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H.a.l.t.

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    Food H.a.l.t.

    There is an acronym called HALT that some of you may have heard of. It stands for:

    -- Hungry

    -- Angry

    -- Lonely

    -- Tired

    When I become one of those things too often or for too long, I'm apt to start eating whether I need to or not.

    I know one of the items in the list above is "hunger", but that's normal need-nutrition hunger. What I'm talking about is emotional eating. I've addressed this in other threads, and have just re-read them to get some helpful perspective, because lately I've been eating for emotional reasons again. Of course I don't like it (well I hate it actually), but I always say old habits die hard and this one is like playing whack-a-mole !

    I haven't been lacking nutrition (ie. bodily hungry), and haven't been lacking sleep, and haven't felt angry (other than the odd frustration/annoyance). What I have been is freaking LONELY ever since I returned home after being at my sister's and on holiday immediately afterward with my boyfriend. I was with people every day and now I miss it .

    It is out of character for me to want people around me so much. Something has changed. I actually think it's good that I want more interaction with others, because I think it indicates growth and it appears to help my mood. But the loneliness feels like crap and when there is no-one around that's where the eating starts. Which only gives temporary relief and has me slowly but surely gaining back the 8-10 pounds I lost while I was away.

    It's not the weight (I am not overweight), it's the awfulness of knowing it was only a temporary fix when I have unpleasant emotions to address. Obviously. Which I am trying to avoid. Obviously.

    Despite the stress and upset and illness around me for weeks, followed by a mainly sedentary holiday for weeks, I was feeling like the true Uni, the one I like to be, the one who does lots of things and has lots of interests and feels useful, loved, and loving, and who fits the clothes she loves again, and a whole bunch of other stuff....

    Which begs the question: if that's the true Uni, who the h*ll is Uni the rest of the time? She is there for a few hours or days or weeks and then I lose her in the shuffle of my life and it is hard to get her back.

    I must stop posting for now because I have things that need attending to, but I want to know: Does anybody understand this?!
    uni

    ~ it's always worth it ~

    #2
    I get the loneliness Uni. I have yet to figure out how to mesh together my need for companionship and my preference to be alone over being with other people. I find being with people takes a lot of energy and causes me a lot of stress... yet, more often than not I feel lonely.

    I think it's great that you are feeling the need to connect more with people. It sounds like it will be a bit of a change in routine for you...i.e. you will actively have to find ways to fill the loneliness void... but it definitely sounds worth it!

    As to who is the real Uni? I think Uni is an awesome e-friend whose posts always make me feel better (even when they are not directed at me!)!

    Take care,
    Kaight

    Comment


      #3
      Hello Uni. In regards to who you are. Repeat after me. "Uni is a good person, Uni has ups and downs like everyone else, but even when down, Uni is a good person."

      Ok, maybe that doesn't address your main questions, but it is who you are. Do you have other problems, certainly. Do you full fill all of your goals, probably not. Do you have periods of unhapiness, definitely.

      So you are human, but overall you are a kind and generous human who cares greatly about others.

      Do you fullfill all of your life expectations, I doubt that too, not because I know you well, just few people do.

      You just went through an enourmously stressful time. While you were able to manage that stress, everone must decompress at some point. I suspect that part of your decompression consist of comfort foods.

      Now, I know that you know that, I always feel like crap in the spring. Did you know that you usually feel about the same way every spring and like me you seem to feel better in a mth or so? Or at least you seem to have mixed emotions about life in the spring, which I'll admit is a little different than feeling like crap, but it can still result in temporary unhapiness.

      I loved HALT. I've eaten too much for all of those reasons. Take Care. paul m
      "Alone we can do so little;
      Together we can do so much"
      Helen Keller

      Comment


        #4
        Hi Uni,

        I think that this is very typical for you to be feeling this way (lonely, maybe a little down), after your last few months. Your life looked very, very different while you were away. It is huge to go home and "pick up where you left off" when you recently went through two deaths. In fact, you likely can't exactly pick up where you left off, because you are changed by what has happened. And I don't mean that you are changed for the better or the worse--there doesn't need to be a value judgement on it, you're just changed. When you are living alone, the expectations you have for yourself and that other people have for you are different than the expectations on you when you are caring for your sister or living with someone else. You are still Uni, you are just Uni at a different time and in a different circumstance.

