Linking Anxiety and Anorexia Diagnosis

It was around one year ago today when I began to suffer from symptoms of anxiety.

On the 31st of October 2016, I was sent home from school when I came on my period without a sanitary towel armed and ready.
I waddled to the first aid room and was given a slip to go home.

It was lunchtime, and the next lesson was P.E.

There was something that harrowed me about that lesson. Mostly, it was the teacher. Although she seemed nice out of lessons, I knew she had a tendency to scream at students whether they were ten minutes late or simply ten seconds- and there were only twenty minutes of lunch left.

With a drumbeat playing against my ribs I sprinted home, changing, grabbing a biscuit and heading back to school, only to get there late.

I panted at the door. I began to feel my heart rising to my throat, gagging me with an intense feeling of fear. I had failed.

The first-aider noticed me feeling this way and supported me into her room where I was calmed and soothed with drinks of water and endless breathing practices. I was sent home.

Now, for some, it was plain to see that I had anxiety. I was one of those people who'd cross the road when they saw a huge group of girls approaching or who'd begin to sweat over a dropped mark in an exam. Things that went "bump" in the night would paralyse me to my bed, fearing that the security light outside would switch on and bring with it unknown horrors.

To manage the anxiety I felt, I began to exercise more and more. It was a release of stress for me- a way to let go of all of the thoughts and expectations that drowned me everyday. Before this, I was restricting my intake heavily as a way of losing weight and from that my anorexia was born.

If you look up Anorexia Nervosa on the internet, you will see that one of the features of the disorder is an "anxiety about body shape and weight". An anxiety. A fear.
I had a fear of not being good enough- not good enough for my teachers, my family, for myself. It makes me wonder if, maybe, my anxiety was the illness which eventually triggered me to be in the place I'm in right now.

And it does make sense really. It's been proved by scientists that anxiety is the illness most commonly linked to anorexia and other eating disorders.

Does that mean that catching anxiety early could mean the prevention of an eating disorder occurring or worsening in a person?

It's a question that obviously has multiple answers; I mean, not everyone with anxiety has an eating disorder. My dad has anxiety, yet he has never suffered with an eating disorder in his life.
But, maybe we should consider much more that these two illnesses are linked, very closely. Early intervention could be the key to unlocking the underlying problems before they worsen- possibly fatally.

If you are suffering from anxiety, an eating disorder or both- please remember that you are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are fighting alongside you on this battlefield we call Life, and no matter how hard it gets, through every drip of blood, sweat and every tear, we will get through this. Keep fighting.

Millie x


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