Monday, April 06, 2009


Lunch today was a delicious salad nicoise, not unlike the one pictured here. I ate nearly all of it, stopping because I was full.

Why am I telling you this? Because it's been about 7 months since I have eaten and felt full. Not because I'm starving myself but because I've been taking an anti-depressant that messes with my metabolism. I knew it would have this effect. I knew this intellectually, but still, over the last few months, I've struggled with various kinds of fallout from never feeling full.

You eat more when you don't feel full. Especially if you are, like me, a person who likes food and likes to eat. Normally food stops tasting good as you begin to feel full. But if you never feel full, the food keeps right on tasting good, and it's an effort of will and intellect to stop eating.

I say that I knew this medication would have this effect. What I actually mean is that I think it has this effect on me (and on others). But part of me didn't buy it. On some level I've been flagellating myself for the last few months for eating so much and never feeling satisfied.

We do such a good job in this culture of conflating appetite with gluttony, with greed, with being out of control in a scary way; I don't know if it's possible to think of appetite in neutral terms. Certainly it isn't for me. Certainly it's been tough to say to myself, "The little thingy in my brain that signals satiety is not working right now." Much easier to say to myself, "What a greedy, insatiable fill in the blank I am."

So along with that feeling of fullness today came another feeling: relief. It feels good to feel full. It's satisfying.

But it's disturbing to feel this kind of relief. I may very well have to back on this medication, or one like it, in the not too distant future. Part of me says unh-unh, never doing that again, I don't care what the consequences are. But is that really true? Would I rather be thinner and more depressed? Thinner and more anxious?

The questions make me think back to this study, which found that people would rather give up years of their life, be severely depressed, lose a limb, go blind, be unable to have children, if they could only be thin.

I think of myself as smarter than that. And yet--it feels good to be full again.


mary said...

I hope you continue to do well without needing the medications though I do understand the need and help they are to many people.
I've been my own guinea pig trying different vitamins and such and I've found the omega 3 oil a fantastic help, usually when I am having thoughts that seem to be taking me down. I use both Flax and fish oil now, alternating. I've also used SUPER B complex with good results, again when I feel the need. I'm going to try to take some of the supplements I may be needing on a more regular basis and see if it keeps me better balanced.
Just thought I'd toss this out there in case you hadn't tried this route.

Carrie Arnold said...

I can kind of relate because I've been (very) hypermetabolic lately, so even the "not hungry anymore" feeling is elusive. It's a nice feeling not to have that little itch in your brain urging you to go find something to eat or at least think about it all the time.

Meowser said...

Oh, dude. I'm on a medication which, at the lower dosages, made me so hungry I couldn't see straight; much of this is gone now with multiple readjustments in the brainmeat cocktail, but I can grok, believe me. I had to keep reminding myself, "It's the drugs, it's the drugs, you are NOT some greedy pig, it's the drugs drugs drugs." But the hunger is real. Ignoring it would be even worse; I tried that and wound up with the hypoglycemic shakes. And I felt like you did -- "shit, I just can't seem to get filled up, what the hell?"

Stuff like that is why a lot of people discontinue and try alternative treatments instead. I suppose how good an idea that is depends on just how bad your depression is without them. Mine was imminent-danger-to-self bad, even with alternative treatments, so right now I can't even THINK about DC-ing. But who knows, maybe someday...

Harriet said...


No kidding. You wind up weighing how crazy you feel with how food-obsessed you get. The worst part to my mind is that most docs won't acknowledge this phenomenon, so you feel like you're nuts for even wondering if the meds have anything to do with the hunger.