I’ve posted about my anxiety before, and not that long ago, but you can never talk enough about mental health, and on #BellLetsTalk Day, what better time to once again talk about how I use to use food and alcohol to numb the feeling of extreme #anxiety.
This was me, at the young age of 22 years old. I know I look happy in these picture, but I was far from it, even though I didn’t know the difference at the time. Actually, it’s was only recently that I figured out why or how I put on 100+ pounds after high school.
I’ve suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember; even as far back as elementary school. Tests, homework, hockey games, meeting new people or going into new situations use to make me so anxious, I would get physically ill. I can remember this up until my 20s when this was only one time in my life where I don’t remember being anxious, but that was because I was either drunk, or stuffing my face with food to cope with the feeling. I also smoked about a pack and a half a day of cigarettes, which I’m sure was just another crutch for this. These are obviously not the way to deal with stress and anxiety, and along with these terrible habits, I started getting severe migraines and feelings of minor depression, which I didn’t have before. I may not have been anxious anymore, but life wasn’t any better.
Even though I still suffer from anxiety today, I haven’t felt any depressions in over 12 years and for the most part, I can handle and treat my anxiety on a daily basis. The best way I try to deal with my anxiety is by working out 4-6 times a week, and making sure I eat good clean food, and I try to stay away from foods that cause inflammation (for me that’s wheat, dairy and anything processed). There are new studies that show that inflammation in the body and gut raises anxiety, so that’s why having a good diet really helps. Exercise helps me cope with anxiety by releasing hormones into the body to make me feel happy. Plus, lifting heavy shit just makes me feel strong, which helps with self confidence. Exercise has always been my favorite way to deal with any of my issues, and now that I’m learning more about how my diet can affect my anxiety (good and bad), I’m focusing more on that as well.
Globally, the rate of suicide is alarmingly high, particularly in men. Personally, I’ve never had suicidal thoughts, but too many men out there are ‘toughing it out’, and keeping their feelings to themselves, and struggling in silence. I know there are great movements like “Bell Let’s Talk” and “Movember Foundation Canada” that talk about mental health issues, but there still needs to be more open communication about the issues that people have and face every day. I still feel anxious almost every day, but it’s much better and under a bit of control when I’m physically healthy versus when I’m not. Your physical health affects your mental health, and my goal over the next little while is to make sure that people know about the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle for your mental health.
If you struggle, talk to someone. If that person doesn’t listen, talk to someone else. Find someone who cares enough to listen. That person is always out there. You just need to trust that someone will help you. I cannot express enough how much talking helps! I wouldn’t be where I am today without finally getting help and talking about it.