Is Gastroparesis causing your depression and anxiety? When food is not an option, try this technique.

Gastroparesis, depression, anxiety

First of all, Gastroparesis Pain IS Real

In the summer of 2020, I was helping my son recover from a motorcycle accident. Suddenly, I was overcome with such extreme stomach pain. I almost fainted and had to throw myself in the shower. I was screaming in pain at the top of my lungs.

My son asked me if he needed to take me to the ER.

“Hell no!”, I replied. “All they are going to do is give me Dilaudid and Zofran. The Zofran does nothing for me, so I will be puking all night. Then sleeping all day…”

I know this drill. Been there, done that…several times. I was hydrated. So I treated myself with a hot pad, did some diaphragmatic breathing and went to sleep. All this, knowing the next day would offer me a colonic cleanse. Yay me.

And again, I survived.

Gastroparesis Related Psychosomatic Symptoms

WAIT! Don’t close this yet. I understand the anger, frustration and resentment that occurs when someone expresses that our Gastroparesis symptoms are “all in our minds”. Or they are “psychosomatic”.

But, maybe…just maybe, we might want to consider this from time to time. With an open mind, please read on.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information Website has determined:

  • Gastroparesis is associated with significant psychological distress and poor quality of life.
  • Patients suffering from chronic gastrointestinal conditions frequently report psychological symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and impaired quality of life (QoL).
  • Based on one study 18% of gastroparesis patients have severe depression, 36% have severe state anxiety, and 35% have severe trait anxiety. 
  • With limited treatment options available for gastroparesis, the importance of psychological support or intervention for gastroparesis patients has been repeatedly emphasized in the literature. [1]

Can you relate? And the distress and anxiety has taken me to the ER more times than one could imagine.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

Depression Associated with Gastroparesis

I can’t count the number of, “I can’t go on anymore like this”, or “I give up”, posts I have seen on the GP Facebook group pages.


Or contact The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. They are available 24 hours: 800-273-8255

Getting help is not a show of weakness. Quite the contrary, it takes courage to reach out for help.

You may not want to consider “taking another damn pill”, but if it is necessary, then it is necessary. Speak to your doctor.

I also recommend not doing any research online while in this state. Additionally, you might want to take a break from the Facebook groups or online forums. Although these groups are a great source of support and encouragement, some days there is a multitude of distressed people posting.

However, sometimes you need to share your despair with your group. And most of the time, the group will help hold you up. So, use your best judgement.

In the early days of my diagnosis, I found myself in a full state of depression. I made the mistake of visiting a dysfunctional part of my family. Then I read an article about child trafficking. This along with the thought that my fiancé at the time had not really signed up for this.

I laid off the internet and met with my doctor. I accepted his prescription for Lexapro. And I started seeing a therapist and a chiropractor.

Anxiety and Distress Associated with Gastroparesis

I get it. When we don’t eat solid food for sometimes weeks at a time, fear rises up. What is happening to the organs of my body? Or the anxiety of what pain we might experience if we choose to take a couple bites of a sandwich.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway!” ― Susan Jeffers

It is to our benefit to try to take those couple of bites. Though we might feel extreme pain, we might also find that we are able to do this. If our bodies are not ready, we will know soon enough. But we must try!

Hydration is about the best thing we can do for ourselves while we are in a flare up. I tend to reach for Propel or any water that includes electrolytes. This has kept me from the ER so many times. I may not know what is happening within my body but I do know that I am hydrated.

Additionally, for anxiety and depression, check out the breathing technique below to help calm your anxiety and soothe your depression.

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During one of my sessions with my chiropractor, I fell apart. Sobbing, I let out everything I was going through on him. My chiropractor then sat me up on the table and showed me a breathing technique to balance the sympathetic/parasympathetic systems.

He recommended that I do this every time my emotions were extremely imbalanced. Out of all the treatment this gentleman gave me, this recommendation was the most valuable.

The technique is called Diaphragmatic Breathing and it would be a lifesaver to me for many years. Coincidentally, this is a breathing technique I learned during Yoga Teacher training.

And it is easy to do. In a sitting or laying down position:

  • Place one hand on the middle of the upper chest and the other hand on the stomach, just beneath the rib cage but above the diaphragm.
  • Inhale, slowly breathing in through the nose
  • Draw the breath down toward the stomach. You should feel the stomach push upward against the hand, while the chest remains still.
  • Exhale, tightening the abdominal muscles
  • Let the stomach fall downward while exhaling through pursed lips.
  • Make sure your chest remains still. You want to breathe through your diaphragm, not your chest.

