I actually do remember us briefly touching on this in the last session. I guess it is probably a good time to just write it all out. For as long as I can remember my family has always had this unspoken thing about fat. They each stayed active, and in good shape. It was somewhat seared in my head that fat = lazy. I learned that right quick. There was an environment of judgement and harsh criticism of people who were over weight. By the time I got to high school I was very unhappy with my body. Though nobody would consider me fat, I was convinced I was. I hindsight, yes, I was heavier at that point in time. My mother cooked endlessly. The more miserable we were, the more she fed us. It was a vicious cycle. Thankfully I was active and played sports and ran. Had I not, it would have been a big problem.
College was good for lots of alcohol, and carbs. Living that life, made the whole body image troubles worse. But, it was easy to fall into the drinking every night, and eating cold pizza in the am, while nursing a hangover. I hated my body. It was in that period that my cousin pretty much stopped eating. When she came to visit me, I was so alarmed I called my aunt. It was as if nobody even noticed what was going on in their own home. She was really thin. Scary thin. But the crazy thing was, she didn’t see it. There was this disconnect. What she saw v. what the world saw. Two entirely different views. One completely skewed. Now, years later, I know what that disconnect is like. During the period of that old journal I keep writing about, I was really thin. I think it was a combination of meds, depression, and stress. But I could not even look at food, let alone eat it. I was miserable about a lot of things, but my weight wasn’t one of them. I would happily go jump on the scale every morning. The closer I got to 100lbs the happier I was. I really wasn’t hungry. My body was feeding off itself. Everyone around me seemed alarmed, and I couldn’t grasp why. I was finally almost in the body of my dreams. I’d yank off my shirt and look at myself in the mirror. I was pleased. Never seemed to note all my ribs were hanging out, or my hip bones protruded. It was all good. My mother came up to visit. She took me aside and mumbled something about whether I was sick. As in physically sick. They thought I had cancer, or something equally as awful. Nope, I wasn’t physically sick. Well, beyond starving. I guess you could consider that a physical illness. Virgil was all over me about it. In one of our sessions she asked if I was anorexic. From there I got weighed at session, and had to start feeding myself Insure by the gallon. As the meds shifted, and the hospital visits, my weight slowly shifted back to my normal. But I don’t ever forget that body, and how much I loved it. When I look at myself now, I usually call myself fat. I get angry that I can’t get back to where I was. When my weight climbed on the Saphris/Trileptal combo I was pissed. I changed my diet, and I weighed myself religiously. On my bathroom mirror I marked my weight in red. It was there staring me in the face, ever morning and evening. When considering what to eat, I saw those red numbers in my mind’s eye. Over time, and with a bout of lyme, my weight again came back into the normal. I’m back, a bit below normal. Happy about it. Fighting myself and my impulses to be less.
I have to somehow alter how my brain thinks about weight, and what is normal for me. Where I am now is okay, yeah my head doesn’t agree. The constant media coverage of bikini bodies just further drives home that insecurity. At the end of the day, the reality is, most of us are not meant to be running around half-dressed. God didn’t make us 5’10 and exceptional. It is just a fact. It is also a fact, that most of those stars and models we see, have to engaged in a very strict diet and exercise regimen to look like that. Some go to very unhealthy extremes to look like that. It isn’t NORMAL. They are the exception. The 1% that have the looks and the body to be able to look like that.
So, how then do I leave behind the judgements? How do I somehow erase the upbringing and how it created this all out fear of being fat? I don’t like to feel this was. I don’t like to be repulsed by fat, to the point where I won’t be able to eat, if I see it. I think that is somehow cruel. I don’t like to judge people. Yet, there is my brain doing just that. Living here in the US, you don’t have to go far. Obesity is all around us. I find myself watching Biggest Loser and thinking, if I ever get fat just shoot me. I think I have been blessed with some good genes, and a lifestyle that keeps me active, but it is an ever constant fear. I am always vigilant. A pound on the scale is enough to create much anxiety.
I don’t know how I got such a screwed up sense of self, and such a distorted sense of self-image. I remember my aunt talking about her work with an anorexic patient. One who eventually did starve herself to death. My aunt would open her door just a foot and a half, and would ask her client if she though she could fit through the doorway. The answer was no. She had the client get up and walk thru the door. She proceeded to make the gap smaller, and repeated the process. Trying desperately to get the woman to see just how tiny she had become. But the woman didn’t “see” it. Obviously that is a very extreme case I am using, but it is that complete disconnect that is so scary. In your minds eye you see something so very different. In that illusive pursuit of thin, all else gets lost….