How do you cope when you feel like you're about to crack? When life is giving you just one too many things that are stressing you out, what do you do to deal?
I know that when I have one stressful event, I can think about it, feel it, maybe write about it. I can take a walk or bike a little to burn off the steam. But what about when things are piling up and you are about to go bonkers and flip out? What do you do? I always, ALWAYS used to cope by bingeing. I would go and buy a ton of crap food... chips, pop, cheese, dip, pizza, donuts, candy... and just sit and eat it all until I was numb. I totally would eat myself into oblivion instead of feeling the stress. I don't know how that numbed the stress, but it did, at least for a day. It buried the feelings under a ton of food.
Now I am getting to the point of it being just too much. My marriage collapsing, my finances sucking, my health insurance ending. And now I have to get another mammogram (had a cancer scare 6mo ago, have to rule out any new growth) and another pap (had 2 surgeries 4 months ago, precancerous cells, large area, now need to make sure that it isnt coming back). And then today had to go deal with my daughter's health issues, and a bunch of referrals to a childrens hospital for a surgery eval and some invasive testing for her. After that appointment I felt like my brain was melting out of my ears. And all I want to do is EAT. I didn't binge, but I had an ice cream cone. And now I am sitting here, wondering, how do I cope? What do people do instead of eating? I don't smoke or drink or any of that. There has to be some healthy way to deal with it when stuff piles up like this.
08-07-2008, 09:13 PM
I'm so sorry. Last summer when my life fell apart, I slept a lot. A whole lot. And I stopped eating at all. Not healthy, but there you have it. I was so stressed that when I did eat, I threw up. So I just stopped eating.
And then, I went to a counselor.
I strongly advise counseling. I know you said your health insurance is ending, but if you can find someone who'll let you work out a payment plan or who will bill against the insurance you have while you still have it, I really recommend it. Having a non-involved third party to talk to ... and to cry to and to rage to ... it helped so much.
And if you ever just need a shoulder, please feel free to PM. If nothing else, I kinda know where you are and I can listen.
08-07-2008, 09:26 PM
i swear i was JUST this minute thinking of you!:hug:
i used to eat and sleep.
now i exercise, i read, i take long long baths. i talk. i talk to my husband (i know this is not a option for you right now). i walk. i watch bad movies and good ones. i cry.:cry:
i cry a lot when i am scared, angry, frustrated, happy.........i am a cryer.:(
i still eat sometimes.
and i see a counselor. now just at the moment but i would go back in a heartbeat if i had to. there are some options even with insurance. catholic social services is very inexpensive and it is NOT religious based. just funded by the church. i am not catholic but i have gone.
and i use my friends support. i use it much more than i ever have.
i am here if you would like to talk.:cofdate:
and great job on 1 ice cream cone.:congrat:
08-07-2008, 09:29 PM
I talk about it now a lot more than I ever did. I lean on my sister and my friends, which never used to be an option because I didn't want to appear weak by asking for help. One thing I've learned along the way is that if I don't ask for help, I will never make it through anything, let alone weight loss.
I let myself feel more than I ever used to, which is still terrifying, but I do it because the alternative is too depressing to contemplate.
So that's how I cope now, though I still want to eat instead.
08-07-2008, 09:33 PM
To be honest, I bury myself in hobbies that allow me to escape reality for a while. Certain games that I play online and such. I wouldn't call this a totally healthy coping mechanism, but it is A coping mechanism, and at least it doesn't have calories.
08-07-2008, 09:46 PM
I'm so sorry to hear about all your problems. It is hard when life crashes down around you to not turn to food. For me, when things are at their worst, I find that routine is the best solution for me. I try to keep some things as routine as possible amongst the craziness, which is an anchor for me both mentally and physically.
I would also suggest counseling. There are times when it is just too much to bear alone.
A good cry now and then doesn't hurt, either.
