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DuddyH
DuddyH, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 160
Experience:  Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
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how can i break the pattern of feeling low, eating too much,

Customer Question

how can i break the pattern of feeling low, eating too much, feeling even more miserable, generally spiralling down and down. i know what's happening i'm not sure i can stop it. i have been diagnosed with depression but not currently taking any medication.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DuddyH replied 2 years ago.

Duddy :

Welcome, I am a professional counselor, behavioral-consultant and relationship expert. Do you mind if I ask a few questions to better understand your situation and your problem?

Duddy :

I'll check back shortly to see if you've returned....

Customer:

i'm here for next ten minutes or so. what do you need to know?

Customer:

don't think this chat link is working properly. i have the same message coming upover and over but no reply. i'm not paying until i've actually got a proper answer.

Duddy :

Yes Hi. There was just a technical glitch there it seems. I could see you coming on and offline for chat but I was unable to post a reply...

Duddy :

It seems to be working here now normally again....

Duddy :

No, you don't ever pay for an answer unless you chose to accept it by pressing the green accept button. If I can't answer your question to your satisfaction or to my satisfaction I simply forwarded back out into the general que for other experts to consider answering it for you.

Duddy :

You show as offline now. So I'll check back shortly to see if you've returned to the chat. If you come back and I'm still away. Please answer the following questions for me:

Duddy :

1) When were you diagnosed with depression and by whom?

Duddy :

2) What was your formal clinical diagnosis? For example, mild clinical depression? Reactive depression or even bi-polar?

Duddy :

3) What are your current symptoms of depression?

Duddy :

4) What are the main triggers for you overeating besides feeling low?

Customer:

I was formally diagnosed around a year and a half ago following the death of my father fromcancer and the birth of my 3rd child. it all became too much to cope with on my own and i sought medical help. I took prozac for around 9 months and had counselling for about 10 months. I had started to feel much 'better' until about 3 months ago. not entirely sure why i have been feeling low other than the pressures of family life (my girls are 2, 4 and 6 yrs old) and haing a partner who though supportive, works long hours and away from home alot.

Customer:

just this week i've been feeling much worse and feeling this downward spiral including over eating then feeling guilty and generally useless. my self image is pretty awful right now. i can see what is going on but can't seem to stop it because i feel so powerless and hopeless.

Customer:

my dpression was never catagorised as anything like your suggestions above btw.

Duddy :

I'm back again. I'm going to take a few moments to read your responses so far...

Duddy :

Thank you for your response. Was it a psychiatrist that diagnosed you?

Customer:

no, my gp.

Customer:

i've never seen a psychiatrist or any other mental health practictioner apart from the counsellor.

Duddy :

When you see say you can see what is going on, what do you mean?

Customer:

i can recognise the patterns of behaviour that i know mean i'm getting more depressed and feel like life is getting out of control. such as over eating, losing my temper really quickly, getting upset over things that don't matter.

Duddy :

What kind of counseling did you do?

Customer:

i'm not sure.

Duddy :

That's no problem. Do you have access to counseling right now?

Customer:

not without paying for it. i could go back into it but it was expensive.

Duddy :

Ok. Well I can't really provide you with counseling advice on this simple single question and answer service anyway. But I can say that if a person experiencing what you've described can probably really benefit from 7-10 sessions of cognitive behavioral therapy with a strong emphasis on the behavioral part....

Duddy :

It maybe helpful in such a situation to really study and learn as much as you can about how to change those behaviors (make more positive and healthy behavioral choices) to the ones that are just happening for you right now, like over eating....

Duddy :

Sound's like you are incredibly busy too.

Duddy :

Let me get you some links so you know exactly what I mean by the "behavioral" in cognitive behavioral and then provide some other suggestions which may be helpful as well...back in few seconds...

Customer:

but to set that sort of thing up takes time and money. is there anything i can do simply to try and help myself now? i'm struggling to keep up with demands of my children, my husband etc.

