Sunday, May 5, 2013

Still Alive, Doing Better.

I just realized my last blog post here was in DECEMBER. So I should probably say something about how I'm doing.

I was very lowly in the beginning of the year again, what with the darkness. I went to a shrink for evaluation, and came away with a prescription for venlafaxine, which is just beginning to work, I think. I've had odd dreams and a disturbed sleep cycle, but other than that, almost no side effects at all.

And I got an eating disorder diagnosis. Atypical binge eating disorder.
It feels validating, and I think it hasn't sunken in yet - I've spent 15 years thinking I'm almost eating disordered, or I could be eating disordered but am not quite. But I guess I am - just atypically so.

The health insurance has accepted my appeal for therapy, and I found a lovely therapist who seems like she'd really get me. My first session is tomorrow. I only need to pay half, so it's about 40 a week, which is a lot for me, but my parents promised to help out.

She gets trans* issues, and she said "I don't know a lot about fat acceptance, except that it's a good thing."
When she said that, I knew I'd take her.

I'm carefully optimistic about everything right now. I have had some binge/grazing going on, and I've gained weight, which feels confusing. I'm not sure how I'm supposed to feel - liberated and free to be any weight? Concerned about my overeating? But I don't really feel as bad as I could.

I might not blog a lot for a while (what's new?), but my thoughts are just forming and I feel like musing on them on my own for a while. This blog has been more of a mental health diary lately anyway, but I'd like to go back to political blogging once I feel stronger. In the meantime, I post some fat acceptance stuff at The White Patch on the Black Cat. Feel free to follow, I'd love to follow any FA blogs on there!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What Are My Values?

I'd like to get back to political posting/stuff about TV shows and whatnot that I've written before, but it seems right now I'm only thinking of myself. But maybe that's what I should be thinking of before I can really tackle political stuff without anger. 

My therapist told me to think of eating from my OWN values, not from what the doctor says, because doctors only think of the health hazards. It makes me think, but I'm not sure what my values really are. 

For a while there, I was happy to be losing a little weight, but I feel the old obsession coming on, and I don't know if I can lose weight, and be happy about weight loss, without the counterweight of hating my body when I do not lose. Also, part of me isn't sure if I want to lose weight anyway. 

I want to be healthy. Who doesn't? I also don't want to do what experts tell me to do, just because they're experts. Some experts will disagree; some facts are not so indisputable. 

But even if they were - would it be OK to choose to take the risks? Yes, according to my values it would. The question is: do I want to do it? 

I have a feeling deep down that I've never been able to explain. I had this feeling before I got fat in the first place. It's that I'm meant to be fat, and this is how I am at my most happiest. Part of this might or might not be overeating. 

What does that mean? Is it a real thing or just a feeling? Is there a core in me that wants to be fat, and if so, why? Does God want me to be fat? Or do I want to be fat and just make that happen by eating in that way? 

These are possibly questions I shouldn't be asking yet, before I've figured out who I want to be in general. I'm just throwing this out there. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

I'm Actually Getting Help...

I haven't been able to write a full post about all this - maybe it's too emotionally exhausting - but I just wanted to let long-time readers know that I'm actually seeing a therapist who will assess me for possible eating disorder help. I can only see him three times, because he's connected with my work, but he can give me an assessment that might give me actual therapy covered by insurance. I've got all this homework to do about emotions and how to deal with them instead of eating (or feeling guilty, or going on long angry rants in my head). I think it's helping me. He wants me to deal with my feelings, i.e. really feel them, and it scares the crap out of me but maybe it can finally help me heal. I'm very hopeful about this.

It all started when I saw my new work health nurse, and she actually listened to me and took me seriously. We talked about everything else first. I was prepared for a huge anti-fat lecture, but she just asked me, with obvious compassion(!!), "You've circled 'obesity' here?" (They had it listed as a disease, which I hate, but I did circle it, lest they think I'm deluded about it.) I told her everything about my eating and emotional issues. It's odd, it was so easy to talk to her. She got me an appoitnment with the doctor, who got me an appointment with the therapist. The doctor wanted to know my exact weight and height, which I gave, and she didn't give any comment on them. So that was nice. I got an appointment with the therapist the next Wednesday(!!). (The private doctors in Finland have zero queue and you can get in almost anytime. Not so with the tax-funded ones, sadly. I had to wait two weeks when I was suicidal.)

