Side Effect Hell, part 14: FEED ME!

Over the last few weeks, the hunger that hovered in the background of my existence has broken its cage and become a raging demon. I just want, no, need, to eat EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW DAMN IT! I eat a good meal, and I have the oddest feeling – I’m full, and desperately hungry. This is doing my head in.

Since going on olanzapine, I’ve gained somewhere between 15 and 20 kilograms. I don’t know exactly, because I don’t know what I weighed beforehand, but I was a size 12-14 and now I’m a solid 18. I used to weigh more than I do now, and I was comfortable in my skin, but this time around I feel awful. I feel like I’m not me any more, I’m buried in a ball of lard. The numbers on the scale and on the tag of my jeans are becoming an obsession. I need to lose some of this weight, because it’s bad not just for my body but for my mental state as well.

The drug makes it hard. It’s nothing to do with willpower  – when I decide that I’m going to do something, I do it, and I don’t really cheat. The problem is that the weight will not shift. Even a week on less than 1200 calories per day resulted in a loss of just over half a kilo. When trying even extreme restrictions doesn’t show results, it gets all very sad.

My psychiatrist has recommended a low carbohydrate diet, both to lose weight and to help smooth out mood swings caused by blood sugar spikes. Since I started a couple of months ago, my bad days have increased quite a bit. I don’t know if it’s related, and the couple of weeks on a high-carb diet were in a high-stress environment, caring for people, and I thrive on that. (I ate whatever was put in front of me for the couple of weeks I lived in ‘grief camp’ with some friends after someone I knew well committed suicide). So having pretty good days coping-wise during that time could be related to the carbs I ate, or could be because of the environment I lived in during that time.

All this mess in my head of needing to lose some of this weight is butting up against the fact that I’m starving. All the time. No matter what or how much I eat. I’m eating smallish but sensible portions, regularly, with occasional snacks. Just generally sensible eating habits for someone who wants to maintain or lose a little bit of weight. It doesn’t matter. I’m ravenous, even when I couldn’t eat another bite without exploding. I could eat myself sick. It’s awful.

My psychiatrist was wary of giving me any type of appetite suppressant last time we talked about the hunger problem, because apparently they can be very addictive. I think we need to revisit that decision, because my relationship with food is getting very messy. Being hungry all the time means that food is an obsession, and that’s not good for me. It becomes about what is ok to eat, what I’m allowed to eat, whether I’m allowed to eat, and it needs to change before it becomes a real problem.

This is not very interesting, and all about me. I need to vent, though. I will try and be more interesting in the near future


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