Sunday, November 29, 2009

Admitted: I Have Food Issues

I woke up today in an utterly gloomy, black mood. Part of it has to do with the long weekend ending, and the other part I suspect has been percolating for a few months: my returned depression.

I have a really rough family history with mental illness. My mother has crippling bipolar disorder and has been unable to hold a job for the last 20 years. My father has chronic depressive symptoms and has become a moderate alcoholic in the last 10 years. My brother has severe panic disorder, and at 21 years old, he still hasn't graduated from high school.

As I mentioned in my introductory post, I've faced some serious depression in the past. I gained around 60 pounds in college when depression set in and my life spiraled out of control. Fortunately, I found that once I got my life in order again, I didn't feel like I needed the Prozac anymore. For the past three years, I've managed my depression my keeping to a more active lifestyle and a normal work schedule.

But it hasn't been working lately. I've been completely unable to focus at work and my performance has slipped. I sometimes fight back tears all morning for no reason at all. I constantly sabotage my weight loss efforts because I'm unable to maintain that stride.

I have a mental health assessment scheduled for Tuesday morning, and to be honest, I'm desperate for help. I just don't feel like myself. All day today, my boyfriend has tried to get my out of my black cloud. He suggested we decorate the Christmas tree--I refused. He checked in on me as I slept all day and hid from the world. He went out to get pizza for lunch and made us big salads to go with it. He took a walk with me, though I didn't speak much the entire time.

I've never associated myself with the idea of emotional eating. I spend too much time blaming my weight issues on family history, discounting my very real issues with food. Here's a list of what I've eaten today:
  • Large bowl of Fiber One cereal with skim milk
  • String cheese
  • 260 calories of rice pudding
  • 3 large slices of extra cheese pizza
  • Dinner roll
  • Large salad with light dressing
  • Several bites pumpkin pie
  • Low-fat carrot cake cupcake
  • Piece of pumpkin bread
  • Several large marshmallows
  • 2 large pieces Ghiradelli Peppermint Bark chocolate
  • Another string cheese
And that's just everything I can remember. I've been eating around once an hour all day, and then sleeping after every snack. Jeff (my boyfriend) has been trying to keep me in check. He insisted the restaurant only give us two rolls instead of a whole bag, even though I protested because I wanted to gorge myself on rolls. He made us big salads to fill up on before we dug into the pizza. He went on a walk with me and suggested I do some yoga. He put up our beautiful Christmas tree and asked me to decorate it with him while listening to Christmas music--a healthy, positive activity that doesn't include food.

I insisted on sitting in my cloud, denying that I was using food to soothe myself. Until I realized I'd been eating constantly all day. It doesn't feel emotionally-charged when I'm doing it. But then I looked at my day today: gloomy, depressed, didn't stop eating all day. There has to be a connection there.

Even writing this post tonight was a step in the right direction. When I'm off the wagon I just want to hide. Admitting to my action today and putting there out there took a lot of guts for me. I like to pretend these days don't exist, then turn around and bellyache about not being able to lose weight. Well it's time to break the cycle. I will NOT think of myself as a victim to some weight-loss-preventing demon that I can't name. I am overweight for a reason, and hopefully after my appointment on Tuesday, I'll have some perspective on the depression that seems to be at the root of these issues.

Now I'm going to make a light dinner, do that yoga and put up the Christmas tree--this day doesn't have to end the same way it started.


  1. First off, you're very eloquent and as someone who is not, I have to say I'm envious.

    The mental health struggle alone can be overwhelming, let alone the comorbidities that usually go along with it (weight issues, drug addiction, etc) and I'm glad you're going to try to get help. That can be harder than saying no to pizza, depending on who made the pizza :)

    I suffer in the same way, though my mother has depression and a healthy dose of mardyrdom instead of BP.

    Glad to have found you.

  2. Hi, Leah!

    First off, thanks for the compliment, but I must say you seem pretty eloquent yourself! :)

    I definitely know what you mean about the "martyrdom" quality of some mothers. My mother takes the victimization route; she blames literally everything that's gone wrong in her life to mental illness, completely discounting the factors she can indeed control.

    Thanks so much for stopping by! I'll have to check you out, as well! :D

  3. I'm so sorry you've been struggling, but I'm beyond admiration at how you've pulled yourself through it (with help from your boyfriend, of course.)

    "this day doesn't have to end the same way it started."

    This is simply brilliant! Perfect for those times when we're caught in a downward cycle or spiral. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

  4. Thanks, Cammy! I definitely took control of my day, even if it didn't happen until 8:00 p.m.! Haha.

    Working on the wisdom part... ;)