Emotional Outpour and Overwhelm in ED/Diet Recovery?

Uncategorized Apr 20, 2020

Hey, everyone. Kayla here, thanks for joining me today. :)

I've had so many people recently bring this up, I had to write about it finally... that is - feeling like an emotional wreck or just a general overwhelming feeling of emotions in recovery.

Most people will go through this at some point in their recovery.

And it's not like at this point, you'll feel this way, and this point you'll get over it. It's just... I don't know when it'll come for you, I can share with you how it came for me, but really with everyone, it's come for them at so many different phases and stages for them. So, for some people, it's immediate, for some people it's at three months, for others it's at six months, for others it's at a year, for others it's at a year and a half, and so forth. Really, it could come at any point.

And when it does come, it's gonna feel like a tornado is hitting you, like a tornado of emotions is just outpouring. As if you opened a can of worms, and it feels out of control.

It feels overwhelming.

It feels like something's terribly wrong.

It feels like you're a child not being able to deal with your emotions.

It feels like just a mess, like you're just emotionally a wreck.


That's what I wanna talk about because, if you're feeling this way, know that there's nothing wrong with you, there's nothing abnormal about feeling that way. You're not doing something wrong, you're not broken. It's just that what you're feeling is totally normal. And most people that I talk to have gone through this period of their recovery.


So you may feel like you are crying more than you ever have in your past. You may feel weak for feeling so much. You may feel sensitive to things that typically wouldn't bother you or bother you as bad as it's seeming to bother you.

You just feel hypersensitive to any little thing. Any little thing can really trigger you or bring up so many different emotions.

And the emotions of what you may be feeling can be vast.

  • You can be feeling grief
  • You can be feeling not good enough
  • You can be feeling past hurts and wounds that are opening up
  • You can be feeling just overwhelming emotions of going through recovery

And it's just overwhelming because you may not have felt true emotions for so long.

It's typical, if you are coming from a place of not really feeling that much or not feeling properly, or running away from emotions that, now when it's like this uncontrollable outpour, that it's going to feel really uncomfortable and abnormal. And it's just... Right? You can't just come into it now feeling a bunch of emotions, and properly deal with it.


So if you're feeling like you have 100 different emotions or more per day, or on and off, it comes and goes, but when it comes, it's like a wave that hits you and sweeps you from under your feet, you don't know where it came from. You may not even be able to identify what you're feeling, but you sure are feeling.

You may be feeling just angry and upset, or just sad and depressed, and it's just... It's a lot.

It may be like one little look that someone gave you and you're just in tears.

It may be one little comment that someone said, and you freak out. You feel triggered or you feel just totally upset, or you feel like you just wanna run back into restricting or exercising to get rid of the emotion.

You just wanna get rid of it.

You don't wanna feel that way, and it's just too overwhelming.

And those were your old vices potentially, for some people.

And so you just wanna go back to that, so you don't have to feel this or deal with this 'cause it's just too much.

And life was better before when you didn't have to feel any of this.


And so you're feeling like hundreds of different emotions per day, all at once.

And someone just described it to me as feeling literally like all the emotions that you suppressed from years or months before, all coming at once right now.

So all the time of suppression through restricting, being underweight, or overexercising, or having these compensative, restrictive, purging behaviors, any of them. Not all of them, you don't have to have all of them, just any of those can cause just a suppression of emotions.

And we'll talk about that in a second, but I'm just trying to describe to you what it can feel like, so that you can feel validated, like you're not going crazy.


And again, it happens to most of us at some point during the period of gaining weight.

This is simply because restricting and being in an energy deficit, so exercising too much, eating too little, even just 100 calories not enough each day, this can have a numbing effect on us.

So we're numb.

We're numb to emotions.

And it makes sense because when the body is too low on resources, so energy, why would the body prioritize dealing with emotions, or prioritizing emotions.

Just like it doesn't prioritize reproductive hormones or production of new hair, or production of stable body temperature. All of these processes that are normal for us go to the back burner when we're in an energy deficit, as a way to conserve.



And it applies to this as well because emotions, dealing with our emotions as a human, takes a lot of energy.

And so when the body is in an energy deficit, many of our systems and functions, bodily functions, slow down or even come to a halt altogether, as we've seen.

