Ask Jigsaw: Lockdown affecting eating habits

Ask Jigsaw: Lockdown affecting eating habits

Friday, 17 July 2020

I think the lockdown is damaging my eating habits and the way I view myself. I’ve been isolated to my house for weeks now. I’ve felt an extreme hatred towards myself, and it just seems to worsen everyday.

But I feel so awful for upsetting my family, especially my mam, who I know is being really hard on herself because of how I’m behaving.

I really do try to eat and not think about the disordered thoughts, but because I can’t distract myself, I feel sort of trapped with them.

I feel extremely guilty and horrible for adding more stress to my family, but I just can’t do what they’re asking me. I can’t see myself getting better and I feel like such a burden on everyone. I really do wish I could snap my fingers and make everything right, but I can’t. I don’t know what to do, it’s too difficult.


Hi Anna,

I’m sorry to hear that you are going through such an intense experience during an already difficult time. Thoughts about body image can be all consuming, and can have a strong negative effect on our mental health, as you have described.

Jigsaw Clinician
We all deserve help when times are hard.

Many of us experience critical thoughts about ourselves, our appearance and our worth. With the right support, it’s possible to learn ways to manage these thoughts, so they don’t influence our daily activities like eating.

You mention feeling trapped with these thoughts because you can’t distract yourself. This must be very distressing for you, particularly with the restrictions in place. At times like this, it can be helpful to use ground techniques to calm our spiralling thoughts. Listen to Jigsaw Clinician Leona introduce a grounding method called ACE.

Talking to family

It sounds like the guilt you feel about “adding stress” to your family is adding to your own stress. When we experience self-hatred, we don’t consider ourselves worthy of anyone’s support. We all deserve help when times are hard. Chances are, if a loved one was in your shoes, you would want them to speak to you, so that you could help. It sounds like you are really motivated to feel better, but are losing hope. This makes sense, as we need others to provide that hope when we cannot. Read about how to ask for help.

Support is available

Sometimes we need professional support to learn how to regain control over our eating habits. Some face to face mental health supports are temporarily closed, but many services are still available to provide support in other ways.  The mental health charity Bodywhys provides a lot of information about disordered eating and they also provide online support. Please don’t feel that you have to deal with these difficult thoughts and feelings on your own.

Take care,

Jason, Jigsaw Clinician

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