Briefly: Anxiety, Depression, and Eating

Welcome to Wednesday.  This is me:

See?  I have green eyes and brown hair, and am wearing plum lipstick.  And I am freaking out with anxiety.  Social anxiety does not happen in a neural vacuum, people.

Anxiety is always tricky in eating disorders, because generally you either can't imagine ever eating again, ever, or you can't imagine not wanting to eat everything in the house and then in the deli and then in the grocery store, forever.  That's not to say that these reactions to anxiety (or depression, for that matter; flip sides of a coin) are only seen in folks with eating disorders or disordered eating behaviors (not the same thing).  Reaching to food or becoming totally disconnected from hunger cues in a bout of anxiety is a fairly common reaction to said anxiety (or said depression).

The eating disorder part kicks in when you start congratulating yourself for not being hungry, when you start berating yourself for daring to eat anything at all, let alone a little too much.  (Which, by the way: it's part of "normal eating" to occasionally eat too much or too little.  Really.  Any nutritionist east of Malibu will agree with me on this one.)  The eating disordered part of anxiety or depression tells you, "You don't want to eat every again?  You can't imagine eating more than an apple for lunch?  Well, good.  That's what you should be doing anyway, cow."  Or it tells you, "How could you possibly want to eat more?  You just had a sandwich and an apple and a yogurt.  You're disgusting.  You're going to blow up.  You're never going to stop eating and you're never going to stop gaining weight.  You're a disaster area."  And the eating disorder really moves in and gets settled with the anxiety or depression when you decide that you believe it, that it's right, that it was right all along, and if you just listen to it this time, the anxiety or depression will actually get better.

It's completely counter-intuitive, of course, and practically a bouillabaisse of cognitive distortions and magical thinking.  Always fun, always fun.

1 comment:

  1. Ugh, condolences. The interplay between mood problem/anxiety and eating disorder is just hellish to navigate. I hope things become more peaceful for you.

    (You have lovely eyes though. The plum lipstick suits them).


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