So your metabolism is lowered, your heart rate is lowered, your whole digestive system and each digestive organ slows down or stops being able to function properly. The transit time of your digestion slows down to try to conserve and extract as much energy as possible. Your thyroid and the hormones that come from your thyroid slow down the production.

So our emotional responses are suppressed. They're kind of just pushed to the side, and we feel a state of numb, in a sense.



And if I can remember correctly, when I was going through all of these different stages of my disorder of eating, I don't think I really felt or cried properly, let alone felt other emotions like joy and compassion, and a clarity of mind. And this goes for feeling, crying. I would cry about how I was feeling and how frustrated I was feeling 'cause my health was crumbling, but I wasn't crying about anything else. And that's not all life encompasses. It wasn't like a proper cry. You know, like a proper cry, where it just feels like a release, I didn't have one of those. I don't know if you can relate with that.


And so when we come into recovery, a lot of people take that as... I was just talking to one of my clients, Shanti, and she was explaining how she could have described herself as feeling mature and emotionally stable and confident and that... And, really, it was all just a facade. And I completely can resonate to that because I also would have described my past self as that and others as well. Cool, calm and collected, well, that was all a facade and just a suppression of my emotions and a suppression of who I was as a sensitive feeling being.

Now, I don't cry as much as some of the other women in my family or men, but I am very sensitive and the sensitivity that I do have was taken away when I was in... Being suppressed with my diet and over-exercise and suppression of my body weight even five pounds too low.


We can lie to ourselves and others that we're emotionally good and emotionally mature and when we're in the midst of restricting, but then, when one decides to take on recovery and they restore the energy deficit and they weight restore and their body feels... They get to a point where there are all these other distractions that are suppressing the emotions and your body doesn't feel like it's life is being threatened anymore, when one starts eating and gaining weight, so also does the emotions come. Again, that's a false sense of emotional poise, if you can relate to that.


And really, all the emotions of being a human being are just being suppressed and the suppression always means a bigger blowout eventually. If you're trying to still avoid the anxieties, fears, hurts, traumas, wounds, emotions in general, just feeling in general, even feeling love and joy, if you're trying to run away from that still, you're running away from something that's inevitable.

It's gonna catch up with you some way. It's gonna manifest itself some way. I had to get in the mindset of, "If it comes, I'm just gonna have to face it as it comes." It doesn't mean it's easy. It doesn't mean it's comfortable, but the only way through it, just like facing our fear of foods and facing these different anxieties around stopping counting calories, stopping the exercise compulsion, all of these things, the only way to overcome it is to face the fears, to face the anxieties.


And so if you're trying to run away from emotions, the only way to get over it and be free from it is to face it and deal with it and feel it. And just know if that scares you and it's preventing you from recovering, just know that it will pass.

I promise you, it doesn't last forever. The emotions pass. They don't last forever. If you continue to feel it, if you continue to deal with the emotions and release them by feeling them, they will go away.

You won't become a superhuman and just be perfectly emotionally stable and poised ever, but you get to a point where those emotions aren't uncontrollable and constant and just unbearable and overwhelming. So you do get to that place.


It can feel overwhelming and it can feel like you're gonna have a panic attack and can cause panic to know that these emotions are coming and you don't have control of it. And when these emotions do come, if, I don't know...

And for you to be prepared or if you're going through it right now to just encourage you to stay on track with what you're doing. When these emotions come, you may feel tempted to want to restrict.

You may feel tempted to wanna go exercise, to distract, to get away from these emotions, because that will make you feel better.

  • Or that life before was so much better, you didn't have all these emotions. Life was so much better.
  • You didn't have to love and fear, risk getting hurt or your heart broken.
  • You didn't have to give yourself to someone and fear being abandoned.
  • You didn't have to feel the anxieties or the pains of this world and daily life and the struggles and the traumas that may have happened to you when you were younger.
  • You don't have to face the shame of what you may have done in the past.
  • You don't have to face any of that.
  • So all of these emotions, it can come from so many different situations, honestly.
  • Or just the anxiety of if you eat a certain food, it's gonna kill you or it's gonna make you feel unhealthy.
  • Fearing that if you eat a certain way, if you gain a certain amount of weight that you won't be lovable or you won't be good enough or you won't be able to maintain this vanity image that you've created for yourself that's unsustainable.
  • Or that you're just going to become unhealthy.

