Sunday, January 25, 2009

Giving myself a break?

It's still very hard for me to find an appropriate middle ground on which to judge my own actions. My therapist often says that I am very harsh when looking at myself; maybe, but I don't think I'm more harsh than the judgements heaped upon me while growing up or into my thirties or even forties. But then again, I was wrong about so much of the social interactions I had during that time frame that I don't know if that is even true.

Fast forward to the present. I am just off of a year of terrible illness. We finally got a diagnosis and treatment, and although I am still suffering from one of the two bacterial infections they found as well as the Inflamatory Bowel Disease, I'm feeling much better. Well enough that I am quite willing to push myself physically in order to restore my body. That means not only going to Slimmons for Richard's three classes a week (when he's in town, but I always show on that schedule even when there is a substitute teacher), but now I've picked up Ann's classes on the off days. That means I'm exercising - after a fashion - six days a week.

I'm getting on the scale daily, as horrified as I am to see the creeping numbers escalate. It's bad enough that few of my clothes fit anymore, and I can't stand my image in the mirror. In hard numbers, the gain isn't so bad, but I have always been terrified of returning from where I came, and I'm well aware that the National Weight Loss Registry folks have found through research that few people who gain some or all of the weight they lost will ever lose it again.

I really put Richard on the spot last Saturday, begging him (literally) to let me turn food sheets in again, even as he didn't really want to take them. The trouble is that I just don't seem to have the strength to do them and look at what I'm eating if there's nobody to be accountable to. That started last year, right about the time that I was getting really sick, and I haven't journaled my foods since then. And I need to look at what I am doing desperately. I need to know if my weight gain is my fault or not.

I am terribly unsatisfied with myself as I currently am. After illnesses of the past, I still had muscle memroy left even as I was so systemically weak from being ravaged by Crohns Disease. But this time is different. Rather than a terrible episode that lasted months, but only a few months at a time, I have been down for the count for almost a year. So sick and tired that I was unable to appropriately care for myself. Definitely too sick to exercise with any regularity or vigor. Many comments have passed from my lips describing last year as one in which I spent the majority of my time in bed. And it's not an exageration either.

My muscles are gone. Gone to the point that I am unable to even do many basic household chores. Definitely I'm too weak to do more than walk through the physical classes that I'm taking. I spoke to Dr. B- about it two weeks ago, and he told me that with the degree of illness that I've been coping with, it would probably take a whole year to restore myself to some semblance of normal. That is, if I don't get sick again.

Truthfully, I took that news with grace and a certain resignation. I'd been pushing myself incredibly hard since being well enough to get back on my feet again, and also monitoring my weight closely. I'd started the "No Bread Challenge" in my home, and was successful in my endeavor. I was starting to cut back on restaurant meals too.

But then Dr. B- gave me a hard apprasial, looking me up and down and announcing that I should be much thinner given what I had been coping with medically. In fact, I should be emaciated! When I protested and described how I had been eating for the past year, relying on frozen meals, what others would bring to me from the outside, and things that I could grab (like P&J Sandwiches) because I was too weak to cook, he assured me that it didn't matter what I had been eating. I should be thinner. And he told me that the last time that he had checked, my thyroid was borderline slow, and that he bet it had crossed the line.

I was elated! That's every fat persons dream... to be diagnosed with slow thyroid! I had never considered it for myself. In fact, I work so hard to remain out of "denial" phase that I rarely acknowledge even when a weight gain might be legitimate and chemically induced by my medicines. As might be the case now, although I don't know for sure. All I know is that by not looking at the numbers and by making excuses, it's a sure path to going back from where I came. A fate worse than death as far as I'm concerned.

So Dr. B- had blood drawn to test my thyroid and gave me instructions to call him the following week. And I walked out of that office all a-glow! Everyone could tell that something was different. I shared the news with precious few people, but I was truly happy. I could relax a little. If my current weight struggle wasn't my fault, and if it could be solved with a little pill, then why worry?

Well, the inevidable day came when I was to call Dr B-. I was so hopeful about the news that I could hardly believe it when he told me. My thyroid is still borderline. It's slower than normal, but certainly not a candidate for treatment at this time. I could barely hear what else he had to tell me. The weight of responsibility came crashing down on my shoulders again. It was probably worse than before, because I had let up on myself by so much. Allowed myself to be hopeful and happy for a week. It got me nowhere.

