Would I Trade My Life For Yours? by Carol

Would I trade my life for yours? For most of my life, I probably would have. Low self-esteem, high anxiety and fear influenced my thoughts and behaviors for decades, affecting my career, social, personal and family life.

On the surface, I appeared confident, was productive, hardworking and extremely ambitious. I worked exhaustively at building a career to prove I was somebody. Sadly, in my eyes, I was never good enough. Consequently, I strived even more to achieve a higher level, to attain a goal, a road to happiness. Never having been satisfied of achieving any kind of success, my personal and social life was a totally boring and lonely existence. Simply put, when not working, I spent most of my down time home alone due to extreme poor self-esteem.

I led a very conservative life, never had an attachment to drugs, alcohol, gambling, or sex, celebrated standard holidays with family, took the odd vacation and even managed to join sporting clubs to meet people through common interests. I looked ambitiously strong in spirit and personality, laughing, joking appearing happy. But the prison I lived in was hellish, chaotic, painful, lonely, and self-destructive.

Even back in my 20′s, I tried to get medical as well as psychological help, but in the 1980′s, the limited interviewing process failed to unveil anything. I looked normal, so everyone gave me inadequate advice based on zero testing. It never occurred to me, nor would I dare to even question a doctor’s statement, I continued to blame myself for my pain.

In my 30′s, I started to have increasingly visible signs of illness, and as such, was properly tested. The tests revealed the presence of an incurable auto immune condition, Ulcerative Colitis, a slow acutely debilitating condition, a killer if left untreated. I was given a cocktail of medications, which only maintain consistent results after 10 painful years.

In my 40′s, it came to my attention that I had a lifelong eating disorder. Confused and in the dark, I managed to get the psychological help I so desperately needed. At the start of my talk therapy sessions, I was unprepared for how emotionally draining the process was to be. Then there was the high level of commitment it required to stay the course. It took about 3 years solely of talk therapy to free myself from my own self-imposed prison. (Three years pales in comparison to a lifetime, right?)

Recovery allows one to live without emotional entrapment. It makes the path you walk in a little brighter, a lot more peaceful, and well-connected and compassionate to everyone you knew, to those you frequent now, and to those you will come to know.

I will share my story in more detail in time.

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Posted in anxiety, eating disorders, family, hope, lived experience.

Posted on 08 Oct 2012, by Carol

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