Continue this way of breathing until you feel calm and relaxed. Do this as many times as you need according to your emotional state.

Here is a video instruction by the UCLA Integrative Digestive Health and Wellness Program:

Support Pets

In addition, many of us Gastroparesis warriors find support pets a great deal of help. I recently adopted Winston, my “Schnau-shund”. Coincidentally, he also has Gastroparesis. Fortunately, dogs do not suffer as badly as we humans. But we do have much compassion for each other.

Between the Covid-19 shutdown/quarantine and my Gastroparesis flare ups, Winston keeps me sane, gets me walking and brings so much joy to my life. And…he loves to do yoga with me.

I hope you find the suggestions in this writing helpful. Please let me know whether they do or don’t in the comments. And if you have anything else that works for you.

Stay blissful AND healthy my fellow GP Warriors.


Sunday Shot of Bliss VIII. The Spiritual Meal


Like so many others, I enjoy food. Summertime offerings of sweet corn and watermelon with some pulled barbecue chicken. Fall and winter apple pies freshly removed from the oven, bubbling over with their loving sweetness. Oh I enjoy sugar far more than most people should. Sugar is “My Precious”, as I lovingly look at its goodness like Gollum looks upon “The Ring”.

One of the main reasons for this love is that during the four years I lived with Gastroparesis, my main source of calories was sugar. Not being able to eat much solid food, I just added a lot of cream and sugar to my drinks. When I could eat, the easiest food to digest were highly processed and had a great deal of sugar added. So yeah, this has become an unhealthy habit. A habit for which has now brought on constant sluggishness, heartburn and generally icky feeling.  Time for a change!

So for the past 3 weeks, I have been on an elimination diet. No sugar, complex carbs or dairy.  I have to admit, I am using the Creative Bioscience 1234 Diet Drops to help curb the sugar cravings. This stuff works very well. I am not only feeling better but even use less makeup than ever as my skin looks pretty good. Oh and I also have lost 7 pounds, so there’s that.

Wanting to move more toward clean eating I thought this would be a good start and so far, so good. Having to get used to Stevia was a bit of a pain but I’m okay with it now. I also don’t follow the diet to the “T”. Having much experience with past dieting, I do not strive for perfection. The downfall is too heartbreaking.

What are the purposes of eating anyway?


  1. Nourishment for our bodies – Well yeah, or we will die.
  2. Pleasure – Of course!
  3. Communion with others.
  4. Communion with God – Did you know that?

“I love to live in Your house, oh Lord.  I love to be here at Your feet.

And let Your words be the food I eat, the food I eat.

I love to live in Your house, oh Lord. To dine at the table with my King.

And give You the praise I bring, the praise I bring” – Glen Veenstra

This lead me back to a book I once read, “Art of the Inner Meal – Eating as a Spiritual Path”, written by Donald Altman – a former Buddhist Monk. The book describes the many different cultural and religious meal rituals throughout the world.  What I love of course, is the spiritual representation of food. There is a saying that you can tell a person’s spirituality by witnessing the food he/she eats. I think this is correct. So I am now ready to start my full spiritual path with food!  Here are a few of Donald’s suggestions:

Spend time in Nature Daily

Try to sense the cycle of life in the trees, rocks and dirt. This will help us become conscious of the link between the food that we eat and the Earth from which it grows.


Being conscious of what you like is not the same as knowing why you like it. This is really good stuff as it takes some work to pay attention rather than just shoveling food into your mouth.

  • As you prepare for your meal ask yourself if you are hungry because you are hungry or is it because you are bored, hurt, angry, nervous, happy, fearful or sad.
  • Almost all religions start their meal with cleansing (washing your hands) and prayer for the meal.
  • Next, think about or even write about what feelings or emotions this food gives to you. The texture, the flavor. Sweetness or spiciness.
  • Also pay attention to your surroundings. Does this place or situation connect you to food? Are you eating because of location or are you actually hungry?

Building up spiritual strength means letting yourself feel your desires, not repressing them.


Discover Your Spiritual Diet

Establishing a personal guideline for foods we think are wholesome and healthy for ourselves is essential. We don’t follow the exact spiritual path as our brothers and sisters so we cannot expect what works for them to work for us. Just as well, we must remove judgment of others’ eating habits from our own spirit. Judgment is not beneficial to our growth in any way, whatsoever. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move on to progress!