        Often when I feel lonely or disconnected from people, I find that the root of that is that I long to be needed by others, or to feel as though I could be helpful to others but that I am actually redundant or unimportant. Does this sound familiar to you?

        Finally, I rarely over eat so I'm not great with giving food advice. However, I would offer a suggestion. When you do feel the need to eat because you are lonely: try doing something to connect with someone else, instead of connecting with the refrigerator. Phone a friend, write a letter, write an email, write something on the forum and look for inspiration for something to do. OR, if you do need to eat, eat something healthy!! Try drinking tea (decaf tea) to fill you up. Or eat vegetables and fruits. Be careful to avoid high salt and high sugar things. Nuts are a good option because they satiate hunger and they are low in sugar and salt (if you get unsalted nuts). Nuts are high in calories though, so you've got to watch that. You will gain less weight (or no weight) if you reach for the celery sticks every time you are lonely!

        Also, with loneliness, have you ever volunteered before? I found that volunteering in my community for a few hours a week was a great way to get me out with people and I felt as though I was able to give back to others and share some skills that I had while learning new skills. Volunteering is great because it can connect you to a community, and yet it isn't as demanding of you as a job is in terms of hours and is usually more flexible if you are sick, go on holiday, etc. It doesn't have to start out big either. An hour or two, once a week to see how you like it and over time it can grow if you are inspired or are enjoying yourself.

        Just think about what you are interested in and volunteer where you can learn more about your interests. If you like researching, see if you can find a position at a library or city archives. If you have skills in a certain area, you can share them with people. For instance, I had skills in working with children so I volunteered in a elementary school classroom where I supervised small group activities and helped kids with reading and math tasks.

        Anyway, keep asking good questions and I hope you feel less lonely as the spring turns to summer!
        astronaut

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Uni. I've never heard of HALT before, but its interesting.
          Previously, hunger was an issue for me, I never felt it so I wasn't eating enough, and what I was eating was usually bad stuff. But the last three months I have been working out regularly and eating a more balanced diet, so now I actually feel hungry when I'm supposed to but I'm wiser with my food choices.
          Anger is not an issue for me, in fact I miss it!
          Lonely I can relate to, but for diff reasons I think. I have isolated myself from a lot of people in my life, just cuz of some of the reactions I got when I told people I thought were my friends about my illness. That just makes me feel sad. I'm at home with my hubby, my dog and my cousin and I 'talk' to my sister (she lives in England so it's either BBM or FaceTime or phone calls) every day. So I'm rarely alone, but I feel lonely. Cuz I was in charge of my life for so long and I was the one everyone came to and I took care of them and their problems. As much as they love me, I feel they're not able to take care of me now I need taken care of, that makes me feel lonely. To think I'm the only one I can rely on. I'm working on it.
          Tired has been an issue for me for a loooong time! But I'm finally totally off Seroquel and just the last couple of days I find I wake up on time, can get out if bed right away and actually feel awake. It doesn't last but a few hours but its progress.
          As for who Uni is, that's something I struggle with, who am I now? I feel like a broken version of myself. The old me is gone and I don't think she's coming back, the future me? Who knows, hopefully a healthier version of who I am now. How I am now, someone who's trying to accept my illness and learn to live with it.
          I think we're all the same people we always were at the core if us, but our illnesses and experiences make us question ourselves and shape us slightly differently. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. If we couldn't adapt, we prob wouldn't survive our illness.
          Whoever you are on any given day, you're still Uni. And I think the fact you're asking these questions is a positive sign.
          Keep trying to seek out and be with people, I think that's a big thing. It's something I'm trying to do too.

          Comment


            #6
            Thanks for the helpful replies!

            Lost, I got a lot out of your post. I especially appreciate:
            And I think the fact you're asking these questions is a positive sign.
            I guess it's one of those times when being aware of how I feel can lead to questioning and then some answers.

