I can't eat. Please advise.
September 29, 2013 6:16 AM Subscribe
My depression took a turn for the worse a couple of weeks ago and I've barely been able to eat anything. This is bad for my psychiatric as well as physical health. I could really use some advice on how to take care of myself despite my loss of appetite.
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (27 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Gory details here.
First, background: I've struggled with serious depression for a long time, and it took a long time to develop a medication regimen that made even the slightest dent in it. I am on a combination of drugs that is the result of some pretty intricate tinkering and the counsel of a lot of Expert Opinions, and I'm probably as well medicated as I can possibly be.
Then, the turn for the worse: Nonetheless, being medicated doesn't make me immune to difficult and painful feelings. I have had a lot of extreme setbacks in the past year and have been feeling pretty bad about life because of it, but about two weeks ago I became dramatically more depressed. Nothing really precipitated it; I think I just am very worn down by my situation (short summary: nearly 40, unemployed, without children or partner, and living with my parents) and am having more and more trouble coping.
The problem: For the past two weeks, I can barely bring myself to eat. I have no appetite. I don't feel hungry. I get no pleasure from food and trying to eat something feels laborious. I have to make a concerted effort to get down a few bites of, say, salmon or something else that's nutritive, and then I can't seem to force myself to eat any more. I have been eating some oatmeal in the morning and try to get down a hard boiled egg or something like that at some point during the day, and then can stomach a slice of bread or so at night. This has been accompanied by more general anhedonia (failure to get pleasure out of things), having a hard time bringing myself to do basic stuff like shower, being overwhelmed by minor tasks, finding interacting with people exhausting, and generally being unable to do much except the very minimum.
This is unprecedented. In the past, during bad periods, I tended to overeat and engage in emotional eating, and I've always had a very active appetite regardless of how much physical activity I'm engaging in. I'm the kind of person who carries a bag of almonds everywhere in case I suddenly need to nosh, which is usually pretty frequently. I am generally on the slimmer side of things but not extremely so.
I know this is a really bad thing. Eating properly is part of basic self-care, and not eating enough of a healthy diet is bad for you mentally and physically. I don't think I've lost weight- historically, my body has stuck pretty stubbornly to the same number on the scale, and my clothes feel the same- but I feel awful. I'm freezing all the time. My body aches. I look awful. Every day I feel like I've pulled an all-nighter even though I'm oversleeping (10-12 hours a night). I'm sure the lack of calories is not helping either my mood or my motivation. Strangely enough I'm not feeling lightheaded or faint, and I don't have an explanation for that.
I have an appointment to see my psychiatrist next Weds. but I'm not sure how much help he can offer other than state the obvious, which is that I'm depressed. I hoped folks here might have some ideas about how to stimulate my appetite and do better at eating.
Some data points: I have recently had my thyroid checked and it's normal. For reference, I take Welbutrin, Trazadone, Trilafon, and Zoloft. I really don't like the sensation of being high so I don't think buying myself a nickel bag to give myself the munchies is a good option (I also am painfully clueless as to how one would go about purchasing drugs).
I really appreciate your thoughts.