Last April two of my closest friends and I took a trip to Cuba. It was probably the most life-changing experience I have ever had, for reasons that I promise to get into in later blogs. I have struggled to discuss this in person, so naturally I’m struggling to write it down. But I believe that I have some sort of generalized anxiety. I developed it almost immediately after returning home from Cuba. I suffered with it throughout the summer and well into the school year. It is a constant and unexplainable feeling of fear and nausea. I lost my appetite completely and even the thought of food made me sick. I woke up every single morning and threw up stomach bile as there was nothing in my stomach. I lost weight drastically to the point where I was scared for my health. The feelings were worse when I was in uncomfortable situations, such as spending time with my new boyfriend’s family. I was miserable and although not visible outwardly, I felt like I could be falling into a depression. I was scared, annoyed at my body’s rejection of food, and confused. I could not specifically pinpoint what was triggering my anxiety, but I feared it was merely from having a new boy in my life. He is my first relationship and therefore a huge shock to my life. But I didn’t want my anxiety to be a burden on him nor did I want it to be a reason to end such a wonderful relationship. I began talking to my mother who has experience with anxiety. We went to my family doctor who insisted it was merely acid reflux or low iron so I took some pills for each of those. Nothing changed and I still felt constant fear and nausea. As the summer dragged on and I continued to lose weight as well as hope, I dreaded how this would affect my coming school year. How could I be expected to be put under constant stress when I’m already suffering from apparently nothing? How would I be able to make presentations and deal with public speaking nerves when I’ve already got my fair share of nerves? My mom said if I needed to postpone my education, that was alright. But who wants to drag out their education? I went back to school in September and miraculously the anxiety calmed down. It by no means went away, and the constant feeling of nausea stayed, but I didn’t feel the need to throw up in the mornings. And I somehow found it in me to eat. What I began to notice was a pattern in my nausea. When I woke up it was bad. I couldn’t even think about breakfast and had to go to class hungry. But by around noon the feeling went away as I got distracted by school. By then I could force myself to eat lunch, and dinner usually came easy. This pattern continued for a few months until breakfast started to become a reality. The nautious feeling was still there, but suddenly toast with jam sounded appealing. And it felt so good to have food in my stomach. I no longer feared for my health. Soon, probably in January, the anxious feelings started to disappear, and would only spring up when thoughts of uncomfortable situations came to mind. Sadly, these situations happened to be going to dinner with my boyfriend’s family, or going to see an NHL game with him. It was unexplainable. He and I were so comfortable with each other, yet my nervous system didn’t seem to realize that. Today, I would say I am 95% better and back to my old self. But I’m not perfect and I know the anxiety is not gone. But I know what helped it dissipate. The more time I spent with his family, the more comfortable I felt eatig around them. I spent my winter reading break visiting his parents in the States and that helped a lot. Although one night during dinner the anxiety panged back and I lost my appetite for no apparent reason. I don’t know why, and 30 minutes later I was fine. My friends say that today I still haven’t gained the weight back, although I feel like I have. Maybe I’m just used to my new body but I feel like I no longer notice my ribs or my hip bone jutting out. My boobs fit my bras again and I definitely feel happier. My boyfriend and I are wonderful and I am so in love. But since I’m feeling relatively fine, my last visit to the doctor was discouraging. Doctors don’t seem to think anything is wrong, and since I am at a stable weight, although far under what I should be, there is apparently no cause for concern. If only they could understand what goes on in my mind. I feel that although my story can relate to other people’s stories, mine is unique. No one can completely comprehend my struggles as I myself do not understand why I have gone through this. I do not wish it upon anyone, and desperately hope it does not return when April comes back around. But once again, I am happy with life. Here’s hoping I stay this way!