Anxiety / Coping Strategies

The deliciousness of non-stop anxiety eating.

I think I’m learning something very important. At previous times in my life, I’ve noticed certain patterns to the way my anxiety expresses itself.

The fact that I haven’t been able to stop eating for two weeks is not among them.

At first, I thought “maybe I’m just really hungry because it’s really cold”. It was negative 8 degrees farenheit yesterday. It sure is cold. It sure has been cold all damn winter. But I haven’t been eating myself to death all winter.

No…I have a theory. I think that this is the “new” anxiety. Normally, anxiety makes me NOT eat. I’ve done a lot of light eating in my time. But I’ve been under constant, situational stress for three to four years, and the past two years have been especially challenging. The challenges of the past two years have put basic needs in question. When you hit that tier, shit gets hard to live with.

A few weeks ago, my anxiety became very insistent and I started having very easily provoked panic attacks. This is really great when you’re sitting at your desk at work, let me tell ya, and you start feeling like you are floating outside of your body. Wheeee! At least I knew what was happening, so I could make myself go for a walk around the parking lot, just to get some excess energy out of my body, and to try to direct the rest of it more productively.

Well I decided that I had to just do whatever I needed to do, in order to alleviate this anxiety. But I didn’t want to take meds – ativan can really leave a person a little wiped out, and not really productive. But I didn’t have much else I could do, short of avoiding the things that were triggering the panic (which I am also doing, out of necessity).

I read a quote on a friend’s Facebook Timeline that said something about how you have to seek peace in your life first, and let everything else follow, instead of saying “I’ll make everything perfect first and then I will seek peace” or something like that. So I realized I had to do this. I have been much gentler on myself, allowed myself to exist at a rate of speed that feels right, even if slow…but I don’t think the anxiety had left me. If anything, it seems to have left me unable to stop eating.

This shit will hunt you down no matter where you go. No matter where you run. No matter how you tell yourself that watching a marathon of true crime shows and hanging out with your dogs will make you feel better, anxiety’ll run you down like you’re just meat on legs. Mmmm, meat on legs – see what I mean? The anxiety wins. And I can’t stop stuffing my face.

I weigh 109-ish lbs…I mean weighed. I don’t know what I’m at now, but I have gone from almost fitting into my pants, to very nearly unable to even close my pants, in a matter of two weeks. I’m probably better nourished than I was, and heaven knows I could use a few more pounds, but I can’t afford new clothes, and it’s not making any of the stressors in my life go away.

I don’t even know what to “do” about it, I’m just noticing it now,  and I guess I’ll have to think about it. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m going to have an 8th bowl of homemade potato leek soup, another bowl or two of homemade chicken tikka masala (I’ve already had three)…perhaps some cinnamon Chex (they’re gluten free, and delicious!) and more assuredly, I will be finishing off that half pint of black cherry gelato in the freezer. In fact, I think I’ll make a fresh hot waffle to scoop it onto. And wine. I’ll have a glass of wine.

I also need to create a new Category for this blog, entitled “anti-Coping Mechanisms”. No wait, maybe “Self Abuse”. Or perhaps “Recipes For When I Want To Do Nothing But Eat”.

What a metaphor this is. I’m stressed out about meeting my basic needs…so I go overkill on meeting basic needs?

It’s so odd to be able to analyze the hell out of this and not really be able to stop doing it.

Alright let’s be real, right now, I really don’t want to stop. First of all, this shit tastes good and second – if I stop, how will my anxiety manifest next?

Hmmm?

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6 thoughts on “The deliciousness of non-stop anxiety eating.

  1. I got nothing, but wow, I know, anxiety is just plain hell. Maybe it is the weather. This winter has been dreadful. I was telling one of my crunchier friends how awful my anxiety has been lately, and I mentioned the cold weather, and she went on and on about the role Vitamin D plays. I haven’t researched it enough to know if her claims are at all valid, but I will definitely look into it since I’ve had more trouble this winter. It seems that most people are deficient. I’m sorry. Hope you feel better.

    • Yeah, what a winter. So chilly! It really has kept me indoors more than usual, I’m grateful for the reminder. Getting enough sunshine is very important in this season, and I really have been cooped up. When it’s 30 degrees it’s easy to get out and walk around at least, but when it’s -8 it’s more challenging! The dogs don’t even want to go out when it’s like this.

      This too, shall pass. Hopefully before I can’t fit into my clothes anymore…!

  2. Thank you for helping me to clarify why the hell I’ve been eating myself into a stupor the last couple of months. It’s starting to make sense now! I have no answers, only a great deal of empathy (and a little bit of a stomachache from my overindulgent lunch).

  3. I totally get into (ok am still in) that anxiety pattern, like nothing but food can make you breathe again. Recently my ponderings have led me to the conclusion that I have a type of Scarcity Complex. It’s along the line of people who lived through the great depression and are afraid to waste anything for fear of having to live that way again but end up hoarding or some sort of other out of control behaviour. The more I stress about money the more I run out to buy fast food to prove I can, then anxiety about the grocery bill increases, and so on and so on. Essentially the more you are afraid of losing something, the more you cling on to it, which actually gives you less security (like our brain is saying no matter what, I feel I won’t have it tommorow, might as well use it up today). I haven’t quite managed to resolve it yet, but if nothing else the mindfulness practice of concentrating on present truths rather than future possibilities has helped a bit. Good luck.

    • A great point. And really, food has been a concern for me in the past several months. Worrying about how to pay for food is very stressful.

      So far, today, I’ve managed to eat an un-wild amount of food 🙂 It’s definitely taking conscious effort but it’s the only way to break the pattern. That and making life feel more secure in that ways that I have available to me.

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