Junk Food and Self Loathing

Empty Wrappers

Empty Wrappers, evidence of a binge (Photo credit: Another Pint Please…)

The vicious cycle of self loathing and eating every bit of junk food I can stuff in my mouth has been paused.

I know the two actions come together and work together, feeding each other like pond scum feeds on excess – but I don’t think it begins with a causal relationship. Not directly for me anyhow.

I’ll try to explain these thoughts, and how I can be confused by them. I am coming off a depressive episode. Actually, no, I made it through again. Past tense. Days ago, weeks ago? See this is where is gets blurry. My memory is impaired each time I enter the fog and emerge again blinking in the sunshine that life truly is. So frustrating.

When I feel poorly, I absolutely crave junk, and nothing else. If left on my own, I will eat ice cream for breakfast, chips for lunch, cookies for snacks, and candy for dessert. Days of ZERO nutrition. It’s disgusting really, and completely sad. I want to stop hurting myself this way. I want to care enough about my body to stop harming myself with food. I want to watch over my limits as well as I do for my children. I’d never let them consume so much junk. And mostly I do watch over myself better now. But for some reason, when I go to that dark place (or does the dark place come to me?) I lose control of limits of every kind. I watch too much TV-obsessively watch season after season of something on Netflix. I lay around too much. I drink too much alcohol. I eat too much junk. I want too much sex. (Hubby has limits – I found them 🙂 )A fairly typical view of depression, as glorified in movies, usually after a big romantic break-up. All that is the same – except the big break-up. I have no idea what happens to get me down. I have no idea how to completely prevent it. I usually know when it is coming, and I for sure know when it is here. But I can’t get out, for days.

So when I do get out, then I start thinking. Hmm, I wonder if I would get out sooner if I could somehow keep my healthy limits in tact, and not also have sugar coma/hangover to strangle my hurting brain cells?

Today I was in house cleaning mode, restoring order to the chaos that ensues each time I visit that dark place.  And today I craved my favorite greek yogurt/banana/pumpkin seed granola combo. No desire for junk at all. I feel full so quickly on these energized days, uncomfortably full actually, when just a few days earlier I felt bottomless and never satisfied with any amount.

So then I wonder, do I actually eat the junk food to comfort myself – or to punish myself? Do I stuff myself like a pig because I feel myself to be a pig on those days and must act accordingly as proof? Must I ensure I never lose the last ten pounds, so I have proof every time I look in the mirror? I don’t think so, because could that be true if I can wonder consciously about it – but throwing that out as a possibility. I actually think the fluctuating chemical imbalance in my brain causes the darkness, causes the self-loathing, disables the full sensation and also triggers panic hunger mode.

Now, I have actually fought this off before. Back when I was (I say likely, nearly anorexic because I was undiagnosed at the time) anorexic in high school. I remember fighting those cravings and winning, and feeling high off the win. I also remember feeling light headed and weak from not eating and pushing myself to perform anyway. I don’t want to feel like that again, another danger zone. I’m actually afraid to control my hunger too much and fall back into not eating. But oh how I loved being thin and feeling so in control. I loved when people would say, my poor dear, you’re too thin, don’t you ever eat? I would think quietly and proudly to myself, no, no I don’t eat, isn’t is wonderful?

My wish is that I could get my head out of my stomach, and just eat food because it is food. Simply get hungry, eat food, and therefore get not hungry. No other thoughts. No control, self loathing, punishments, over thinking, over eating or vomiting. But how? Notice I said wish, because I don’t even see that as a goal right now. Ugh. So many issues, and only so many hours in a day. Maybe I have enough progress in some areas to tackle this one again in therapy? And would it then actually make me more stable mentally to have constant good nutrition? Another possibility, but seems so out of reach.

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11 thoughts on “Junk Food and Self Loathing

  1. Wow! I am totally flabber-ghasted while currently taking a break from composing a very similar post that is turning out to be so long that I have to split into two parts. Today was not so good for me up there (my head), which strangely enough helps me to not overeat as I usually do… I’m a little backwards as I eat when happy, but I did manage to start writing this afternoon despite the fog, frustration, and bad attitude. As you said, I don’t know if the eating is punishment or an addiction for me, but I keep telling myself that this too will pass and make more attempts (nowadays) to get it together. Thanks for the great post!

