My Mental Health & Emotional Eating
Mental health is something that has been on my mind (excuse the pun!) for many years. My emotional and binge eating journey was a result of my mental health challenges. I always struggled. I was a typical red head growing up, with a fiery temper. I never knew why I had a temper, I just had one and of course it was always put down to being a red head. That’s what society does, it likes to label us and put us in a box. But I never liked being in a box. I was always being forced into boxes but as a spikey hexagon or some mad shape (not sure what shape I am!) fitting into boxes felt very uncomfortable for me and so I lashed out, got angry. I also learnt to use food to feel better. I didn’t know why I was lashing out and I don’t know how I learnt to use food to cope. I didn’t grow up with girly magazines so I have no idea where I learned to use food to soothe but I did. I secret ate, the lathered toast with butter late at night, I ate bowls of cereal and milk in front of the TV in the dark, all because I was unhappy. I just didn’t know how to deal with that.
And so I spent the next 20 plus years using food. At one point in my life I thought I was just born miserable and unhappy, that was my lot and I just needed to get on with life and forget about all the self help books and just accept this is who I was and there was nothing I could do about it!
But in time I got fed up with feeling that way, I got tired of the stories in my head, I got bored of the fear and the poor me tales and playing the victim. To be honest I was starting to bore the life out of myself. I hit rock bottom 1 too many times and knew I had to figure this shit out. If I was going to be alive in this body then I had to find a way to be happy, to live a fulfilling life and to discover who I truly was. You see I realised that all the binge eating and hiding away was because I was still an odd shaped shape trying to fit into a box and the sooner I stopped trying to fit into that box and started to be true to myself and start living life on my terms in accordance with my values, my passions, my interests in a way that felt good and right for me the sooner I could let go of the fear and the victimhood and the night time bingeing.
And so I did. I went on a journey of self discovery, I’m still on it. I looked at all the things I loved to do and wasn’t doing, I looked at the things that made me angry and how I could channel my anger to do good and constructive work. I started to do the things I loved to do, hiking, being in nature, being around like minded people. I let go of negative nay-sayers. I listened to inspiring people and read inspirational books, books that helped me understand my psyche, how I functioned and how I see the world. The thing is we are all different but so often society does try to fit us all in the same box which doesn’t work. The key to my happiness and mental wellness was to discover who am I, what do I enjoy, what am I good at, what are my strengths, what is my zone of genius and then how can I apply those traits to the world I live in. How can I apply them to the type of work I do, the places I live, my hobbies, the people I spend time with. Learning emotional resilience to cope with life’s up’s and down’s, because lets face it there will always be crap days but it’s how you face them and see them that makes all the difference.
The key to my wellbeing has been acceptance and resilience to cope with life and discovering who I really am and then having the courage to live life as me despite what the world thinks. Because there will always be people who praise you and trample on you. Your job is to not care either way, still be you in all your amazingness.
Here are my top 5 mental wellness tools to help you build your your toolkit.
Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash