Category Archives: food

No Relief

I’ve been overwhelmed with anxiety and depression these past few days. I honestly don’t know how I’m writing this post right now. My thoughts feel far away, I can’t connect with them. I wish I could describe to you the feelings going on inside my body–but I just can’t. My hands are pretty much shaking right now. I’m honestly scared. All I can think about is food, alcohol, and Ativan–those are the only things that will bring me relief. I’m going to try to push through it and just sit here and suffer, but I don’t know how long I can hold out for. I need relief.

Depression hit me on Friday, which carried into Saturday and on into today. I can’t seem to shake it. I tried drinking on Friday, and I binged on food yesterday. Neither brought any relief.

Anxiety has been with me too, especially anticipatory. I have to go to another interview at the library I’m trying to intern at in the Spring tomorrow. Supposedly I have to meet with all the librarians at once. All ten of them. I’ve been going over in my mind what that will be like. In every scenario I fail, and even when I do win, and get the internship, things will just get worse, because I will then actually have to engage with people in the Spring. A part of me doesn’t want to get this internship at all. I’d rather just sit at home, where I feel comfortable.

I increased my dose of Lamictal today to 50 mg. I really wish that would start working, I want to feel some relief, but for now all I feel like doing is covering myself with a blanket and crying.

What’s more, outside it’s sunny and warm, and all I can think about is everybody else in the world enjoying the day, without me.

I want to say more, but I can’t.

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self harm: why?

Self harm is a way for me to deal with negative feelings. When times get tough and there’s just too many negative feelings, I engage in self destructive behaviors to push those feelings and/or emotions and/or memories back down into my body. This behavior serves me–and it serves me well.

I wish I could say that I’ve found healthier alternatives, like yoga and/or meditation and/or exercise etc, to deal with these feelings, but I haven’t … not yet, at least.

I’ve been using self harm as a coping mechanism for a long time. It’s a way for me to feel like I’m in control (and I’m addicted to the serotonin rush).  I do not condone it but I’m not proud of it, either. If you don’t do it– please don’t start; if you do, it’s okay. In fact, it’s probably good that you’ve found a way to keep some emotions at bay. You can’t go around feeling everything all the time. Sometimes it’s too much. I think there are healthier ways of dealing with things, but it’s much easier to suppress the feelings through self harm than to learn and utilize the alternatives.

You’re not alone: Self harm is something most people engage in. It’s less about if people do it, and more about how.

Tactics range from self-deprecating humor to suicide. For the most part, I use binging (on food or alcohol, sometimes both) to suppress my emotions. I know, or have known, people who overspend, abuse drugs, and cut themselves. Aside for suicide, I don’t believe any one method is more dangerous than another. It may be more socially acceptable to binge on alcohol or overspend than to cut oneself, but it’s not really fair to compare methods. They all serve a common purpose, and they all can become addictions. Besides, drugs and alcohol poison your insides and overspending can wreck havoc on the lives around you, while cutting really just leaves scars–which really is worse?

Feeling terrible

So, I felt terrible last night, and I’m feeling even worse now. I went through a pretty difficult social situation earlier, where I met a friend of a friend at a museum. I’m proud of myself for going but like always it didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go. I didn’t live up to my standards.

I felt out of place because I didn’t know what to say most of the time. The conversations felt forced, and I tried opening up, but that too felt forced. I tried so hard to connect with this person that I think I probably came across as desperate or, infinitely worse, socially inept. I kept asking myself, Can he tell that I’m anxious? What does he think of me? And the same voice answered: Of course he can tell. How could he not? He thinks you’re anxious, nervous and boring. You are unpleasant to be around.

We left the museum after an hour to go eat, and at the restaurant we sat in front of a mirror and I kept checking my expression. I looked terrible. My face looked tense and tired. I looked exactly how I felt on the inside.

Finally, on the way back to the museum, he bailed at the last minute, claiming he had to clean his apartment, by running toward a bus without even saying a proper goodbye. This confirmed my suspicions: I am shit. In the end, I feel sorry for him–that he had to hang out with me. I wish I didn’t disappoint everyone who comes in contact with me.

And now my weekend is total crap, and it was going so well. I avoided a binge last night and went running for an hour earlier today. I feel really depressed, even worse than last night.

I’m going to drink the pain away tonight.

