Pillbox

Advice for awkward people

Howdy Josh,

I'm in a bit of a pickle. This semester, my classes are super duper difficult, like much harder than they were last year, and I've developed a pretty bad habit recently. I'm not doing well in any of my classes, and I feel very unfulfilled most of the time. Every morning, I'm overcome by this crazy dread, and I just really don't want to get out of bed. The cold doesn't help either, since my apartment doesn't have dependable heat, but that's another story for another time. The only way I can pull myself out of bed is to think about all of the ice cream in my fridge. Every day, before I even work through my morning routine, I sit in bed and mentally prepare for the coming day by downing an entire pint of Ben & Jerry's, and I'm not talking the simple flavors, either. I'm talking Phish Food and Chubby Hubby and Half-Baked, man. Then, when I brush my teeth, I just look at all of the chocolate chunks and caramel swirls I'm scrubbing off my teeth, and I just feel really sick. This has been a daily occurrence for the past two weeks, and it's really putting me in a bad frame of mind for the rest of the day — and I know that it's not healthy to have this much dairy in one's diet. What should I do?

Thanks in advance,
Helplessly Aroused by Zesty English Delicacies

Dear HAZED (and confused),

I'm sorry you're in such a cycle! The thing about emotional attachments to food is that most, if not all, people have them. Yours, it seems, is brought on by stress and has roots in the need for reward-y feelings. Since you don't seem to be getting those feelings from your class work, I think that you're trying to find it somewhere else, and the easiest thing to do is grab a pint and start eating. I also think that the time frame, in particular, is interesting. The morning is a struggle for a lot of people — especially if you have morning classes which you aren't quite psyched to attend.
The good thing here is that you're still getting up and doing what you need to do, but moving forward, I think that the solution is to find another reason to get up, or something else that makes you really want to seize the day. Ideally, that wouldn't be something tangible, it'd be some kind of swanky internal motivation, but if you want to slowly wean yourself from the ice cream, you could find an actual bit of breakfast food that you're excited to have — something comfortable and warm and maybe even healthy. When it comes down to it, though, it's all about your own reasons for wanting to get out of bed, and your own motivation for seizing the day.

Peace, love, and puppy-dog tails,
Josh