Monday, October 22, 2012

Emotional Pain, Coping Without A Binge

Throwing up dog, throwing up kid, and some much bigger family stress of a more personal nature... and my stomach is in knots so tight I cannot eat. I am existing on Medifast hot cocoa and protein shakes for the moment and hoping things get better soon.

I used to eat to cope with this kind of thing. I have sometimes thought that if I was not a mother, I'd be a drunk or a drug addict in order to escape the stress. But I won't do those things because I love my children. Binge eating is the vice no one sees. It's not illegal, it's not even usually considered immoral, it doesn't risk you having your kids taken away. You're just fat, unless you purge, and no one really blames you for being fat. It's the genes or something, right? And even if they do think poorly of you, they just think you like food too much, you eat too much, you are lazy and sit on the couch all day with chips and cookies. They don't even extrapolate it to "wow that person must be in a lot of emotional pain." They don't usually attach your fatness or your binge eating to inner turmoil. Maybe they think you got molested as a child or your parents never let you have junk food, but most people... people who haven't had eating issues... they don't look at you and think you are eating to cope with intense emotional pain. It's under their radar. You can just be a normal fat person with an awesome life who happens to have bad genes or like food too much.

Now I don't eat to cope, I still don't drink or smoke or use drugs to cope. I don't cut or go anorexic or gamble or be sexually promiscuous to escape, to cope, to get outside the pain for a minute. I sit in the pain, I feel it, it tears me up inside until I diffuse it BY feeling it enough, taking a deep breath, and going about life in the way that makes the problems better, or at the very least, makes me *feel* better about things... whether than be talking to a friend, typing it out, exercising, taking a walk, petting my dogs, hugging my kids, reading a book, or scrubbing the toilet. I have to deal with the bad stuff while still allowing myself to embrace and find peace in the good stuff. And that's the best coping mechanism I could ever learn.

21 comments:

Karen said...

Lyn,
I hope this is all resolved soon. You are an awesome mother and a very strong woman. Don't doubt yourself!!!

mensa said...

Glad you're learning to cope ... but it's still stress and that ain't good. Things have changed for me going through the weight gain that others go through. Now when I seen an overweight person that I know and haven't seen for awhile my immediate thought is ... I wonder what they're going through in their life that made them heavier, never thinking that they just eat too much. Good luck to you in working things out.

Stephanie G Travis said...

I just found your blog today. I like this post. I, too, practice sitting in the pain. Wish I knew about this way of living in my 20s! I also know when my brain is making things worse. When that happens, I shut off processing of the problem. I used to think my brain will get me out of pain. Now I know it usually aggravates it. Checking in with my chest, stomach, arms and legs gives me better information.

MargieAnne said...

It's a tough place .... sitting through the pain with no food or other addiction outlet.

Sometimes it helps to have suitable music/singing surrounding you.... Not always though.

I'm proud for you and hope this added stress leaves ASAP

Blessings

Lori said...

I'm sorry you're in a bad place emotionally right now. I'm glad, however that you are learning some new coping skills. That will serve you well the rest of your life. I hope things get better soon.
Lori

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you are having such a hard time, Lyn. I hope things improve soon.

As a side note, no one decides to "go anorexic." It is a psychological disorder, not something you choose.

Take care,
Rebecca

Lyn said...

Rebecca~

I know teens who decided they wanted to be anorexic. They took the first steps and then it became something very difficult to break out of, needing treatment and counseling to overcome. Just as I don't think anyone really decides to have a binge eating disorder, or become an alcoholic or a drug addict, but there are still first steps towards such issues that one chooses to take, which leads to becoming entrapped and developing an addiction or disorder.

Bally Balldez said...

Sublimate more positive behaviors and channel those negative energies into something positive. Junk food is not a friend. It is a dependency and it does have some neurological control. It is a feel good substance that anyone can be addicted to.

IMO these diets that say you can have a "treat" now and then are WRONG! That is like telling a heroine addict that they can shoot up once in a while.

Margaret said...

If it's any comfort, I don't think regular people see us at all. Fat - nature's way of turning invisible.

Hope things are better soon, chica.

Anonymous said...

I have to second Rebecca here...one does not CHOOSE to be anorexic nor does one CHOOSE to have depression, anxiety, bulimia, body dysmorphic syndrome, or any of the things you mentioned as well as a number of other things. It is a result of messy wiring in the brain, low self esteem and MANY other factors...none of which are choices.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

I said nothing about depression or anxiety being a choice. Obviously they are not.

However, I assure you that if I wanted to start drinking right now, I could. If I wanted to try drugs, I could. And if I wanted to binge, I could do that too. I choose not to risk developing alcoholism, drug addiction, and binge eating disorder by taking those first steps. The point of my post is that I am NOT escaping by those means; I am coping in a different, and I believe healthier, way.

Anonymous said...

I did not mean to imply that you thought depression and anxiety were a choice. All I meant to say was, as with anxiety and depression, anorexia is not a choice...it is an incredibly complex psychological disorder.

I strongly encourage you to educate yourself on this issue, as you never know...it could affect someone incredibly close to you one day (though I hope not, I wouldn't wish an eating disorder on my greatest enemy).
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/eating-disorders/what-are-the-different-types-of-eating-disorders.shtml

Low Carb Daily said...

Maybe it's because I have been morbidly obese, but now I associate being very large with emotional pain/stress.

When I see a large woman, I think, "Wow, she has a lot of sh*t to deal with..."

Anonymous said...

Eating is no longer on my coping mechanisms either. Exercise, weed, if it's really bad, maybe a bit of wine or cocktail.

Mostly just exercise.

LHA said...

Being overweight almost all of my life, I definitely look at someone who is heavy as someone with emotional pain to deal with. When I see a friend who has suddenly gained weight I ask her what is going on in her life, not why she has gained weight. I know why she gained....she was eating away the pain. In my experience many women become overweight because of marital/relationship issues because these are often so emotionally charged and sometimes women have less control than they would like in the situation. Eating is a cruel, hateful way to make yourself feel better, but often it does work in the short term.

I so admire you for not giving in to the urge to eat. In the long run you will be so happy you didn't hurt yourself in this way. Give yourself a big pat on the back because this is a BIG victory!

Karen said...

The only way out is through. As hard as it is. When you're going through h*ll, keep walking. Good luck. This too will pass.

Taryl said...

I definitely sympathize! Good for you for doing the hard work of learning new coping skills, even if they aren't as comforting as yummy food. It's necessary, but definitely not easy!

I hope the stress resolves for you quickly and all the vomiting stops :(

Anonymous said...

I don't know why some people binge or drink or have anger management issues while others are more resilient. the problem with blaming stress is that there's always stress. No ones life is perfect, or to think of it another way, there's always someone out there with much worse life situations. stress is simply a trigger for our ongoing issues.

I'm not sure its better or even necessary to sit with pain. sometimes distraction helps, many problems will go away if you ignore them. i dont believe in god or some cosmic plan, but i accept the cycles of life, loss and winter are followed by spring. also, I like to make gratitude lists. write a poem, create a pretty picture or get well soon card.

Anonymous said...

what a wise and brilliant post.i love your blog. hang in there and hope all works out wellxoxo

Anonymous said...

good post. I've found that a good gut-wrenching, sob-heaving cry helps to release the pain and stress. I always feel thoroughly drained, yet oddly at peace afterwards. All the negativity and bad feelings are like toxins that are extruded from my being through the tears released.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, I am so sorry for your difficulties. I thought this might help:

http://screamingfatgirl.blogspot.com/2012_06_01_archive.html