And the same voice answeredever

disordered eating

Well I broke two of my rules this week: No more than one post per day and five posts per week. This is my third post today and my sixth this week–and there’s still two more days left in the week.

I’ll keep this short.

After my second post today, I felt really anxious. I immediately went home, downed .5 mg of Ativan, and watched Curb Your Enthusiasm with my girlfriend. I felt a little better afterward so I came back up to the library to work on schoolwork. My anxiety was no where near as bad as it was earlier, but I felt much more depressed.

I’m not sure where those feelings were coming from.

I think stirring up a lot of emotions from my post earlier didn’t help. Plus I’m going camping this weekend with my girlfriend, her brother, and some friends. I may have to call a friend later to coordinate a ride. I’m feeling pretty anxious about all that. Oh and I also increased my dose of Lamictal from 12.5 to 25 mg.

Anyway, I left the library around 5:00 and binged. Super burrito. 28 oz of ice cream. Plus a handful of kale. (I need my veggies, too.) I also drank a beer. I probably shouldn’t have drank because I took an Ativan earlier. Oh well.

That’s two binges this week. At what point does disordered eating become an eating disorder?

No more than one post per day and five posts per week

tuesday’s binge

On Monday I was super productive during the day. I spent over seven hours in the library getting caught up on school work, free reading, and working on my blog. On Monday night I started crashing. I felt it first while watching a Star Trek movie. I felt lethargic. And sad. Very sad. After the movie, my girlfriend and I decided to go for a walk. I put on my shoes and grabbed my cell phone and noticed that my mom had called. That’s when it hit me hard. That’s when I knew. It only took a few seconds, but I imagined my entire conversation with my mom: what I’ll say, how she’ll respond, how I’ll respond to her response etc. I imagined telling her how I really feel. How depressed I really am.

I felt very tired on our walk, and later, while we were reading in bed, I leaned over, rested my head on girlfriend, and cried a bit.

Yesterday, in the library, my feelings increased: I feel weak. I feel flat. I feel depressed. I have no energy. I have no desire to do anything. I have nothing. Thoughts kept coming, and when I finally pushed them aside, I pressed my eyes into my hands. Tears came. Pushing harder, more tears came out. I felt like I was squeezing a lemon for its juice.

I wondered what I’d done to deserve this.

I watched people in the library. Going from person to person, finally settling on one. Male. Tall. Muscular. He was reading a thick novel. I could see him smiling so he must have been happy. I wanted to follow him the rest of the day, watching his life unfold. Maybe if I follow him long enough I’ll become him?

I pushed my thoughts aside again and spent another few hours in the library. Then I went home, grabbed my bike, and rode to the store.

This is what I picked up–

That’s 28 oz of ice cream, plus a large vegetarian sandwich with everything on Dutch crunch. ~2000 calories

I didn’t feel much at all afterward. I know I should have felt something. Like sadness or regret or shame. But I didn’t, and I actually felt bad that I wasn’t feeling anything. I think I was just content. I didn’t really feel anything until my girlfriend called like twenty minutes later, and even then, the feelings weren’t about myself: I felt like I had let her down.

After we talked, I went right back up to the library and started working again, as if the binge had never happened.

binge, lamictal, my story

Friday

I binged again last Friday on the usual: a super burrito and almost a quart of ice cream. It’s scary how the “usual” used to be a super burrito plus a pint of ice cream–and now it’s a quart! Anyway, I wanted to take a picture of the food because I want to keep visual records of my binges (because I think it will help make the binges seem more real after), but I didn’t because I had to eat the food immediately because I was feeling terrible. I didn’t have time to waste on finding the camera and arranging the food. I had to eat! I felt that bad.

After I jammed the food down my throat, I felt terrible. The depression seemed to increase and I felt shame, regret, and tension throughout my body. I wanted to eat more–a lot more–but there was no time because I had to go right to hypnotherapy after.

I’ve been seeing a hypnotherapist for my social anxiety since April. I really like the idea of hypnotherapy (intellectually speaking), but I’m just not getting very much out of it. I probably would have quit a while ago if I didn’t connect so well with my hypnotherapist, Ms. L. She’s suffered with social anxiety most of her adult life and is currently recovering from it. She’s really easy to talk to, and it’s just nice because I know she actually understands what I’m going through. I think a lot of therapists and psychologists don’t really know all that much about the disorder, and if they do, they only understand it on an intellectual level–they don’t understand it first hand. Because of this, I think it’s hard for them to have empathy, and it makes treatment difficult.

