I was just reading this article in the New York Times by Diana Spechler from March about depression, weight, body image, and going off her meds. Here are some excerpts that resonated with me.
I eat and eat until I’m horrified by all the eating I’ve done. I eat more. I speed-eat. I’m in a Dorito-eating contest with myself…On bupropion, food didn’t hold the appeal it had once held. It became a bit of a chore, chewing food. For the first time in my life, I would forget to have lunch, leave burritos half uneaten, find myself unable to finish dessert. It should be reflexive — to eat when we’re hungry, to stop when we’re satisfied — but this was the first time I could remember my brain receiving those messages. A genie had granted the wish that I had been making since I was a teenager: Release me from my food fixation…I wish that I’d aged out of this. I wish that my feminism protected me from this. But I’ll likely wind up dieting again, doing calorie math in my head, because few things make me feel as hopeful or invigorated.
Over the last few days and weeks I realized that I really hate myself so much. I’m so ashamed of my life. But instead of hurting or killing myself I stuff myself with food until I’m numb and high and my record-player thoughts slow down. But the fix is short-lived and then I hate myself again until my mouth is stuffed again.
It was really rough with my in-laws staying with us. My mother-in-law criticizes my father-in-law about his eating, which made me feel self-conscious about my own. She also talked about her grandparents who were survivors of WWII who just kept going despite the trauma, which made me feel bad that my mom committed suicide, and that I have suicidal tendencies.
I don’t think the Viibryd (vilazodone) is helping. My therapist recommended Lamictal, which is really a mood stabilizer. Need to meet with my psychiatrist again. I’m still so unhappy about my weight, our financial situation, our dumpy apartment and long commute, parenting, and my career prospects. I realized over the last 18 months I spent about $750 on Weight Watchers and didn’t meet any of my goals. I’m going to try Overeaters Anonymous, tracking food on my FitBit app, which is free. I asked my husband to do the dishes because when I’m in the kitchen I just binge ridiculously. I’m going to do my exercises for my hip and core and glutes, and buy a new Just Dance game for the Wii.
So last fall I was doing physical therapy (PT) as a sort of “pre-hab” to see if I could avoid having arthroscopic surgery on the labral tear on my hip. I also started my MS program. I still managed to go to weight watchers but didn’t achieve my goals. I ended up deciding to go off Zoloft in September 2014 to see if that would help with my weight loss. Took one class two nights a week. I did manage to lose a a few pounds, even after having my surgery in February.
My spring semester was really busy: classes four nights a week, plus working full time, doing PT and spending time with my husband and two girls. I managed not to binge too much. But then my therapist started mentioning that I seemed depressed and anxious and recommended going back on meds. I was really scared to because I feared I would gain weight. I tried Brintellix (vortioxetine) , which isn’t supposed to affect your weight, but I felt worse. Really stressed out with all the kids’ whining. Then school ended and I had to go home every day instead of getting to go to class and stimulating my mind. I signed up for some free online classes to try to get ahead. I also applied for a few new jobs and did one round of interviews before pulling out because it’s not a good fit. I ended up officially quitting weight watchers because I only went a few times in the Spring semester, and I feel so stressed about money. Thinking of seeing a financial counselor.
Embed from Getty Images
I ended up stopping Brintellix and trying Viibryd (vilazodone). I’ve been on it a month and now I’m at my highest non-pregnant weight since 2011: 158! I’m thinking of joining a Binge Eating or Eating Disorders support group to try to improve my body image. But then part of me just wants to lose weight so I feel better about myself. I constantly feel judged. By my co-workers, friends, strangers, in-laws. What can’t I like me the way I am? Should I just go back to Weight Watchers? I’m crying all the time, and officially you’re not supposed to do Weight Watchers if you have an eating disorder.
But I really want to lose weight before my 20th reunion in 2016. I also hate being so fat and ugly in all our family pics with the kids.
I’m trying hard to not feel like this year has been wasted, but that’s kind of what I feel like…
Sometimes I wonder how much my hormones and medications I take affect my weight. I feel so stressed all the time that I wonder if my cortisol levels are high. I remember my mom pushing me to get my thyroid tested to see if that was leading to my weight gain in college and then graduate school. I think my results showed that things weren’t quite average, but not so far out of the normal range. And then I’ve been on SSRIs and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (NRI, NERIs) for almost all of my adult life, and many of them have side effects of weight gain. Also while breastfeeding I’ve also taken domperidone (DPD) to help with my milk supply, and weight gain is also a side effect.
When I had success on Weight Watchers in 2011-2012 and hit my lifetime goal I had been off Zoloft for a few months. All the other times I was unsuccessful at WW and Jenny Craig I was on anti-depressants. I’m trying to taper off of Zoloft again to see if that helps, but now I’m feeling more depressed again. My psychiatrist mentioned a few other anti-depressants with no weight gain side effects, but they aren’t compatible with breastfeeding. I just tapered slowly off of DPD, but I’m still having trouble resisting my urge to binge. I feel kind of down and wish that I had more time for myself to exercise and prepare healthy foods. My youngest daughter is almost one, so I plan on gradually weaning soon. Now that I’m not breastfeeding her and pumping as much I want to start taking yoga classes again. I think if we can all get some more sleep in our home that will help too. I wish I had more success at managing my weight when I was single and childless so that I wouldn’t feel so overwhelmed now.
Has anyone else noticed a connection between their depression/medications/hormones and weight? What can we do to still have success at losing weight even with depression? Sometimes I feel like there are so many things stacked against me, how can I still succeed? I feel like I can’t talk about all of these things at my WW meetings, so I need to get some advice elsewhere…
Picture via Ozan