  • Column 1 – Write down the foods you typically ate as a child or teenager, putting a plus or minus sign next to each food to indicate whether or not you liked it. Not if it was good for you. Be honest about your feelings in regard to food. We are uncovering, not censoring.
  • Column 2 – Write down your current regular food choices, also placing a plus or minus sign next to each food you like or do not like.
  • Column 3 – List the foods that your inner self believes to be ideal for you. What would be most nutritious? What would your ideal spiritual meal look like? Make this list rather large! Again, place a plus or minus sign next to the foods you like or dislike.
  • Compare these lists. What has changed over the years?
  • Remember, this list is unique to you. So if there are any foods you need to additionally remove from your diet, so be it. There are no right or wrong answers. Just truth.

With this, we can build our confidence in where we have come from, where we are and where we can go in improving our eating habits. We can also develop a deeper connection with God and with our fellows!

There is so much more to share from this book. It is available on Amazon if you are interested. For now, enjoy a lovely, blissful meal and consider these conceptions.

Stay Blissful My Friends – E

How We Weather the Storms


While at the airport in Kentucky last week, I was alerted to another flight delay. It was only about a half hour but I knew I wouldn’t make my shuttle. No problem, I was already on the phone organizing a lunch for a group of people in Colorado for the following day.  So I called the shuttle service next and they put me on a later scheduled ride.

Almost two hours later, the plane had barely arrived. I was starting to get hungry and knew that this would make me cranky so I grabbed a quick salad. Came back to the gate, with salad in hand to see that a storm had just moved in. I sighed, sat down and waited to hear if we were leaving. Then I softly whispered the first part of the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

Daily Contact-PA-EVALDIVIA8

We did board, as the storm was passing rather quickly.  While looking out at the raindrops on my window, I had an epiphany:  Having daily contact with God isn’t a guarantee that we will not go through storms. Rather, we will face them with courage, dignity, grace and peace.  Ah, how I love epiphanies!

So how do we weather the storms?

Well we first start out quietly in daily communication with our God. With all the spirituality around us, prayer sounds kind of cliché. Maybe it is. But it works. How it works? I am not an expert, I just know that it does. But Elysia, I don’t even believe in God. That’s okay! This is where that saying “Fake it, ’til you Make it.” comes in hand. See, you are faking it for yourself and not others. So it’s okay.

And really, when you take a good look at the concept of prayer, you might realize that God does NOT need us to pray to him. No, prayer is for our own benefit.  The benefit of letting go of what is on our minds and in our hearts. To put it all into perspective.  So if you are faking it, well God already knows and is okay with it. You can’t bullshit God, he understands what is going on deep within you.


And then someday, you will find that you are doing this prayer thing with all sincerity and you might not even know when it happened. You will experience this peace of mind and comfort of the heart.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

Anxiety used to visit me daily. Now, it is such an uncommon occurrence in my life. So much that when it does happen, I have to quickly calm myself from the fear of fear. Ha! Not a bad place to be. I do know that God is no respecter of man, so if I can get over anxiety anyone can!

When we start a daily routine of conversing with God, we are building a strong foundation beneath us. This foundation WILL be rocked by storms. Sometimes, the weather will be calm. But through both circumstances, we stay calm and steadfast. We might feel that the foundation is about to give, but we know that it won’t. We might feel a bit shaky, but we remain still regardless.

My husband once remarked about my calmness during financial distress. Well, I don’t like it. But I know it will pass. I have had plenty and I have had few. Through it all, I was always provided for and could still experience joy.

I know great pain and suffering through my fight with Gastroparesis. But I know my God and I always knew the flare up would pass. The flare ups and then finally a good 18 month remission.  And I believe that I am now cured of Gastroparesis.


Sometimes I worry about losing what I have – and I have so much  maybe not material-wise but I have never been about material anyway. So, when I worry I just remember that I own NOTHING. All has been given by and given back to GOD! Whatever storms I will face, I will weather them – Joyfully, Blissfully!

Stay Blissful My Friends! – E


GPAwarenesIn 2010 I was diagnosed withGastroparesis.  After a few months of not being able to eat, feeling the fear and shaking my fist at God, I started to research how I could live with this condition.

I found many other women online who were more than happy to share with me how they were doing life.  These women were some of the most courageous people I had ever encountered. With the many trips to the ER, feeding tubes, lack of a quality of life – they exemplified bravery and a strong faith in God. This I wanted for myself so I mirrored them and became them. I see myself as one of the bravest women I know today! – From 4 Things You Really Should Know About Emotions