I’m just not hungry

Out of all the unhealthy (I originally used the word negative – but thanks to e.nice decided to change that mindset – thanks E!) coping mechanisms I’ve used in my lifetime, there are two left that I struggle with regularly: disordered eating and alcohol. 

Before I go further – a disclaimer – I use the term ‘unhealthy’ coping mechanisms with recognition that they served me well and assisted me in my survival and have simply become maladaptive for me. That does not mean I think they are wrong or bad for anyone else. In fact, I have learned to see them as not wrong at all, but simply a life raft that I am carrying on dry land now. I needed them when I was stuck in the ocean, or else I would have drowned. I in no way intend to reflect my definition of what is ‘unhealthy’ onto everyone else as we all are just doing our best to survive this messy world we live in. 

Moving on. 

I’ve got alcohol somewhat under control. I’ve gone through periods of being sober and now fiancé and I have an agreement where he tells me if he notices it getting excessive or negative. I work in marketing where alcohol is basically a part of every meeting, but I try not to drink at home and I’ve learned definitely do not drink if sad and alone.

My Mom, by all definitions, is an alcoholic. A functioning alcoholic, but an alcoholic nonetheless. I’m feeling guilty writing that because I am conditioned that to love someone means never saying anything bad about them or questioning their actions ever but it’s true. I’m also afraid she will stumble on to this blog and find it, or my Dad will, and I will be cast out of my family even though Lu (my bestie) is the only real life person I know with this link. Regardless, alcohol was modelled as a solution from day 1 so no real surprise there that I adopted it the second I turned 19. 

Additionally when I go home I’m essentially drunk the whole time. My Mom is a lot easier to handle while drunk. Especially if she is drunk. If she’s drunk and I’m sober, it’s the worst. If we are both drunk, then it doesn’t seem as bad. 

I live 4000 miles away from them – my alcohol coping is good here, great, actually. But once I step foot on land there, watch out old behaviours. 

I tried to bring it up with my Dad once, my Mom’s drinking and how it affected us and he was like “yes but she’s an adult” and “she can do what she wants” and “she’s been through so much”. But I’m sorry (I’m apologizing for judging her behaviour, anybody else catch that?) nobody should drink a bottle plus of wine a night. And when I ask her when the last time she didn’t drink was, she can’t tell me. I’m willing to bet it’s over 5+ years ago. 

And when my fiancé is upset with me for my alcohol consumption at times I remember I wish that my Dad was like that with my Mom and I really try to listen to him. 

So I have ground rules around alcohol. It’s under control when I am in my home, I enjoy it, I’m not afraid to stop if I have a hard time. I know that I can, I’ve stopped before. It’s a loud coping mechanism. It’s the Hulk of my coping mechanisms.

My disordered eating however is not. It’s sinister and quiet. It slinks back into my life when I’m not noticing and then all of a sudden I don’t eat for 24+ hours a time. I have to look at a clock for cues about when I should be fuelling my body. But I’m just not hungry

And that’s where I am right now. I am just not hungry. It’s not a good thing and I’m managing to get at least one full meal in a day but I know it’s a sign of my impending trip home. When I feel like something is about to be out of my control my disordered eating habits slip back in and it’s because I need control.

Anyone else have go to coping mechanisms they don’t completely understand? I know that they served a purpose once (along with other, more damaging ways of dealing with pain), and I honour that, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a struggle. 


12 thoughts on “I’m just not hungry

  1. I also like to use “ineffective” (from DBT) because there is a recognition the coping isn’t working anymore, or also “unskillful” (that is from my therapist). Because it may not be the most skillful way of coping anymore, and you (we all) want to build more skilled ways of responding to emotions and pain.
    I have had so many self-harmful and unskillful ways of coping over the last 12-15 years. Slowly, they are falling away. The food stuff also has taken me awhile to gain more nuanced insight around. Right now, it is eating more than I really need to be eating, and looking into why I am eating – what else am I wanting and needing? The eating in the evening for comfort, or when I am alone, continues to be an area I look into. And like you, sometimes in the moment, I don’t know why I am doing it. But the inquiry helps clarify, slowly over time. It is hard that these processes take so much time.
    PS sounds like you were conditioned for the drinking, given your family. You didn’t have examples of healthy coping, so makes sense to me that you would drink. We come by these coping methods quite honestly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey Rachel 🙂 thank you for your comment. I also really like ineffective or unskillful. I especially like unskillful.

      You’re right, we do come by these coping mechanisms quite honestly. Drinking is an every day thing in my parents world and therefore it was quite normal in mine.

      And it is so hard that these processes take so much time – and so unfair, it seems. But the only way out is through.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The eating thing is tough to recognize. Many people use food as a coping tool, the body’s natural response to stress can be to eat more (preparing for times of famine) or to eat less (staying in an alert, all system’s go). Plus the cultural aspect of food as a comfort or punishment. Its pretty complicated! I tend to use the term “unhealthy coping skill” rather then negative.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Similar to you, plus self-harm (very rarely). I also try to honor that these coping mechanisms helped me survive but are just no longer adaptable. It’s okay to slide back into what’s comfortable every now and again, as long as I’m willing to explore that relapse.

    Liked by 1 person

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