Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What makes me tick - Volume 1 - FOOD

It’s true, I’ve written about food before. A few times. I’ve even written about food in terms of anxiety.

After re-reading what I wrote last night I have a few things to note. Rest assured you will think one or all of these things after reading this.

1. This chick is WHACK
2. who actually thinks like that?
3. No seriously, this is fucking bananas
4. Wow, she really is fucked up.
5. Holy shit, ALL OF THE ABOVE

Why? Because until I read it myself I had no idea. That's a lie, I know how screwed up I am but I've never told anyone. Until today that is.

.........................................

I actually really hate food. I fucking resent it. I hate that I resent something that keeps me alive. With the double negative you’d think it would cancel itself out in the end. Alas, hatred is not like math. If it was, I could hate something to the power of infinity and that would be an easy way to express myself.

I have issues with food and it begins with a massive fear of being sick. I think… any way... I’m not sure. I kind of want to go to a psychotherapist or someone that can analyze my brain to tell me the cause and effect. I’d like to hook my head up to a diagnostic machine. I imagine it would print out a long list of fucked up shit. 

I am afraid of two things in life. Like… legitimate earth shaking phobias. Spiders and vomit. Please no jokes about puking spiders (it’s really not funny). Those are the only two things that paralyze me and bring me to my knees in a puddle of tears and convulsive shaking.

I once fainted in the ER because someone else was sick (and I blogged about it). I can count the number of times I’ve puked in the past 16 years. ONCE! And it was out the passenger side of a friends vehicle as he was driving me to emergency because I had an obstruction in my small intestine. Look, I blogged about that too! I could fill a bible-sized book with everything I have to say about this phobia but right now it's making my stomach feel sick.

Okay. So I have a major issue with food. This means that I freak the fuck out as soon as my stomach feels even the slightest bit distended. I imagine the nerves and receptors in my gut are neurotic personal space freaks and the moment something touches them, they send sick signals to my brain. Little dysfunctional freaks that they are. I’ve been like this for so many years (we’re talking decades now) that I know for a fact this is the rest of my life. I have NO IDEA what it feels like to be full. Absolutely zero recollection. I eat tiny amounts and often. I have to see everything I’m going to eat before I eat it and that can’t change. You’ll rarely see me just grabbing and eating all willy nilly. I have to keep track of it in my head. I need to know how much I’ve put in vs. how much is left. I neurotically make mental notes with how my stomach is feeling. Does it feel a bit stretched? If so, stop eating right away. I will wait half an hour or maybe an hour until I feel safe again. You’ll almost NEVER see me drinking liquids with my food because that takes up space. I pretty much feel sick after everything I eat.

I have insane memory recall to boot which doesn't help when I'm trying to move past something.

I relate everything to my black porcelain bowl at home. I tried 3 times to take a picture of it for this blog post but I couldn't handle the embarrassment of this obsession with a FUCKING BOWL! How does this item of food look in that bowl? How much space does it take up? If it looks okay in my minds eye I will be fine.  On the very rare occasion that I mindlessly eat, I will inevitably freak out. It only happens when I’m distracted. It’s not the fullness factor that freaks me out either, it’s my fucking paranoia.

This also leaves me beyond anxious about food that might be slightly questionable. I won’t touch anything if I feel like I don’t know everything about it. Buffets are my WORST nightmare. I get nauseous simply at the thought of a buffet. I'd rather die and that's not even a joke.

BREAKFAST

In addition to my anxiety and paranoia with food I sort of really hate get-togethers with people. Why does it always have to be centred around food? Can’t we ever get together to just talk and drink water? Talk and walk? Talk and sit? Why is it always talk and eat?! I absolutely dread ANY get together with people that has anything to do with food. I often wonder why we have evolved to need so much goddamned food. How have we not gotten to the point where we only need to eat once a week? The fucking human body is bloody inefficient. Yes, these are the things I think about.

Don't even get me started about the guilt that comes with food as it relates to diabetes. FUCK ME CLOCKWISE!! I am the strictest eater of carbs you'll ever meet. I don't think I've ever eaten more than 40g of carbs I one sitting. I usually cap it at about 20-30. If there are more than that I'll have one bite or I won't touch it at all. A piece of chocolate here or a gluten free cookie there is about my max. To be honest, this is a whole different level of food anxiety that is completely separate from my sick anxiety. Two things working against me.

I consider this a sort of quasi eating disorder, I always have. I just never knew how to explain it no has anyone ever even come close to my issues. Nobody understands. I don’t really know where it started either. This is my life though, every fucking day.

IT'S NOT NORMAL.

6 comments:

  1. Favorite parts: "Can’t we ever get together to just talk and drink water?" and "FUCK ME CLOCKWISE!!"

    I agree, this is definitely some kind of eating disorder, but really really really and truly a big part of it might just be that you are self-aware and a good writer, so it might not be that different from anyone. But most people DON'T think. Or write. Or admit things. Like imagine if someone wrote in detail about...wiping their bum, including imagining the route of the poop and the smearing and... It's the thinking. And the writing. And the misery. I guess the misery is the problem.

    Now I want a glossy black bowl. I feel like a sweet potato would look nice in it.

    I said too much.

