I didn’t know how to start this post off. I wrote and rewrote the opening paragraph over and over. Nothing seems to introduce what this post was about except just saying it. I have pica (pronounced “PIE-ka”)!
What exactly is pica? It’s an eating disorder, where non-food items are eaten or foods that are not usually eaten alone or in large quantities. For example, small amounts of cornstarch or baking soda. Pica is also categorized as an obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) by some mental health professionals.
I had pica for about 6 years. I was eating baking soda non-stop. Only a handful of people knew about this. This was something I did not share with family or friends. Pica can be harmful, but for me, pica eased my anxiety.
If I was out and about, I would become even more anxious and I would crave baking soda. Soon as I walked I would get home, I would get a spoonful of baking soda. It would help to ease my anxiety, especially if I was in panic attack mode.
I was eating baking soda by the spoonful several times a day. I started by just eating it right from the box. Then I started putting the baking soda in a container with a little water until it was almost like a pasted and I would freeze it. I would just eat little chunks of the frozen baking soda through the day.
I tried a number of times to not eat baking soda, I would go a day or two without eating it. But I would end up being out and about exploring Japan and boom panic attack. Soon as I would get home, I would grab a spoon. I knew it couldn’t be “normal” to crave baking soda and all the sodium… I knew it couldn’t be healthy. I researched on the internet and discovered there were tons of others out there like me, eating baking soda. That’s when I self-diagnosed that I had pica.
Once I started seeing my psychiatrist, that help me to stop. It was a slow process, but I notice that I didn’t need a spoon of baking soda throughout the day.
I can say that I do not crave baking soda, but there is the lingering of pica still there. But with my anxiety manageable, my pica has lessened.