Sunday, December 8, 2013
Depression. I don't like that word. Beyond the obvious one of a medical diagnosis, it holds poor emotional connotations for me. Regardless of how I feel about the word, I finally came to a place last month where I had to admit to myself that I'm struggling with depression. Ugh. Even just typing it out leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
The last 15 months or so of my life have been a pretty wild roller coaster. I have unfortunately discovered that there are certain untruths, shall we say, that medical professionals have told me for the better part of 2 decades. One of those is that losing weight would fix every single one of my problems. Since my RNY gastric bypass surgery, I've lost 190 pounds. I'm still an asthmatic who struggles with chronic migraines. I'm also not magically happy. That one astounds me quite frankly. For as long as I can remember, I've thought that getting down to (insert particular size/weight here) would make me happy. That belief was mirrored by everyone around me. Society, doctors, friends, DCF (back when we were going though that particular nightmare), media, and even family to a small degree.
I think it all started right around the time I hit "the century club". In other words, when I lost my first 100 pounds. Physically, I was feeling healthier than I had in years. Mentally, I was starting to flounder. It's not unusual for weight loss surgery patients, or anyone who has lost extreme amounts of weight to struggle with body image issues. That's where my depression started. I look in the mirror, and still see my 355 pound self. I look down at my body, and only see it as unbearably fat. I manage life with abundant amounts of loose and hanging skin, the aftermath of a lifetime of super morbid obesity. It's taking a bigger toll psychologically than I care to admit. Although I'm smaller than I've ever been, and can list off a multitude of NSVs (non-scale victories), I still feel unsatisfied. All I can see is that I'm still technically obese, and thus, in my mind, still a failure.
Because of all the things my work in progress weight loss hasn't fixed, it's brought up so many issues for me that I've long assumed were due to my obesity. Oh boy, was I wrong! So, tired of struggling and feeling like the world had dimmed, I started getting mental health treatment last month. For the record, I don't like that phrase anymore than I like depression. I'll get to that later though.
Over the years, I've gone to more than a few intake appointments. I've even made it to a rare few first therapy sessions. Never had I gone back for a second or subsequent appointment. At least, not as a voluntary. This time has been different. I'm making a promise to myself to stick it out. I can't keep going on like this. Not after I enjoyed a brief taste of what life could be like. I want that back. And as difficult as it is for me to say, I deserve to have my life back. I've fought too hard to get to where I am to simply remain miserable.
Ah, but that damn depression. That "D" word I loathe so much. There are words and phrases that feel more authentic to me. "Crazy" is one. Only a truly crazy person could lose as much weight as I have and still feel like it was a mere drop in the bucket. Only someone insane could have my life and not be happy. "Fucked up" is my preference, although I know that one is the one that makes people very angry. I feel fucked up, and it is fucked up that I'm still...crazy.
If I'm going to talk about this new journey, I need new language. Oh, the irony in using "journey" in this context! That was a word used with much pride since starting the process to have my weight loss surgery. Now, it's something very shameful. I won't use it that way, and detract from the way it feels in my spirit. I made yet another promise to myself to stop using the phrases I liked best because they brought harm to others. I needed a new word. A "D" word.
Difficulties. I like that word. Simple, and succinct. Yet it fully encompasses what I'm experiencing right here and now. I'm having some difficulties, but I will get through them. Why? Determination. Dedication. And a bit of deliverance as it were.