Stress eating my way to a nervous breakdown

Wow, that title is a little dramatic, isn’t it? I’m not anywhere near a nervous breakdown, but I have been stress-eating like a lunatic lately, so that statement isn’t completely false.

From the middle of March until now it seems like it has been one thing after another around here – my daughter’s graduation, a last-minute Senior Tea I helped throw together, my other daughter’s cheer commitments (and mine, say hello to the new Cheer Booster Club treasurer!), then a couple of weeks ago, my dad was diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, the doctors think his cancer (lymphoma) is very treatable and his prognosis is good, but for those 2 weeks things were pretty dicey. I really and truly thought my dad would not live to see the end of this month.

Things with work have been dicey too. At the end of last year, some big changes were made to my company and it went from feeling like a close-knit friends & family community to a cut-throat BUSINESS. Several very good employees were let go and just this morning they let one of our best go. She had been with the company for years (maybe 20?) and she was a wealth of information – she knew the processes and ins and outs of almost everything in my department. She was my go-to when I didn’t know how to do something – actually she was the go-to for a lot of people – she was super dependable and could be counted on to get things done. And instead of utilizing her brains and talent in another position, they restructured her right out of a job. I am so sad and mad and frustrated. It just makes no sense to me.

And she’s not the only bright star they let go. Which leads me to think that if they are willing to let these really good employees leave, what’s stopping them from letting me go? Do I jump ship now or do I wait until they decide I’m not valuable anymore and let them offer me a severence? I really don’t know.

So, guess how I’ve been dealing with all of this? ICE CREAM. As much ice cream as I can get! I’ve had ice cream nearly every day for the last 3 weeks, and not just a small lady-like dainty scoop of ice cream, nuh-uh! I’m talking six inch high soft serve twist cones from the local walk-up. I’m talking those Snickers ice cream bars (and if you think I stop after having one of those, you would be wrong). Ice cream in big bowls at home drizzled with Hershey’s syrup. And you wanna know how I feel after all that ice cream?


It didn’t help one iota. Okay maybe while I was eating, it felt good, but after the last crunch of the cone, my worries were still there, nagging me to think about them some more.

It hasn’t been totally terrible – I did steal away for a day with my BFF for a trip to a museum, but guess what we did after? ICE CREAM.

Ice cream hasn’t been the only player, but it’s been the main character in my play of overindulgence. I feel like I want to pull back and get into a regular routine of eating well again, but dammit it’s so hard to resist something that is so quick and efficient at easing my stress, even it only lasts a few moments. I’m ready for life to settle down again but it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen anytime soon.

What do you do for stress? And if you say “I work out and eat lettuce” I will glare at you through my screen. Tell me the real deal – how do you REALLY deal with stress?


16 thoughts on “Stress eating my way to a nervous breakdown

  1. Sadly, I comfort myself with food too, cheesy burrito with sour cream kind of comfort. I also numb myself with playing games on my phone, loving up my dog, and a lot of complaining. Only one of them has long-term positive effect, and he never wants me to stop petting him. Still, that sounds like some mega-stress you are dealing with, I can blame you for wanting some comfort. Sometimes you can just manage to get through something intact, no matter what coping techniques you try. Hope the rest of your summer is smoother sailing!

    1. I do events for a large ski resort and lately (or maybe always?) my stress has been sky high. Since being in this role I have consistently gained and gained weight. After a client asked when my baby was due (I’m not pregnant) I feel embarrassed and just dejected. Healthy eating has always been a challenge, but I’m so tired of feeling like I’m worth less because I have a big belly. Feeling fat just stresses me out more and ALL I want to do is curl up with my dog in my bed and EAT… candy, chips, bread… anything I can get my hands on.

      This last week I kicked myself into high gear and cut out most carbs and it’s been going well, but I just don’t know how to maintain it and as more stress from work and my relationship pile up, I just want to get a big pile of junk food and binge my troubles (temporarily) away.

      It’s nice to read that I’m not the only one who struggles with this, but I wish there was a way to just turn off the cravings and that signal in my brain that equates bad food with good feelings.

      1. Oh Sister, I feel you on this, I really do. And shame on that person for asking when the baby is due!!! Anyone with any common sense at all knows you never ask a woman this question UNTIL SHE HAS A BABY IN HER ARMS. People can be so insensitive. Let me tell you this: YOUR WORTH HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH HOW YOU LOOK. I know you know this logically, but emotionally it is harder to absorb. How can I help you? I’ve been down this road and I’m happy to say I stay off of it most of the time (but yeah there are times when I find myself on it – I’m human) so I can offer you the things I did to manage my stress and eating and everything that surrounds it. Maybe I’ll make a blog post listing all the resources and tricks I have used because I know that if one person feels it, then there are a hundred more feeling it right along with her. Let me know what would help you. 🙂

      2. I am reading the “Brain Over Binge Recovery Workbook” and it is really helping me see the biological and neurological causes of compulsive and emotional eating. Since I began reading the book my urges to eat unplanned food or binge have dramatically decreased already, even though my mom is in the midst of getting some really scary diagnoses with her health.

