Friday, May 16, 2014

Being sick for a long time could trigger depression and eating disorder behaviors

It’s really difficult to feel bad for an extended period of time.  Like this whole nausea thing, I wasn’t expecting to feel so crappy.  I thought that I would feel a little sick but still be able to go about the day doing the things I always do.  Maybe I’m a wimp, but it’s been debilitating for me.  For weeks and weeks, all I could do was lie on the couch and try with all my might not to throw up.
Several times, I thought that I might feel better if I made myself throw up.  “Just this once”, I thought.  But, I knew that would be a lie.  If I started throwing up to make myself feel better, I knew it would not stop there.  Eventually, I would be throwing up to make myself feel better when I was down on my body or had low self-worth or I was obsessing about what I ate.

It’s a slippery slope for me to make myself throw up because of my eating disorder past.  I tried hard not to vomit because I knew it could trigger some old habits.  Of course a person can’t always help it; sometimes you have no control over it.  But if I could help it, then I was committed to trying.

These past few weeks have tested my resolve to stay positive.  It felt so overwhelming to be in such pain without relief for so long a time.  I didn’t know how long it would last.  I didn’t think I could do it.  I regretted ever trying to have a baby in the first place.

The worst part was that I was so discouraged.  I felt like a failure.  I felt weak.  Why couldn’t I handle morning sickness with ease and grace?

Someone once told me that morning sickness was all in between the ears.  It was a mental thing and you actually made yourself feel sick by thinking about it too much.  All you had to do was to believe you felt better.  Hmmm…

It could be true that pregnancy nausea is in the head.  Some doctors think it’s caused by too much serotonin being released into the brain.  If you have too much serotonin, you feel nauseous.  So, yes, morning sickness could be in the head, but there’s a scientific, medical explanation to back it up.

Even after I learned this helpful bit of information, my head still did get the better of me but in a different way.  I got down on myself, discouraged, disheartened.  If I couldn’t handle nausea, then how in the world could I handle giving birth?  I’m a wimp, I’m a failure, I’m good for nothing…

Being sick for an extended period of time can trigger depression, no matter what the sickness is.  You don’t feel like yourself and you being to forget what it was like when you were well.  The illness becomes the new norm and you begin to cope with your current state.  You feel like you might never be well again.  Thus starts the downward spiral.

Looking back, I wish I had been more prepared for such a horrible first trimester.  I wish I would have known that every minute would feel like living hell.  I wish I would have know that I would feel so worthless and discouraged.

But also, on the flip side, I could have prepared myself that it will be OK.  It’s OK to feel sick.  It’s OK to do nothing but sleep and eat.  And it’s OK to feel that way.

Just because I couldn’t do anything productive or important in the eyes of the world doesn’t mean I’m a failure or a wimp.

Even though I was unprepared in the beginning of this pregnancy, I feel like I’ve learned a lesson I can use in the near future.  I know there will be tough times ahead, so I need to lower my expectations of myself.  I will feel bad, I will experience more pain, and I will be discouraged, perhaps, for a long period of time.  The most important things should be to keep getting out of bed and to keep trying to take care of myself.

Also, this experience has helped me to practice asking for help.  It is something I’ve always struggled with.  I think everyone has a difficult time asking for help.  I realized that it’s hard at first, but if I start small, then it gets easier.  I know I can’t do this having a baby thing on my own.  I’m going to need a lot of help.  It is good to start asking for help now, so that when the baby comes, I will be better at asking for help.

I’m feeling a lot better now.  I have some medication that takes off the edge and I’m rounding the corner and headed toward 2nd, the second trimester that is.  So, hopefully, things will continue to improve.


  1. I can so totally relate to everything you said. Being sick while pregnant is extremely emotional. Keep feeling better!

    1. Thank you Ann! You are such a dear friend.

  2. I felt horrible with Gabriel's pregnancy so I can totally relate to your post! I always thought it was amazing as to how tired you can be when you hardly did anything all day! Just a little heads up. If you plan on nursing you aren't going to get much done. I didn't realize how much time nursing would take and felt like a horrible wife because our house was always a mess! It is hard to ask for help but in the end it means being less stressed! :) Glad to hear your almost to the second trimester! Hope and pray everything continues to go well!!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement and the heads up. I do plan to nurse, so I am glad you told me about that. It is really hard to ask for help, but, you're right, it is worth it because it benefits your mental health. Thank you for your prayers! I need lots ;)