Category Archives: Fat Rights

So, so very tired.

I wrote a poem.

On Being Bipolar

The hateful voice wants me alone;
                         he wants me to die.
I don’t know how he doesn’t see
                       that we are bound, he and I;
When I die, so does he

A friend suggested that perhaps the illness itself is the one who wants to die, as I want very much to live (especially if it’s sans illness.) It’s an interesting premise, and one I might use. I sort of pity it in that respect; but it is self-destructive to the point that *I* am self-destructive, and that’s crap I can’t tolerate.

I am supposed to do a 5K tomorrow. I’m supposed to be up at 6:30. It is currently 3:30 and I haven’t been able to sleep out of anxiety about the aforementioned 5K. I am afraid my family will ridicule me for it if I don’t go. Being fit (and also not fat, but less that in recent years as my activism has gotten MUCH more vocal) is an obsession in my family. Last year my stepdad bet my mom $50 that I wouldn’t complete it. So far this year I’ve already missed another 5K. But I’m so tired now…

I don’t want to go to Thanksgiving. I don’t want to be surrounded by family and especially by noisy nieces and one noisy nephew (though he and I get each other.) I had Thanksgiving at work and am a bit Thanksgiving-ed out, to be honest, especially as I spent ten hours at work today, and at least ten additional hours purchasing and preparing food in advance. Not to mention all of the planning and logistics I had to put in all month, on top of my usual work. I am just so wrung out. I just want to be home, where it’s quiet, hang out with Chihiro, and binge watch Netflix or something.

Only one resident thanked me for my hard work, though most complimented my cooking. (Which is amazing, by the way. Everyone wants my recipes for my turkey, sugar cookies, and pumpkin pie.) The other residents ‘thanked’ me in their usual way; eat everything, complain about dishes that weren’t made despite the metric fuckton of food present, and then demand dessert before I’ve even had a chance to enjoy my own plate. Half of them wandered off before I got around to dishing out pie because they were too impatient to let me finish eating. (I didn’t. I was tired of being hassled for pie.)

The case manager helped me a great deal today, but she was the only one, and she was trying to get other things done in the morning so she could just help me this afternoon. Some of the residents helped with set up/tear down, which I am also grateful for. Some staff helped with serving but disappeared as soon as it was time to clean up afterwards, which took me, the case manager, and a resident two and a half hours to do. I am *very* thankful for that, I was so tired I could barely stand up, and I spent ten hours mostly on my feet today.

Next week is a CARF survey, Wednesday through Friday. They’re a huge accreditation program whose stamp of approval helps us function. We’re trying to get my day programming certified, which means I will be put under a microscope. I haven’t had a lot of time to really prepare due to Thanksgiving taking up so very much of my time this month. My program is fine; I do a fantastic job, I commit waaaay too many of my evenings and put in long hours making everything happen. My groups are good and well attended overall, the work program is successful, and all of my ducks are in a row. I just want to get things ready by Wednesday to show off, y’know? I’ve been tidying my office which is in a perpetual state of “mostly organized chaos” and I’ve got a lot of pictures to hang up/rehang in the craft room. Oh, and the leaky spot in my ceiling opened back up today, due to a lot of melt from the snow over the weekend. I’m sure our maintenance guy will be *thrilled* when I tell him on Friday. He thought the leak was fixed. HAHAHAHAHA no.

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Going to the doctor is always *so* much fun.

So I had a manic episode Wednesday night/Thursday morning, likely from a combination of work stress and waaaay too much caffeine.  I finally passed out around 7:00 Thursday morning, after calling (emailing) in FMLA.  Been a month and a half since my last FMLA day, and I think I just went home early that day.  I really am doing better overall.  But it worked out, kinda, as I already had an appointment to see my primary care doctor today.  I hadn’t remembered to tell my boss or HR about it and was wondering how to sneak out of work for about two hours. >_>

So the main reason for going is I wanted to switch birth control brands to the one my insurance covers for free, instead of paying a $25 copay.  I’ve been duking it out with my insurance for a while, over multiple things.

It is always awkward, being checked in. Thankfully, the nurses accept my polite “No, thank you” to being weighed, though I have requested they flag my chart somehow so they know not to even ask, as it is very triggering for me and likely is for other people as well.  For some reason it doesn’t bother me when my psychiatrist does it, but he does it himself, never comments on it, and I know he’s watching for changes due to my psychiatric drugs, which makes it actually a medical necessity, as often weight change is the first sign that something’s not right with my meds, or my overall mental status.