The therapist talks a lot and gives me a lot of homework. On the first meeting, he drew this map of my emotional issues - bullying, my mother's expectations, being bisexual,  feeling different, etc. - and the emotional and physical reactions they cause. It was like he knew me. It was a bit creepy, but then maybe my problems aren't so unique after all?

I also had complete bloodworks done. My blood pressure and cholesterol are good. Big relief there. My blood sugar was a bit high, which was a big concern for me, since my Dad has diabetes. However, in the glucose tolerance test, my readings were well within normal. Diabetes may lurk in my future, but it's not something I can't live with. However, this motivated me to kick my sugary Coke habit. I was trying to eat less sugar before the glucose tolerance test, and I experimented on Stevia, which I liked a lot. I don't think I'm ready to give up candy unless I absolutely have to, but Coke Zero helps me feel like I'm not deprived, and yet it takes away the extra hyperness/fullness I had with regular Coke (which I drank maybe a liter per day up til now). I'm also trying to exercise more, on my exercycle. I'm not sure if I'll ever be big on exercise, but I'd like to at least increase my circulation in the shoulders and legs, to avoid issues that come with a sitting-down job.

I've been very tempted to just go with it and go on a diet, but on a philosophical level, I've gone too far to go back to "fat is bad and diets are good, forever, amen". It's just not the truth about all this. I did lose a little weight; I don't know how much and I'm not setting any weight loss goals or limiting my intake in the name of weight loss. (And I can't even if I wanted to, because my ED always kicks in with a vengeance then.) I like having a tiny bit of my jellybelly off, but I try to remind myself that it might come back, and that's OK too.

Today, seeing my regular doctor - whom I'd never met before and might never meet again, thanks to the changing doctors of Finnish communal health services - I had a worse experience. She gave me a cortison shot for my possibly inflamed hip, and while she didn't do the "OMG UR SO FAT" routine, she did act in a way that I found rather annoying. She told me I should try running. I asked if running is a good thing for an "overweight" person (I try to come on their level, maybe I'm just sheepish). She said, "Well if you're overweight then you should lose it!!!!" and told me that running is a good weight loss exercise and "You should shed the extra weight at a young age, so you won't have problems later". She seemed young and overeager and very anti-fat. I didn't start a fight.

In general, she wouldn't stop talking, and I feel like she didn't listen to me at all. (Incidentally, there was recently a study published about how doctors really genuinely don't listen to patients. Encouraging.) I had mentioned my eating disorder issues, but she obviously didn't think that's a reason to be silent about my weight. Either way, I don't have OMG Hip Replacement Surgery coming, it's just a local inflammation. So that's also a relief. All in all, my health is good. I'm happy about that.

I feel proud of having come out with my issues, but it also had to do with the nurse who really did listen and have a conversation with me. Sadly, not all health professionals are the same, but once you have a way in, maybe things will get better. Wish  me luck?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Et Tu, George Takei?

Star Trek veteran George Takei has been posting all sorts of civil rights things on his Facebook of late. These posts - or reblogs - show that he's not only for gay rights (he is gay himself), but also for feminism and women's reproductive rights. Lots of people, myself included, have come to admire him over this. He's not a young guy, and it's not self-explanatory that he'd be feminist, since he is not a woman. A lot of guys don't seem to give a toss about feminism, because it's not about them.

But today I see that he's reblogged someone's idiotic post.

"It's a disaster when your country has an obesity epidemic and a skinny jeans fad." 

Takei adds insult to injury by adding,

"And not everyone should wear skinny jeans, I might add." 

Yeah, we got it, fatties look bad in skinny jeans.

What a disappointment. For those who think it's a harmless joke, consider what it's really saying. Let's de-wittify this statement a bit:

It's a disaster when I have to look at people I find unattractive, especially in clothes that show off their body shape. 
Yes, how awful. Poor you. Seeing fatties - and this probably mostly means fat women - in tight clothing is tough, and surely you've been badly traumatized by it. If only we realized how bad we look to others and stopped flaunting our fat.

What's the real difference between this and statements like "gays need to stop flaunting their sexuality all over, kissing and holding hands in the street. I don't need to see that!"?

I don't think there is a difference. I think the only reason someone like Takei can post this is that liberal mainstream culture is pro-gay, but anti-fat. Fat is not seen as a civil rights issue yet, and thus most people aren't going to look beyond the mainstream media's view. Fat is bad, fat is ugly, these are the facts, fatties have to accept it. Even many feminists think in this way.

