>If you are a parent, then you know that one of the first things we teach our children to do is self soothe. You hear these lovely words almost from the moment a child is born. Every time a baby cries, some grandma somewhere says, “let the baby learn to soothe herself.” And thus begins our lifelong quest to develop coping mechanisms. Methods of self soothing. I am going to be painfully honest in this post in the hopes that it might help someone else who is grappling with this same thing.
I have been going through a bit of a rough patch, and there is no self soothing. There is no alcohol (I’m not a drinker), there is no cigarettes (I’m not a smoker), there is no drugs (I’m not a drug user), but there was always food. I used to take a thin layer of cupcakes to cover up the hurt feelings. I mean you can fix anything with a chocolate milk shake. You can just eat it away.
And then this week happened . . . I suddenly found myself driving to the post office having a panic attack. I had to pull my car over to the side of the road. I got home and had to just lay on my couch. There I was with no self soothing mechanism. My brain was screaming out to just go get something to eat. Since I first transitioned to veganism, I haven’t had cravings. I haven’t really missed anything. All of a sudden I wanted the strangest things. Ranch Dressing. A hamburger. Cupcakes. Candy Bars. Cheese Puffs. Just anything to put the thin layer of food over the top.
Then my husband said, “just EAT something.” So, I don’t live next to a whole foods. Everything closes at 9 pm in my town, so going to the health food store was not an option. So I found myself at Walmart (yes, the dreaded Walmart) at 11 pm. I was standing on the candy aisle. Every single candy bar had something in it. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I was so upset. In that moment, for the first time in this journey, I almost broke down. I thought to myself, “I mean c’mon, what is a little milk fat compared to my mental health?” I could not eat pineapple or corn chips or an orange. I just needed something.
But then I remember reading on Choosing Raw’s blog (www.choosingraw.com) that the one thing she never compromises is being vegan because it isn’t just about health and it isn’t just about the environment but it is about ethics. We literally are who we eat. So, I decided that I would find the most unhealthy vegan thing that is not an oreo in Walmart, and I would eat that. That would be my self soothing. I found two really awesome things.
First, again, I am not advocating shopping in Walmart. But the point is, if you need to put a thin layer of food over a panic attack, you can do it even if you have to shop at Walmart.