Then came the fun part, where I explain what I need, and asked if there was any way I could also get an IUD put in, or a tubal ligation, as I have no plans to have kids, and launched into my list of why it is A Very Bad Idea for me to actually birth children anyway, as with my current medications, by the time I would realize I was pregnant, very irreparable damage would’ve been done to the kid’s brain.  Not to mention the horrible genetics I’d be passing down.  (And with my new boyfriend, *his* genetics are equally awful, so the poor hypothetical kid would never have a chance.)  She didn’t think my insurance would do both an IUD and hormonal birth control, but they might consider a tubal, as I am now 31 and now magically able to really decide what I want for my reproductive future.  Maybe.  I don’t know if it’ll be covered, of course, but she said she’d be happy to make a referral to a surgeon.  I’ll have to call my insurance and see what they would be willing to consider.  I’d rather go the IUD route than actual surgery, but either way, I just want that extra layer of backup, y’know?

I actually made my doctor cry, though, when I started in on my It’s A Bad Idea schpiel and she could see my overall level of frustration.  She’s really nice, I like her quite a bit, and felt badly when she got choked up.

Oh, the best part of my visit?  As I have been out of birth control for three weeks, and had *protected* sex about two weeks ago (I’m not an idiot) I still had to do a pregnancy test before she could actually prescribe me birth control.  As much as I knew it was a veeery low chance, I was still nervous.  She was happy with the negative, especially given how adamant I am about not having kids, and she prescribed it.

Of course, then the pharmacy discovered that while I had the correct *brand,* the little numbers after it were wrong, so the brand I switched to *still* wasn’t free.  Gotta call my doctor’s office AGAIN tomorrow to correct that.  (It’s supposed to be Junel Fe 1/20 and she’d written for like, Junel Fe 28 or something.  I couldn’t tell you what those numbers mean if my life depended on it.)

Seriously, someone shoot me.  At least my pharmacist found my pent-up-rage ranting against my insurance company funny, and she agreed with my frustration, as insurance companies rarely send formularies to pharmacies so they don’t know what is covered, either.  She appreciated my frustration with how the birth control formulary I received- that had to be mailed to me, as it wasn’t even listed on my insurance company’s website- only listed the brand names they covered.  No chemical information whatsoever.  So I had to do my own research to match the brand they’ll cover with the chemical formula I am presently prescribed, that works juuust fine, thank you.  Evidently the ACA only requires the insurances cover one brand of each compound, rather than just, y’know, paying for all of them.  UNIVERSAL PAYOR SYSTEM, PEOPLE.  IT IS A THING THAT WORKS IN QUITE A FEW OTHER PLACES VERY NICELY.  If only America wasn’t positively allergic to anything that smacks of socialism/communism, we’d have nice things, AND save money, and this last month of absolute nonsense of trying to change and fill a prescription wouldn’t have happened.

I also remembered to stop at a lab on the way home to get bloodwork done that I’ve been forgetting since February, too.  I was just full of medical compliance today.

…And did I remember to mention I have a boyfriend?  That’s a topic for another post. XD

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Huh. Never had to delete something that wasn’t spam before.

I got my first angry comment the other day. It was mostly unintelligible, to be honest, but it was railing against Health at Every Size, and Regan Chastain of Dances with Fat in particular. So it wasn’t even really MY hate response, it was more hers that got sidetracked on my post. Honestly, I think I’ve mentioned Regan once, maybe twice, so I’m not really even sure how I ended up getting an angry comment about her. Google search, maybe? I should’ve saved it for posterity, but my finger was itchy to use the delete button for the first time on something that wasn’t spam.

If I haven’t made it abundantly clear in this blog, I do apologize. I am a fat activist. I am a firm believer in Health at Every Size, and I highly recommend actually reading Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight. It opened my eyes to a world where I don’t have to hate myself, and where I can be whatever size I am and still be healthy. I am not going to be convinced that it is a crock, no matter how much you rail at me about it. Believe me, my family does it enough just fine on their own. Also, I will not be persuaded by abundant scatological references. Telling me that I shouldn’t believe someone that it is okay with who she is, and insisting that she is more or less whitewashing the fence, with lots of colorful shit metaphors? Yeah, that one’s not gonna fly.

