It’s Not Nice To Comment On Weight

I feel a rant coming on; forgive me, but I have to get this off my chest.

It’s not nice to comment on another person’s weight.  Whether you think they are too fat or too thin, keep it to yourself.  They already know how they look, they don’t need you to tell them.  I’ve been all over the map, and don’t need somebody to remind me where I am on the scale.

Yesterday, I was having a good day.  I went along with my daughter’s class on their field trip to the zoo.  I was worn out, but my daughter was so happy that I had gone with her that it made the exhaustion I felt well worth it.

A few years ago I was very involved with the PTA and was at the school for book fairs, holiday shop, and lots of other activities.  My daughter says those were the good days.  My fatigue is much worse now so I am rarely at the school for anything other than conferences and to pick up and drop off my daughter.

Back to the Trip

When we returned to the school, I saw one of the teacher’s aides that I know pretty well.  I hadn’t seen her in at least a solid year. As I wearily walked back to my daughter’s classroom, I tapped the aide on the shoulder and said hello.  I asked how she was doing.  I knew she had been very sick so I was glad to see her.  She told me she was doing well.

So what does she decide to say to me?  “Hey; you look good but, but you put on some weight!”  As if I didn’t know this!  As if I didn’t know I am fifty pounds over my ideal weight.  I just said, “I knoooow”, and walked away.  When I got home I was steaming mad.  I texted my friend about it and told her I figured I was so irritated by the woman’s comment because I was tired.  She said, no, that being mad was a reasonable response to the rude comment.  Yes, it was rude and insensitive.  It felt good to hear that my feelings weren’t irrational.

This was not the first time another woman told me about the weight I’d gained, or lost.  Since having fibromyalgia my weight has fluctuated up and down.  I used to be able to eat anything I wanted and not gain an ounce.  When I was too skinny some guy told me I needed to “get my weight up”.  As I changed medicines to manage my depression and fibromyalgia I had people tell me that my face was too thin and eventually as I put on the pounds people started asking if I was pregnant.  See the weight shows in my stomach first and when I had gained about 20 pounds I was looking pregnant.  I had someone see me in the mall and tell me, “Wow, you got fat!”  Another aquantaince told me that I put on a few pounds after she hadn’t seem me in a while.

As my weight went up I was well aware of it.  I caught people looking at my stomach and it felt like their eyes were throwing darts at me.  Why do people feel the need to comment on my weight as if I don’t have a mirror or don’t realize that my clothes no longer fit without a struggle?  Having no clothes in my closet that fit is a clear indicator that my weight has gone up.

During the few times that my weight went down and my new larger size jeans became baggy I was relieved.  Well for the past year and a half I’ve gained so much weight that I now weigh more than my dad and brother!  That is so crazy to me, and scary because diabetes and heart disease run in my family!

Now, due to medication, a lack of energy to work out, a mostly sedentary lifestyle and eating quick and easy food that is loaded with calories, I am obvioulsy overweight.  My face looks chubby and my stomach is huge.  I know this.  I hate this.  What I don’t need is people reminding me of it when they see me.

Why is my weight the thing people choose to comment on after they haven’t seen me in a while?  After the, “Oh it’s good to see you”, it’s something about how much weight I’ve gained.  I’ve had one man comment, but the majority of comments have come from other woman.  As women, we are well aware of our own weight because we are constantly bombarded with weight loss strategies, weight lose products, and inundated with images of rail thin women.

I thought all women knew not to comment on another’s weight.  Unless you are one of my very best friends and I’ve initiated the conversation, just don’t talk about my weight.  It is what it is, and it’s none of your business.  Should I go into the story of why I’ve gained so much?  Do they care?  My guess is no.  Should I explain that my medication makes me hungry all of the time, that I’m too exhausted to work out, that my back hurts so bad while I’m cooking that I choose the easiest meals like the ones that come frozen in a bag and you just heat them up in a skillet? At least their vegetables in them!  I try to make wise choices, but sometimes I just want a Sprite instead of water.  I do make an effort to eat right, just not often enough.

