To continue on with discussing my battle with mental health, I wanted to talk about addiction. I think everyone is capable of becoming addicted to something in life, be it gambling, drugs, alcohol, or in my case, food. To me, food addiction is a very real thing, but I want to delve slightly deeper into the situation on the whole.
I firmly believe that mental health issues can cause or exacerbate addiction and I also feel that addiction can cause mental health issues too. In my case, when I’m going through periods of low mood and anxiety, my addiction to food is high. When I’m feeling ok, I’m able to control my eating a lot better, so the addiction in my opinion isn’t as strong.
People reading this who know me will know I’m a big guy where weight is concerned. However, I want to make it clear that if someone is fat, they are still hurt by comments from people calling them fat, or a fat c*nt, as one fellow Sheffield Wednesday fan recently put it. People see the effects of addiction but rather than try and understand or empathise, they use it as a way to beat you down, which in turn keeps the person in a negative cycle.
What is strange in my case and something that I don’t quite understand is that I suffer a lot with health anxiety. So, every pain I get in my chest I think is a heart attack for example. However, being morbidly obese and not doing much exercise is the route to a heart attack, Afraid of dying, but putting myself on the track to an early death in a way. This is why sometimes mental health issues confuse me, but it’s also how I know I’m addicted to food.
When you have an addiction to something, you’re aware of the consequences in a way, but you sort of put them to the back of your mind at the time. My issue has always been overeating or binge eating. In the past, and still to this day, I see what I class as tasty food as a sort of reward, which is entirely the wrong way to look at food in general.
People will also have heard of comfort eating, where people eat to feel better. I’m not sure this is the case with me, or whether it has been. It’s more down to the fact that there’s simply no portion control, there is no control in general, and herein lies the problem with some mental health issues such as anxiety.
Anxiety, to me, when I feel I’ve got it under control, I’m ok. However, with food, when the anxiety levels are high or the mood is low, I feel that I can’t control portion size or the amount of grub I eat. When I generally feel ok, food isn’t on my mind that much at all and I will just eat relatively normally throughout the day.
There are a lot of excuses that go with addiction too, and this applies to me and foodiction also. I’ll often say that healthier food tastes bland or that I can’t make time to cook good food. While I have tasted a lot of healthy food which is bland, and while my time is limited, these are just excuses. You only have to trawl Instagram for ten minutes to find Slimming World meal ideas for example.
I’ve found myself needing order in my life and structure. This has proven the best way for me to stay productive and to sort of fend off the low mood and anxiety at times. When I’m feeling ok, I can stick to meal plans. I did the Atkins years ago and lost a hell of a lot of weight, but when low mood and anxiety set it, the wheels came off. I’ve done meal delivery and this is great for me as it requires little effort,but when the low mood and anxiety hits, it’s the same outcome.
There’s no denying that I’m addicted to food and I think many other people out there are, whether they’re willing to admit it or not. I do notice that anxiety and low mood plays a big role in it too, and I’m trying to find the solution where I can have a substantial period of feeling ok, or I’m able to battle on and persevere regardless.
Many will suggest exercise, and that will be discussed in the very near future.
I hope people are finding these more personal articles interesting to read as I do feel it’s important to talk about all things mental health. Thanks if you made it this far.