            Keep trying to seek out and be with people, I think that's a big thing. It's something I'm trying to do too.
            I appreciate having company in the endeavour!

            Astronaut, you make some good points. Volunteering, for one. I want to have my heart in it, but in the past have only found things that don't appeal to me. However, right now I'm chasing a particular opportunity. It has to do with the Mood Disorders Society of Canada MDSC), the people who operate this forum. I'm not very familiar with the organization or people in it, but they've got something going called "Defeat Depression" which is coming up in May. Mostly it seems to be walk-a-thons but they're encouraging all sorts of activities to raise money for both the MDSC and local organizations in various cities across Canada. There is nothing slated for where I live, but Saskatoon is listed so I'm waiting for more info to be posted. I do know it's on May 26th. I'd like to at least participate if not volunteer.

            Here's the link for anyone who might be interested: http://defeatdepression.ca

            Often when I feel lonely or disconnected from people, I find that the root of that is that I long to be needed by others, or to feel as though I could be helpful to others but that I am actually redundant or unimportant. Does this sound familiar to you?
            To tell the truth, "being needed by others" - or for that matter needing others - was for years something I didn't believe applied to me. The whole concept of people needing other people runs counter to my independent streak. I think it has something to do with growing up in a family I call "enmeshed". There was little privacy and people always seemed to be in each other's faces telling them what to do. I can clearly recall when my attitude toward "needing one another" began to change. I was watching a television show about bees, and the concept of "social animals" was mentioned. After that, I started to look at people as "social animals" who without each other would eventually become extinct. Which somehow made me feel ok about leaning on others and have them lean on me (although I'm still a work in progress in that department.

            Paul, you've helped me out as usual and given me food for thought.
            You just went through an enourmously stressful time. While you were able to manage that stress, everone must decompress at some point. I suspect that part of your decompression consist of comfort foods.
            I suspect you are right about that.

            Now, I know that you know that, I always feel like crap in the spring. Did you know that you usually feel about the same way every spring and like me you seem to feel better in a mth or so? Or at least you seem to have mixed emotions about life in the spring, which I'll admit is a little different than feeling like crap, but it can still result in temporary unhapiness.
            I don't know on what you're basing that conclusion, maybe it has to do with my past forum posts, but in any case you may be right there too. Over my adult life I have had low times at just about every month of the year though. To take a better look I referred back to previous threads and found that spring has often been an upsetting time. I would dig out my personal mood records if they weren't squirreled away in my storage room somewhere and I weren't so lazy

            Reading through the old posts was a great thing. I got so much out of it. I recommend checking out old threads on topics of interest

            Kaight, thank you for saying:
            I get the loneliness Uni. I have yet to figure out how to mesh together my need for companionship and my preference to be alone over being with other people. I find being with people takes a lot of energy and causes me a lot of stress... yet, more often than not I feel lonely.
            It sounds like your experience is much like mine. I have faith that we'll work this stuff out if we keep walking this journey a step at a time, even if it's the forward and back kind of progress

            Today I woke up feeling not terribly lonely, but instead sad, with thoughts of my ex-husband running through my head. I think he became rather a lonely person as time went by. He died suddenly (of natural causes), and there was nobody there to hold his hand. It makes me cry to think of it . Bless his heart, despite our divorce he remained a good and caring man, but life dealt him some hard blows. I hope he is now reunited with those who went before, and is happy.

            As distressing as my sadness this morning is, it's different from loneliness. I do not feel lonely at this moment. I feel grateful for my life. I do not doubt that I'm on this earth today for a purpose, as vague as it may sometimes appear.

            Could it be that feeling lonely is related to overlooking my sense of purpose? If so, what do find purpose in? Does it connect me to others? I'm hoping that answering these questions will help me find ways to reduce my loneliness.
            Last edited by uni; April 15th, 2013, 03:34 PM. Reason: kept adding stuff until I had enuff
            uni

            ~ it's always worth it ~

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Uni,

              I read your last response and I will agree with you that I too have an independent streak. I have gone through much of my life assuming that I didn't need other people and knowing that they didn't absolutely need me. I have no dependants. However, more and more I think that my assumption that I am independent is false and rather selfish. It is selfish to think that I could have survived my life without people--even during the years when I was so depressed that I mostly stayed at home or interacted very little with others. It is selfish to think that other people are not caring enough or are not capable of loving enough to really need me too. And "need" doesn't have to be this huge thing, "need" can simply mean to remember to call someone on their birthday... to make other people exist by remembering them.

