Repressed Emotions

So, I have been struggling with severe emotional eating, and have now started abstinence from carbs and sugar, since they are the two biggest factors in my emotional eating. Since abstaining, I have found that really strong emotions and memories pertaining to my episode of PP in 2013 have come up. I am no longer hiding my feelings from myself with food, so it is all out in the open naked.

Today, I hallucinated a moth, and it triggered a panic attack that I might be going back to "that place" and took an antianxiety medication and my antispychotic to calm me down. I am bipolar 1, so psychotic symptoms can be run of the mill for me. I feel stable on the other hand.

How do I deal with these repressed emotions and memories that are now all in my face? I have nothing to hide them with anymore, and I feel very vulnerable.1

8 Replies

  • Hi,

    I suffered pp also in 2013. I spent a long time with reliving memories, I found that cbt helped a lot.

    Also trying to do baby things like groups or going for a walk helped with the memories.

    Hope this helps

  • Hi there,

    Are you working with a therapist? Mine specializes in trauma which is good for me because I was very traumatised by the psych hospital. We work on mindfulness and how to be aware of my thinking. Meditation helps me too! Not sure if this will help but I listen to podcasts on the way to fav is the mental illness happy hour. Its great the host interviews guests with all sorts of mental illness and actually has one himself. Also good for you to take control of your eating. That can be really hard.

  • Hi TwoUnderTwo

    Really sorry to hear that you are feeling in such a vulnerable place at the moment. Are there any other stresses or factors in life at the moment that might also be triggering these strong memories? I wondered if it might be worth talking things through with your care team - do you have a mental health support worker or psychiatrist at the moment?

    As others have said, it seems like it might be really helpful for you to have some talking therapies to help with these strong memories. Lots of Mums on the forum have found CBT very helpful, and mindfulness meditation can also be a very helpful way of dealing with distressing memories and thoughts. If you're not under a care team at the moment, you could try asking your GP for a referral for some talking therapy or to a mindfulness group which are often run locally by mental health charities.

    I was also wondering if you might want to think about other forms of self-care now that you are abstaining from carbs and sugar. It's different things that work for different people, but a massage or a good film or a walk with friends can all be treats that are healthier for us that the emotional eating you have been struggling with. I'm really impressed with your strength and courage to tackle the emotional eating and to be willing to face things 'head on' - you are doing a great job.

    Warm wishes


  • I once suffered from PP, over 40 years ago now. I recovered and carried on functioning, looking after my children and working until my children were in their teens, but I was aware that at some level there were a lot of memories and emotions that I had buried. Eventually I was able to get back in touch with them, and it was overwhelming. What I found most helpful was writing a journal. This was originally inspired by Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way, which suggests writing 'morning pages', a couple of pages of whatever comes to mind each day. This is written entirely for oneself, not for publication or even to show to anyone else. Sometimes mine were full of everyday things, shopping lists, irritations with people, all sorts of stuff. But as I wrote more and more, I was able to get the memories of PP, of the psychiatric hospital, of wanting to breastfeed but not being able to, all of that, down on paper. As I did, something wonderful happened. Once I had written about something and it had an independent existence as words on paper, it ceased to go round and round inside my head. This was enormously freeing. Writing also meant that I was able to piece together shattered memories - memories that didn't make sense before, that I had taken as evidence of my 'craziness', now started to make sense.

    Later on I found Sandra Ingerman's book Soul Retrieval. This book describes how traumas, both large and small, can make fragments of one's soul split off. These fragments are not totally lost, however, and can be reintegrated in deep meditation. I know this sounds a bit 'woo' and metaphysical, but I found this way of looking at things very helpful and healing.

    Finally, I'd like to say be gentle with yourself. Drastic dieting can certainly bring a lot of stuff to the surface very quickly. Take it easy and take your time!

  • Oh and yes, mindfulness, CBT, and now MBCT (Mindfulness-based Cognitive therapy) which combines the two. These approaches either weren't around or were little known when I was younger, but are very valuable.

  • Hi TwounderTwo sorry you are struggling at the moment. I am impressed also with how you have tackled your emotional eating, this is pretty amazing considering you're still pretty vulnerable and in recovery. I still comfort eat now!!

    I don't have much to add from what others have said. I did find CBT helpful, but that was more to cope with the depression rather than deal with memories. I have written I think on here before how the memories can suddenly come up very strong, . My son going to nursery (and not wanting me to leave him) was one where I was in total bits and really struggled until I worked out it was to do with memories of PP and guilt that I had 'abandoned' him in some way when I was ill. Recently I have had a really hard time at work too and after a sleepless anxious night I was all ready to go to the GP fearing I was ill again... I am saying this just to say you're not alone with these these kind of feelings.

    I hope some of what others said helps. I found praying / meditation helped, guided stuff sometimes more so to stop thoughts going round and round (e.g. listening to a meditative podcast). I enjoy writing sometimes too, and I know people have suggested on here before to list 3 things you have enjoyed about the day for example. I like the idea of morning pages but not sure how practical I would find that with children!

    Also I do find distraction helps a lot - for me watching TV (the voice is one of my faves at the moment!) or a film or reading a good novel... but I know when I wasn't well at all I couldn't concentrate enough or motivated enough to watch a film /read so it depends how you are feeling? I find it does help to distract from intrusive, obsessive thoughts.

    In some way perhaps these memories are coming up because you may be ready to look at them in some way, with support? Are you able to get counselling to help you look at them in a safe environment that is time limited?

  • Hello TwounderTwo

    It's not easy facing your fears head on so well done for trying. 2013 is not so long ago and I think memories of such a tramatic experience are always waiting in the wings to be triggered. Even for me, forty years this year from my first psychosis, the memories are there to recall.

    In a way it's good you have recognised this as a problem. If these thoughts and memories are crowding space in your head, then you need to 'give' them to someone, such as a therapist. He or she will be able to reassure you that you are not going back to 'that place' and will suggest coping mechanisms for you.

    I know we have all endured so much with PP. Seek out the help you need; even having coffee and a chat with a good friend might work for you.

    Be proud of how far you have come.

    Take good care of yourself.

  • Hello TwounderTwo

    How are you feeling now? Have you been able to have any help with your repressed emotions and memories? I'm sorry it's not an easy time for you.

    Take good care of yourself.

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