So how accepting is George Takei really? Is he someone who truly thinks about oppression, or is he just adapting to the culture and taking the causes given to him? If you're openly gay, you're probably openly pro-gay; it's a bit more daring because he's a celebrity, but it might not require a great sense of empathy. There's a lot of fat hate in the gay community, but if he truly was a feminist ally, he'd be able to look past that. Right? Of course, everyone's a dick about something, and no one has a grasp of all the issues at once. The reason I don't feel like cutting him any slack here is that he raised the bar and made us believe he's truly accepting and  empathetic. He created an image of himself that he apparently can't live up to.

The fact that it's so laid back, such a joke to him, somehow makes it even worse. It's like he can't even imagine that someone might take this offensively. It's just a given, fatties look bad in skinny jeans, and look at the amusing juxtaposition of skinny and obese, ha ha.

His response to this fallout will determine if I respect him even less, or even more than I did before. But the chances that he actually apologizes and takes down his post are slim, or in fact - pun intended - skinny. If he does this, he is a true ally and really thinks about this stuff. I will admire him again.

If he says "Oh lighten up and have a sense of humor", it shows he doesn't care about fat people's feelings, or women's feelings in general, at least when it comes to attractiveness. Lots of otherwise tolerant people buy into the beauty ideals and reinforce them in their own lives. This would be very disappointing, and I'd stop reblogging anything he says, no matter how acceptant.

If he says "This isn't a civil rights issue because fat people just choose to eat too much", like Ricky Gervais said, it shows he hasn't given any thought to fat acceptance, or indeed fatness, beyond what the mainstream media has to say. This is a form of ableism, and an excuse to keep saying bad things about fat people, since it's just a choice. It would show that he despises fat people. I'd hate him if he did this, truth be told. I still love Ricky Gervais' shows, but I haven't been able to forgive him for saying that.

If he says "Oh sorree for not liking the sight of others' bulging fat rolls," with a possible mention of the diabetes risk etc., it's worst case scenario. This is the Dan Savage way: call your readers lardasses and tell them fat is unseemly, like that's some kind of proven fact. I doubt Takei would be this crass, but everything is possible.

This has shaken my faith in humanity - well, maybe that's slightly dramatizing it, but it definitely shook my faith in celebrity allies. Most of them step in it at one point or another. I was disappointed in Stephen Fry earlier, but at least he was hating on himself, not other people. He didn't make a joke out of other people's fat, and I respect him still, largely because of that.

So is Takei a true ally or a frenemy? Only his response will tell.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Ups and Downs