With that said, my hypnotherapist is not trained in clinical psychology–she only has her hypnotherapist certification. Yet I treat her as if she was a psychologist. As of late, we’ve been spending a lot less time actually doing hypnotherapy and more time just talking. I feel comfortable telling her my secrets because I know she’s been through the exact same things.

Hypnotherapy is sort of like a guided meditation. She guides me away from my thoughts and the external world to my inner thoughts and feelings and emotions. It’s very hard for me to move away from my thoughts and into the present moment. I don’t think it’s possible to ever truly shut off your thoughts, but I do think it’s possible to not let them control you–letting them just be there without attaching onto them. I’m not there yet, and so I think it’s important for me to work on meditating on my own and on other forms of healing. Being lost in my thoughts prevents me from going deep into my intuition and, thus, getting positive benefits from the therapy.

On Friday we just talked. I told her about my depressions and how I was diagnosed with Cyclothymia. We both agreed that it would be best to hold off on any further sessions until I start getting relief from the depressions, as hypnotherapy can’t really help with something that’s biological in nature and the depressions are my main concern at this point. We scheduled our next session for the beginning of October. Hopefully I’ll be feeling a little better then.

During the session I also spoke about my frustrations with my mom: how whenever I talk to her she trivializes my issues by saying either, “Everybody gets anxious sometimes” or “You shouldn’t worry so much about what people think.” Which pisses me off, as you know. Anyway, Ms. L responded by saying, “Maybe your mom really wants to help, but she doesn’t know what to say. She’s trying to help in her own way. Maybe you should try telling her how she could help in the future.” This is something I hadn’t considered, and the more I think about it, the more I think she’s probably right. I engage in the same behavior sometimes: often when people are explaining their problems or issues I tend to respond by giving positive, practical feedback. I think sometimes people just need someone there to listen without judging–and that’s what I’m looking for from my mom. I just want her to listen. Maybe I should try explaining this to her?

After hypnotherapy I went for a run. I ended up running 3.5 miles with a belly full of ice cream left over from my binge . I gagged up stomach acid and chocolate ice cream every minute or so and just spit it out. I probably “threw up” thirty or forty times. So my binge turned into a purge. Wonderful.

Saturday

I started the Lamictal on Saturday. 12.5 mg. No side effects yet. But no positive benefits either. It’s too early to tell. I need to get up to the 50 to 100 mg levels before I’ll even begin to feel anything.

I hung out with a friend, Ms R., on Saturday. She suffers with social anxiety and depression and that’s how the friendship formed, but we have a lot more in common, as well: we’re both in graduate school studying information science, we’re both volunteering at a literacy center, we’re both interested in politics and literature, we’ve both lived in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. I really enjoy hanging out with her. Again, it just feels good being able to actually talk to someone about my issues and know that they understand because they experience them.

Oh and I also showered for the first time in like five days! Yay!

Sunday

I spent most of Sunday holed up in the library, working through my history with social anxiety (My Story). It was incredibly difficult and evoked a lot of emotions. There were times when I couldn’t go on because I got too emotional, but I pushed through. It’s a work in progress and my hope is to continue expanding it. I also hope that you can relate.

On Sunday, someone came across my blog by searching “unhappy with graduate school and depress” from Google. I’m glad to see that people are finding their way here, and I can relate: I’m in graduate school, and I’m not really happy with it. I’m going to school online, which doesn’t help me to develop socially, and I’m going into a field (library science) that isn’t exactly growing. I have to constantly remind myself that (a) I am in graduate school (sometimes it’s hard to tell because the program is online) and (b) the economy will bounce back. It’s been hard.

Anyway, if you read this, hang in there. I think you’ll eventually find something that you enjoy doing with your life if you continue searching.

