My Journey with Food Addiction (part 2)

So, I gave at lot of the back story in my last post, and I’m still not finished “setting the stage” so to speak…..

The article I mentioned yesterday says this,

“The idea that a person can be addicted to food has recently gotten more support from science.

Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. Once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain’s reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.”

While I didn’t understand that I was attempting to get “high”…..that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. This last year has been the most intense as far as this goes.

When I started taking Anti-Anxiety meds back in November 2012, something shifted. During the Cancer Era – I had been having a glass of wine at night to try to relax…..when I started taking the meds…..I didn’t need to. It was incredible. I felt amazing. I got pregnant about a month later and went off the meds for the sake of the baby. It was pretty close to the WORST 12 weeks of my life. Not only was I anxious about possibly miscarrying the baby, but it wasn’t a planned pregnancy, and it would mean we would have 6 kids – and on top of the chaos we already had…… Add into the mix that I had just experienced the most amazing moments of medicated peace and calm and the insanely high intensity levels of anxiety I was now experiencing was in sharp contrast to that. I did traumatically miscarry that baby, and ended the night with a trip to the ER in an ambulance. The only positive to that particular night was that I started taking the anti-anxiety meds again. I was so hopeful that the peace and calm I had felt before I got pregnant was just a wait away…..

I’m not sure why it didn’t happen like that. Maybe the 12 weeks of terror did a huge number on me…..maybe the trauma of that night messed with me….all I know is that I needed to increase the dose and then again and then again and then again……I was drinking something most every night….not to get drunk, but just to take the edge off…it wasn’t working……Food was always something that made me feel good. I didn’t really see that, but looking back, I was definitely eating for comfort. Ice Cream, Chocolate, cookies, cakes, sugar cereal (not all at once, at least not usually)…..Jon would ask me how I didn’t feel gross after eating all that junk….but I didn’t. Not right then anyway. I’d feel horrible after, but it was more “shame” from the fact that I’d eaten over a day’s worth of calories in a few minutes. But, I couldn’t seem to stop myself and it was definitely a comforting thing, and really….my life was so stressful and I felt like I was breaking……..surely I deserved some kind of a reprieve from the overwhelming feelings that I was feeling.

I remember over this past summer, thinking to myself that I HATED food. I was so sick of the fact that I had to eat and I wondered if there was some way that I could just take supplements so that I wouldn’t have to go through the brutal cycles of eating and overeating and under-eating. I just didn’t want to have anything to do with food any more.

I must have realized that there was something triggered by food but it was in no way a conscious thought. Just fleeting thoughts that 20+ years is a long time to have been dealing with this “food issue”. Especially when it was required for sustenance. I remember thinking, “How do I deal with something that I require? Life would be so much simpler if I could just avoid it all together…….”

It got so bad. I was drinking something every night and eating huge amounts of crap and it wasn’t working… was like I’d become immune to my “drug of choice” and increasing the amounts wasn’t helping….I was starting to think and dream about actual drugs…..both prescribed and illegally obtained. I’ve never done drugs aside from the ones prescribed to me, but I wanted to. I thought about it. I dreamed about it. I was searching and hoping for something to blur or numb the emotional, mental and physical intensity of my life………..

And like I said in my last post, I don’t even remember how I started reading about Food Addiction, but I did….and it was like a whole new life started…….

A photo posted by Xangelle (@pattic) on

October 20th is a day I will probably always remember…….it’s the day that knowledge became power for me.

Author: Patricia Culley

I'm the ringmaster of my own circus. Just trying to stay one step ahead of the monkeys.

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