Monday, January 25, 2021

I Had a Dream

November 24, 2009 by  
Filed under HAES, Wellness

I had a dream the other night.  Actually, it was more a nightmare.  It was Ambien-induced; I took the sleep aid because I was having trouble sleeping (obviously).  Not my usual habit but it was an easy way out.  Or so I thought until the dream/nightmare came along.

In it, I was visiting a friend in Key West, where everyone walks around half-clothed.  I seemed to have been okay with how I looked until I got down there and started comparing myself.  I was not happy and my friends were very aware of that.  They tiptoed around me.  I woke up feeling quite shaken by the dream. I viscerally felt how damaging my focus on my looks was on me.

I’m sharing this dream to attempt to explore the depression aspect of it.  Because that’s where my sleep thoughts came from – depression induced by the Ambien. Disclosure: I’m not a therapist nor I do play one on tv or this blog.  But I have experienced this ‘down in the dumps’ feeling before, and worked with many women who tell me they struggle with feeling down.

I recently picked up a brochure at Whole Foods titled “Healthy Mood” that discussed the difference between real depression vs. a blue mood.  We all feel down in the dumps occasionally.  Real depression is a different animal.  Regardless which affects us, however, many of us distract ourselves from what’s really going on by focusing on how we look.

As we enter the holidays, a time of marked depression for many people, it may be particularly apropos that I found myself thinking about this problem when I was at Whole Foods.  What we eat can have a major impact on how we feel, both physically and mentally.  A diet of highly-processed, nutrient-poor foods, eaten on the run, can be a recipe for disaster in this regard.

My holiday wish for everyone:  That we have the time and resources to take care of ourselves during this special time.  Whole Foods’ brochure lists these five ways to support a healthy mood.

  • Exercise
  • Sleep and rest
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Purpose in our lives

I’ll add eating well.  After all, I am a nutritionist. 🙂  And by the way, eating well doesn’t mean forgoing the special foods of the season.

A happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the U.S. and good wishes to all the rest of the world.


No Responses to “I Had a Dream”
  1. lissa10279 says:

    I am so glad you’ve brought up the subject of depression, Marsha. There’s nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to depression; there is help out there. All too often, it (or anxiety) is tied to body image issues and eating disorders/disordered eating behaviors. Thank you for shedding some light on this via your dream. And great advice for the holiday season!

  2. You’re so right about depression being nothing to be ashamed of, Lissa, and that it’s often tied to body image. All the more reason to seek help so we can get on with our lives instead of circling an issue that only brings us down. Awareness and readiness are important to taking that first step to address the problem. Let’s hope this blog is increasing awareness; readiness often follows.

  3. mamaV says:

    Hi Marsha: Depression and anxiety are topics I would like to discuss more, since as Lissa said both can be tied to eating disorders — and we both have had our share of anxiety struggles.

    About your dream; its interesting how you woke up shaken by it. Do you think it was because your friends judged you or because you suddenly changed your opinion of yourself based on their judgments?

    The way I always deal with my own insecurities about “how others look at me” is remembering how everyone (or it seems like) has body image issues. So , if say, a friend or random person at the gym saw my butt shaking on an exercise machine….who cares!? Seriously, who cares. I think about how I see someone who may have gained weight, lost weight, looked tired,whatever, and its a fleeting thought that is gone from by brain in two seconds, I don’t sit around analyzing it, I go back to my own thoughts…. so I remember that is how it is with others.

    At least I do now. I have a REALLY hard time with this after I returned from Paris as a model. Here I am 17, and everyone is expecting me to look “perfect,” and I was far from it. Skin all broken out, gaining weight (to healthy, non model standards), and EVERYONE was looking me over, because its just normal to under that circumstance. It sucked, it really, really sucked. Took many,many years of therapy to get over that, but I came out the other side kickin!!

    Hope your are having a great holiday weekend !

  4. Marsha says:

    Hi, mamaV,

    My dream shook me so much because I saw at a deep level how much I allowed my own vision of myself to affect me. It wasn’t what anyone else said at all! In my dream, I don’t even think I was thinking about what anyone else thought when they looked at me. It was just me looking at myself. And actually I don’t remember I ever looked in a mirror, so it was all my own vision of myself in my mind, not necessarily based on any reality.

    The issue of what others think when they look at us stops a lot of us from doing what we want. You’re so right about people being caught up in their own heads instead of spending a lot of time thinking about others. Although there are judgmental people who will make comments about how others look, I always try to remind anyone who has been the subject of the intolerance that it’s really the problem of the person who is doing the judging. We do best when we believe in ourselves.

  5. MizFit says:

    I love this. I remarked to DietGirl recently that if I ever start thinking I WISH I WERE AS BIG AS SHE (muscles). I know that something *else* entirely is bothering me and Im focusing on that.

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