It’s rude, insensitive and people just don’t think.  I don’t want to go out of the house for many reasons, I’m too tired, uninterested in being social, and I’m embaressed  at the weight I’ve gained.  I’m trying to eat better, but as many people know it’s hard to resist giving in to food that tastes good espcecially when you feel so down on yourself that a cookie provides a few seconds of enjoyment.   I’m not lazy.  It’s nearly impossible to exercise when it takes all of your energy just to make it though the day’s normal activities, so I don’t want to hear that I need to go to the gym.

Just do me a favor, when you see someone gaining weight, know that they don’t need to be told that they are getting chunky.  They don’t need to be reminded of what they already know.  I guarantee they have a mirror and even if they don’t, they have eyes and can see their own body; and they are probably not happy about having to buy new clothes to fit their new body.  Just tell them that it’s good to see them or talk about something, anything, but your surprise at their weight.

It doesn’t feel good to be told you are too skinny either, that you have no shape, and that you look sick.

It’s just not nice either way.

#BloggingThroughTheFog

Be Kind To One Another….and Yourself

At the end of each show, Ellen Degeneres tells her viewers to “be kind to one another”.  That’s kind of hard to do when you’re depressed and angry.  Basically, when I’m in my angry phase; angry that I’m chronically ill and mad that my old life is gone, it’s hard.  At best, I do well to just not be mean.  I tolerate people; not go out of my way to be kind.  Kind is too much to ask sometimes.

What’s Even Harder

What’s even harder to do is to be kind to myself.  When you feel nothing at all, literally nothing, nothing positive, or what you do feel is negative; it’s nearly impossible to be kind to yourself.  When you feel like a disappointment and a burden to your family and friends you feel worthless.  When all I could do was come up with negative words to describe myself why would I be kind to myself?

I once made a list of words to describe myself, and at the time I honestly couldn’t come up with a singe positive word.  Sad, depressed, sick, worthless, disappointment, burden, and tired where a few of the words I came up with.  I was sitting outside by a lake, a tranquil relaxing experience is what it should have been, but it turned into an eye opening experience.  I wasn’t doing well at all.  Not a single positive word came to mind and that made me feel even worse.  I felt nothing, or I felt negative.  I beat myself for the way I felt.  I beat myself up for not having the energy to do the things I wanted to do with my friends and family.  I beat myself up for my house not being as neat and tidy as it used to be.  I beat myself up because I couldn’t handle the stress of everyday life.  I beat myself up all of the time.  Beating myself up is exactly what I should not have been doing, it only proved to make my situation worse.  My brother often told me to stop beating myself up, and while I listened and said I would, I kept on doing it.

I no longer felt smart because I lost my train of thought and couldn’t remember what I was saying in the middle of saying it.  I couldn’t find the right words, I began using my hands and saying thingy a lot.  I was no longer funny because nothing amused me.  I was no longer happy, because I couldn’t find my joy.  I didn’t think I was a good friend because I was no longer fun to be around and I often just wanted to stay in the house and be alone.  I didn’t even want to talk to my friends on the phone.

Improvement

That day by the lake was a few years ago.  Although I am still depressed, I’ve improved.  Now the list of words to describe myself would include both positive and negative.  I am funny, sometimes.  I am a good mother (I do the best I can and my kids love me).  I am smart, when I can remember things. I am a good person to talk when you’re feeling down, because I listen and offer support, I know that’s what you need when your down because I know how it feels.  As I’m writing this I am realizing my positives come with a condition.  I guess I have more work to do.

I still beat myself up, but not nearly as much as I used to.  I spend much of my time in the bed watching TV.  I used to feel bad about this, but now I accept it because I often have no choice.  If I don’t rest during the day I am in more pain and sluggish when my kids get home from school.  So, I’ve come to enjoy the TV watching and think of it as being entertained rather than being a couch potato.  I started this blog to give myself something “productive” to do while I am in the bed.  When I do get up and do things I stop before I get tired so I don ‘t trigger a flare.  I don’t go until I can’t go anymore even though it’s very tempting.  The more tired I am, the more depressed I am, and the more anxiety I feel.

Me resting is my being kind to myself.  Being kind to myself allows me to be kind to others.  When I take care of myself it’s much easier to take care of my kids.  When I’m kind to them, they are kind to me.  Sometimes being kind is hard, being kind is worth it.  Try being kind to yourself, even when you don’t feel like it.  You just might find that you feel a little better.

Are you kind to yourself?  In what ways?  I’d love to hear what you do in an effort to be kind to yourself.  Hey, I might be able to incorporate your methods into my life.

