Thursday, April 26, 2012


A few weeks ago I was in the shower when I looked down at my white bar of Dove soap and had the weirdest feeling that I wanted to eat it.  I imagined sinking my teeth deep into the bar and then biting off a piece to chew slowly in between my teeth.  I could almost feel the soap in my mouth and I wanted so badly to feel its texture on my tongue, and especially between my teeth.  

After daydreaming about soap for a few minutes, I realized that what I was thinking was totally weird and I told my brain to move on to something else.

But, it kept happening.  And not just with soap.  I wanted to eat detergent, rocks, and cleaning solutions of every kind.  Every day the thoughts would come even more regularly.  I finally told Matt about it.  His reply was hilarious: “Oh, sweetie... we should call the doctor about that”.  My "condition" became the subject of family jokes at our Lewis get together last week while my parents were in town.  A few of my cousins and my aunts mentioned that what I was experiencing was called Pica. Just this morning, as I was craving detergent again, I looked up a definition:

Pica is characterized by an appetite for substances largely non-nutritive (such as clay or chalk).  For these actions to be considered pica, they must persist for more than one month at an age where eating such objects is considered developmentally inappropriate. There are different variations of pica, as it can be from a cultural tradition, acquired taste or a neurological mechanism such as an iron deficiency or chemical imbalance. Stressors such as maternal deprivation, family issues, parental neglect, pregnancy, poverty, and a disorganized family structure are strongly linked to pica. Pica is more commonly seen in women and children.  Particularly it is seen in pregnant women, small children, and those with developmental disabilities such as autism.

Thanks Wikipedia.  Anyway, I’m thinking I’ll finally call the doctor today or maybe sometime this week to see what the situation is.  In the meantime, it’s pretty funny stuff.  While I’m doing laundry, and wanting so badly to just pour a handful of detergent down my throat, I have to remind myself that:

-people don’t eat detergent
-eating detergent will make you sick
-you’ll probably regret it when you do

Course, my Grandma Lewis did mention that I could go outside, grab a rock, wash it off, and just suck on it for a while.  She ate dirt when she had Pica growing up, and she’s doing fine.  We’ll see how it goes.

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