There's so many things that you may be feeling or trying to escape and distract from.


It may cause you to reminisce about how life was better before you had to feel and deal, but it's a lie because if you really, again, put yourself in your situation, what made you choose recovery? Why did you choose recovery? Why did... Were you led into diet recovery, eating disorder recovery? Why were you led here in the first place?

Remind yourself of the reality of it all. Like, "Yeah, maybe you were numbed, but that was not emotional poise. Yeah, maybe you had all of these pros that the brain can come up with to try to trick you into going back, but it's not true."


Going back to restricting, going to exercise to distract from emotions, purging, whatever, they're not gonna make you feel better long-term.

Yes, initially, they may make you feel better when you go back, but that's because you're numbing out again. And you're not gonna get anywhere from doing that. These people are triggered from feeling emotions again.

And this was me in my recovery, the heightened fears, the heightened anxieties, and even the heightened love and joy. But just the heightened memories of the past that you didn't think of for the last however many years of your life. This can freak people out, because not feeling was, in a sense, like a protective mechanism.

They didn't wanna feel sexual, they didn't wanna feel love, they didn't wanna feel intimacy, they didn't wanna feel anxiety, they didn't wanna feel the pains of life, they didn't wanna feel how that was hurtful back at this time in their life when someone said this or looked at them a certain way.

You know, I've listed all of this stuff. And so it was a false sense of a protective mechanism from keeping them from being hurt when they felt out of control in their life or out of control of their emotions, but it was a false sense of security and empowerment, and safety and confidence or emotional poise, and inside it's a melting pot ready to explode.


And it can manifest in physical ways that you would never even understand. I know that that's the case for me at least, maybe that aspect doesn't resonate with you, but you may still be feeling a ton of emotions, regardless of if you resonate with that. You don't have to resonate with that.

You may just be feeling a ton of emotions, and you just may feel weak from feeling these emotions 'cause that was your strength before, of not being affected by emotions and anxieties and fears that other people seem to not be able to deal with or cope with.

But actually, it's true strength and true empowerment to be able to feel your emotions and feel vulnerable.


And to face your emotions, that's hard, and that's strength. Right? That's true strength. Your new motto, like when an earthquake happens, I don't know if you learnt this when you're a kid.

To practice an earthquake drill, what did they tell you? Stop, drop and roll.

Okay, so when an outpour of an emotions hits you, your new motto should be face, deal and feel. Stop, drop and roll; face, deal and feel.

Just roll with it.

They may seem like it's gonna last forever, but they don't.

And each time that you face it, you'll release a little bit more, and you may peel back the layers of the onion, you're like an onion right now, and you may get to a deeper layer and it outpours again, and then you're crying every day and your husband or your girlfriend or whatever, or your friend, or your mom, or your dad, or your dog is supporting you or wondering what's going on and you don't know how to explain it.

You don't know what's going on. You're just feeling all the time. You're crying all the time over nothing or over something, but it happened years ago, why are you even feeling that right now?


So I had to get to the point of prefferencing, feeling love, and risking getting hurt, just feeling like a human rather than a numbed-out robot. It was worth it to me at a certain point. I couldn't go on with the eating disorder anymore. I couldn't go on with the diets anymore.

I couldn't go on with the weight cycling anymore. I just had to deal with it and take it one day at a time.


So you're like a pendulum, I've said this for other things in recovery, but I'll refer to this again.

You're like a pendulum and the distorted eating and dieting and all that, weight suppression, you come from this end of the pendulum, then in recovery you start eating and gaining weight, and you go to this side of the pendulum. It's just a balancing out act, and you're gonna go all over the place, and your emotions are gonna be all over, and eventually, you'll balance out and find a balance.


So this isn't a bad thing. Human beings are emotional beings, they're mental, physical, emotional, spiritual beings. Just in the right context, these can all be perverted but it doesn't deny our nature.