08-07-2008, 10:09 PM
You have been there for me a few times when I felt down and clicked on your blog to see if you had anything cheeky to say that day. I hope I can give you a little sunshine.
Did you see that Paul Mckenna show, I Can Make You Thin? He taught us this acupressure technique he calls the Tapping Technique. It's supposed to open your chakras or something like that in that it distracts your brain from obsessing over food. You tap gently on different parts of your face and hands in a specific order, and it releases your anxiety.
Initially, I tried it when I was craving chocolate, and I experienced a wave of relief wash over me as soon as I finished (it takes about a minute to do.) I felt relaxed and at peace, and I forgot about the chocolate.
A week or so later, I had a scrap with the Man, and he was mad at me for something stupid, and I was riddled with anxiety. I remembered that feeling of Peace washing over me, and dug up my little scrap of paper with the steps written on it. I did the thing, and when I was done, the nervousness and worry was gone! I didn't think about it again all day, except to think, "Wow, I was all freaky there for a while, wasn't I?"
I'm afraid I'll have a little panic when I walk down the aisle in a couple of weeks, but I KNOW, that if I do this little thing, it will make my anxiety go away.
Google this guy. Type in Tapping Technique, then his name, Paul McKenna.
It also works on my DD, age 11, when she can't relax to go to sleep, or is worried about things that worry an 11 year old.
I hope this works for you. I know it seems a silly thing to do, but please try it!
08-07-2008, 10:12 PM
I am so, so sorry to hear about the stresses so many areas of your life, Lyn.:hug:
You gotten alot of good advice. Perhaps you could try writing about...just take that pen/pencil and write as long and hard as the paper will allow (or not...rip the paper while writing) It doesn't have to be legible...scribble those feelings down . And when it all starts spinning around in your mind....write it all again.
Do you have access to a relaxation CD? Take some deep breathes.
I am so glad you posted. I hope that your tests and your daughter's health issues can be resolved easily. :hug:
08-07-2008, 10:26 PM
I pray. If you're not a praying person, I've heard that meditation and relaxation techniques can work wonders. And, I second the counseling. Many counseling centers have a sliding scale payment plan....you pay what you can afford or a slight fee based on your income.
Hang in their Lyn. We're all pulling for you.
08-07-2008, 10:52 PM
This is such a rough time for you, I've read about your recent difficulties, but all of this is happening at once must be overwhelming. And I totally relate to not being able to comfort yourself with food. That was my M.O too, something bad happened, I would eat and have short term relief. But when I stuck my head out from under the covers, my problems and issues were still there, and now I felt guilty, tired, negative and disgusted... My guess is that you will want a clear head in the coming days, sounds like a lot of crucial information will be coming in...so no numbing allowed for now... even if you have to tell yourself its just for today..... because today I need to listen and understand all the info about my daugher, or about my relationship and most importantly YOURSELF... :hug:
I second the Counseling idea... its great having someone 'neutral'...
08-08-2008, 12:37 AM
This is my first post in quite awhile. Your situation moved me to speak. I know how you're feeling, and you've gotten great advice up to now. I just want to add some additional thoughts.
My life was perfect and my weight loss program was going well until one ghastly day last October when my whole world came crashing down. My beloved, wonderful husband suffered a fatal heart attack while out of town on business. He just... never came home.
Suddenly I was faced with running a 35-acre small farm, finishing a major remodel, looking after many animals, coming up with enough money to manage it all and moving through unimaginable grief, all at once. I've never been through anything so stressful or difficult in my life. Here is what I did:
I shamelessly asked for help whenever it was offered. If someone said, "If there is anything I can do..." I replied, "Well, actually, I could sure use some help with ___ -- is there a good time you might give me a hand with that?" Without exception, everyone was glad to be able to do something meaningful to assist instead of just saying the words. I know it's hard to ask, but it gets easier the more often you do it.
I leaned on friends and family -- A LOT. I tried to not wallow in my grief, but I didn't look away from it, either. Facing the horrendous fact of my husband's death straight on helped me work through the loss.