    • Glad to hear from someone who understands, but not glad that you do understand. If I’m a little depressed, down, or anxious, then the over indulgence begins. If I am completely depressed, I barely ate anything and would get so sickly and thin. My relationship with food has gotten better as I improve my self worth, but I still go out of control at times. It is so hard to explain to someone who does not understand. I mean I see people go overboard at parties – just for fun, and then feel no regret. That is not what I’m talking about. I don’t enjoy the food I am eating when in that funk, and actually feel sickened by the amounts, and feel pain as I eat. So complicated. Keep writing Charlene, I think it helps the head fog and lets us all know we aren’t alone.

      • It’s strange how we feel as if we are the only ones who have issues with eating, self-image, etc., which are actual epidemics in my opinion, but the fact that these issues run rampant in our minds could very well be the reason that it is so hard to explain, and it really is complicated as I can be in a good mood and eat constantly throughout the day (knowing that I’m not hungry), but it’s as if I’m with my best friend. Afterwards I am totally disgusted with myself – mentally and physically and then the fasting begins. It seems that you and I have our issues in reverse, but I am so glad that you are improving and I can say that I have gotten better also. The writing really is my therapy and like you said I’m not happy that you ‘get it’, but glad that someone else can identify. Keep up with your beautiful writing…if you can make a great impact on at least one (myself) you will in time to the same for many. 🙂

  2. I suspect you are eating during these periods to punish yourself (similar experience). This is why you choose bad foods and over indulgence. It is a self-harm cycle. Recognizing the cycle is a step toward breaking it.

    • I suspect this too, but then just sit back and wonder how I can do it when I am aware of it? I keep coming back to this notion in many parts of my life, that awareness does not equal recovery. I need new habits to replace the old perhaps. And it doesn’t feel like a choice, I feel I MUST have that bad food at those times. Days later, I wonder about the choice I made, but it wasn’t a logically made choice. Not like when out drinking, and I know one more drink would be fun, but logic kicks in – it might be too much for driving, it might make me feel ill later, etc. Even tipsy I still make good choices. But that ability is gone on those dark days.

      • I know that feeling, do the same thing at times. I replace with flavored water, homemade juice or writing (manic writing sometimes).

        I bought myself a juicer, I make spendid and decadent juice.

  3. I’m realizing I eat to stuff: Stuff down words. Stuff down emotions. Stuff down lack of control. Stuff down whatever it is I don’t want to deal with or feel I’m incapable of dealing with. I also wish I could could enjoy food for the purpose it serves: Nutrition.

  4. Pingback: Interesting post… | The Project: Me by Judy

  5. Thanks to Judy for bringing your post to my attention. I am super focused on bringing my eating under my control without doing the flip into anorexia. You hit the issues I am facing right now. Probably post the rest of my thoughts on my page with a link to yours. thanks.

  6. Those of us with mood disorder, struggle. I can so relate! I have periods of slothful behavior myself where I do the things you have described so eloquently. The change I’ve made for me though is my attitude towards those times. I am much more self-compassionate, forgiving, accepting of those times. When I beat myself up, condemning myself for those behaviors (again), I give them power. If I let it be, know that it’s just for awhile, do the “right” things to the best of my ability and give myself slack, I go through those times much quicker. I know that it’s not always my fault. Many times, since I am so very sensitive to changes, I’m affected by the fluctuating hormones, barometric changes, lunar phases, internal/external stresses. I do my best. My best changes depending on the day. (Read The Four Agreements, it will change how you perceive). Supreme kindness and self-compassion…knowing I’m a work in progress. Life is practice. We never “arrive”. Never perfection and that’s ok! Us introspective, analytical types have more difficulty just letting it be. This too shall pass. It is what is is while it is. No need to get my underwear in a bunch! You are just fine. Believe it! Believe in yourself. You know what to do. It’s ok.

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