A Dr. Hurt Me When I Needed the Most Help

cryingnegwomanSeveral years have past,but I can still recall the anguish I felt during one particular visit with my then psychiatrist.  Before I explain, let me give you just a little bit of what led up to this visit.  My family doctor diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, and had been treating me for some time.  After trying several different medications to manage my depression and anxiety, my doctor decided I needed more help than he could provide.  He told me that I needed to see a psychiatrist; I immediately burst into tears.  Before fibromyalgia I was not the crying type, especially in front of other people, but these tears gave no warning; they escaped my eyes before I knew they were even there.  He asked why I was crying and I didn’t know exactly.  I was supposed to be strong and able to push through this.  I was supposed to be better already, and he was telling me I was worse off than I thought.

My First Psychiatrist

I went to my first psychiatrist for about a year.  He tweaked my medication and I started feeling better.  I told him one of my meds was making me extremely groggy in the morning, and that I thought I needed a change.  His response was something like, well you don’t work so what difference does it make.  Really?!  I have kids, I wanted to go back to work, I wanted to get better!  He didn’t get it; I stopped going.

The Worst Doctor Visit I’ve Ever Had

I eventually found a new psychiatrist.  After a few visits that seemed to be going well; (at least he talked to me for more than five minutes) it all went wrong.  If I thought the first psychiatrist was insensitive to my situation, I was in for a rude awakening.

This new doctor told me he knew people with fibromyalgia that got better, and that I was acting helpless.  Helpless?  I asked him why he felt that way.  He told me that people usually came to him with goals and I didn’t seem to have any.

I couldn’t believe a doctor could be so cruel.  It was horrible; I immediately started crying (again), walked out, cried all the way home and never went back.  I was lost, stuck in a depressed state, struggling with anxiety that caused panic attacks, and I needed help.  I was in the midst of a divorce and at an all time low. I didn’t know how I was going to be able to keep going.  I had marriage problems, a disability appeal, two kids to raise, and I didn’t know how I was going to pay the bills if I didn’t get approved for disability.  Couldn’t he see that he was kicking me when I was already down?  It was condescending.  How could he say thatword to me?  It stung, it felt like a punch to the gut, I was broken.

Was I ReallyActing Helpless?

I told my parents and brother, (a doctor himself), what this doctor had told me.  They listened as I cried and asked if he was right; if I was acting helpless and I just didn’t see it.  My family reassured me that I was not acting helpless.  Had I been acting helpless I would not have been trying so hard to get better.  I had dragged myself  to so many doctor appointments, physical therapy, had blood tests, neurological tests, MRIs, tried numerous medications, and went to therapy…. That Dr. was wrong.  A helpless person would have simply given up on getting better.  I had/have major depression and generalized anxiety disorder among other conditions, and I needed help learning how to deal with it.  He expected me to have answers when all I had was questions.

We expect our doctors to be compassionate and help us.  They take an oath to do no harm, and this doctor hurt me to my core.  Since he was a doctor treating people with mental health issues he should have had some idea that telling me I was acting helpless would do more harm than good.

On a Brighter Note

I later found a psychologist who was very empathetic and helped me tremendously.  He asked me questions and listened to my thoughts, worries and desperation.  He worked with my regular family doctor on tweaking my meds, andgave me strategies to manage my condition.  It helped.

Now I see a psychiatrist to manage my depression and anxiety meds.  He doesn’t spend much time with me since his role is not to provide therapy, but to handle my medications.  I can see that he believes what I am telling him and he shows compassion.  He always asks me how I am doing.   I always say that I am tired.  He always questions why.  Fibromyalgia I remind him.  Then we talk about my medications and he tells me to call him if I have any problems.  It never fails that the last thing he says to me is to go home and get some rest because I am making him tired by just looking at me.  I may have to remind him of things, but he has never used words that hurt and for that, I am grateful.

Has a doctor hurt you?  How did you deal with it.

I Took a Chance and Called an Old Friend

Tweegram You Never Know

I thought my friend Kim didn’t want to talk to me anymore, so I stopped calling.  She thought I didn’t want to talk to her so she stopped calling.  We were both wrong; and I never would have found out if I hadn’t taken a chance and reached out to her.