Today

I’m in a hypomanic state today. I got up early, came to the library, and have been working on schoolwork and blog posts ever since. I read seventy-five pages for school and finished a project. I wrote this post and am working on another. I’ve posted comments on other blogs and message forums. I’m caught up on email. And I’ve only been in the library for about four hours. I feel good, though. It’s nice being caught up with school and being so very, very productive. Earlier I was feeling extremely–extremely!–anxious. But not anymore. I’m not sure what that’s about. Actually I am still feeling somewhat anxious (and happy), but I feel sad as well. This is me right now: 🙂 + 😦 / happy and sad / I’m smiling and frowning / I’m laughing and crying …

in the library

Another up and down week for me, most of it spent in the library. There’s a special place I like to go to that’s hidden away from the main portions of the library. I don’t have to see anybody, and people don’t have to see me. I just plug in my headphones, work on homework, and stare at lots and lots of books. I haven’t had much social interaction this week except on Tuesday. I may feel more comfortable tucked away in the library, but it’s also very lonely. Even though social situations are hard for me, I need them–we all do. I should try to see some friends, but it’s so hard and I’ve grown apart from many of them. I don’t know how to reconnect with them now that I’ve pushed them away.

I felt depressed on Wednesday and Thursday. It wasn’t the all-pervading-I-can’t-work-on-anything-right-now depression that I’ve been getting, but it still affected me. I got very little done those days. I didn’t binge, though. But that’s not because I didn’t want to. I probably would have if my girlfriend hadn’t been home. Maybe I should give myself more credit? Or not. I did go on a quasi-binge on Thursday. I had a gigantic sandwich for lunch and a bag of chips, followed by a gigantic Sprite, which I drank in the bathtub (with dirty bath water because I haven’t showered in a few days) while watching Pi. I then snacked on an English muffin and a protein shake, went to the library, and then had three donuts for dinner. Actually, it sounds less like a binge and more like a really, really shitty diet. I don’t usually eat this bad, by the way. The depression’s still with me right now, but it’s shifted more to the background. It’s like an annoying hum: it’s there and I can work on things, yet there’s this feeling of hopelessness there too. What am I doing with my life?! I feel like I’m sinking a little deeper each day. Each small depression is getting bigger and bigger; yet, the BIG ONE hasn’t hit yet this week. I’m overdue.

Right now, I’ve got this urge–this itch–to drop what I’m doing and go home and binge. I had this same feeling yesterday. I’m worried that if I keep prolonging the inevitable, the depression will just keep growing and growing. I have to push it back down with food. I have to feed it. It’s the only way.

Yesterday at the library I had a brief yet difficult social experience. I’ve been sick most of the week, and I had a terrible cough yesterday. I uncomfortably suppressed it most of the day, but at the end of the day, when I thought no one else was around, I stopped caring about how much and how loud I coughed–I just let go. Anyway, a guy walked up to me and said, “Tuberculosis?”

I had my headphones on but I still heard him but I pretended I didn’t, and so I asked, “Excuse me?”

He just stared at me, taking me in. His hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and he was tall and muscular, and he didn’t blink, not once. I couldn’t take it so I turned back to my computer.

“Do you have Tuberculosis?” he finally said.

“I don’t think I have Tuberculous, no.”

“Well, I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone cough so loud before in my life.”

“Sorry, I’m trying to keep it under control,” I said, pointing at my bag of cough drops. “I didn’t think I was coughing that loud”

Again, he gave me this death stare. Again, he didn’t blink. Again, I couldn’t take it, so I turned back to my computer. Finally he said: “I see. It must be very hard for you.” Then he walked away.

What a dick! I should have either told him to fuck off (I didn’t) or got up and left (I didn’t do that either). Instead, I just sat there, trying to finish up some homework, trying not to cough. I choked several times suppressing my urge to cough. Finally my urge was so great I had to leave the library. I stormed out of there fast, afraid I would run into him again.

In retrospect, I felt like I was twelve again. I felt like I was back in middle school being bullied. God I feel pathetic right now.

Also, I’ve got to stop reading people’s opinions and anecdotes about their experiences with medication. As you know, I’m starting Lamotrigine / Lamictal soon, and I’ve been spending a lot of time on the Internet reading about the drug. It sounds like withdrawal is pretty tough. I’m scared now to try it, and I’m questioning whether I really need it.

I haven’t organized my email in a few weeks, messages are piling up. I haven’t showered in like three days. I haven’t changed my shirt in even longer. I probably stink. I need to organize my finances. I’m still behind on school. My best friend called me last Thursday, and I haven’t returned his call. I have so much to do, and yet all I can think about is binging. So much to do, and yet life just keeps moving.