Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Starvation 'feels' good...?

I realize that you are probably staring at this title, mouth wide open, wondering how on earth I could write such a thing. How can feeling pain in your stomach possibly be enjoyable? Just stay with me...I'll explain.

Endorphins are neurotransmitters - chemicals produced by thy hypothalamus and pituitary gland during exercise, excitement, pain, and more. They mimic opiates in that they have an analgesic effect. That is, they promote a feeling of 'goodness' or 'well-being'. When you go through a painful thing (ex. a cut), endorphins are released in order to prevent pain signals from being transmitted. So, you may feel a sense of 'power' that helps you get through the pain.

So, why am I telling you about endorphins? Well, studies on anorexia have actually discovered that endorphins are released when not enough calories are being consumed. The body does this because it wants to protect itself - if your body is starving, it does not want you to die. So, the body releases endorphins to make you feel 'powerful'. In fact, I experienced this myself. When I was not eating enough, I really did not feel that weak and tired. Actually, most of the time, I felt powerful, strong, and full of energy. The interesting thing is that this was my body's way of handling the stress of the lack of food.

When the anorexic begins to eat normally again, the high rush of endorphins decreases back to normal levels. Thus, victims of ED feel down, angry, dissatisfied, and sad. This is because the endorphin-high that used to be there is no longer present. This makes it harder for anorexics to continue in treatment and recovery - I mean, why would you want to stop feeling that rush of power and energy? (For more information, see http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/documentStore/m/e/d/med22d00/Smed22d00.pdf).

This happened to me as well. Once I began to eat again, I felt angry, frustrated, and...icky. My mood was terrible, even though I was eating. It all makes sense - the endorphin levels in body resumed back to normal when my body realized it was getting nourishment, so I no longer felt the 'high power' that the endorphin rush gave me.

However, as I trudge my way through recovery, I am noticing that I am feeling a lot better. To be honest, sometimes I feel more tired than my starvation days - but that is because now my body is busy at work, trying to fix everything that ED destroyed. But, my mood has definitely improved - I can smile and laugh a lot more than before! I also no longer wish to isolate myself, which is a great thing!

So, like almost everything else in recovery (and on this blog!), recovery sometimes feel worse before it gets better. The road to becoming healthy is filled with challenges, pains, struggles, and annoyances that make me want to give up. But every moment of happiness, every glimpse of freedom makes me realize that this is what I need to do. Yes, it is hard and it really makes me tired. But I know that in the long run, I will be VERY grateful that I chose life over ED.

20 comments:

  1. Same endorphin thing happend with me when I quit smoking when I used champix (new meds to help quit).I was tired ,depressed and angry and believe it or not coughing more .
    I said "what the hell is going on " but knowledgible doctors,nurses like you explained and assured me this will pass and you will be a free new man.And here I am Jorge ,proud of my self ,happy ,healthy and energetic
    Yes Marina it was painful and hard and several times I wanted smoke again but I did stayed the course
    No gain without pain .
    I appalud you every blog I read.
    You are determind to sign the death certificate of ED and free every victim.
    Keep going
    Love
    Jorge

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    1. I am so glad that you have made it through smoking! Congrats! It must have been tough. I know the feeling of wanting to quit, but you are right - staying the course is worth it in the end.

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  2. If you close life on ED Marina ,I would be the happiest person in this world.
    A lot of people told me about how difficult to go on treatement but I believe you more than any body and I am determind to go into the program and get complete recovery.
    I need your help and support as I will soon get into the treatment
    Thanks Marina

    Anne

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    1. I am always here for you Anne. Starting treatment is hard and scary, but I know that you can do it. If you need anything at all, just ask. You know where to find me! God bless you!

