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.



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.

My Life Was Forever Changed

pain picThe day my doctor told me that I had Fibromyalgia was the day that my life changed forever.  I had given birth to my second daughter just months before, and things I attributed to being pregnant just weren’t going away.  Things like headaches, muscle aches all over, being extremely fatigued, loosing my balance, back aches, knee pain, and heart burn, just to name a few.  I thought loosing my train of thought was just “mommy brain”, but I soon learned it was Fibro Fog.  Postpartum depression turned into a diagnosis of major depression, and being worried turned into anxiety.  My hands hurt, my feet hurt, I literally hurt from head to toe.  I wasn’t handling stress well at all the way I normally could.  Stress was causing me physical pain and I was snappy with people.  I got the flu and I had neverfelt so sick in my life.   I had to take off work for several days.  Then I got bronchitis and I used all of my sick time. When I was able to push myself to go to work I was still so sick that they sent me and my inhaler home to get better.  The flu and bronchitis went away, but I didn’t get better, I got worse.  It was all getting to be too much to handle.  When I walked I could hear a popping sound in my back.  I just kept getting new symptoms, new conditions like GERD, IBS, and costochondritis. The day I told our VP that I had fibromyalgia and my doctor wanted me out on disability I cried in the office.  This wasn’t the first time I cried at work, but this was the first time I didn’t run to the bathroom before the tears started.  There’s no crying in baseball and there’s no crying at your job.  I’ve always hated letting people see me cry, it made me feel weak, out of control, vulnerable.  Other people’s tears were okay, I tried to help them feel better or just gave a listening ear.  If I had to cry I held it in until I was alone, but there was no holding back these tears, and it was the first time I didn’t care that I cried in front of someone.  I had bigger problems than crying.

The changes were just beginning.  I became a different person.  My parenting changed.  Even while pregnant I took my then 3 year-old daughter outside to play everyday. Now I played “I spy” while laying in my bed.  I was active, happy, funny, loved conversation, loved socializing, went to church almost every sunday, kept the entire house clean and organized, loved to shop, loved to read, loved to help others.  Eventually, that all changed as I learned that my body just couldn’t do what it used to and I needed help.  I had good days, followed by bad days.  The price of one active day could cost me several days in the bed.  I became depressed, irritable, felt doomed,  exhausted, and unable to keep up with the household chores or walk the mall like I used to.  Grocery shopping concluded with a nap.  Showers drained me.  I couldn’t concentrate on the book I was reading or the tv show I was watching.  I loved watching basketball.  I could watch three playoff games in a row and be into all of them.  Now, I had no interest.  Nothing was funny, I was sad, scared and eventually angry.  I felt guilty for not being the person that I used to be, not just for me, but for my family.  I held hope that I would get better, that my fibromyalgia would go away and things would get back to normal.  Eight years later (it just took me a few minutes to figure that out) I am not back to normal.  I have a new normal and that new normal changes from day to day, month to month, and even year to year. I’ve lost friends, pushed people away, canceled many plans, asked for help when I didn’t want to and lowered my expectations in an attempt to avoid disappointment.   I’ve accepted that I have fibromyalgia, mourned my old life, and I am trying my best to be the best me I can be.  It is hard, it is a fight and I don’t always win, but I’m trying.  Now I’m looking for an online support group and hoping that blogging will help me in some way to deal with this.

My mom has chronic fatigue syndrome and we have many of the same conditions.  I pray my daughters do not suffer with these conditions.