advice · anxiety · Depression · Eating disorders · Healing · Mental Health · panic disorder · recovery

Eating Restrictions and Anxiety

It’s been going on for half of a year, maybe longer. I’ve never dealt with eating restrictions in my entire life, okay, that’s maybe a lie, because I remember the first time I was in treatment for anxiety, which was when I was diagnosed with only panic disorder at that time, and there were a few days that I randomly just didn’t feel like eating. I was always that person that whenever they were under too much stress, they wouldn’t eat. I envy the people who eat everything they can get their hands on when they’re sad. Instead, I put my health at risk, because I’m under weight, too. Not intentionally, I’ve always been on the smaller side, but ever since my eating restrictions started, I slightly became underweight. I fear it getting worse and worse, because the restrictions don’t want to come to an end, some days I eat fine, I can even binge, and others, I can barely eat a whole entire meal.

But, I’m trying. I’m trying my best.

I quickly wanted to share a new method I have started today, to try and get my eating restrictions back under my control. I’ve personally found that journaling really helps me feel better and get into a calm state, especially when I’m having panic attacks, and then I started journaling during dinner, and I found that it helps me take my mind off of all the negative thoughts building up as I eat. So, I’m trying something new with journaling while eating. I started an eating log/tracker/thingamabob.

I’ll share some quick photos with you readers before I go more into depth about what it is about, what I’m hoping to gain out of it, etc.

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Sorry for the low quality, I used flash hoping it’d help because the lighting was so awful, but apparently it decided it wants to give my photos a glare, oh well.

So, as you can tell, I don’t really eat a lot right now, according to my photos, meals are very tiny, but honestly, I’ve always been a small eater, it’s nothing out of the norm for me. Please don’t judge, I’m sure no one will, but, there are people who like to point out the obvious when it’s inappropriate.

What I started doing here, is basically sitting in a room I am most comfortable while I eat my meal, and I log what I eat, and how I am feeling and what thoughts pop into my head when I do eat. I like to add in some comments of faith, how I feel proud of myself for taking each bite, trying to keep some positive thoughts where I’m feeling most negative, because, one positive thought won’t hurt. It’s better than keeping everything so negative. That’s probably the worst part about meal times, my anxiety turns it into a war.

It’s basically mindfulness eating, just instead of acknowledging everything mentally, I jot it down. I like keeping things visual, so I can reflect easier. I’ve been practicing mindfulness the best I can, but it’s really hard to do so when I don’t have a pencil and paper, it’s hard to just do it mentally, my brain just doesn’t want to work that way. I get distracted, my mind tries to wonder, and then I get stuck in this trap, I get too worked up, and can’t seem to focus on my breathing and “let the thoughts pass”, but it seems if I write it down, I can do that. Probably confusing, I’m sorry. Writing just seems to be the most therapeutic option for me right now. It seems that whenever I write, I’m not being judged, I can let out everything that goes on in my brain, and no one has no say. No one can make me feel bad because of what goes on in my head.

There’s a few things I want to gain out of doing this. But most importantly, stability with approaching meals. Before starting this, I only approached meals when I wasn’t anxious, but starting this, has really got me pushing myself to approach. According to a previous therapist, that’s a very important thing, approaching. Because, it’s exposure, and the more you do it, the less anxiety you get each time, but in time. I’m hoping to gain that, I’m hoping to start approaching meal times more frequently, get back into the habit of eating like a normal person would, have less anxiety the more that I eat my meals, I want to see a pattern, I want to identify what the real problem is here, what’s really going on when I eat, and come up with a plan. No, not everything works, but I’ve tried a billion and one different methods, I don’t expect anything to work, but I have faith, and I’ll always have faith, I’m not going to give up on trying.

There was a few times in my life I went through this, and managed to pull through, the key was to keep pushing myself, keep trying, exposure. You can’t get through a dark time, without pushing through it, if you just stand there and do nothing, you’ll gain nothing. It takes so much time, but eventually, all the pushing you do, will really pay off, I know from experience, and remembering that I’ve been able to push through it in the past, keeps my flame burning, it keeps me going, it prevents me from giving up.

I hear that mindfulness is HUGE for people with anxiety disorders (and other mental illness), and that it takes SO much time, effort, and practice, and I’ve been trying my best to practice it, but maybe trying it in different shapes and forms, it can be a little more beneficial for me, I can find my own way of being mindful. This is all forms of self care, and finding ways you’re most comfortable with helping yourself. I love finding new methods to try, you never know what can give you peace and snap you back into stability and control. Don’t give up.

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