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  3. Wow Marina
    As always We forget the past and move on with life ,I forget all the pain and torture when I went into recoevry .I did relapse 3 times but for the last 5 years I am completely normal,happy and I have a BF .No babies yet but it is our choice.
    The pain I forgot but the joy and happiness worth millions ,not only to me but also to those who were supporting me.Marina you are wonderful

    Please put ED to death


    Recovered ED victim forever

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    1. It is great to hear that going through recovery has helped you! I am so glad that you are happy now, and free from ED. Please pray for me - I hope to achieve full recovery as well!

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  4. Yes Marina trust me it happens feel worse before better.
    Keep going

    Sally

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    1. Thanks Sally! It is great to hear that I have supporters like you! God bless you. Thanks for all your care!

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  5. Hi Marina ,It is true that once you start medication,except short acting ones as tyelnol and sleeping medicine ,you feel worse before better.I remember my dad had to change antidepressant meds several times before finally combination of 2 meds did work for him and he has been using them and is much better..He did feel all side effects of meds and was about to stop use any but With God's care and family support ,he did continue and ,wow did work

    Every blog you have some "nuggets" that people can benifit from including my self

    My Humble respect

    Mohammed
    Kingston,On

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Mohammed! You are right, starting ways of treatment is hard. But when you continue to do it, it does get easier and you realize how helpful it can be. You are also right in that God's care helps us all the time. You have my appreciation!

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  6. My Love
    You always on top of things.
    Please continue your course no matter how much thorns poking you now ,you will taste the benifts.
    I was reading how to treat syphlis and I learnt that when people gets penicillin antibiotic that destroy the infection they start to feel very sick and having bad reaction,called "Rixhiemer reaction" I do not remeber the exact name .
    This is similar to endophin theory.

    I agree with Mary when she was trying to enumerate the benifts of complete recovery .I may add benifts innumerable !!!
    You Marina worth bilion of billion
    I love you so much

    Henry

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    1. Thank you Henry. You always remind me of my value and worth, and I am very grateful for that. You are also right about the syphilis treatment - I have heard the same thing. I guess it goes to show that nothing gets better before it gets harder! But it is definitely worth the fight!

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  7. Marina, let me tell you how proud I am of you... Isolation is a tactic from the enemy so this blog is like a slap in the face... God is for you...and so am I :)

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    1. Thank you very much. I am really very blessed to have readers and supporters like you. I really hope that with God's grace, I will reach full recovery. God bless you for all your care.

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  8. How wonderful you are .You are so smart to recongnize all the tricks and traps of ED and you recruit all the defence fighting him till the end.
    My good wishes and prays for you.

    Shady

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    1. Thanks Shady. ED has a lot of tricks, so recognizing them is a first step towards recovery. I am trying my best! Please keep praying for me. God bless you!

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  9. Many times I tried quit smoking and I felt same way that smoking better and feels good!! and quiting is harsh unhuman but I did same like you ,sustained and persist till now I feel more healthy and hate the smell of smoke .I look at my self now and say how many years I was killing myself with toxins and I was enjoying it !!!
    I feel ED to you same
    You will reap all the fruits soon and I can tell a head of you prosperous successful happy life that YOU DESERVE



    Keep going


    Jen
    Welland ,On

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Jen. Stopping to smoke is very hard; I applaud you on your success. ED is the same - starvation and harming my body did feel 'good' because he tricked me into believing that it did. I do deserve a good life - just as you do. God bless you.

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  10. My friend Marina ,let me tell you no body can believe how much did I suffer drom my depression and I was so desperate that I rejeected all help and closed all doors till one day my favourite doctor comapssionately took me into taking medicine that was really tough on me and several moment I felt taking medicine is not thing I want in this life but evetually I felt the difference and I felt the real happiness and meaning of life when I freed my self from depression.

    I like reading your blog and learn more skills from it.
    Thank you and keep going

    Mays

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    1. Thanks! Depression is very difficult to go through. It is hard and scary. I am glad that you got through it and helped yourself. What a success! Thank you for reading the blog and commenting. Keep going as well - fight for yourself and be happy!

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