I went to a grief counselor when it became apparent to me that I was having trouble getting started with the grieving process -- it was just so overwhelming, and I was terrified I would get lost in the grief and never be able to get out. My counselor was invaluable, and although I see her seldom now, knowing she is still there to help me when things get to be too much is an enormous comfort.
I believe that eating food to cope with stress is a way of trying to "stuff" down all those feelings -- so the only answer is to learn how to let the feelings out, shake hands with them and then let them go on their way. Believe me, after I got past the initial several weeks of shock when I didn't eat anything at all, I wanted to eat everything in sight. I understand that response to stress all too well, I'm sorry to say. But I'm back on my weight loss program again now, picked up where I left off... you CAN get through this, I promise. Take the help wherever it is offered. We are all pulling for you!!
All the best,
08-08-2008, 01:07 AM
I can't express how much your answers mean to me. That people care enough to try to help me out with suggestions... I so appreciate it. I was totally emotionally frying this evening and I finally went out for a short walk (in the dark) just to try and clear my head. When I got back I came here and read this thread.
I think I am going to have to take the counseling suggestion, first off. I need someone to talk to and figure out how to deal with all this -stuff- in my life right now. I know a church that has a sliding fee scale. Maybe I would slide to $5 or free. I am going to call and ask.
Second I think the writing suggestions are good. Of course I like to write, which is why I have a blog and also why when I have a problem I can come here and write about it a little. I think I am going to write out some "letters" to some people and maybe even some non-people, just to get the feelings out, but not send them.
Kori - thank you for the suggestion. I am going to look up that technique when I get up in the morning and try it. Heck, actually, I think I will do it now. I know I am in no mental state to be able to sleep, so maybe it will help me relax. Thanks, I will let you know how it works. You're a dear.
raebeaR - your story touched my heart. I am so sorry for your loss! What a thing to have to go through. Thank you for stepping out here and sharing that with me and giving me some hope. I hope and pray that someday I can look back and say 'I got through it.'
Thank you all again... it's late, and at least I am going to bed with these good ideas and hope in my head. I think tomorrow I need to sit down and write myself out a plan. Some kind of list of things I need to do. If I can get control of one area of my life I think it will be easier to stay in control of my eating.
08-08-2008, 03:23 AM
Tai chi... it's the gift of meditation, clearing & calming ones mind but also has huge physical benefits too. :)
08-08-2008, 06:13 AM
Usually when it gets rough over here I exercise...it gives me something to do and I can distance myself from my problems enough to come back an look at it at a different angle. Other things I do is wildlife photography...it gets dirty and tedious but awesome results that I'm proud of...scrapbooking, cleaning, chewing gum when I feel like I'm about to just say the heck with it ;)
I also suggest a counselor. When hurricane Katrina hit for some reason my whole family and a lot of my friends turned to me for support...while helping everyone else get through their problems (my mom had two heart attacks then broke her neck too) I forgot to grieve and pull myself up. I also gained over 80 pounds in 2 years, yuck! So yeah binging doesn't help one bit. Finally breaking down to see someone this year it has helped me so much! I am on medication for my post traumatic stress and severe depression though.
08-08-2008, 10:52 AM
I am so sorry you are going through such a hard time. I think you have gotten some good advice about counseling and journaling and exercise. You are going through a LOT, so let people support you anyway they can.
It must be so stressful to be facing the health issues with your insurance ending soon. I have some ideas---some you might already know about. If you need financial assistance for your mammo, there are state and grant programs that can help with that. Some have financial or age limitations, but they might be worth checking out. Call your local Planned Parenthood, cause they tend to be very aware of all the programs available. There are often state funded programs that cover paps and mammograms. The Komen foundation also sometimes can help with certain costs. We have a program where I live where the YWCA helps cover the costs of mammograms. There are resources out there, so check them out. Also, at our local Planned Parenthood, there is a small fund of donations that can be accessed for women who cannot afford their care but also don't qualify for other programs.
