Hi thinny, skinny me. Remember me? We used to be a couple. What happened? Remember us being a size 4? Remember us being 134 lb? Remember we were actually happy with our weight? The lightest since having three kids. A little belly, but we were fine with that. Three kids deserves a little recognition in the tummy department. I am so glad we took a photo of us in Target in the mirror, wearing size 4 shorts. It means I am not making it up, I am not losing my mind, we were one. Me and you, my skinny self.
Two years of psych meds have destroyed my body, my confidence, me. They have ripped us apart. It is not just vanity, not just my shape that has changed. It is self-confidence. My comfort at wearing clothes. Me now not fitting into regular stores’ clothes. My walking. My shame. Psych meds attack your weight in two ways. Some of them slow down your metabolism. Some give you an insatiable appetite. Some do both. I am on four meds. Therefore I am fucked.
The very meds that are supposed to make you feel better, drag you down. Pull at you and your now unfamiliar body. My doctor is receptive, even though he is a man. He tried some appetite suppressants to tackle one aspect. They did not work. I am now a size 14. From a size 4. I live in gap jeans. They stop at size 12. I have two pairs of 12s. I refuse to shop around for 14s. My 12s make my belly look worse, but I will not bow down to my size. I want to be me, us, again.
I went to Macy’s this morning. I was looking for a dress to wear to my sister’s wedding in June. I looked around, and only found one that was in anyway okay, and wasn’t too long for me. Did I mention I’m 5’ 3”? Size 14 on someone my height, or my lowht, is bad. I am now 170 lb. I am the exact same weight as I was the day before my first child was born. I brought a size 12 into the dressing room. It is only today I have admitted being a size 14. I could not get the dress over my hips. It didn’t get nearly over my hips even. How devastating. I just wanted to find something, even if it wasn’t great. I don’t want to have to keep shopping, over and over, to be frustrated, embarrassed, and heading towards self-loathing again.
I can no longer hide it. I cannot pour my belly into my jeans, stopping the flab from its overhang. No. It sticks out in front of me. No way to hide it. Always reminding me that we are not us anymore. That I am on psychiatric meds. That I am mentally ill. Things always cycle back to something else. One thing reminding me of another, and on, and on it goes. Me knowing I will not find anything nice to wear. Wearing big hoodies to hide it all. Even the hoodies now show my tummy. Impossible to hide now. Will I keep growing until I die? The doctor told me I need to stay on the meds for at least two more years, possibly forever. I know he is right. If I stop, I will go back to one year ago, when I was a shell of a person, lying in bed, in the hospital, all day. Being fat is better than that.
I am not trying to fat shame anyone. I have plenty of overweight friends, who I love dearly. I don’t judge them. I do judge me. We are always so much harder on ourselves, than others. As disfunctional, and stupid as it sounds, I have debated starving myself. Just for a while. Can you be anorexic for a short period? Does starving yourself lead to anorexia? One definition of the illness is: an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. Am I obsessive? If I stop eating, am I then by definition anorexic? Would I be able to start eating normally after a period of time? Would that mean I would not have “real” anorexia?
I don’t know the answers to any of this. When I was in the hospital for fifteen days last month, I ate very healthily. I ordered no desserts, ate salad, with low-cal dressing. Plenty of fruit and veg. Oatmeal every morning. And so on. My skinny and I are still poles apart. I don’t think we will merge ever again. That makes me sad. I worked my butt off to get down to 135 lb. Six months later it starting piling on. I want a refund. I didn’t get what I paid for. I was tricked. My body is not as advertised.
I had thought that maybe some of it was laziness. I’m still not convinced it is not. However, my hospital stay has proved to me it is not that simple. With the calories I was eating, I should have lost weight. I didn’t. There is another med I can try. I must discuss it with my shrink next week. I need relief. I feel like shit every day. I get dressed and my skin crawls. I catch a glance of myself in a glass door, and I wince, and choke on my breath. I try on clothes, that used to look cute, and I feel like crying. Being conscious of one’s weight isn’t necessarily vanity. It’s shame, embarrassment, wanting to leap out of your skin, struggling to find anything to look good in, and feeling like a less than. Your weight is inversely proportional to the size of your ego. My ego is now minute. Will it keep shrinking, until I disappear? My body is still growing.