Shame is trying to kill me.
It has help, from my addiction and my bipolar disorder…but shame is leading the vanguard right now, shrieking battle cries.
Depending on which study you read, up to 98% of people who lose a really large amount of weight gain it back…and these are time-limited studies, in which keeping most the weight off for a mere year or two years counted as success.
I finished my big weight loss in August of 2013. A recent weight gain has brought me to the point of having gained back more than half of what I lost…and I’m feeling crushed with shame. For a year, I’ve been fighting to reverse the gains of the year before. Driven by shame, I wanted it gone now, yesterday, no matter what I had to do. My body disagreed with my plans. My psyche fell deeper and deeper into the hideous rituals of compulsive binge eating.
What I’ve experienced is not a surprise. All along, I knew it was likely. Even as I was losing the weight, I knew the odds were terrible. I was always open about the fact that the medical diet I went on had an incredibly high risk of regain, and I was doing it only because my strange autoimmune condition required swift action. And it has been a success, in that sense. The problem hasn’t returned.
I never claimed to know what I was doing; quite the contrary. And I never, never implied that someone else should do what I did.
So why do I feel so ashamed?
Now, after finding a bit of sanity and staying the same for two months on a food plan that should have resulted in a modest loss, I’m reeling from this recent gain. Ten pounds, from falling to discouragement for only two weeks.
On the bright side, I know now that there is something weird going on with my body. I spent the last couple of weeks being pretty scared because, when I saw my doctor for advice about why my food plan wasn’t working, he examined me and found that my thyroid is swollen. I’m less scared now, because the ultrasound I was sent for showed no masses or nodules in it. I’m being put on an additional thyroid supplement and extra iodine.
So it should be all good…the gain is regrettable, but I have a plan. Well, it’s not all good. I’m frightened about what the new meds will do to me, I’m constantly hungry and I’m even more aware of how crazy I’ve become with food in the last year.
But the shame is the worst–I want to hide, disappear, live in a stasis pod until some of this weight comes off. I can’t write. I’m isolating even more than usual. I’m withdrawn from all physical affection, convinced I don’t deserve a loving or sexual touch for at least 30 pounds.
I blame myself for all of it, no matter the meds changes last year that catalyzed some or the current (possibly long-standing) thyroid issue. Even though the gain would have been less without these things, I’m still a compulsive eater who has been struggling and I can’t forgive myself for that. I can’t forgive myself, or let go of the grief when I think of the lighter, healthier body I had a couple of years ago and how it’s gone and I might never have it again. Any ache or pain I get feels like an accusation, trial and sentence.
My insanity trying to get me to use food to punish myself more. Only two days into this new treatment, it tells me that there’s no point in sticking to my moderate plan, that I’m doomed, that I don’t deserve to care for myself. Depression pipes up from the peanut gallery and tells me none of this matters anyway.
The ongoing and dangerous trend of giving myself little or no credit for staying off drugs continues.
I have no quirky metaphors at my command in this piece. This is a status report and an exercise in honesty. As always, know that it isn’t the whole picture of who or what I am. There are other stories I could be writing today, if I didn’t need to get this off my chest. I could spin a metaphor about a silly game I’ve been playing lately. I could tell you an old story about a bowl of grated apples that nearly inspired an orgy. I could tell you about my most recent victory and the beauty that was my reward…yes, I will tell about all of these things in time. Until then, let this remind any like me that they are not alone.