Sunday, 30 August 2009

Tough weekend

Today my mood is totally different to my jubilation on Friday. It has been a tough weekend. I feel like what happened on Friday was almost supernatural. Like not me at all. That I was very guided to doing what I did. I'm sure I felt so good because I was sent a lot of healing that day. The people who give the healing are so good to me. Someone always send me healing on Friday morning to help me get there. And on the rare occasions when I don't turn up they always send me plenty of healing.

It was a brilliant day, both for eating, being able to ignore my hunger and feel OK about it, and for the fact that I now have a totally useable, ultra clean fridge and freezer!

But obviously eating so eating much less for one day was bound to have a knock on effect. The carb monster has been on me ever since then. I tried to hold off but I couldn't. I was back to the 6 bowls of Readybrek on Saturday.

Friday made me realise how much this thing is in my head. That when I'm in the right place in my head I can control my eating - ignoring my hunger, making good decisions, and using tablets to help control cravings if necessary. Chris said something very insightful in her Thurs comment - that my agoraphobia is probably so bad because I am trying to tackle my eating problems. I think this is true. I'm seeing how much I have been "self medicating" with food; eating to cover my depression and anxiety.

When I'm in bingeing mode, every time I feel bad, I eat to feel better. Feeling bad emotionally is the prompt that tells me it's time to eat. I treat that feeling as though it's hunger. And this pattern is so difficult to get out of. Because when I feel bad I have no response to that if I'm not using food as my way of dealing with it. Hence I have been crying and feeling down and depressed the last couple of days. Grimness.

I have on previous occasions been through this pain when "coming off food", and it involves lots and lots of crying. I suppose, as with all addictions, this is a withdrawal effect. It seems to be especially bad in the first 2 weeks, and up to 4 weeks after "giving up" food. This tells me that it doesn't go on forever. It is only a few weeks. But I don't think I can deal with it at the moment. It's too much.

I've considered if I should try taking anti-depressants (ADs) so that I am dealing with the depression that way. But this would be a difficult path for many reasons. Firstly that ADs take 2-4 weeks to get working so I would have had to start them a while ago. If I had fully cottoned on to what was going on here, I could have looked at that way of dealing with it. But I wasn't so clearly aware as I am now. The awareness has come from writing all this down. I have never written or spoken about this stuff before hardly at all. Let alone just letting it all hang out here!

I could've spoken or written about it before but I've always been scared to do that because when I've attempted it, it's only made the problem worse. Just as adverts for food, recipes or articles in magazines, seeing people eat on TV etc can set me off bingeing, then talking about it always seemed to be an immediate trigger. It brought it to the front of my mind, like full on danger, red light flashing, total terror. So I shutdown that possibility. I couldn't cope with it. It was just too dangerous to talk about.

I'm not saying I could talk about it now - I don't know at the moment. But writing about it and even more importantly, reading other people's experiences, has really started to get all this in perspective for me. Provided a safe way for me to think about it. In fact I've thought about very little else recently.

So this is the power of blogging!!!

It's not just the reading, but also the suggestions make me think about why for example I can't buy my shopping over the internet and get it delivered as Chris suggested. I have, of course, sometimes thought about this. But now I really have to think about it because I want to give a response back when someone has taken time to think about my situation and make suggestions and write a comment. Whereas when it's just in my head, I can let it go. When I am not accountable to anyone else - (and lots of people have written about setting up a weight loss blog to be accountable) - then those thoughts can just be left, can drift away. But now I have to think, "Why can't I allow myself to have some shopping delivered?" Is it because that would be making things too easy for myself? Is it just because I haven't done it before? Is it because the cost of about 5 pounds to have it delivered seems ridiculous when there are shops just round the corner? Or is it because I'm not worth the 5 pounds? I'll let you know when I work it out.

Back to the issue of ADs. I have tried them before but the side effects were always really bad. I couldn't tolerate any SSRIs - like prozac or citalopram. I was on the tricyclic AD Lofepramine for 3 1/2 yrs but gave it up end 2005 as the side effects became too overwhelming. Tricyclic ADs are very toxic. The strain on my kidneys (which took 6 months to return to normal after stopping them), the low blood pressure coupled with low blood sugar totally ground me down the whole time. My hair went prematurely grey because of those tablets (kidney function problems). So in the end I didn't have much choice. Also tricylclics cause weight gain. I was my highest ever weight on Lofepramine. So not what I want in that respect either.

