Food and Grief

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Over the past years, many articles and ideas have come out about grief and the grieving process.

Recently loosing my little ray of sunshine , my dog "Teddy" ( my baby), I experienced a grief like no other. I had been off work just the year before due to an injury and had spent the entire time ( 18 months)with this little guy as my constant companion. When I was suffering the most, he was the only one I wanted around. He gave me comfort and, yes, even someone to talk too.

One week was all we had from finding out he had a rare form of throat cancer to having to release him from terrible suffering. I held him in my arms when he died and still feel the emptiness. Sometimes I think, "If only I could hold him just one more time."

FOOD became a comfort to me and I began eating almost as often as I cried.
After crying almost non stop for 2 weeks, bursting into tears at the mention of his name,and eating chocolate, and sweet foods eachtime, I started using the internet to read anything I could on how and why I felt so utterly sick inside.

What I read was that when we feel a loss we look to other things for comfort, I read that being angry is normal, I read that we all handle it differently, I read that there is a plan and we just don't understand, I read that other people have gone through it and I am not alone, I read .............yada yada yada... WHAT I READ was that people are even more screwed up and unsure of why we do things that hurt us when we are hurting and grieving than I am.

What I learned for myself and by myself , well that's what matters.
It took me 2 months to understand, that it was ok to feel bad and even more ok to console myself with chocolate or sweets to feel better. Every single person experiences grief differently and if you are a person like me that uses food for comfort, well then so be it. . Grief, depression, food are a vicious circle. I am sad , so I become depressed , I am depressed so I eat, I eat which makes me sad , I am sad so it makes me depressed, I am depressed so I eat even more ..... Not only is it a circle but it is a downward spiral if you keep getting upset because you eat, on top of being already depressed.

The point is , you need to be able to be honest with yourself and see where you are and where you are going. If you are sad and food makes it better that don't make yourself feel worse for making yourself feel better by food.

I would not recommend this approach for long term depression, obviously, that is a matter best left up to the so called " experts." I am talking about grief and sadness which we need to work out for ourselves at our own pace and in our own way.

Give yourself credit for knowing whats best for you. Allow yourself grief, allow yourself food, but most of all allow yourself time.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sometimes we just react automatically. Sometimes we become aware of what we are doing. And when that happens we begin to be able to make changes. Food for me was the only way I knew how to get through pain. And food for me was really not good. It only gave me a temporary relief and the later bad feelings about myself for eating. I have learned now there are other ways. Blogging. LIstening to music. Walking. Being with other people. You have to find your own things that work. So next time you have something else to turn to. I'm really sorry about your pup. I still miss mine after 10 years. It's good you are writing.
    2620 days ago
    Laura, thank you for expressing what you've been feeling, for sharing with us. Losing a beloved pet is AWFUL, as many of us know, and I agree, consoling yourself with extra sweets (or whatever) isn't the end of the world; and as you said, it's not a long-term solution. I'm glad you now have Marlo, and I know he gives you great pleasure - not as a substitute or Teddy, but as a new loved one. emoticon
    2633 days ago
    I'm sorry for you losing you baby. I understand completely what you are feeling. My old dog Brandy died of the same thing on 2000(strange), and in 2007 I had to put my very first cat down to cancer. My grief was unbelievable. There was such empiness in my house, in me, in everything.

    I actually got my Bailey to help with losing Levi. It took my mind off of missing her, and he kept me going. I did not replace Levi, I simply replaced the whole in my heart.

    2633 days ago
    I never knew that my daughter had all this wisdom in her. I am proud of you for being able to explain it so clearly. I am proud of you because you are you. I am proud of you because you are. emoticon I miss Teddy too.
    2634 days ago
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