Lack of self esteem, poor impulse control or self punishment?

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Coolname

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I do not want to die.
I do not want the pain and suffering of ill health or physical disability.
So why do I engage in behaviours that may lead to those ends?

I have a physical health problem that makes it a very bad idea to drink alcohol or eat fatty foods. The long term effects of continuing to practice such behaviour will include major organ failure.

Why then do I continue to overeat fatty foods and drink?
Although our brains are wired to give us a pleasure / comfort from food, although being slightly drunk is pleasant, I don't find either activity particularly pleasurable. I find overeating uncomfortable and the brief high of a few drinks is not worth the following drop in mood and multi-day hangover. They are both habitual distractions I use to deal with problematic thoughts and feelings but those habits don't feel strong enough to make me harm myself like this. So why?

Is it the lack of hope of depression that means I just don't care about my future?
Is it self punishment, do I feel I deserve it?
Is it a lack of impulse control?
Is it that I get comfort from the resulting feelings of misery?
Is it the magnetism I find in worst case scenarios? Am I most comfortable if the worst seems assured?
Is it a combination of the above?
Is it something else altogether?

I thought I'd made progress on this issue in counseling the other day but the drinking has gotten worse since, three pints yesterday evening, another three today, that is normally a couple of weeks worth. Both evenings spent with an uncomfortable and slightly painful overfull stomach. Both evenings spent feeling self disgust and fear for the future.

Anyone got any answers or suggestions?
 
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ziedite

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Hey cool... totally get it. I still drink too much wine even though I know it is bad for me. What do you think you need from us to help you through this rough patch?
 
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Coolname

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Hey cool... totally get it. I still drink too much wine even though I know it is bad for me. What do you think you need from us to help you through this rough patch?
Hi

Thanks for your response.
Sadly it isn't just a rough patch. I suppose I was hoping somebody here would be able to offer insight or something.

Take care.
 
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Sarabi_Gyarados

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I think there are lots of reasons why we do self-destructive things. A big part of it is apathy, and just not caring enough about ourselves. Especially when you see life through the filter of depression, it can be easy to coax bad things to you, even just to feel something.
 
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Coolname

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I think there are lots of reasons why we do self-destructive things. A big part of it is apathy, and just not caring enough about ourselves. Especially when you see life through the filter of depression, it can be easy to coax bad things to you, even just to feel something.
I suspect there is a lot of truth in that. Thank you.
 
L

Lunar Lady

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Mixed bag of reasons, I reckon, Coolname.

Some of us have truly compulsive and addictive natures - not through lack of self-control but simply because of the way our brains are wired. The compulsion is always more compelling than the reasons why we shouldn't do something.

Lack of self-love has to be in the mix - we don't focus on nurturing and caring for ourselves because the genuine respect and love isn't there. Think about how people meticulously polish and baby a brand new car - it's their pride and joy. Some people have those same feelings about themselves and meticulously attend to their health, well-being...every detail of their appearance. Some of us treat old bodies like 'old bangers' - we just expect them to get us from A to B reliably until a part drops off from neglect and we have to spend time being overhauled :D
 
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Lunar Lady

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Coolname, this had a resonance with me and explained many of my destructive tendencies in the best terms I have ever come across.

If you've got 15 minutes spare....have a listen and see if he describes you. x

 
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Coolname

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Coolname, this had a resonance with me and explained many of my destructive tendencies in the best terms I have ever come across.

If you've got 15 minutes spare....have a listen and see if he describes you. x

Thanks! I'll take a look at this.
 
TaurusLady

TaurusLady

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It sounds like you need further help.

Have you sought advice from your doctor regarding Alternative and Complementary therapies?

Big hugs xx
 
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Coolname

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Coolname, this had a resonance with me and explained many of my destructive tendencies in the best terms I have ever come across.

If you've got 15 minutes spare....have a listen and see if he describes you. x

Thanks for the link. Really interesting idea about the neurotransmittion deficit. I'd love for some research to be done to prove / disprove that theory.

A lot of what he said about addiction makes a lot of sense and I could relate a good deal. It is when he said abstinence is a core part of the answer that my heart sank. He is right, it is how I gave up so much stuff including cigarettes and refined sugar. I usually control my drinking by making alcohol the exception not the rule.

The question is how do you abstain from food? You can't but I can abstain from going into places like Greggs. I can abstain from eating non-plant based snacks. As the chap said in the lecture, that often isn't good enough because healthier foods don't give your brain the hit it is looking for but abstaining from those foods for an extended period will certainly change habits and perhaps my psychological responses.
 
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Sarabi_Gyarados

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That's exactly it. Your brain will learn not to get its hit, or so much of a hit from food. Right now, it's probably blitzed on that. Exercise (I know, I know) is a great way to get a natural high but not necessarily the gym, just any activity. It's also so great for depression and anxiety. We are designed to move, so when we are too still our brains are still active but our bodies aren't. I think it's the crux of a lot of mental illness. Our bodies can't burn out what our thoughts are doing.
 
L

Lunar Lady

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Thanks for the link. Really interesting idea about the neurotransmittion deficit. I'd love for some research to be done to prove / disprove that theory.

A lot of what he said about addiction makes a lot of sense and I could relate a good deal. It is when he said abstinence is a core part of the answer that my heart sank. He is right, it is how I gave up so much stuff including cigarettes and refined sugar. I usually control my drinking by making alcohol the exception not the rule.

The question is how do you abstain from food? You can't but I can abstain from going into places like Greggs. I can abstain from eating non-plant based snacks. As the chap said in the lecture, that often isn't good enough because healthier foods don't give your brain the hit it is looking for but abstaining from those foods for an extended period will certainly change habits and perhaps my psychological responses.
In my case, I know I have a compulsive nature. I have learnt that I can shed the damaging behaviours by replacing them with new, health-enhancing rituals. Most of the time, we are running on automatic pilot...doing things because they have become an ingrained mental program that we don't question. I was a heavy smoker for all of my adult life - the day punctuated with coffee and cigarette breaks that I adhered to like a timetable. It never occurred to me to question if I wanted a particular cigarette - I just followed comfortable and familiar rituals.

I think if you re-write your brain program, dealing with one compulsion at a time, these habits can just be replaced with better ones. For every food compulsion, identify a more healthy but appealing option. If you work out menus for the week and only shop for those foods - the bad options won't be in your fridge or cupboards to tempt you. I'm not a great believer in total abstinence because it leaves us feeling as if we are denying ourselves - in this house, Friday is chocolate day. My son loves chocolate cake and a Dairy milk bar and this is his treat to start the weekend. He loves it - and doesn't eat sugary snacks on any other day - more importantly, he is in the habit of never thinking about or wanting a chocolate treat on any other day but Friday because those synapses have been built in his mind.

It is not often that we make fully conscious decisions - I can cruise past the fridge and grab something as a reflex. Just taking a minute to think "Am I hungry? Do I really want this?" often stops me in my tracks.

Wishing you all the best. x
 
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Sarabi_Gyarados

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That's great about Friday being sugar day. I have a sugar addiction. I'll try to make Friday my one sugar day. If your son can do it, I can!
 
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Sarabi_Gyarados

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PS I was given chocolate every day as a kid, so I'm definitely addicted!
 
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Lunar Lady

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That's great about Friday being sugar day. I have a sugar addiction. I'll try to make Friday my one sugar day. If your son can do it, I can!

I think the nice thing is that you don't feel the strain of abstinence or denial - and we enjoy chocolate Friday more because it's a treat. We also eat very little now because it takes so little to give the satisfaction.

I'm a sugar junkie too, Sarabi...with no plans to reform...only moderate ;)
 
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