I for one know how incredibly difficult eating can be during relapses of depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses. It affects all of us differently and often, all of us differently every time it happens. It can include nausea, binge eating, stomach pains to name a few. Mental illness isn’t completely invisible, it can cause many more physical symptoms too.
Personally, my symptoms differ a lot – I get really bad shakes, especially if I’m suffering badly with anxiety. This makes it difficult to prepare food (ever tried to cut an onion with the shakes….) or even hold a cup of coffee! Before and during the start of coming on meds, I’d had the most HORRIBLE nausea. I wouldn’t be able to eat, drink or anything. I remember at one point I couldn’t drink any form of stimulant, anything sweet or anything fizzy. I genuinely was living off McDonald’s milkshakes for a good month! However, one thing I suffer with during most of my relapses is a lack of motivation and energy. How does this effect my food intake? Well I struggle to cook properly. The thought of cutting a tomato up makes me want to cry. It’s ridiculous. I basically live off quick foods that I shove in the oven and bam. However, I don’t eat properly so I feel sluggish and bad. I have no energy as my food is poorly nourished and I’m depressed, and as a result I feel lazy which sends my anxiety roaring. I can often but on weight and/or lose strength which is horrible too! Vicious circle right? And I know for one that I’m not the only person who suffers like this.. Do you know a study by Rao (2008) found during depressive episodes, persons often have a desire for sweet treats?
But no fear. Unfortunately, I can’t magically make episodes go away and I know by saying “just cook something nutritious” will not help either. However, I do know some quick, healthy foods that require no effort BUT can help you avoiding takeaways and microwave meals when food seems like the hardest task in the world.
- Microwave Rice
Two minutes and it’s done. You don’t even have to add a sauce nowadays (even though they are readily available in little pots!). There’s peri peri flavours, coconut flavours and even chicken and peas available!
- Herbal, fruit teas
These may not work for everyone, but they actually saved me during the winter months!! I don’t like tea but I looooved the twinings fruit tea blood orange and raspberry infusions!
- Tubs of soup
Don’t underestimate the power of soup! Few minutes, filling, nutritious and soothing for the soul. They sell them in most supermarkets in plastic pots or you can always use tins for a longer storage date!
- Porridge pots
Easy as making a cup of tea! Water in, stir, boom! And there’s so many flavours to choose from!
- Nutritional shakes
- Now whilst I don’t endorse these for dieting, but when you’re struggling to eat at all and you really need some nutrients inside you, then these are perfect! I recommend Scandishake, which you can buy in Chemists or supermarkets!
- Don’t forget, you’ve got this, you’re strong and you will pull through. Keep going.
- Emma x