No matter what, I am going to be a fat person for the rest of my life. I am fine with this. Hell, I’m content with that, if not happy. I am fond of all of me, even the lumpy bits and the bits that jiggle when I move. I am most assuredly NOT fine with being told I should be ashamed of this amazing body that does so many amazing things, and being told that I should hate myself skinny. I have done enough of that to last a lifetime and thank god I came to my senses before losing any more of my precious time here on this planet.

My opinion will never be a popular one in my lifetime, at least not at the rate it is going. I will be verbally abused for the rest of my life by just about anyone; people who are cruel, people who are well-meaning but horribly misguided, and by people who love me and think they are doing what’s best for me. But none of that will change who I am or what I look like. None of that will change the research out there. Insisting that said research is like “the six articles that make a case for the earth being flat” isn’t going to change the fact that the dieting industry has been selling us a bill of goods for a long time. It isn’t going to change the fact that hundreds of messages about how I am not good enough because I am fat are being thrown at me every day. It isn’t going to change the fact that the diet industry is raking in $60 billion annually, and this number will likely only go up.

I guess what I’m getting at, is that my mind is not going to be changed about this, no matter what. Mostly unintelligible diatribes in my comment queue certainly isn’t going to do anything but amuse me for a minute, or piss me off, and will be deleted. You have a right to free speech, sure, but this is my blog, and it is a dictatorship. So feel free to go rant at Regan, as she posts her more interesting hate mail on her blog, so at least it’ll see the light of day, maybe. Or rant at me if you need to get it off your chest. But it will most assuredly not be published.

I am fat, and I’m ok with that. I’m more ok with being fat than I am with being bipolar, in fact, and that’s 95% of this blog. So please take your vitriol elsewhere.

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I’m surrounded by armchair psychiatrists

So Monday morning/afternoonish, I was in a bit of a funk. I’ve been having trouble falling asleep when I want to and staying asleep (more the second bit,) and so I end up needing to sleep later but my nephew (who now lives here) is Very Two and Very Loud at obscene o’clock in the morning, so… yeah, not sure about the overall quality of my sleep in the last few months. I had been having weird dreams and woke up unsettled, and then watched Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and felt even MORE unsettled. I’m starting to think Harry Potter is a bit much for me, to be honest. My brother has all of the movies except for The Deathly Hallows 1 & 2, and my nephew loves Harry Potter, so he’s equally as likely to be watching that as he is to be working through the Pixar collection. I watched my nephew for an hour or so while my brother went and talked to a general manager somewhere, and finished out the movie once my brother and nephew left for a while, and just felt unsettled, and a bit angry.

Lately, it seems that everybody around me- my parents, my mom’s therapist, my boss- knows more about my mental illness and what I need, than I do. It feels an awful lot like what happens when other people who make my fat their business, and doubt my own experiences as a fat person, so I’m going to go with the idea that I’m being completely ignored because clearly I don’t actually know what’s best for me. It’s rude, it’s demeaning, and it makes me feel like I’m incompetent and need a guardian appointed by the court or something.

It just keeps coming up, different variations of the same theme; I’m not pushing myself enough, I’m not really that sick, I give up too easily, I could do more if I wanted to and I just don’t want to. I wish I could let some of these people spend a week in my head and see how well they manage. I’ve actually gone more than a month since missing any work, which is a goddamn miracle and hasn’t happened in YEARS, but I’m working around 28 hours a week because more than that and I had problems. I wonder how I’ll handle a 40 hour week, but as I doubt I’ll be doing quite the same amount of physical labor, and I’ll hopefully be making more than minimum wage, I think I’ll be able to handle it. I can handle mental exhaustion far, far better than physical exhaustion, for one, and for two, just about every other career field in the world is less in-your-face stressful than customer service.

Being physically busy does quiet my brain a bit, so that’s nice, but as soon as I slow down the noise is back, which is part of why I’m having trouble sleeping. I’m struggling to process through a lot and so much has changed. I’m not going to group anymore, as it was mostly a waste of my time. I’m halfheartedly looking for another support group but I don’t really get anything out of the format. I tried, and I’ve genuinely tried in the past, but it just doesn’t work for me. Of course, this is another thing that everybody else knows more than me about how I can handle it, and I just didn’t try hard enough, or participate enough.

It’s like religion all over again. I walked away after being told one too many times that if I just had more faith, God would heal me of my mental illness. My every failure was because I didn’t have enough faith, even though I was pretty damn sure I was as faithful as I could be. It wasn’t the lack of faith, it was how nothing on the other end was changing. I was being blamed for being sick and not fixing myself… and it’s happening again. It’s my fault that I’m still bipolar. If I’d just do what everyone else knows I should be doing, I’d be better. I’d be employed and get to live independently again, get my cat back, get my life back in order, but I’m not doing what everyone else wants, so I deserve to suffer.

