When I am feeling anxious like…let’s say…when a politician I’ve ranted about before has been accused of sexual misconduct and yet it looks like my state is still going to elect him…all I want is sweet relief. All I want is to calm the pain and the anxiety and the sadness that is coursing through my veins. I have two choices in those panic attack moments…bask in the pain of the attack itself, or find a relief that has worked in the past.
Is it running? No. Running helps a moderate day get better, but it’s not going to help me when I’m spiraling out of control.
Nope. Something way less healthy.
The McDonald’s drive-thru. Or really any of several unhealthy food establishments which I have in my arsenal of anxiety medication.
Here’s the thing. When my belly is beyond full of unhealthy food, my anxiety is soothed. And this is the crux of my stress eating. IT FREAKIN’ WORKS. I am still sad and worried but the spiral I was pummeling down this morning when I woke and saw people defending Roy Moore…that spiral slowed down significantly after I stuffed my face full of greasy breakfast food.
And when you KNOW it works and you KNOW it’s a relatively affordable solution (my therapy costs $140 a session, I bought breakfast with the quarters in my change cup in my car) it’s hard not to hit the bottle, so to speak.
I’m not telling you this for any reason just because I know a lot of you have commiserated with me about stress eating. It’s a very real thing that has a very real positive effect and the positive effect it has on my spiral PALES in comparison to any sort of negative feelings I’ll have later. I mean, MUCH later when I’ve gained 30lbs (which I have) I feel terrible, but later that day? Not really. Because I’ve given myself a pass to eat shitty all day then and my days where I can eat what I want are way less stressful than trying to eat “right”.
It’s ugly and it’s terrible but I wanted to share the anatomy of a breakdown-stopped-by-food with you because I’m certain you can relate.