I am taking 5-HTP tablets at the moment - one a day last week and now I've started taking 2 a day. It's a nutritional supplement which is converted by the body into serotonin - the neurotransmitter that ADs seek to potentialise. Works much quicker than ADs - you feel the effects from the second day. When I stop taking it I will cry for a day or two. But the withdrawal is no longer than that, so much better than ADs. And there are no physical side effects. It's gently supportive and makes you care a lot less about things. But it doesn't of course make you feel happy. I'm going to keep on with it even though it doesn't offer anything near total protection from the overwhelming crushing pain of food withdrawal. But I have only stepped up the dose on Friday evening and maybe it would be worse than it has been without it. I've known days in this situation that were much much much worse than yesterday or today. This, in comparison, is low level pain, like an ache that's always there with regular but fairly brief periods of crying and piercing pain. Not full on curled up in an armchair with my head in my hands crying and crying and crying all day every day. So maybe it is working as much as it can. Maybe I should step up to 3 tablets a day? I am worried about the withdrawal from that of taking so much, but I would have to reduce one tablet at a time. Just as if I was coming off ADs. More important to stamp on this eating thing now than worry about that.

I am also taking rhodiola, a herbal supplement. Said to help make serotonin and dopamine (neurotransmitters) more available in the brain so making you feel better. I thought it would go well with the 5-HTP. It is also said to help with recovery from physical exertion - I've been taking it for the last couple of weeks now and maybe this is the reason why I have suffered no physical problems when I have had a sudden, unusual level of exercise ie comparatively long period of time walking. Problems like swelling of knees, aching of muscles in legs and bottom, aching knees or joints anywhere. I found this really surprising.

The above is what I knew when I started taking it. But I've just read how this herb also has an effect on opioid peptides. I mentioned in my first ever post how eating fatty/ sugary foods creates opioids in areas of the brain linked to this behaviour (see link to research in that post). So maybe this might offer some support there too. Rhodiola is an "adaptogen" which helps both mind and body deal with stress and return to normal functioning. It has also been implicated in helping prevent weight gain due to stress - but the experiments involve rats not humans! Still, I'm hoping it will help.

Jonathan Cainer says for Monday, "Better a little bearable pain today than a lot of regret tomorrow". Sadly the pain isn't little or bearable. But in taking these tablets I suppose I'm trying to make it less painful than it otherwise might be.

I still don't know if I can put myself through all this... But I don't think there's an alternative.


  1. Hi ya, I hope you're feeling a bit better today, and I'm so sorry you had this setback. I think that its a natural follow-on to a great day like Friday - you can't helpo hoping that you've turned a corner and everything has clicked into place, but of course life is rarely that simple, and its not surprising that when you come back down to earth a bit its with a crash! But even if you feel like you're taking 2 steps forward, one step back - at least you're still moving in the right direction, even if it feels too slow. (btw, I know that was just a pile of cliches so I apologise if it sounds glib and superficial - but cliches become cliches for a reason!)
    I know what you mean about getting food delivered when you're close to the shop, especially as the delivery charge is quite high. But there is another side to the delivery charge at least. I used to mail order my groceries regularly, and the one thing I did notice was how much easier it was to stick to my shopping list when I didn't have to walk past baskets of reduced goodies to get to the food I really wanted, and the foods that are my binge triggers weren't there on the shelf in front of my eyes. If not buying those extras saves money, as well as making it easier to make healthier choices, perhaps its worth the delivery costs? Just a thought...

  2. Hi Friend,

    I can relate to most of what you have spoken of here. It is frustrating to have even small backslides, but we have to remember that as human beings we are never going to get it perfectly. You are absolutely moving in the right direction. You have also been a real help and support to me. Your suggestion to me today to stop weighing so often was brilliant. Of course you're right, but it's something that will be hard for me to do. Why is it that the damn numbers on the scale can make or break a day? I guess that's part of being eating disordered. But we're working on it, making progress, and aware of our struggles. That's half the battle.

    Hang in there! Leslie

  3. Please don't beat yourself up, you are still doing great.
    To respond to your post in bits, on the subject of AD's I really should be on them and keep thinking about seeing the dr for them, but I've had bad experiences the same as you in the past with them. Initially they did help me feel better and helped me get a little more motivation to do things, and I wasn't as upset and emotional as I had been. But as time went on it seemed the motivation waned again and I also became sort of numb so that I didn't care about anything at all, I couldn't feel any emotion. Eighteen months ago I stopped taking my latest AD, Efexor XL and I had the most horrendous withdrawal symptoms. For about a week I felt like I was going to die, I could hardly function, and after that I said never again. Now I find myself thinking they could help me again, but I'm fighting the urge and trying to help myself feel better by exercising and getting the natural endorphins going. Only time will tell I guess.
    As for the food, not because of a fear of leaving the house, but more for convenience at the time, I began to order groceries online and have them delivered sometime last year, and I can honestly say it was one of the best things I've done. I do the order once a fortnight and take my time, making sure I fill our fridge and freezer with good foods. Of course there have been times when I've ordered lots of bad things as well, but even with the delivery charge overall I'm saving a lot of money.
    Please also know that seeing your comments on my blog is really encouraging for me as it's good to know I'm not alone in this.


All comments gratefully appreciated!