"Better" Body - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
10May/191

“Better” Body

Depression Expression #4

Previous entry: Exhausting Love.

"You look like you've lost even more weight and you're awful pale."

"You could stand to lose a few pounds."

Left, me earlier today after I was finally able to move. Got horrible breakthrough pain at about 4 AM this morning, wasn't able to get back to sleep until 7:30 or so (not that I was sleeping a lot). I'm at about 200 lbs here, just a shade over where I "should" be depending on what body mass / weight / height metric you decide to use.

Right, me in 2015 getting engagement photos taken. Was fresh from my first round of therapy and fairly stable on meds. Job wasn't great but I had one. Hadn't had lunch yet and I'd start sweating soon. Not because of my weight, which was about 240 lbs in this photo, but because I heat up and sweat real fast. I was happy.

And god knows I'm not happy with how I look, feel, or generally take in the world at the moment and my expression seems to match that. But with a bit of effort I'd look presentable and downright healthy if I mustered the energy to smile.  That'd be a lie, or at least a misconception, about everything that's going on inside.

I'm reminded of how easy it is to assume someone's health via another bad doctor experience. I went to a pain specialist here in Georgia with the hopes of figuring out why my back / flank hurt all the time. This was before I started making strides in my therapy (round 1) so I was upset and tired of being in pain all of the time. When I started crying during the appointment because of how exhausted I was with my condition the doctor put down his clip board, threw up his hands, and said "No, no no no. Look at you. You look great, healthy, you see those other people hooked up to machines when you walked in?"

Not helpful doc, and one of the few times I mustered up the strength to tell someone being mean to me - at the moment - that they were being mean. In this case I gathered my breath and asked, "Could you please stop being so condescending to me?"

But how many folks would take a look at me (if, again, I cleaned up a bit) and think I looked healthy? I have to be down in my skivvies before even those closest to me would be able to tell the full extent of the changes my body's gone through the last year and a half or so - to say nothing of the further weight loss in just this last month. Even when this stone's out of me, so much as it can be out of me, I got another just hanging around my other kidney and I'm a chronic producer. Toss the other physical, mental, and emotional issues into that mix and I stand to be in rough shape for a while.

I'm not writing these things as a way of miring myself in despair. I'm writing this because I'm tired of people taking a quick glance or two at me and after three or four minutes of conversation deciding they know what's healthy for me or not. I've been guilty of this before and, while you might not be able to guess from my writing on this site, I've similarly been awful about fat-shaming people. These aren't quite correlative, I get that, but with mental and physical healthcare in decline such as they are I'd just as soon this serve as a reminder to myself to be kinder to myself, and for readers along with myself to stop assuming someone's health situation unless you're their damn doctor.

And even then, given the experiences I've had with bad doctors, maybe a few of them should take this as a lesson too.

Now I'm looking at myself on the right and remembering that no matter how happy things were (I was getting married), how optimistically my outlook had increased (therapy and meds were doing what they needed to do), and how stable everything else was (job, healthcare, savings) - I was still down on myself for looking chubby in my engagement and wedding photos. Despite all the progress and healthy bits that I could have been reveling in, that's one of the things my memory clung to.

Following up from yesterday, I want my memory to cling onto the things that'll keep me healthy, not the things that are going to keep me from being happy because I've made myself more depressed than the reality is. And the reality sucks right now, it does, it's shaky and I'm terrified. But I know I can get through all this, get through my surgery, and get back on that forever path to feeling kindness toward myself. I know this because of the smile I've got in the right photo.

There's no reason I can't also examine myself a bit more closely in the meantime so I don't repeat any painful assumptions toward others. If I can heal, I can learn.

Next entry: Codependent Creators

Please help me if you can:

Posted by Andrew

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