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Healthy self-talk

So I saw this interview a few days ago, and its message about humiliation versus shame has been percolating in my head for a few days. It’s an Oprah interview with Dr. Brene Brown, who is a researcher who focuses on shame, where they discuss how one’s self-talk determines whether or not they will feel humiliated or shamed by a negative event. I’m not thrilled at how she says that shame is the #1 teaching tool and she sees it all the time in classrooms, as I’ve only been shamed by one or two teachers in my own academic career and it was definitely not something that was encouraged during the time I spent as an education major. (However, the education department itself had a grand time shaming me for having a mental illness, but that’s a story for another day.)

Aaaanyway, I was thinking about how I talk to myself and about myself, and about how I’ve internalized that shame very, very well. I’ve pretty much beaten it when talking about my body, as I am happy with my body physically and have learned to love myself and advocate for myself and other fatties out there, but mentally? Mentally is a completely different story. I beat the shit out of myself mentally on a pretty frequent basis, and usually over extremely inane things. The general manager at work told me the other day, “Sometimes I don’t think you have as much confidence in you, as other people have confidence in you.” It’s so very true. I am a rock solid ally for anyone else, and do not hesitate to give other people the benefit of the doubt and encouragement when they screw up, because we are all human after all, but when I do something dumb? I throw myself to the goddamn wolves.

I read something about how women in our society have been conditioned to treat themselves so poorly, that it would be considered abuse if they treated another human being or an animal that way- denying themselves food, calling themselves horrible things, never loving themselves or finding themselves worthy of anything, constantly berating themselves. And I realized, that how I treat myself mentally, how I think about myself mentally, is abuse. It’s the same abuse my father meted out, in fact, that has led to my spending a lifetime in and out of therapy, still trying to grapple with that little kernel of self-hatred buried deep inside. All of that shame that my father heaped on me when I was a child, I have taken upon myself to self-flagellate with now. I’ve let that shame and self-hatred live rent-free in my head for YEARS. The voices in my head that are so quick to judge me wanting might have started with my father, but I took them in and let them stay long after he was out of my life.

It’s not something that can be changed overnight. After all, my journey to accepting and loving my body has been one years in the making. After so many years of being abused and then taking on the role of my own abuser once the external one was out of my life, it’s going to take a long time to learn to love me for all of my mental flaws. And unlike in my journey to make peace with my perfectly good body, my mind is not in such great condition. It’s very broken, very fragile, and takes a lot of work to just keep myself feeling okay. It’s hard not to hate something so broken in myself, because I don’t WANT it to be broken anymore, but it’s not something I can really mend. I will have to love the bipolar disorder, the PTSD, and the anxiety if I’m going to love myself mentally. I’ll have to love the neuroses and compulsions and derisive voices.

I am visualizing my mental self as a child, my child. I would not treat a child so poorly as I treat myself. I would not hate a child for having shortcomings, or for making mistakes, even big ones. I would not bring up every failure the child has ever had over and over and over again. That’s already been done. It’s time to treat myself with respect, and learn to love my mental self.

It’s going to be a hell of a journey, and I’m not sure how well this one will play out.

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I’m just worn out, so here’s an IM conversation I had earlier of what’s going on in my life.

Me: so I’ve been fighting colonitis for a few days
and when I told mom, she said she was sorry I felt crappy
and then launched into how I should eat more vegetables
because that would prevent it in the future.

My Friend: …..SKINNY PEOPLE NEVER GET SICK
EVER
EVER EVER
THEY ARE IMMORTAL
ALSO THEY ARE ROBOTS

me: yup.
…can I be fat and also a robot?

My friend: one word: cosmos.

Me: but yes, now that she can monitor what I’m eating, she can tell me what I need to be eating more or less of
on a more consistent basis
I tried to talk to her about it but it always comes back to this “I know you don’t want to hear it but I know what’s best for you”
that makes me want to scream

My friend: she clearly doesn’t

Me: I’m trying to come up with a way to discuss with her how it feels when she stomps all over my boundaries, in a way she’ll understand and not take as an attack
because heaven forbid I not take the constant harping with a smile
when I try to point out that it’s her telling me that she’s WATCHING WHAT I EAT that has led to me already trending towards disabled eating
I was just being a victim and blaming other people
I mean, I literally cannot win, ever.