              I have a lot of trouble committing myself to others and not just believing that I, and everyone else is dispensable. I mean, there are nearly 7 billion people in the world, several thousand people dead or living alone isn't such a big deal, right? In the whole scheme of things, we're all nobodies, right? WRONG. The only reason that we are somebody or that we matter at all is that we love and are loved by others, and when I say "needed," that is what I mean. How can I be involved with loving and caring for others better? Being independent does not just mean being good at taking care of oneself and not getting in the way of others; being independent means taking responsibility for oneself and for others in the larger whole of a relationship, a community, a society. When I feel part of a community, when I feel part of a family or something bigger than just me, then I feel less lonely. Then I feel honoured for being a part of the human race.

              You have demonstrated being "needed" with your very touching story about grieving for your ex-husband. He needs you to remember him and to hold him in your heart. You carry a precious memory with you, and that is what I mean about being "needed." I ask myself: how can I honour that connection I have to others? You even pointed out yourself that you did not feel lonely so much when thinking about him, rather you felt sad. I think that when we realize that we are a part of others and that others are a part of us, we have the tendency to feel less lonely. I think in our particular culture and political climate, most of us do not experience the world this way but I think that we could and that many of us really, really want to, even if we don't know how to articulate it. I do at least.

              Sorry that I don't have any solutions to loneliness but it is something that I think about a lot and the above is a bit of my theory on why I might feel so alone, and I have a hunch that I'm not alone in experiencing loneliness for the reasons that I do...

              take care,
              astronaut

              Comment


                #8
                Those are such insightful thoughts, Astronaut, and I think your hunch about others being in the same situation is right on. I especially love what you say about feeling honoured for being part of the human race. It gives me the warm fuzzies .

                The whole "community" aspect is key, I think, to not being lonely. I was talking with my boyfriend just the other day about how so many of us live in little boxes piled on top of one another, and yet remain removed from our neighbours. This ties in with what you've said about being nobodies in the big scheme of things, which I agree we are definitely NOT.

                It seems easier in today's society to remain isolated than to be part of a community. I come from a family of farmers, and am often reminded of how, years ago in rural Canada, you literally couldn't survive without belonging to a community. You were included whether you wanted to be or not. Nowadays it seems you have to fight to be included, which requires certain skills that many of us, for one reason or another, simply haven't learned. I for one am lacking in that department, although because I finally decided that I need people and even have something to contribute, I'm gaining some of those skills. It's not easy or quick, but I will keep at it because I am determined to reduce the amount of time I spend feeling lonely.

                The question of how to "be involved with loving or caring for others better" opens all sorts of possibilities. Those little things like birthday phone calls create small threads of connection. When reinforced by other small actions over time a thread can become a strong bond. It really does work. It takes a lot of practice though, and is tough to do if the act of reaching out causes anxiety (which it often does for me).

                As I write this something occurs to me that my psychologist told me a while back. It's about making appointments. It could work for reaching out to other people, as in making phone calls, or writing a card and sending it, or visiting somebody, or meeting for coffee, or going to a show--anything to interact with others.

                The idea is to make an appointment with myself to perform an action that I've been avoiding (for reasons known or unknown, although usually to do with anxiety), then write it down in my pocket calendar with all my other appointments. Next, I line up a reward for after it's done. I haven't tried this strategy yet (actually I forgot about it because I didn't write it down in my pocket calendar - haha) but because it has now occurred to me, I will. Starting this minute....