Kim had been one of my best friends for years.  We hung out just about every weekend and talked on the phone daily.  We took our kids to the movies and amusement park together.  We had each others back.  I was there for her.  She was there for me when I found out I had fibromyalgia, she was there when I went through my divorce and started drinking too much.  I had an extremely high tolerance for alcohol and we learned to mix our own drinks.  We eventually stopped drinking so much and would just had casual drinks.

So What Happened?

We had a misunderstanding.  It wasn’t our first, but this time it was different.  Kim was mad at me for something I didn’t understand, and she felt like I changed.  Truth was I did change, I was sinking deeper into a depression that two years later is finally starting to get a little better.  I needed her; but I didn’t tell her that, I wrongly expected her to just know.  The misunderstanding happened at the precise time I was falling into a major rut.  It was the perfect storm to end a great friendship.

I lost all interest in doing the things that I normally enjoyed, the things we did together.  I no longer had the energy or desire to go shopping, go to the movies, go out to dinner, or even talk on the phone.  I was allowing myself to pull away from her because…. well, she was mad and I thought she cut me off.

Kim and I  hashed out the cause of the misunderstanding and said we would wipe the slate clean.  But she stopped calling, and I stopped calling her.  I ran into her once while I was out.  I told her it was good seeing her and we gave each other an awkward hug.  We still didn’t call.  I didn’t think she would answer my calls.  If she did answer I thought she would say something like, I’m done with you so why are you even calling me.

A few years went by and despite thinking off calling her on several occasions, I didn’t.  I was stubborn because I was afraid of being rejected.  This fear was preventing me from getting my friend back.  Major depression is one ingredient to a recipe for an isolated life.  One of the things you need most is support from people who truly care about you even if they don’t fully understand what you are going through.  My depression made me apathetic.  I was indifferent to my lack of social life, nothing was fun anymore and I was just too exhausted to care.  I watched lots of TV, when I could pay attention.  I only talked to a few family members and a few friends from college who unfortunately lived in other states.

So What Changed?

Why did I decide to reach out and try to reconnect after two years?  I really don’t really know.  I had watched an episode of the TV show “Iyanla, Fix me Life” the night before.  The show was about six woman who once were friends and worked together.  Things with them went wrong and they stopped communicating.  They were all angry and bitter.  Iyanla had them meet up to talk to each other and express what they believed lead to the demise of their relationships.  They explained why they were hurt, bitter, and what they didn’t like about the others.  After breaking down their walls Iyanla had one more task for them.  She had them talk individually to a group of older, wiser women Iyanla called elders.  One of the elders told one of the women not to burn bridges because you never know when you need to go back over.  I immediately thought of my Kim, dismissed the thought and finished watching the show.

The next day I woke up earlier than usual and wondered why.  I hadn’t been to church in a while so I talked to God a bit.  My thoughts turned to how I missed  my relationship with Kim.  I decided to call.  Would she answer?  It was a Sunday afternoon and I knew she would be busy running arounds.  Should I wait until later that night when she would be in for the night?  I decided not to wait and to call right then; I might change my mind later.  Surprisingly, as the phone rang I wasn’t nervous.  She answered!  Kim told me that she was glad I called her, and we talked for nearly an hour.  We caught up on each others lives, discussed our kids, and we laughed.  We told each other that we thought the other didn’t want to talk anymore.  Like I said, we were both wrong.

I hung up the phone with a smile on my face.  I was glad I took a chance.  This was unlike me.  When a friendship or relationship ends for whatever reason I am not the type to go back and try to get the person back.  I’ve lost friends because we’ve just grown apart, a best friend that I just have no idea why she stopped calling me. (She changed, started treating me different so I didn’t mind at all)  One friend cut off a whole group of us off because God told her too (yeah right).  I have no desire to reconnect with them.  Kim was different, there was no good reason for our friendship to end.

So What Now?

I feel reconnected, I’m glad we had such a great conversation.  I don’t know if our friendship will ever be the same.  I’m still in a rut and have little energy.  I do know that we will stay in touch.  I do know that I can share things with her again and laugh.  I do know she cares about me (she even offered to take me to doctors appointments if I needed someone to take me).  I do know that I care about her.  I do know that we will stay in touch. We may not talk often or hang out every weekend, but I do know that I have my friend back.  And I am glad!

#BloggingThroughTheFog