Thursday, 13 April 2017

Depression & Overeating - My Tips On How To Cope When You Get Hit With The Sadness Shovel

If you have read my blog previously then you will be aware of my struggles with overeating, depression and anxiety. Mostly the depression is situational, things go wrong or change and I just don't cope very well with it. Sometimes though you just wake up and you are sad and it's all just a little too much to deal with. I call that being hit with the sadness shovel. It comes from nowhere and you are just bashed down by this overwhelmingly negative emotion. I hide it quite well when that happens. I spent years hiding in the bottom of a biscuit barrel desperately trying to eat enough to cover my feelings. That feeling doesn't go away completely but over the last year I have tried to develop some strategies and techniques to deal with how I feel instead of eating myself into oblivion and I want to share some of them with you today. I can't guarantee they will work for you but they have helped me.

Try to do something that will take your mind away from the desire to overeat. Exercise is great as it will help lift your mood, even just get out of the house and walk around the block. Anything that will occupy your mind for a little while and take the focus away from food is great. I once spent 20 minutes brushing my teeth to stop me from eating my way through a packet of doughnuts that I had bought for my kids. That worked too as I knew they would taste disgusting afterwards with a minty mouth. Some people say a relaxing bath helps but I will admit that doesn't work for me as my mind isn't occupied and I will lie there dwelling on the sadness.

Let Your Feelings Out
I never talked about feeling depressed. Even when I went through a hideous marriage breakup, lost both my parents and was let with a baby and 6 year old to bring up; I was the brave little soldier to the outside world. They didn't see the wreck I was inside who sat on my kitchen floor sobbing with a bottle of wine till the early hours. I didn't talk about how I felt and, if I'm honest, nobody really asked me. For me the release is writing about how I feel. This is something I have done for quite a long time, mostly in the form of bad poetry. Nobody reads it but there is a sense of relief in just getting the words out on paper. Anyway, it is better than stuffing another cake in my mouth! I suppose this blog is also another way of getting my feelings out too and it does help. So if you don't have close friends to confide in then try it. It may help.

Get Help
If things do get really bad and you have tried everything but you can't dig yourself out of that horrible spiral of sadness and food then do consider getting some professional help. I will admit I didn't go down that route partly because I was scared of being perceived as not coping as a single mum. I actually had recurring nightmares about my Ex wanting to take the girls away from me so I put this extra pressure on myself of having to be the perfect mum who coped wonderfully on her own. Sometimes I do wish that I had reached out to my GP as I might have been able to sort myself out sooner.

St Johns Wort
All I can say is this helps me. There is masses of online information about it so google it and make up your own mind. I generally take it through the winter when my mood is habitually lower and then keep it on hand the rest of the year in case I feel myself struggling.

Take Everything One Day At A Time
I relapse from time to time and I really do try not to be too hard on myself. Take each day as it comes. If you have fallen into the emotional overeating trap one day then that doesn't mean that you have to do the same thing again tomorrow. Maybe look at why you have eaten and see if you can identify any triggers. That might help you to avoid repeating it.

I hope that some of this advice is useful to any of you who struggle with emotional overeating and depression. These are just some of the things that have helped me.

Speak to you soon

Love Erica xxx

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