by Danielle, 31, Goonellabah
I recently read a post by Tony Steenson about his relationship with cigarettes (Goodbye Peter Jackson), how he used them as a comfort when he was bored, sad and lonely, or when things were too much. He had done this since the age of 15, and shared how he was able to give them up.
I can relate to this exact scenario with food, especially sugary foods, or foods that are crunchy or have a certain texture like chips, biscuits, crackers or nuts that go creamy in my mouth. Reading through Tony’s story I saw I had the exact same patterns with food that Tony had had with cigarettes. These included times when I needed to have food close by me (at arm’s length) in most parts of my day and my life, even driving. I’ve told myself it’s good to take food places in case I get hungry and can’t find anything healthy to eat, but it’s really there to have as a backup in case I ‘need’ food. Sometimes I get anxious or even angry if I don’t have easy access to the foods that I want to eat.
I recall being like this as a child, going places with my family and complaining that I was hungry and that I needed food now! When told to wait until we got home I would whinge and moan that I needed it now. I even remember around the age of 10, on a fishing trip with my family, threatening to eat my arm if we didn’t go and get food. It was a joke at the time, or a way to tell my family I was serious, or to get attention – but what was driving me to be like that, to so desperately need food?
I’m very often still driven in the same way: I can see that I make sure I have the foods I need in the cupboard at home and I’m often thinking and planning about food and what my next meal will be. When I’m going on a long drive I will plan ahead in my mind where I can stop to get food if I need it. This requires more planning than ever before because I no longer grab a lolly bag or sweet juice, but will only eat gluten free, dairy free and low sugar foods, so the planning is more complicated as my choice of emergency food outlets are less available.
I’m beginning to understand how I use food as a comfort in case things aren’t going my way, or going how I thought they were going to go, or if I can’t handle or enjoy my own company (being alone), or if I am tired or feel a sense of sadness for no clear reason. Food has been my one and truly reliable best friend that is there in any moment that I need, to comfort and make me feel better. Not only do I use food as a treat or a comfort, but also to try to not feel at all, to not feel how tired I am or to not feel what is going on. I have learnt this from a very young age.
I’ve also learnt which foods do this most easily, eg. sugary, salty, fatty, gluten and dairy foods… or if I eat too much of anything it has the same effect. More recently I’ve cut out all of these foods and have been more aware not to overeat but interestingly, I’ve begun to see that I can eat gluten free, dairy free and sugar free foods in a certain way and it will still be comforting, cause me to bloat, feel racy, numb or not be aware of what I am feeling. For example, if I eat a healthy salad or an apple rushed or standing in the kitchen, or focussed on my work or my emotions or driving – or in any way that I’m focussed on doing something else, it still results in a numbing effect, or even bloating.
Tony Steenson’s post and many comments or inspirations I have heard through Universal Medicine have helped me to be honest enough to see the attachment I have to food. The courses and self-growth I have done with Universal Medicine have allowed me to feel that I can begin to consider what it is that I am not wanting to feel, begin to feel it and deal with it, so I don’t need to use food to numb my feelings.
At the end of the day I feel I have eaten in a numbing or comforting way because I have not been content with myself and who I am. Universal Medicine has shown me a way I can choose to reconnect with myself and love who I am from the inside out. So now I am beginning to feel how lovely I am, accept this and feel that I am more than enough no matter where I am, what I have done, who is with me or what is going on around me. I now feel how wonderful it can be to just sit still, with me, feeling a light body, not a sugar rushed or bloated body. So it’s crazy to want to use food to numb who I am deep down.