My friend: *hugs*

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I’m back!

Good lord, I’ve been having trouble with my internet since I got back, so this is the first time I’ve had it working and also remembered to write something. :/ I had a lovely time at the cabin, and it was great to get to spend some time with my grandparents, who are both in their late seventies/early eighties. I got a ton of sleep- I was even sleeping without having to take any klonopin! I only took like, four, the whole week I was gone. Usually I take two just to get to sleep due to anxiety that chokes me as soon as I lie down. While my grandparents have their own issues, my grandmother in particular was very supportive. She asked on the first day about what she can do to help, and we had a couple talks when I had to get things out.

Of course, all vacations have to end, and as soon as I got home, the anxiety flared right back up. I slept terribly the first night I was back. Of course, I never sleep right the first night I’m anywhere, as I’ve got to get used to the amount of light, the bed, the ambient noises… I had gotten used to the loons that were being super noisy outside every night, and there aren’t any loons here. I was also anxious about my intake appointment at the place to go to groups and potentially get into therapy.

That appointment was Thursday, and went really well, but all intakes are a bit on the intense side. It took about three hours in all to get all the paperwork done and finish the intake interview. The group is a mix of cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy, and sounds quite a bit like something I used to teach. It’s a twelve-week course but you can jump in at any time, so I’ll be attending Wednesday evenings. There is therapy as well, but that costs money. I asked how much and it’s something like $38/session on the sliding scale, which is actually almost affordable for me, especially if I go twice a month. I asked if I could do both at the same time and the intake worker wasn’t positive and said she would get back to me on that. I can, however, opt to switch at any time, if I decide the group isn’t going to be very helpful for me. I’ll go one or two sessions before I make that decision.

I didn’t sleep at all Thursday night, partly because I fell into a Cracked.com black hole, and partly because I was still working my way through the intake session in my head. Both of my parents were very concerned that I was still up when they were getting ready for work Friday morning, and I was interrogated by both of them about whether or not I took my medication, why I couldn’t sleep, etc. It irritated me, but at least I wasn’t being yelled at, I suppose. I’ll take my victories when I get them. My stepdad told me when I got back that he’s decided to “start over” on our relationship and seems to be making an effort to understand, though I was still extremely nervous. Mom then told me Friday morning that he’s really trying and it takes two to fix a relationship and I had the hardest time not crying or starting to rant about how I didn’t break it in the first place and I really don’t want to try this time, but I bit my tongue. We’ll see how it goes, I guess. He’s been acting reasonable ever since I got back, but this has me on high alert even more than before. I’m afraid we’ll go right back to where we were the first time he gets pissed off that I’m still asleep after whatever time he feels I should be awake or I say or do something that he doesn’t approve of, which happens on a fairly regular basis.

I’ve never been on the receiving end of a treatment plan, but one was made. It was primarily focused on attending group, as that’s mostly what they do there. It’s very weird to be on this end. Of course, looking over it makes me feel like I’ve failed, as mentally I’ve placed myself in the client role instead of clinician, which definitely makes me feel all kinds of terrible. I know it’s my own biases rearing their ugly heads, but it’s definitely there. I primarily was focused on the goal of getting along better with my parents and coping better in that respect, but as my mom said, it takes two (or three) to fix a relationship, and I feel like thus far I have been the one doing about 90% of the work. I talked about how tired I am of being treated like I’m still a teenager, and about how my experiences are dismissed out of hand and they are constantly on me about my activity level as if taking a walk every day will magically fix me. It’s amazing what all exercise is going to cure for me- my difficulty sleeping, my overall mood, my being fat, and no amount of saying “this has historically done nothing for me and I doubt it’s going to start doing something, please stop harping on this” seems to help. Mom even said on Friday morning “I know I sound like a broken record, but…”

I felt like a teenager again as I tried not to roll my eyes clean out of my head. Yes, I know your stance on exercise. I swear I do. I would sign a form in triplicate with my own blood to confirm that yes, I know you think getting more exercise will fix me. I would do just about anything to convince them that I understand that, and while I don’t think it’s going to help, I *am* getting exercise. I know that exercise and overall fitness, not being a specific weight, or trying weight loss, is the key to good health. But as I said to my grandmother, “If I die because I’m fat at age 70, at least the mental illness didn’t kill me.” I’m not the one who’s fatphobic, after all. My family is. I have more important things to worry about, like surviving living with my parents again.

And with that said, the dog and I are going for a walk.

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