Stomachs Speak

Antonio's Pizza

Antonio’s Pizza (Photo credit: The Pizza Review)

When I’m upset, I can’t eat. When its miserably hot and humid I can only eat certain foods, fruit, cold veggies and gazpacho, When I’m worried I don’t eat a thing. But, when I’m unhappy, I can eat the entire refrigerator plus everything in our pantry and then order a medium pizza with extra cheese and mushrooms. Why is that?

I guess you would call me an “Emotional Eater.” Lately, I haven’t been emotional so my weight has been low. No, don’t  do a cheer, don’t be jealous or wag that finger at me and say you’d like to change places because when I’m happy all those jeans that I just put in the basement fit me. I love food, I ENJOY f00d and fantasize about food and now I don’t care. For a foodie it isn’t fun. Trust me. Maybe I’m depressed?

I also don’t know my body image which is a little scary. I was talking to a woman outside a gym that I contemplated joining for two months and I said my concern was that there would be only 20- somethings and skinny girls there. This woman glanced at me oddly. I am, by no means, thin, but the way I was talking, it sounded like I was really overweight and that’s how I felt. Scary stuff. This nice woman was overweight and I only realized when I left I sounded like a crazy person. I think there’s a term for this Body Dysmorphic Disorder?  I’ll have to look it up but my sense is that you don’t act the way you really look or you think you look a different way than other people perceive you. I’ll have to ask my shrink.

Which basically gives my mother, yes, she the mother who “left the NY Times page open to the fat camp for girls” for me to see on the kitchen table when I was a young teen, totally perplexed. For all those years that she looked up and down my chubby, curvaceous body with a critical eye, now is lecturing me on being too thin. “You should eat more” she says, “how about dessert” Do I have a shot at winning here?  You really don’t have to answer, I know. Mother-daughter relationships can be very complicated, or am I the only one?

It’s too hot to eat but I’ve been drinking plenty of liquids to keep me hydrated. What I don’t understand is that even with the air-conditioning on, I still feel hot and I still feel the humidity.Does the fact that I have Fibromyalgia make things different? I can’t win because in a matter of weeks, months, I’ll be complaining about the cold weather, shivering, my bones freezing at the slightest wind and I will be wearing my down jacket in the fall. The only advantage of winter is that I’ll be hungry and will feel like cooking, pea soup, stews, banana bread, muffins.  Now? Not so much.

Glass of Lemon Water II

Glass of Lemon Water II (Photo credit: MEL810)

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Fibro Frights And Fatal Fantasies

 

anxiety

Image by FlickrJunkie via Flickr

 

I messed up and didn’t realize that the PFAM’s ( Patients For A Moment) blog carnival deadline was by midnight tonight. The subject was fear. I’m wondering if deep inside I just didn’t feel up to writing, competing, finishing or if I was dissassocating myself from the project. I was going to talk about the web of anxiety and how it feels when it starts to swell in my stomach. It always starts in my stomach beginning with a slight twinge, quickly advancing to panic and anxiety. My arms and legs feel tingly and somehow not connected to my body, I am alternately hot and cold or both together.

The first time that queasy sensation started was the summer before my freshmen year at college.  I was eating dinner with my family in a fancy Italian restaurant in Queens, NY.  I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t speak, it was the first time I had ever felt anxious and I remember calling it “cold dread.” How could I explain this new, horrible feeling when I had never experienced it before? How do you name something you do not know?

Those fearful sensations in my body became like a close cousin to me. We lived as if we were conjoined; I could not separate reality from frightful fantasies. It was something that I have learned to live with and deal with.  I started with a tiny germ of truth and blew it up out of proportion. There was no stopping my obsessive worrying, nothing helped: warm milk, hot baths, reading a book, distraction.  I remember a time when I was sitting in the trolley in Boston and thought what I had whispered to my friend was overheard by someone else and I became overwhelmed and frightened. What if? What if? It became a wakeful nightmare for me.  I did a lot of catastrophizing back then and even now, once in a while, it still tries to creep into my brain. I need to forcefully push it away, as if an intruder was about to enter and I had to slam the door hard, with brute force.  Sometimes that is enough, sometimes it isn’t.

My cousin’s stomach ache could be pancreatic cancer,  my sister’s low throaty voice could mean she was manic, my narrow-angled glaucoma could make me blind in a second.  I worked with a hot-headed, explosive employee that I thought, for sure, would bring a gun to a grievance meeting and shoot us all. I remember strategically seating myself closest to the door, just in case. I lived in a world of tragedy, of horrendous outcomes, death, madness, cancer, stroke, coma, terrorist attacks, murder, mayhem and more. “Health and welfare” is what I worry about as I tried to succinctly wrap it up like an adorned Christmas present, perfect silver wrapping with a tight red bow.

The truth of the matter is that now we DO live in a fearful world and something COULD happen.  Fear perpetuates fear and even while  I am writing this down I feel the first fingers of anxiety like a gray mouse with darting eyes. I take deep cleansing breathes. I ask myself questions: “what are the odds of that happening?” The media doesn’t help: “Don’t go to public places when you are traveling in Europe” What? Of course we would go to public  places if we were in Europe. Is too much information just too much?  I refuse to watch the news on TV before I go to sleep.  The only thing we can do is try to push the worry aside and live as normally as we can; even if it takes enormous strength and effort. Carpe Diem as they said at Boston College where I worked: Seize The Day, as best as you can.