If you don’t follow Asia Suler of One Willow Apothecaries go follow her. She wrote this Instagram post about being a highly sensitive person & experiencing overwhelm. And i was again reminded that i haven’t been brave enough to share one of the biggest realizations I’ve had about myself that has lead to healing and health.
For a good part of my life, my path included negative self image & disordered eating. It started with anorexia & over exercising, & when i went to college i learned how to be bulimic from a girl who lived in my dorm.
It took years to realize that my disordered eating habits weren’t really about negative body image & food—although those were both part of the problem. But the bigger issue was being a HSP, feeling overwhelm from absorbing others’ emotions, using food to numb it & purging to release it. I was self medicating in the only way i knew how. And I’ve found, that most clients I’ve worked with who have issues with food or weight are highly intelligent and highly sensitive, and use food to comfort, to numb, to isolate, or as a misguided way to give love to themselves when the world lets them down. Sound familiar?
Anyway, for me, learning and trusting other techniques to release the energy of overwhelm didn’t happen overnight, but they did happen. Here are some practical tips that have helped me to heal from disordered eating/self medicating in an ineffective way:
*Pay attention to when i feel short or snappy with loved ones (this is definitely a sign of overwhelm!)
*Notice if I’m scanning the pantry or refrigerator aimlessly (usually a sign of numbing & happens with over-eaters as well) * Notice if I’m zoning out instead of connecting (Media & Social media can be healthy, but they can also lead to mindless eating or other undesirable behaviors)
These are some signs of overwhelm. There are more I’ve noticed throughout the years; if you’d like help noticing your patterns, contact me for a coaching session.
For years, purging was an effective way to release the overwhelm (and guilt of eating “bad” or too much food), but it led to a host of self-loathing and disconnection with my body & soul. Here are some healthier ways to move the energy through:
* unplug & do 1 or more of the following:
* run or walk
* be in nature (preferably alone)
* draw or paint
* go to therapy!
* get a health coach
* call a friend
* repeat all of the above (or more on my blog) as often as you notice overwhelm.