We just have to get back to a place, a healthy place, for all of those aspects of ourselves. And recovery is a balancing act of all of those aspects. So it could just be a matter of learning how to deal and cope with feeling emotions as a human being again, after years, or months of neglecting your emotional state, stunting any emotional growth.


And growth doesn't come in the uptimes, growth comes from when we're down and we learn all of the things we need to learn because from when we go down, there's only going back up, these are beautiful times.

Chasing after a facade of perfect happiness and positivity 100% of the time is just chasing after a utopia, which means "no place," and it always leads to emptiness.

If you have your expectations of life that you're not supposed to feel ever or hurt ever, life is gonna be really hard to deal with because you're gonna be fighting the nature of life.


Another aspect of this may be that as your hormones come online again and they start to balance and stabilize, this can all cause an emotional roller coaster.

As your hormones balance out, so will your emotions.

Your hormones are all over the place, your emotions are all over place, you're digestive tract is all over the place. Everything. Your energy level is all over the place.

Your hunger, all over the place. It's all just a time of balancing out. And it might not all really make sense, but willingly starving yourself doesn't really make sense either, right?


So now, don't think that you're just some emotional eater and you've gone from one extreme to the other extreme. It's a balancing out thing.

And you don't have to try to get that under control.

You're coming from a past of emotional numbness and suppression, you're now feeling emotions from eating and resting.

So you don't stop eating because now you're feeling, 'cause it freaks you out.

You keep eating and you keep feeling.

You're not an emotional stress or boredom eater, you're healing and you need the food no matter what. You're hungry and that's valid. You're feeling, and that's valid.


I don't know if I've talked about this in other videos, but briefly, in my recovery, I think it was about five months in, I could say, I had already got my period back and had it a few times, or a couple of times.

All of a sudden, the emotional wave hit me and I opened the can of worms, and I was crying from morning until night, all day long, uncontrollably. I didn't know what was going on. I couldn't even pinpoint what I was feeling, exactly. I was just crying non-stop!


And I remember there was someone that I was talking to online, and she also was going through this period from transitioning from raw vegan to cooked food, and she obviously was binging and she was gaining weight, and she was going through this at the same point.

She wasn't in the recovery that I was in, but she was in that sense, doing her own journey, and she was also going through the same emotional thing. And I remember reaching out to her, I'm like, "I don't know what's wrong with me, I can't stop crying." She was like, "Yeah, me too. I don't know what's going on."


So, that was the only other thing to validate what I was feeling, and it lasted for months. I can't even tell you when it stopped, but I was just crying non-stop.

And any little thing really just made me... I felt so sensitive, like a weak, fragile flower or something that you could just crumble into pieces from nothing, it seemed like. But it was something, and it was valid.

And now I know that, because now, with every other person that I talk to, they go through the same thing.


And so, everyone's like, "What's wrong with me? I can't stop crying." They can't even control the tears, hold them back any longer, they're just coming out from all different places. And so, I had to make this video, because I don't want you feeling alone if you're feeling this.

And not to mention, look at what's going on in the world..

People go through this emotional roller coaster and outpour in normal recovery, in a normal world condition. Look around, with this quarantine situation, this is causing a lot of things on top of already having to go through this, probably, or it's just triggering that to happen earlier, that people are forced to look within themselves, they're forced to look at what they hadn't yet worked on yet. They're forced to face certain fears, they're forced to rest.

They may be forced, even, to recover. This time, this current time in the world, and being in recovery is bringing up a lot for people.


So, just know, too, if you are facing a lot of things right now, know that that's normal, and just take this as an opportunity for growth, so that you don't want those things staying under the rug and keeping you from recovering.

So, it's a good thing that they're coming up and surfacing, and you're forced to have to to deal with them now. Now is better than later. So, look at it as an opportunity for growth.


I hope that this article has helped you, maybe to comfort you in what you're feeling, or maybe of what's to come.

If you're afraid of the emotions, don't let it stop you from recovering. It's worth it!

It's uncomfortable, it's painful, it's confusing, yes, but it's worth it.


Kayla Rose

Holistic Nutritionist

P.S. I’m hosting a free masterclass specifically for people who want to stop feeling obsessed around food and truly heal their metabolism and you’re invited! Click here to sign up.



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