Tag Archives: fear

“Pregnancy Scare”…but really just Scared

If you are having lots of anxiety with or around pregnancy or sex, check in with yourself to see if you’re having it anywhere else. Sometimes, anxiety disorders are at the root of pregnancy scares, especially if they’re happening a lot and even when there have not really or likely been risks.– Scarleteen, Pregnancy Scared?

I made it through a pregnancy scare in December. It was horrible.

When the scare began, I had just returned to my parents house in the States after a semester abroad in Budapest, Hungary. I had just left the place which I felt was my home, and with it, my (now-ex) boyfriend. Even after being back for three weeks, I still feel like I left half of my heart in that apartment in Hungary.

I had been having sex with my boyfriend in Budapest. Really safe and responsible sex. Of course, sex always comes with some level of pregnancy risk, but the risks we were taking were small. Logically I knew this, yet when I returned to the States, all of a sudden there was nothing that could ease my anxiety, my fear that I was growing a child inside of me.

I prayed to God over and over and over: Please, God, don’t let me be pregnant. And… if I am, can I miscarry? Kill it, God. Kill it, kill it, kill it. 

This “pregnancy” was eating away at me. Would I get an abortion? How would I tell my parents? What would my sister think?

I’ve heard that the power of thought is really effective at healing. That if your ankle is sprained, spending time every night imagining the ankle fibres meshing back together can actually speed up the healing process. I wondered if maybe this method worked for miscarriages, too. I spent every night hating myself: sending negative thoughts to my abdomen trying to kill off whatever bundle of cells I was convinced *must* be growing inside of me.

The rational part of my brain was constantly trying to quell the anxiety– The chances of you being pregnant are minuscule. You’re being ridiculous. And, at the least, chill out until you can get a pregnancy test. There’s literally nothing you can do at this point.

Yet I couldn’t ignore my missed period or my horribly painful breasts which has been that way for over two weeks.

As soon as I’d waited long enough for a home pregnancy test to have some measure of accuracy, I took one. Negative. Yay! The wave of relief only lasted a few days until I still hadn’t gotten my period. I convinced myself the result must have been faulty.

I felt so scared, so distressed, so alone. But… none of these feelings were actually about the pregnancy. I knew I wasn’t pregnant. And even if I was, so what? I’ve handled worse before.

I was scared, distressed, and alone, but… scared I wouldn’t be able to find another place which really felt like home, distressed over breaking up with someone I wanted to spend my life with, and alone alone because I’d just left a huge group of friends I’d travelled with, learned with, and grown up with– likely to never see again.

I honestly believe the fear of pregnancy was easier for my mind to wrap itself around when compared with the fear of my future. I was so happy last semester, and I worry I will never feel that kind of joy, love, and HOME ever again. That’s a lot.

I got my period. It was late, but it came. And why wouldn’t it have been late, after the stress of moving, international travel, final exams, and a breakup?

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“Adequately Thin”

I have this “365 Days of Cats” calendar. (Yes. I have a “365 Days of Cats” calendar…)

The quotes can be weird, they can be random, but they usually do make me think.

Thursday’s quote read: “The way he treats his body, you’d think he was renting.” (R. Brault)

I really doubt it originally had anything to do with disordered eating, but the quote made me think about the way I treat my body.

In my nutrition appointment this week, my nutritionist and I were discussing how far I’ve come since the beginning of the semester. And really, I have come so far. I am much happier with my body and who I am. I exercise more, I feel stronger, I am enjoying food again, and I am allowing myself to feel pretty.

But. I do written stream-of-consciousness reflections as part of my healing process. I write for a few minutes without censoring or erasing anything. It helps me do an honest self-reflection. And sometimes things come out that you didn’t realize were there.

This week: “I feel much prettier now, more comfortable, and thinner. I feel like I am thin enough for my clothes now. I feel adequately thin.”

I am doing so much better, but there is still this insane obsession with thinness and fear of gaining weight. I am allowing myself to eat more freely and feel better about myself because I am thinner.

It is so complicated. My nutritionist and I are now working to keep my eating the same, but to shift my mental focus away from the ideal of being thin toward the ideal of being healthy.

I need to focus on being healthy— the way I treat my body, you might think I was renting. I need to take care of myself and love myself. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I like my body, but I still don’t love it.

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I like to pretend…

“I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.”

I’ll be studying abroad in Hungary in the fall, and was discussing logistics about it during my psychiatry check-in this morning. I was feeling really good and comfortable with the plan we were working out–we figured out how I will get my prescriptions–but then she said to me:

“Yes. But what will you do if you are all the way in Eastern Europe on your own and you become symptomatic again?”

Oh.

I have no clue how, but that concept had completely slipped my mind. I had literally given no thought to what I would do if I was abroad and wasn’t okay anymore. I guess I like to pretend I don’t have this problem.

Even with my disordered eating habits, I have been doing so much better this year than ever before in my adult life. I feel so stable, so good, so in control of myself right now. I take my meds when I wake up, I go to nutrition and counseling check-ups, exercise, write in my diary, keep my food logs– I’ve found a self-care routine that’s working.

For the first time in my adult life, I know what it feels like to not live in constant fear of my illness.

I know I am so blessed and lucky to be able to say that. I never thought I would. But my appointment today gave me the necessary reminder that I will always, always have this part of me.

I will never outgrow my mental illness.

I will never be cured of my mental illness.

My mental illness will always be a part of who I am, and something I will always carry with me– even as far away as Hungary.

I’ve already had six years to try to reconcile myself with my illness, and even so, I’m still trying not to be angry about it.

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Through the Looking Glass: An 8th Grader’s Perspective On Depression

6/14/08:

I always thought depression was simply an ADULT problem. That was who the depression medecine [sic] ADs on TV were for! Boy was I wrong. … 

Another thing, when I hear about someone who is going through it, I just want to go up to them and hug them and tell them that people DO care. Even if I can’t do that, which makes me sad.

I’ve been journaling since I was in elementary school. But the above snippet from my 8th grade diary is one of the first entries I have to look back at. I used to write, then when I would go back to read it months or years later and would rip up my old entries because I thought they were stupid and immature.

I wrote this one soon after I had recovered from my first major depressive episode. I was confused about what I’d been through, and terrified that the illness would come back. I had never felt such extreme pain and sadness before in my life, and suddenly had a huge empathy for others who were going through what I had gone through. I felt sad for them, and wanted to help them. To tell them that they weren’t alone.

And to warn the rest of the world, because no one had warned me.

At this time in my life, I was angry. I felt like my childhood had been stolen from me in one fell swoop. And in a way, it kind of was.

I have most of my journal entries from eighth grade on, and I think some of them are worth sharing. I remember that I used to be so frustrated that nobody would ask me what I thought of things. When you are growing up, you spend a lot of time thinking about your world and trying to make sense of it.

Kids should have a voice. Even if their ideas can’t be heard until five years later, by way of saved writings. A time capsule of sorts.

Paper Cranes

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