Now I'm recognizing old patterns. I revile my image in the mirror. I am more worried about letting myself down than letting Richard down, but my status at Slimmons is directly tied in to being one of his success stories. He's mentioned me by name in a number of his TV appearances as of late, in conjunction with the release of Party Off the Pounds. I'm terrified that I won't live up to his hype, and that somebody is going to find out. Oy.

Nothing I do is good enough. No matter what I attempt, it's not going to be good enough either. An old pattern.

I also feel the weight of depression coming down on me. My logical self tells me that I should probably ask for a course of antidepressants, but SSRI's are assoiciated with weight gain. My logical self tells me that I should ask Dr. V- to set up an IV hydration too (yes, I'm definitely dehydrated), but again, I'm scared that the weight gain from that might not go away. I'm almost frozen into inaction.

Except for the food. Since I forced Richard's hand, I've filled out my food sheet. My days are pretty good, but I also know that forcing myself to look has also forced me into evaluating my choices as I'm making them. I'm eating less. I'm not eating overnight. I'm eating less calorie dense foods.

But it all comes down to the same thing. Can I live with myself as I am? Am I as valid a person at an increased weight as I am at goal? The sad answer is that I don't think so. It's hard for me to be outgoing and social, even at my best. The more I weigh, the harder it is. I'm so afraid of harsh judgement.

As if anyone could be harder on me than I am on myself. I wish I could give myself a break.


Claudia said...

Hey Babe,

You know we are hardest on ourselves. Why not try being as loving and caring to yourself as you are to me when I call and complain about my weight gain? Give yourself a break. There are enough people out there wanting to bring you down. Don't let them. Listen to the people who really care about and love me.


Anonymous said...

At three o clock in the morning I awoke and was thinking about this post..My mind started going with all the responses I could give to you..Unfortunately my eyes were closed, and nobody was there to record my thoughts.

I have to say I agree with Claudia, that we are our own worst critique and seem to be ultra-hard on ourselves never giving ourselves a break.

I have to say this..Look at all you have experienced and over came this last year.

Two Surgeries (foot and Knee)
Infection (thought it was mrsa but found out it wasn't)
Entertained me during my visit
Entertained Cari during her visit
Entertained Vennie during her visit
IV Hydrations
ER Trips
Produced beautiful jewelry that is selling.
Blogged everyday for a month.
Worked on your yarn/knitting for an award.
Now Exercising at Slimmons again.
Maintain a relationship with your fiends
Maintain a relationship with Eric
Helped mother get a car at a great price.
Helped with busting an identity theft ring.
Written numerous articles that are being published.
Been interviewed for local newspapers.

Girl I'm so proud of you..You have managed to do all of these things at your sickest/weakest moments..You found the strength to keep going and not give up.

I've tried to look up thyroid conditions on the internet, specifically if a thyroid can correct itself on it's own without medication? Or can other medications effect thyroid production?

You've never been one to take no for an answer, and you've never been one that will be happy with said answers until you know in your gut that every possible angle has been covered. If you are not satisfied with the thyroid question, then go back and talk to Dr. or another Dr. about it.

Be proud of what you have accomplished sweety..I am..

Maria said...

One thing you may want to look into is that borderline slow thyroid. What is the number?

Some people, even when the numbers are borderline, still benefit from thyroid treatment. I have just been diagnosed (pretty much borderline) Hypothyroid recently...and began treatment. My TSH was 4.9 (which was up from 3.7 or something, a few years ago.) They have recently changed the "normal" ranges...and I'm not sure that all doctors follow that yet.

Something you may want to check out!

Adele said...

You sound like you are Mom, yelling at yourself. There is something terribly wrong with that. She is haunting you, even when she is not there. Your weight gain goes far beyond the physical. The psychological aspect of hearing all this is frightening. Please don't be Mom, even if it is only to yourself. You know my theory of raising Ian...if I'm not sure what to do, I think about what Mom would do, then do the opposite. It's worked pretty well so far. Please, when you start having Mom thoughts, turn them around and tell yourself the opposite of what she would say. Maybe releasing yourself of the emotional baggage will allow you to release the pounds. You know the connection between emotions and eating.



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