A Sane Relationship with Food
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I like the definition of insanity as doing the same thing expecting different results.
As I type this I'm experiencing another night of insomnia. It is 3:26 am and I only slept from 9pm to midnight. It seems that 3 hrs is about the amount of sleep I get these days. This has been going on for about two months now. How does this relate to food? As with dieting, there is a vicious cycle that happens with insomnia. Not only to mention that the emotional eating is exacerbated.
Let's back up a little though. I would like to help you understand what has been going on this past year. As some of you may know I was diagnosed with mental illness about ten years ago. I also am an alcoholic. I have been in various treatments for the mental illness for those ten years and in recovery for alcoholism for six years. I have had eating disorders all my life. I first noticed them in high school. I would not eat for a week so I could fit into the dress and eat dessert. I have gone up and down on my weight. When I started in treatment for schizo-affective (schizophrenia and bipolar) was the first time I noticed I weighed the same thing two weeks in a row. I was fifteen pounds too heavy though. Then when I was put on one medicine I put on fifty pounds. That was when I was introduced to Spark. I started exercising, changed my eating habits, and got on a different medicine. I was able to lose 20 lbs over a period of time.
I still struggled with the rest of the weight, though. I was up and down with the weight and bad eating habits. My emotional state seemed to be so tied to the scale. When I would go up I go so depressed I ate more junk to feel better. When I was down I swore I would never go back up again. I would lick the problem this time. I was sure I had a handle of the emotional eating. I even went to Overeaters Anonymous. I made changes in my medicine and went into therapy. It is not uncommon for alcoholics to go from alcohol to gambling, food, sex, or anything to escape life.
Then last August the most magical thing happened. I got on a different combination of medicines that really seemed to work. I felt terrific. I was eating healthy, hiking, doing yoga, running, and losing weight. I got down to what I was used to before I started on the psychotropics. It was fantastic. By the end of September I was starting to get comments that I was too thin. My husband was very concerned. He wanted me to see the doctor. I went to see her and she said that I was quite healthy. She also said that she didn't want me to lose any more weight. I was okay with that. I felt great and didn't feel I needed to be thinner. I was familiar with the thinking of anorexia that one can never be too thin. I wanted to be healthy.
The therapist, though, was trying to convince me that I was manic. She wanted me to go back on Abilify. I agreed to do that. The first thing I noticed was I could not get enough to eat. By Thanksgiving I was out eating my husband. I ate two huge Thanksgiving meals complete with lots of desserts. The weight was coming on so fast I was overwhelmed. Not only that I was losing interest in life. I started binge eating. At Christmas time I became debilitated. When I asked the PA to change the Abilify she said that she wouldn't because she was afraid I would become manic. Next she said that Welbutrin doesn't cause mania. What!?! I walked out of there crying and never went back. I had been to see my family doctor to get test results from a DNA test she had done. It was to determine what psychotropics would work best for me. I had asked her if she would be willing to be my prescribing doctor for what I needed.
So after I left the PA I was going to see my family dr for follow up, however my husband wanted be to see a psychiatrist. I found one in a town an hour away. I went to the initial intake which took 1 1/2 hrs. He thought that I was just bipolar and that the schizo episodes were related to the highs and lows of that. I had already weaned off the Abilify by that visit. He started me on another mood stabilizer called Limictol. I told him about the binging problem. He just said to exercise and eat carrots. I had also started having terrible stomach problems. Oh yes, he did feel that the Rameron I took for sleep might be causing the binging. He wanted me to cut that in half. I tried but could not sleep. I called them and it was suggested to wean off the Welbutrin. I also happened on an article that said Welbutrin is not good for people with eating disorders. I was still depressed and gaining weight. The next visit I saw a PA because the pdoc hurt his back. I had weaned off the Limictol just before the visit. The PA started me on Celexa and no mood stabilizer. She wanted me to keep a record each day to see if I became manic. She also wanted me to work on weaning off the Rameron and Klonopin. Oh yes, I did cut down the Klonopin before that.
I started with a new therapist in the town I live. When I explained what was going on she told me about some natural remedies her husband with bipolar was using. They are very expensive, though.
When I kept the record I noticed that I was agitated a lot. I didn't seem to feel that good feeling I had gone through the previous summer. I did notice I wasn't eating from sun up to sun down. I had gotten so bad that I hid food in my reading room and would sneek the wrappers into the trash. It was terrible. Then I started having a problem with my mouth. Not sure when that started.
I was doing the process of illumination to see if the medicines or vitamins I was taking were causing it. I went to the dentist and talked to him about it. He told me the glands were swollen and should heal by themselves. It didn't. Finally I stopped the Celexa to see if that was causing it. It didn't help my mouth, however I felt so much better off of that. I was calm and in touch with my true feelings.
The night before my appointment with the PA in other town who prescribed Celexa my husband asked how long my appointment would be. When I told him about fifteen minutes he was shocked. He was under the impression that they counseled me. I explained that was why I go to a therapist in town. He said that seemed like a waste to go an hour away for a fifteen minute appointment. Then on top of that I don't even see a psychiatrist. I suggested I switch to seeing my family doctor in town. He agreed. So the next day I told the PA I would continue my treatment here. I did ask her about the mouth problem and she didn't think it was a side affect of the medicine.
I went to see my family doctor for help with the tongue/mouth problem. She gave me a prescription and said that stress can cause it. I told her that I was off the psychotropics and would like to see her if I need to go back. She was good with that. I also explained the problem with sleep. She made a few suggestions.
Yesterday my husband had me watch something on Dr Oz about thyroid medicine. I take Livothyroxine. They were talking about the combination of calcium supplements (which I take) affecting it. Also, that Iodine deficiency can cause hypothyroidism. When doing the research on it I found that medicine can have the sife-affect of insomnia. I called my doctor and found out that I was taking the medicine wrong. It needs to be taken alone and on an empty stomach. I've been taking it for years. Why didn't they tell me that before?!? Tomorrow I'm going to stop taking that and see if I sleep.
Okay now for the good things that have come from all those changes. A couple months ago a friend in AA lent me two books, "When Things Fall Apart" and "The Wisdom of No Escape". I believe that when the student is ready the teacher will appear. Those books have sent me on a journey to find out more about myself. They helped me to see that what I am going through is not so different at I thought. I love the way the author addressed the issues of our neurosis. She does not give an easy way out. Rather an honest way to see what is truly going on and thus find true healing. She talks about passion, aggression, and prejudice. They are all ways to run away from our lives. To escape pain. Now I'm learning to feel the pain and let it go. Also, rather than escape into food, books, movies, or whatever, soften my heart to myself. Those things always bring more suffering.
Naturally, I'm not saying that food, books, and movies are bad. It's just whenever I am using anything to run away it will come back to get me. I become enslaved to the addiction. Does this mean I'm free now? No, it simply means I'm on a new path. The only way to deal with my emotional eating is to look at the emotions I'm afraid to look at.
Last night around 7 pm I started watching a movie and decided to eat some popcorn. I have been noticing that I am becoming more sensitive to salts and sugar. I ignored that memory and popped the snack any way. I was feeling irritable and tired due to lack of sleep. It tasted terrible and started another binge. I ended up also getting a box of cookies which I almost finished. The movie was terrible and making me even more agitated. I couldn't seem to get out of the grip, though.
The awakened awareness makes me want to seek a way out. I see that I'm in quicksand now. The harder I struggle the deeper I go. Just as the first step in AA is to fully concede to my inner most self that I'm an alcoholic, I am ready to see how truly out of control I am.