Hello, my name is Jackie, and I have depression. And a food addiction. Which is a bad combination, and, unfortunately, all too common.
I’m coming out and writing this with the hope of helping the many others who suffer from emotional eating.
Those who are around me on a daily basis know I’m usually a happy, bubbly creature. Very few get to see the other side of me, who sits on her bed, self-loathing and lonely, while stuffing my face with whatever junk food I can find. That pizza temporarily soothes the pain of being alone on a Friday night, with nobody on this planet who really understands me. And heck, it tastes so awesome. But the next day, I face the scale, and look at the fat bulges that won’t go away, and I feel even worse.
Yes, I have taken medication since my mid-twenties for my, uh, “chemical imbalance.” And it’s not my fault that my body naturally has serotonin issues. But the medicine isn’t perfect, and staying on top of my moods is a daily struggle.
Over the past two years, I have learned more control over my emotional eating, thanks to Weight Watchers and my newfound love of running and triathlon. Losing weight and finding a passion in training and competing has given me hope…and that hope is what makes me say “no” to an after-dinner ice cream binge.
However, that monster called Depression is always there, lurking in some dark corner like a hairy tarantula, waiting to pounce and sink its fangs into my soul.
Reminding me that I’m not good enough. Not pretty enough. Not capable of being loved by a man. Not worthy of being called a triathlete…or a musician…or even a normal human being. Telling me the world would be better without me.
And I know some of you have felt that way too…shrouded by a dark hopelessness that doesn’t seem to lift.
Sadly, there are many Christians like myself that suffer from depression, but the whole subject seems taboo in the church. I mean, hey, shouldn’t we be happy all the time? God loves us, Jesus died for our sins, and everything is great. Right? But sometimes we pray, and pray, and that fog just doesn’t lift. We can’t talk about it with anyone because we think others will think we’re weak, or overemotional, or not spiritual enough, or we think they just won’t understand. So we’re stuck…and for some, it’s too late.
Maybe what we need is a support group for those who suffer from both depression and food addiction. Maybe not even a formal meeting, but a way to check in with someone and ask if they’re okay. After all, it’s a daily struggle and nobody needs to walk alone.
I also believe more of us need to share our stories of triumph over these issues. We need to let others know that there is hope, and they’re not alone. A lot of us have overcome obstacles, and a dark past…places that others may currently be in.
And we need to be aware that, yes, it is a daily struggle for some of us. Maybe there are solutions that work for us that may help someone else. Prayer, light to moderate exercise–even a nice walk in the sunshine, uplifting music, or just getting out with some friends, are just a few things that might help. Sometimes, counseling is helpful to those who have gone through tragedy or a difficult childhood. If we can get to the root of why we seek food for comfort maybe we can stop self-medicating with it.