Yesterday I did the Third Saturday Support Group. This is a three-hour program offered in my office on the third Saturday of the month; it has been going on, with the help and hard work of Marty Lerner, PhD, from Milestones, for seventeen years. I love seeing my clients in this relaxed setting.
Our topic yesterday was the Five S’s of Food Sanity. We talked about a lot of things, and the plans and processes that make the food sane.
But one of the things that came up in the group, and after, was the PAIN that the food was used to cover! There was a time in your life when you had some sort of physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual pain and food was the only thing available to medicate the PAIN. So, the food did it and did it well.
The food most often used to medicate the PAIN was refined, processed, man-made and low nutrient food – and what have now become your personal drug and trigger foods. Over time, and because of the repeated use, you developed a change in your ability to handle certain neurotransmitters in your brain, most often dopamine and endorphins. That means that more food was required to get the same effect. And it means that if you stop using the food, you become more depressed and your appetite seems insatiable.
Eventually those neurotransmitters are damaged. The only relief is more and more food to get the result, or even just to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. The research is clear that processed foods and sugary drinks hijack the brain in ways that are similar to addictions to cocaine and other drugs. There are only two ways to solve this problem – continue eating ever increasing amounts of these foods, or live through the withdrawal and allow the body and mind to re-stabilize themselves.
And then, to add more problems, the issue you were eating to handle, comes back up in your face! The person who behaves in ways you find unacceptable, still does that. The memories of earlier trauma are triggered by a current life situation. The struggle of not having, being, doing, or becoming the person you want to be; of not having created in your life the things you really wanted; they are right at the front of your mind. If you have any physical pain issues, they will flare. If you struggle with that idea of a Higher Power, or feel angry towards it, that will appear. So how do you handle this?
Whenever the stress in your life increases, you must increase your support activities to match it. That may mean eight hours of sleep a night. It may mean more contact with people you can trust. It may mean more pleasant activities (like knitting, jigsaw puzzles, petting the dog, cuddling with someone special, adult coloring books, a good novel, a trip to the beach, joking with a grandson, wrapping in a soft blanket and taking a nap) whatever makes you feel supported.
Some feelings ebb and flow like ocean waves. But feelings never leave until you feel them and hear their message, and perhaps take ACTION to handle the situation. Taking ACTION is the hardest part.
You may need to get help from a physician if you feel physical PAIN, or a therapist or support group to handle the emotional issues. You may need to draw boundaries with others. You may need to take charge of those repetitive thoughts that run around and around in your brain and make you feel miserable.
Eating abusively will not help this; it will prolong your PAIN. It is scary to take these actions, and that is what is necessary for you to get free. Let the right people help you.
Be welcome to comment about this or other posts; tell us, “What works for you? How do you handle your PAIN best?”
Blessings to you,