Duddy :

This is what I mean by cognitive behavioral therapy: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/cognitive-behavioral-therapy/MY00194

Duddy :

This is the "behavioral" part of cognitive behavioral therapy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Behavioral_activation

Duddy :

This behavioral or behavior change part is also called "behavioral activation" (sorry for the big words) http://www.christophermartell.com/ba.php

Customer:

big words i can cope with. i'm well educated, articulate and intelligent but i can't hold my own life together. why is that?

Duddy :

The best thing you can do right now is 1) keep in touch with your family doctor; 2) learn as much as you can about positively influencing your own thinking and behavior; 3) Develop a self-care plan and really follow through with it.

Duddy :

What is your educational background?

Customer:

I'm educated to degree level in biological sciences.

Duddy :

That's great. Ok....

Duddy :

I'd say that you can keep your life together. It's a matter of learning about and making some strategic changes in how you think and act or behave.

Duddy :

I'd balance that with keeping your GP informed just incase there is a medically based issue that needs to be addressed.

Duddy :

In the mean time it's about really learning about how to manage your stress, feelings and behavior.

Duddy :

For example, do you have positive social support? Do you exercise daily? Are you getting enough quality rest and healthy diet?

Duddy :

Behaviorally, I'd focus on those moments when you chose to overeat. I'd ask questions like: What are my hi risk situations for over eating? What 2 or 3 activities can I do that are more healthy right at that high risk moment?

Duddy :

Also, there's stimulus control, if you don't have it in your home, you can't eat it. I know many alcoholics who simply don't keep alcohol in their homes...

Customer:

i have reasonable social support tho not many friends who i can be really honest with about how i feel and know they won't judge me. i don't sstop exercising as i'm running around after the 3 kids i mentioned an dmy sleep is terrible, another sure sign i'm sliding down the slope again.

Customer:

i eat when i'm in the house which as a stay at home mum is all the time and i will eat anything, i have to have food in the house right?

Duddy :

I hear you. And each child is considered a full time job..

Customer:

i'm not actually super obese, i'm fairly normal weight because i'm not like this all the time. just sometimes.

Duddy :

Well you have to have healthy food in the house if you can. I can hear the "negative thinking" in your typing. Another important strategy is learning how to identify, stop and replace negative thoughts with more positive and solution focused thoughts.

Duddy :

Again, since this is a single question and answer service I have to suggest that really learning about positive thought and behavior change is a good place to start. There are all kinds of great online resources. If stress is a problem you may also want to explore really mastering the relaxation response.. let me get you one of the best free links on the net....

Duddy :

http://vcc.asu.edu/relax/index.shtml it's not flashy but it's really high quality clinically.

Duddy :

Is there anyway that you can create an hour or 2 per day just for yourself - to study, relax and rejuvenate?

Duddy :

For a busy Mom like you, it's not really "Me-Time". Taking care of yourself is "Self-Care" for a mother is just as much for herself as for her kids and husband.

Customer:

yes. i can try and make some time when the children are in bed instead of chores or tv. it's pretty hard to pu tmy needs first.

Customer:

speaking of the kids, i have to put them to bed in 5 minutes as my husband isn't home yet. i'll be offline then for quite a while so perhaps we can wrap this up?

Duddy :

As I said earlier your self care needs are actually just as much for your kids as they are for you. You must be aware of the research on maternal depression and it's effects on kids' developmentally?

Duddy :

No problem. Wrap sounds fine. I've given you lots of links to explore. Anything else I can help you with today?

Customer:

oh i am. that goes in with the whole guilt part of my persona.

Customer:

i'll definatley look into the the links when i have some time.

Duddy :

Well every-time you feel guilty or negative put it on pause and devote yourself to studying and developing the real high leverage coping skills.

Customer:

i'm thinking more and more cbt is way to go. will ask my gp to refer me if i can.

Duddy :

Read what I sent, do your own research from there and check out your local library. You need to come up with a specific coping stratgy. CBT would be great for you and short term in relation to costs.

Customer:

ok. thank you for your advice.

Duddy :

Emotion and Problem-Focused CBT strategies will really help I think. And you can do lots of it at home - homework etc..

Duddy :

Your welcome.

DuddyH, BA, MA,
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 160
Experience: Counselor; Behavioral Consultant
DuddyH and 2 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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