One of the first things I completely lost when I started feeling this way was my appetite. I would go days hardly eating. Sometimes I would have an apple or a yoghurt and that would be it for the entire day. No matter what my mum would make me, I just could not eat it. My family would bring me food and watch me eat because they were so worried that I had stopped eating and nobody really knew why. I love food. I have always been naturally slim so not eating meant I was quickly losing weight. I was worried and quite conscious of this. I never really liked people pointed out that I am slim or ‘skinny’ – I never saw these comments as compliments even though they were said in a loving or light-hearted way. It made me feel really self-conscious and like I was too slim, I never liked wearing tight or fitted clothing because I felt I looked ‘skinny’ or someone would make a comment about it. I was worried people would start noticing I have lost even more weight. I would ask friends if they have noticed. I was constantly worrying about this. My skirts started to feel loose around my waist and I didn’t know what to do. I would just sit and cry. I had no appetite and felt nothing but emptiness. Every day.
I told my therapist this and my doctor and they suggested to eat small portions throughout the day and as much as I can. It was hard. I felt like they didn’t really understand. One therapist even asked me what my relationship with food was like, of course it’s their job to ask these sorts of question to rule things out but I said I always ate fine. In fact, people would say things like, ‘how do you eat so much junk food and never put weight on?’ and quite honestly, I don’t know.
When you are depressed you either lose your appetite or eat more. I would take my lunch to work which my mum used to make and I would come back having not touched a thing. I would leave in the mornings having had a banana or some orange juice. I would get home around 5/6pm and not eaten a thing since the morning. I felt tired all the time. As soon as I got home I would run up to my room and sleep. I couldn’t eat and didn’t want to eat. It was like I didn’t enjoy eating and you could put all of my favourite foods in front of me and I would just walk the opposite direction. Food almost didn’t taste the same to me. Of course, I knew my body needed fuel and I had to eat something. I would have energy drinks and fruit when I could. I would get on with my day and spend the time I was at home just sleeping or crying.
I weigh myself at least once a week hoping I have put on the weight I lost. My appetite has come back. I am eating now. Well, more than I was. The loss of appetite came before I started taking medication so I know it wasn’t because of the medication and it was the depression itself. I read tonnes of articles about diet and how this can improve mental health and depression. The more I read, the worse I felt. I wouldn’t say my diet was poor but my diet was never the healthiest and then not eating at all was not good for my body or mind. I knew all this but I didn’t really know what to do or who to go to. Nobody really understood. Someone even made the comment of, ‘it’s easy, just eat!’ but I couldn’t ‘just eat’. Just like some days you can’t get up and people say just get up. I can’t, OKAY… Simple things sometimes seem like the hardest. Depression is just like any other illness and with it comes the cruel and vile symptoms, this means that we can’t do certain things and it’s not so easy. I know you don’t understand but just try. I didn’t understand it either. I am still learning.
If you are reading this and you have no appetite, just remember your appetite will come back and if like me, you are worried you are losing too much weight, then remember you can put it back on when you start to feel better. Eat throughout the day but small portions. Just have fruit or smoothies, anything you can.
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