TRIGGER WARNING: eating disorder thoughts (and possibly behaviors, but mild ones) Thought I'd post an update in the interest of writing all this down a bit, and being honest to myself. If someone wants to weigh in on what sounds eating disordered vs. normal - if it's even helpful to think in those terms - you're free to do so. If this post interests no one, it's still helpful for my own recovery to read back on it later. I feel a bit embarrassed to write so much about myself, for some reason. I'm hoping to gain some courage to see a doctor about this, too. On Friday the 18th, I found out my cat is well. A huge relief came out of this. I'd been having a lot of symptoms on the days before that, and virtually nothing on the weekend, so I have to conclude that my worry over the cat - which was a lot stronger than I had assumed, judging by the relief - had made my ED thoughts worse. Perhaps it's easier to focus on your body size than your cat's possible illness? Osku had a mole, of all things - I was certain it was a tumor and I only hoped it was benign. The days after that went by in an almost blissful state. I was just super relaxed. Last Thursday, I went shopping for a new dress with my friend, who is also fat. We found so many possible ones. Maybe there are more sizes available nowadays? It was a huge issue in Finland about five years back to find a size 20, so I was very encouraged by this. We also had big sundaes at the ice cream bar. I felt normal and beautiful, even princess-like in the dress I bought. It's perfect for me. One of the salespeople tried to push black dresses on me, and I had to tell her "no black, please". I bet she thought I'd look fat in the other colors, but I absolutely wanted blue. The one I finally got was baby blue, my favorite shade. Due to all this, I was feeling really well for a few days. I still had some self-hating thoughts, but they weren't overwhelming. I ate a lot of food, but I enjoyed it, and the prospect of weight loss didn't seem awfully threatening, given that I had many new items of clothing, and could still fit into new sizes if I gained more. My feeling of being somehow larger than life had, if not vanished, at least been alleviated. I might want to spend more time with fat people, I mean ones who don't constantly apologize for their fatness like my mother. My friend isn't die-hard FA, but she's not scared to discuss weight, and is very natural about it. However, this past weekend I found myself slipping back to the ED thoughts a bit. Yesterday, it was a lovely summery day and I decided to go out into the park. I enjoyed the sun, the ducks, the trees, etc. However, after a while, I began to feel thirsty and a bit dizzy. I was going to sit on a bench but then I thought no, I can't sit on a bench if I sit down all day, I'm not that bad of a fatty. I made myself walk a bit further, and felt quite sick when I got home. The actual amount and intensity of the exercise wasn't so great - maybe 45 minutes of leisurely walking - but the mood in which it was done was not good, and it ruined my pleasure of the park. I came home feeling like I could and should have done more. After this, I had lunch: tortillas with ground beef, lettuce and cherry tomatoes. I really enjoyed it so I had three of these, which made me feel like I might not be able to stop. I remembered reading that your appetite winds down if you eat something sweet, so I took out some ice cream and spooned that in until I felt quite sick. The amount wasn't big (maybe half a bowlful), but I obviously ate more than felt comfortable. I'm not sure if that was a binge or just a well-intentioned but failed experiment. Maybe I would have done better with some fresh fruit? Maybe it would have been OK to have a fourth tortilla? The exercising mood struck again in the evening, when I exercycled - again a short while, maybe a mere five minutes, but there was an intense need to DO SOMETHING about my weight. It was a rather aggressive feeling. I was able to divert from this into doing some cleaning. Today, I got on some weird health kick and thought I have to buy the cholesterol-lowering margarine, even if I don't know what my cholesterol is. It just suddenly struck me that I might have high cholesterol, and I ate some oat bread with the cholesterol-lowering margarine, no toppings. This is not a bad thing, per se, but I felt like having cheese and was scared to have it. So the high from finding the dress lasted three days. What brought it down? I can't really tell. I have some stress related to my job and my future, getting a new part-time job and leaving one I hate. It makes me feel a bit out of control. Maybe I'm also reacting to a lowering in my meds (I've had odd nightmares and mood swings). So I can't control my job situation or my moods; could that make me feel like I can't control my eating? Maybe it's a diversion from the real issues. Also, it seems oddly like exercise triggers me worse than food does. I'm sure as hell not going to sit inside all summer just because of that. Maybe I need to focus on the things around me while walking, or listen to some music, or go out with a friend who can distract me so it doesn't FEEL like exercise. I thought of making a little schedule for exercising, like "I will exercycle each evening for 20 minutes". If I do that, I can do it even when I'm NOT in a self-loathing mood, thus making it more about a routine, like brushing my teeth. I don't brush my teeth because I'm an OMG fatty who eats sooo much sugar. I brush because it's good for my health. I could try the same with the exercycling.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Question: Fat Acceptance / Eating Disorders

I'm just throwing this out there. This is an idea that rose out of reading on Binge Eating Disorder (which I might in fact have, based on the symptoms) and my anxiety at the thought that I have it. If I do have Binge Eating Disorder, and this is why I'm fat, does this mean my body is "sick" this way? I don't mean health risks, I mean is my body the "wrong" way, "unnatural", and something I wouldn't have if I weren't sick? In other words, if I have BED, can I still accept my body as it is?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

To Be Honest...

I'm not so sure I'm fine. I just panic-exercycled because I've been eating so much. I'm not sure if it's the antihistamine I've been taking, but I eat all the time lately.

My panic thought is always the same: Toby loves me even if I get bigger, and I can buy new clothes and I can adjust to being bigger but WHAT WILL MY MOTHER THINK?! I CAN'T SHOW MYSELF TO HER LIKE THIS.

I wish I had like a year when I don't see my mother* and can just be as big as I am, and screw what everyone thinks.

Is my problem inside my head, or inside my mother's?

Should I exercycle more? Exercise is not bad. Exercise is good. Yet if it's self loathing, it's bad. I may not be able to separate the two.

* this is not a wish that she would die, I feel like I have to add, lest I jinx it. Also she loves me and helps me out in many ways, but this weight thing is just... bad.