Addiction From Anxiety: The Consequences And Redemption

man in orange long sleeve shirt sitting on gray couch
Photo by Joice Kelly on Unsplash

As part of my self-ignorance and inability to face myself, I made a lot of inefficient choices growing up. I used to think in terms of wrong and right. But learned that this simple dichotomy carries the self-degrading factor of low self-esteem, guilt, shame and regret.

Addiction From Anxiety

I am trying to see past choices as either lessons or stages. I can only do that because I am (finally) in a very different place in my life.  I can connect dots that were otherwise senseless and just part of everyday life that I used to believe was my personality.

As I wrote before, I was unaware I had anxiety or depression. I just labelled myself as a loser. I found comfort in different kinds of addictions. 

When I was young it was food. I ate poorly and became addicted to sugary drinks, chocolates, white bread and heavy hydro-carbonated meals. I needed to feel full because I felt so empty. Of course, I didn’t know I was doing it and I played sports, so it went unnoticed for years.

In my 20s I became a smoker. A smoker of legal and not so legal stuff. It lasted until my 30s. It started as an experience and quickly became part of my day-to-day life. If you had asked me back then why, I would probably have said that I was doing it because I liked it.

The truth is I self-medicated. I was suffering and I took the meds that made me not feel in emotional pain from being in survivor mode for such a long time. I needed to be numb so that the overwhelming weight of my childhood would let me go for a while, or until the effect went away.

I know I have wasted opportunities in the past and I just didn’t know I wasn’t ready for them and couldn’t explain why. I accepted the labels that were given to me and live with guilt for a long time.

The consequences

As long as I kept inviting my addictions I wasn’t able to move on. I was stuck in a loop for at least 12 years. I lost friends, closeness to family, jobs, and, self-pride.

But, I turned a corner. It wasn’t glamorous or straightforward, but I did it. I saw how my addictions were preventing me from knowing what had happened; exploring, feeling, and understanding. Freeing myself from it.

There is an enormous benefit in connecting the dots. Being able to understand. It takes some of the guilt away and re-arranges the past to form reconciliation. Allowing things to slowly become a memory. Trust me, it works.

None of this is original. I still struggle with food and weight issues but now my eyes are open and it becomes easier to be self-disciplined. I will always need to stay vigilant. Mental health isn’t something that is “cured”. The upside is that it humbles you. You get to understand the person beside you and find a bit of you in them.

Talk about what goes on in your head. Addiction masks it. It doesn’t solve anything.

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