  2. That’s all so awful. I would be stress-eating, too. Outside of that, I find writing about my feelings really helps me to sort things out. I hope it all works out – I would definitely keep my ear to the ground for other job opportunities, especially if they’re willing to let valuable long-term employees go like that.

  3. Wow, the last few months have been very crazy for you. I’m so happy to hear your dad is going to be okay! Cancer sucks the very worst. I can definitely imagine how you must be feeling, my dad has had multiple surgeries to remove skin cancers over the last ten years, and each new diagnosis is scary. And then to throw in so much upheaval and stress at work – of course you’re indulging in ice cream! Who wouldn’t?

    My go-to stress relief advice is to be kind to yourself. When we’re trying to keep our heads above water, we paddle however we can. Sometimes that’s with ice cream, sometimes chocolate. Give yourself grace and listen to your body – when it’s ready, it will ask you for a brisk walk instead of an ice cream cone.

    Oh! And keep writing! It lets you vent, it connects you to the blogging community, and it makes us creative types feel so much better!

  4. When the stress is monumental (like yours sounds), food is a great (albeit temporary) stress reducer. So, yeah, eat – that’s what I do, too. Exercising, calling a friend, journaling would be healthier ways to deal. But we are freakin human! I hope all turns out ok for you. Hang in there! Thinking of you.

  5. I use Insight Timer and meditate for 10 minutes at night lying down, I have done it for a year and recently started doing it in the morning. It helps me relax and breathe in stressful situations.
    I also like ice cream!!!

  6. OUCH! I completely understand that stress eating after hearing about your plate. I am sorry to hear about your dad but glad that it is treatable. I would keep my ears to the ground after them letting all those people go for sure. I really cannot tell you what I do for stress other than holding it in my shoulders. I know a lot of people say exercise but who the heck are they kidding!? LOL Writing is a good one. Channeling it into productive habits would be better but yeah no worries I am rolling my eyes back into my head and glaring at myself for you. Good luck!!!!!!!

  7. I’m so sorry about your work situation and your dad’s health struggles. Things are kind of crazy where I work, too, and my husband has multiple health issues (five hospitals and three surgeries in the last 12 months). And, yes, Ben & Jerry are my best friends during times of stress. It feels so good while you’re eating it but a half an hour later you’re feeling worse than ever. Bloated and gross on top of stressed out. Why do we do this to ourselves? I do get up and exercise every morning before work, so I hope that offsets the stress eating a little bit.

  8. Thank you all, for your kind words. And hey! Guess what helps with my stress? WRITING. After I wrote this post, I had no desire for ice cream. Last night I had a really good healthy dinner and I didn’t even want anything for dessert – I think writing it all out here helped more than I realized!! I love hearing about how you all deal with stress – thanks so much for sharing!!

  9. I don’t know if you remember, but when my mom was diagnosed with cancer AND I couldn’t run to relieve stress thanks to my wonky ankle, I ate coconut M&M’s. Every day. Sometimes more than one bag. I had so many bags stashed everywhere, in my purse, desk drawer, suitcase…stress would get to me and I’d feel overwhelmed and coconut M&M’s calmed me down, soothed my anxiety, and helped make me able to deal with the situation. NO, it’s not the ideal way to deal with stress, but when things are overwhelming and out of your control, I say that whatever it is that helps you is perfectly fine. And when things got better with my mom, I didn’t feel the need for those M&M’s. Hang in there and do whatever it takes to get through this.

    1. I DO remember that Shelley! Like you said, sometimes you just gotta go with what works, and apparently ice cream is what’s working for me right now. I haven’t had any in a couple of days but if I need more, I’m going to have it. If there were something as quick and efficient as food for stress relief, I’d be more than willing to try it (deep breathing sometimes helps, but not every time).

  10. We all have ways of dealing our anxieties and stress. Why not do it in a healthy way and try this product as your daily stress-reliever 👉

    Let’s all be healthy in mind and body!

  11. For me. One of the best ways to lose weight (gain confidence) for me is dancing and having fun while dancing and then focussing on every body part and that whilst with the use of a good heart rate monitor to work with. Great! I am thankful. 🙂

    ..and I’m also so grateful I found, it helped me (and a friend of mine) not only lose weight but keep it off, hope it helps some others! Why not share it with the world?

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