When I get anxious, I tend to forget to eat. I just lose my appetite, which is not to say that I don’t get hungry. I just don’t want to prepare food or eat it. I would totally take an I.V. drip during those times. It’s generally not a good idea to let me forget to eat.
As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not pleasant when hungry. My ex used to call me the Hulk. You know, like the giant, green, ass-kicking Hulk. The used-to-be-a-nice-guy-before-you-pissed-him-off-but-now-he’s-liquifying-your-spleen Hulk. Except Bruce Banner only turned into the Hulk when he got angry. I feel like it’s actually pretty easy to go through life without getting too angry (unless being angry is the general conceit behind a plot line that justifies your existence). But hunger. EVERYONE gets hungry. And with a metabolism like a coked up hummingbird, no one gets hungrier than me.
Maybe you know someone like me whose sky starts falling as soon as their blood sugar does. I can totally feel it happening and do my best to avert disaster, but sometimes people just won’t heed any of my warnings. (I frequently don’t heed my own warnings.)The signs are as follows, for anyone out there who might have a friend like me.
- The first warning issued by the Hulk is “You’re making me angry. You won’t like me when I’m angry.” Mine is a little more subtle: “Hey guys, I’m starting to feel a little peckish. Do you think we could stop to get a snack?” This seemingly offhand suggestion is to be taken very, very seriously. In the same way that Mr. Banner lets everyone know that they won’t like him when he’s angry BEFORE beating the shit out of them, I personally try my best to give a heads up about the shit storm headed down the pike. Granted, this requires a second party to receive said warning, and sometimes I’ve already surpassed stage one when I come into contact with innocent bystanders.
- Next comes the calm before the storm, when the blood sugar gets too low to respond to most things with more than one- or two-word answers. Like I said, sometimes people encounter me already in stage two. Usually it is on my way to food, and it becomes difficult to disentangle myself from whatever the situation is that is preventing me from getting food. Also, when my blood sugar gets low, it becomes hard to make decisions about anything, so unless the person I’m with rationally decides that they are hungry, I could be stuck in this stage for a while until…
- I am ragey and snappy and two seconds away from nuclear holocaust. Or everything is broken, life is cruel and meaningless, and I can only blame myself. Well, myself, humanity, my boyfriend, myself, my parents, myself, global warming, and myself. You don’t want to be here for this.
My roommate (and best friend) frequently finds me transitioning to phase three. Briefly she is worried that something is actually wrong, as there are occasionally real and (vaguely) warranted breakdowns that do occur. However, she soon sees the situation for what it really is and asks, “Do you need a snack?” Between my incoherent mumblings about the mind numbingly incomprehensible sadness that has overcome me, she finds me some juice, a cookie, a granola bar, or a handful of M&Ms in order to guide me back to reality. BEST STRATEGY.
Sadly, this is often not the strategy that I pursue of my own accord because I am insane and, like I said, have a hard time making reasonable decisions when I get this way. Left to my own devices, I latch on to the craziest, most absurd scenario possible and grapple with it as if my life depends on it:
1: I’m never going to succeed at anything.
2: But there are a lot of things that I’m good at!
1: Right. Jack of all trades…Master of NONE.
1: If I don’t get my shit together I’m going to end up homeless.
2: That doesn’t even make sense. I have a support network! I have friends and family who love and care about me. I don’t even do heroine.
1: Someday they’ll all be dead. And you don’t do heroine yet.
Or how about this one?
1: I’m not feeling well. I’m sad. I’d better check Web MD. (<–WORST IDEA)
2: I have cancer.
As you can see, this is NOT conducive to, well, anything.
My boyfriend once took me to dinner at a Turkish restaurant with his dad and brother. Now I’m no stranger to exotic cuisine, having spent a fair amount of time out in this wide world of ours. After a year in Israel, in fact, a lot of this “Mediterranean fare” has grown on me, even if I’m pretty confident that I will never like stuffed grape leaves no matter how many times I eat them. That being said, I had never eaten in a Turkish restaurant before, and arriving at one for the first time at DEFCON 3 was a bad idea.
If it had been a Thai restaurant, I can pretty reasonably bet that I would have ordered green curry regardless of time or circumstance. Here, however, I did not know any of the dishes by name, and there were no pictures in the menu (because it was a classy restaurant), so I was forced to read the descriptions of the dishes. For all the good they did me, the descriptions themselves might as well have been written in Turkish. Of course my boyfriend and his family, having previously visited this restaurant, knew what they wanted rather quickly. The pressure to decide only increased my agitation, and while my boyfriend tried to help by venn diagramming me into a choice: “What are you in the mood for? Chicken? Beef? Vegetarian?” I could only silently scream at him: I DON’T KNOW WHAT I’M IN THE MOOD FOR! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHO I AM ANYMORE!!!!
I told him he wasn’t being helpful and then the waiter came by and offered to tell us about the specials. This is a lifesaving offer because the specials will include, at most, four dishes. Will you necessarily like any of them? No. Will they cost more than the rest of the menu? Yes. Will it save you from a meltdown? Definitely. And so I ordered the Moussaka, which involved lamb, tomatoes, and cheese. It was really heavy and not at all what I was “in the mood for,” but I ate it and was sated. The Hulk then scurried away into the recesses of my mind to hide out until the next long day when I forget to pack myself some pocket snacks.