                .... There, my pocket calendar now contains an appointment to be at the library at 3 pm today, when I will write myself an action plan for a bunch of stuff that needs doing around my apartment. Basically an appointment for writing down more appointments . I won't go overboard, but a few of them I can handle. Btw I chose the library rather than my home for a few different reasons: one -- I just plain work better in a library (or even a coffee shop) than I do at home, two -- it gets me out the door and into the world, where I"m less likely to feel lonely, and three -- even though I might not interact much with people while I'm there, I will still be among them.

                Now for what I find to be the hard part--coming up with a reward. What one person considers a reward, another might not, so it has to be personally fulfilling, even if it's small. Something involving one or more other people would be great for honouring that connection to others. Geez, it occurs to me that not many of my "people" are readily available on short notice. I have a friend who works at the library, so I'm texting her to see if she's available for a coffee later. If not, plan B is to phone my sister to meet me later for a walk. Plan C is, at the very least, taking myself Wendy's for an apple pecan salad (I'm not much for fast food, but like that particular salad despite not eating the pecans).

                All of this is serving as a reminder that if I want company doing things, I'd do well to make some "appointments" ahead of time.

                Now, off to the library
                uni

                ~ it's always worth it ~

                Comment


                  #9
                  Good for you, Uni! It sounds like you've made some great insights and some good starting plans. I agree that today it does take more of a skill to become a part of communities. Anxiety sure doesn't help honing that skill.

                  I hope your library trip went well!
                  astronaut

                  Comment


                    #10
                    So many great thoughts in this thread, things I can relate to and use to help make myself better at interacting.
                    Thanks for starting it Uni, and thanks everyone else for their great comments.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      In case anyone is interested, here's how yesterday's plans turned out:

                      First off, I was late for the appointment with myself!.

                      Although the library isn't far, I underestimated the time needed to get ready. (Underestimating time needed for things is something I'm trying to change). So I was still at home when my library friend texted that she could meet me after work, which was great except that it would cut short my appointment. So I did a turnabout and joined her for coffee first, and delayed the appointment until later, and am happy to report that things went quite well.

                      I wrote down a bunch of stuff that needs doing, and quickly realized my pocket calendar was too small. So I did a re-think. In a large notebook I roughed in a daily "chart" where some pieces of the day (ie. "appointments") are set aside for tasks at home (suitably rewarded), and others for going out and about. The idea is to spend some of the out-and-about time on "social appointments" with other people.

                      Unfortunately I still have trouble picking up the phone and making those social appointments. I know I've complained about my frustration with this before, but it just doesn't seem to get any better. Any suggestions? How do I talk myself into making those calls?

                      Oh, before I forget, here's something funny. After all my "appointment" ideas, guess what? I thought I had an appointment with my psychologist tomorrow at 11 am. Around 11:30 this morning the little voice of double-check-things anxiety told me to check my pocket calendar. You guessed it - the appointment was today! After panicking briefly , I phoned her with my apologies. She got a chuckle out of it at least. Luckily I'm not in crisis mode, and can see her two weeks from now, so all is well.

                      So I end this post as I started it - with me failing to keep another appointment!
                      Last edited by uni; April 17th, 2013, 04:14 PM. Reason: missed the editing deadline :D
                      uni

                      ~ it's always worth it ~

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi Uni,

                        sounds like lots of successes on your end. That is kind of ironic that while you were so immersed in your pocketbooks making appointments, you forgot your appointment! Oh well, it is good that the psychologist was understanding.

                        In terms of phoning people, i have trouble phoning people too. Could you make it a goal? Promise that you will pick up the phone once a day to call someone? And it doesn't have to be for a made up reason, either. If you were going to call your boyfriend anyways, that could count toward your phone call a day. Sometimes making it habit makes it easier.

                        good luck

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hello Uni. Now I know why you never call. LOL

                          On a more serious note. I find it hard to pick up the phone and make a social engagement. I prefer to ask people about a future date for coffee as I see them in person. In a small rural area this is possible, plus as I volunteer or attend peer support gorups I see people.

                          Others who live too far away, I tend to get my auto remind to remind me(my wife " did you call so and so yet). Not great suggestions, but they are all I've got. Take Care. paul m
                          "Alone we can do so little;
                          Together we can do so much"
                          Helen Keller

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