You are going through more than anyone should ever have to. You know that you are loved and supported here at 3FC. Lean on us and the friends in your real life :) to get through this. This is all tough, but you are tougher.
Reabear, my condolences on the loss of your husband. Thanks for sharing your wisdom here. :hug:
08-08-2008, 11:22 AM
:hug: I'm so sorry to hear about this.
When things get rough for me, I usually hide away in my house, in front of the TV. I actually don't usually turn to food when I'm VERY upset, but I do sleep and I do a lot of lying around, no exercising and nothing recreational.
I also call up/IM this one particular friend of mine to complain and cry to and he at least listens to me even if he has no real advice to offer; just talking to someone usually helps.
I hope everything works out, especially regarding your and your daughter's health. :hug
Regarding your health insurance -- check into state health insurance; if your finances aren't great and especially for your children, you might be able to get coverage that way.
08-08-2008, 11:23 AM
I had no idea there were programs like that for mammograms and paps. THANK YOU. I am going to sit down today and make phone calls to try and find some finanacial help. I am trying to apply for state medical with a co-pay, but they want to count my husband's income, which I have absolutely no access to at this point. Until we are legally not married this is an issue. But maybe the other programs are not so strict about that and can help me. I appreciate it!
08-08-2008, 11:29 AM
Hugs to you!! I too am going through some difficult times right now and trying to cope without turning to bingeing. I am a yeller too. Which really sucks for those around me. So now I go in my vehicle, drive someplace where no one will see me and sit in my car and yell. Or just go out in our grove and yell at a tree. I make bad jokes about the situation. If I lose my sense of humor I will go insane. this most recent "go round" that I am currently dealing with I continue to tell myself...there are many things I cannot control right now, but one thing I CAN control is what I eat. I also know that bad food choices will add to my stress level which will makes things worse. Another stree relieving "skill" I use ( call it a skill cuz Lord knows it isn't a tallent) is singing....in my car, windows rolled up really loud. Sometimes they are feel good up lifting songs, sometimes the hard rock in your face type stuff. My other secret...and PLEASE don't call the men in the with the white jackets that tie in the back...is I stand in front of a mirror and make faces. Hideous twisted contorted faces. It truely relieve tension in my face and can sometimes even envoke a slight case of the giggles.
Prayer and hugs to you during this difficult time!!
08-08-2008, 11:31 AM
I wanted to share that I was pacing a lot last night, had a lot of nervous energy. Went out and walked a bit and then ended up at a grocery store (bad idea) where I bought 2 favorite binge foods: cheese and ice cream (weird I know). I used to easily polish off an 8-oz block of cheese with crackers, and a whole pint of haagen daaz ice cream as PART of a stress binge. And while I am not happy that I went and got those things, I am glad because I only had 2 ounces of cheese, NO crackers, and a half cup of ice cream.
Now I am throwing them away and getting back to eating properly and dealing with the stress in other ways.
I did find a video last night of the Tapping Technique, Kori. I started doing it (following along with the video) and felt some relief so I sat there and did it for like a half hour before I went to bed. I dunno how it works but it did help me and the overwhelmed feeling is much less this morning. I am making lists and getting back in control.
Lemme just say, out of my 5 kids, 3 have chronic health conditions (from birth) that need visits to specialists several hours away at least once a year, and after awhile it just gets exhausting, especially doing this alone. I LOVE my kids, they are absolutely my LIFE and anytime one of them suffers or has the potential for bad news it throws me. This is not going to end anytime soon so I definitely need a counselor and other, healtheir ways to deal with this.
08-08-2008, 11:33 AM
KateB... good idea on the music. I forgot that I used to play some music when I was angry. It is kindof teenage crazy stuff with a heavy beat... not my usual music... but sometimes if I just blasted it, it had some kind of effect on my nervous system that left me feeling relieved.