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    Replies
    1. As I was writing this post I was feeling somewhat neurotic. I was wondering if I was going into too much detail about my thought process and that maybe everybody is like this. I was trying to fool myself into believing I'm normal but I'm really not. I don't think the simple thought of food makes most people feel sick like it does to me. Most people seem to really enjoy it but it's a huge source of anxiety.
      I love the bum wiping analogy though. so gross yet so detailed.

      Oh and a sweet potato looks wonderful in my bowl :)

      Delete
  2. 1. You actually explained it really well, in my opinion, which leads to...
    2. I have a better understanding now of how much this sucks and wow, I'm really sorry you're dealing with all this shit. It sounds horrible and I'm amazed that you're still a functioning, funny human being (well, okay, you might not feel functional but you know).
    3. It's actually.....not as weird as you think. It sounds like you have emetophobia (extreme fear of vomiting). Interestingly, I was Googling this last week as I have seen the diagnosis code come up a few times in patient charts at work. So it is A Thing and not just you being a fucked up weirdo.
    4. So in regards to what I've learned about emetophobia (thanks Google!).....you may know all this already from trying to figure this out, or maybe you don't because who the fuck would google vomiting when they hate it?! I'm gonna assume you're in the latter camp and go for it, so apologies if I come off as patronizing or saying idiotically simple things. Promise it's meant to help and not put down or shame.
    Okay, so THOUSANDS of people out there have fear of vomiting, ranging from mild to extreme. I've read descriptions and testimonies of people like you, who avoid social situations due to the fear or get ill/have panic attacks when they see vomit. Sometimes it's related to a traumatic incident involving vomit, sometimes there's no good explanation. It makes a lot of sense that general social anxiety is tied up in it for you. And then to toss in the stress of diabetes too?!
    I found the website www.emetophobiaresources.org to be compassionate and helpful. It is written by a Canadian certified counselor who recovered from her own emetophobia and now lives anxiety-free.
    I'm not sure what your feelings and attitudes towards therapy are. I have several friends, patients, people I know etc. etc. who have benefited from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) for anxiety. It's also part of the gold standard for phobia treatment, with gradual exposure. As you said in your last post, anxiety runs and ruins your life and it sounds like you're already trying strategies to minimize and manage it. Is CBT something you've tried before or would be interested in trying?
    If not, the Emetophobia Resources page has its own gradual exposure section, with relaxation exercises. I can't imagine it's fun, but it's an idea for a self-guided way to reorganize thoughts and feelings around the emetophobia.
    I'm looking forward to reading your other posts and learning more about anxiety, and I'm hoping that this is the bottom of the shithole for you.

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  3. You know how it is when you want to say something but just don't know what to say? That's kind of where I am right now.

    I've got a couple of family stories to share (in one case, it turned out not to be celiac but something else, and that 'something else' was apparently cureable), but they seem about as credible as the "I reversed diabetes by eating herbs and cinnamon" stories. Except they were from loved family members who I knew wouldn't lie. Yet I still have a hard time believing them.

    Yet, my uneducated, untrained, unresearched self wonders if your body's response to gluten could be the same as the response to other foods, and that is so awful that just thinking about it makes you feel sick. If you do try to pursue that route, I'll give you the information I've got - but I can't in good conscience recommend it because it seems so far-fetched.

    But if you do decide to see a doctor anyway, tell them what you wrote here. It sounds like it's a lot of information that's never been summarized in one place before, and maybe something will click.

    I'm just not convinced it's all mental... I think there's some physical or physiological thing behind it all. But what the hell do I know?

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  4. I have absolutely no advice, just sympathy. And if you want to show up here and share some water with us, I'd love to see you. I do agree with you that being "social" always seems to involve food. My wish is that you would find a physician or whatever that would read what you wrote here and then say, "I can help you." That would just be nice.
    And I never knew there was a vomit phobia.
    The things you learn reading d-blogs...
    Hug...

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  5. Skullz. Amiga. Friendo. Chicka. DBFF.

    This post is really honest and must have been hard to write. We've talked about a lot of this before, but I think you're on the way to fixing what ails you by writing it down.

    I was listening to a NPR podcast recently about anxiety. It seems that the two most common phobias/anxieties people have are (1) fear of flying and (2) fear of puking. And there are a fair number of people who aren't afraid of them individually but who (like me) are anxious about being sick on an airplane. The good news is, as Caroline said, there are techniques you can use that don't require trips to psychiatrists (although there's nothing wrong with visiting them).

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is really powerful; Lisa and I have both used it for our individual issues. The key is to train yourself to think differently when you're in the moment of being anxious or doubting or being unhappy (or whatever). Why you feel that way isn't really as important as just trying to feel differently.

    For you it might go something like this. Let's say you start to feel anxious about puking. First you identify how you're feeling. This is probably pretty easy, and it helps to write it down: "I'm anxious about vomiting." Next you write down what Lisa and I call "rebuttal thoughts." "I haven't thrown up in years and years. I felt like this last week and I didn't throw up." And so on. This will be specific to you, of course, but the idea is to retrain your brain to recognize that however you're feeling (which definitely is real) doesn't necessarily have to lead to other feelings or results (which aren't as real).

    It takes time, but it's worth it.

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