children & Adolescents Mental Health Service." Thankfully here is where things began to go further and further up hill, in a much more positive direction and I began the recovery process for the illness' I had been dealing with.
The endless pit I thought I had fallen into, gradually reduced in size, until finally, I was in a much more stable, comfortable and healthy place. Currently, I am fully recovered from both the eating disorder and depression which had consumed my life for so long. My anxiety is still around in certain situations, but drastically reduced in comparison to this time two years ago and is something I'm continuing to work on every day.
Eating Disorders and Mental Health issues are a very serious matter and are not something which should be ignored. If you are suffering from any mental health problems or believe you know someone who might be, please tell someone you trust and a responsible adult as soon as possible. As in many cases, the consequences are dangerous!
When possible, surround yourself with positivity; be it with friends, family or your boyfriend and girlfriend. Never stop fighting!