Off to finmd those CDs...
08-08-2008, 02:07 PM
I second the music!!! Loud, rockin music (preferably live or in the car alone where I can sing along) always takes me to my happy place, clears my head and feeds my spirit.
There is so much great advice in this thread and sounds like we can all relate to using food as our quick stress escape/avoidance vice of choice.
Counseling and planning/prioritizing are great ways to let it out and gain some control, but it's also good to have a regular way to renew and recharge your batteries or just snap your thinking back into place - find your happy place that calms and soothes you through an escape that replaces food.
Writing, crying, yelling, singing, laughing, tv, movies, trashy novels, games, exercise, yoga, mediatating, certain people, places, solitude - everyone has their own way that works best for them.
08-08-2008, 10:18 PM
Wow, I really needed this thread today. We had some layoffs at work today. Not me, thankfully, but it's scary to have people you've worked with for years suddenly gone. It was the sort of day where I had to work overtime to get everything done but the company doesn't pay overtime, and I had to deal with some pushy, annoying strangers. I got home thinking how nice it would be to have some comfort food. I decided to delay it until after coming here. I read this, with all of these people who have never even met coming together to support each other, and it makes me feel better about the world. I don't know that is especially helpful to you, but I thought I'd express my gratitude. I just listened to the ice cream truck come and go outside, and that feels good.
I don't know how your community is set up, but here the county has some public health money to offer mammograms for free if you qualify. It's been in the newspaper. They also offer mental health services, but I don't know about costs or anything. I've just seen it in the phone book. And the state offers some children's health insurance.
I went through a period of being completely overwhelmed and used a technique that might help you. It helped me to stop with volume binges, although I'm still working on eating in a way that will help me lose weight.
Take a piece of paper and divide it in two. On one side, list everything that worries you. Everything you can think of, from far-out worries ("I'll forget to put on my pants before I leave the house.") to very real worries ("I'll get cancer again.") On the other side of the paper, write one of three things. 1. A practical step you can and will take to deal with this worry this week. It doesn't have to solve it, just take it in a positive direction. Like call to see if you can find a free or reduced mammogram or put a note on the inside of your door that says, "Don't forget the pants." If you choose this option, you are making a decision to take this action this week, so be careful you don't do this too often and make yourself more work than you can accomplish. 2. Decide there is nothing practical you can do to affect this worry. One of mine was that I'll be caught in a random terrorist attack. Admitting that I can't change a situation helped me to accept and make peace with it. 3. Decide there are things you can do, even list those things, but that you aren't going to be able to do them this week and you will deal with that worry later.
Then, make a list of the things you have said you'll do this week to help work on the things that worry you and check them off as you do them. The reason you're doing this is because you're going to seal the full list of worries in an envelope or put it somewhere and not look at it for a week or longer.
If you do this for several weeks, you can see how you're making progress on your worries, especially if you don't look at the old lists for awhile. Or you can see that you have options you're choosing to not exercise. You can "think about that worry later."
I know it helped me to feel more in control, overall. Maybe I'll start doing this again, actually.
08-08-2008, 10:52 PM
Just another idea about health care... You may want to try speaking with the Billing office at your local hospital and ask if you can apply for ... sorry horrible names... but, charity care, or free care... I used to work in a billing office and processed a lot of cases which ended up 'free'. People filled out an application and if they qualified they took care of old bills too... Perhaps as a temporary thing to help... I'm pretty sure certain hospitals cannot 'deny' care to anyone.... always a good contact at a hospital is the 'ombudsman', you should be able to reach 'that person' by asking the main hospital operator.
08-09-2008, 12:02 PM
Thanks again guys. Ufi that is a very good list idea. I like that. I am a list person.
I just want to say it helps SO MUCH to have this place to come every morning, read about all your successes and struggles, and feel not alone. And I care about your struggles too. I know we will get through all our 'stuff.' This is almost like having the sisters I always wanted. Thanks...