It took me about 4 years to realize, just this June, that I don’t experience hunger or thirst anymore. I remember that I did experience them, but I don’t remember what it was like.
When my boyfriend, or my parents, or my coworkers say they’re hungry, they mean they’re experiencing hunger. For me, it means I’m experiencing stomach growling, or I’m feeling faint and recognize I should eat. I have an appetite and can tell you which foods I could eat, but I have no motivating drive to eat immediately. I do, however, know when I’m full. It’s strange and to be honest I haven’t spoken with my doctor about it yet.
More documented globally, but also not discussed with my doctor personally, is my adipsia, or a lack of thirst. My body needs water, but I don’t feel the thirst. I’ve had to set alarms to drink water and often have to push myself to get up and drink.
If I get too dehydrated, I’ll have a panic attack not related to my mental state. I still won’t feel thirsty, and it took me a long time to figure out that drinking water, especially before bed, alleviated these. I was looking for something to take my mind off of it, chose to get some water, and voilà: relief.
I think (I can’t know for sure) that this is because of a medication I was asked to try in 2015 to help my symptoms. As it happens, I’m allergic to it. The first day, I dry heaved for hours and lay on my floor waiting to die. The second day, I realized I hadn’t had any food or water in 24 hours and I didn’t feel the desire (or appetite) for them. There was a weird hole where those feelings had been. Unless you’ve experienced this kind of absence of feeling in some way it’s difficult to explain. I immediately contacted my doctor then, and listed the medication as an allergy. She promptly asked me to try continuing it for 3 more days. No thank you.
I eventually started getting my appetite back, if I put food in my mouth it tasted good and I could eat until full, and I could basically chug water until I’d drank enough, but I still didn’t feel hungry or thirsty. So, I learned to watch the clock.
A weird thing: I craved sugar. Always. Science has shown us that sugar is extremely addictive. I can really only assume that in my case, I still have my addiction to processed sugar so I can reach for that any time. I have to work hard to remind myself that it doesn’t count as a meal.
I gained, I think, a very small feeling of hunger back since I do have an appetite, but thirst is another story. If I’m not active, I can literally sit there for 24 hours and never notice I need water. My dizzy spells tell me I’m thirsty.
It’s strange, and I’ve seen some people in chat threads say they’ve experienced the same thing. I wonder if there’s something they can do about it, but if not it’s pretty easy to manage and work around. If you’ve experienced this, leave me a comment about it!