So, I haven’t looked at a scale recently but the last time I did, I had gained 30lbs since the early 2016. You know – when the Presidential campaign season really started ramping up. I know I’ve actually gained closer to 40 now because even the clothes I bought a month ago are getting tight on me. The weight gain is just an unstoppable force at this point.
It’s not even that I hate this body entirely. When I can remove myself from the “skinnier is better” social construct and when I’m wearing an outfit I like and have fixed my hair an makeup, I like my appearance just fine. But I know this body was built around stress eating and it’s hard to convince myself to love a body that is built on my poor mental health. I know people who lose weight with depression say the same thing.
The thing about ME gaining weight is that it’s basically an announcement to everyone who doesn’t see me every day: “Hey! I’m not doing great!” Because I so openly talk about stress eating and depression and anxiety. Some people gain weight when their mental health is BETTER, but I’m open that food is my therapy so me gaining weight is just an announcement that my mental health is in the toilet. And there’s a bunch of shit going on in my personal life that I just don’t know how to deal with or even how to talk about so it’s like putting a message out to everyone that says, “There’s something wrong with me!” but if anyone actually braves asking me about it I’m all, “It’s just politics.” And that’s a lot of it, but I also have a brain filled with a fog of chaos that I can’t sort through and it turns out my health insurance doesn’t pay for my therapy anymore so it goes to the deductible and so…you know…I’m on my own right now.
All of this is to say that my weight gain and poor mental health then triggers all of my old social anxieties that I fought for so long. I don’t want to leave the house and look at my friends who know me well enough to know that my weight gain means my depression and anxiety is taking control and that embarrasses me to no end. Me – the one who practically preaches from the mountain top every day – “THERE IS NO SHAME IN MENTAL HEALTH CARE!” I’m the one that is ashamed.
And so I hide out and avoid the world whenever I can and that means I don’t get the therapy of being around my friends which makes the weight-gain/anxiety-depression spiral EVEN WORSE.
But I’ve not gone full-hermit yet, I promise. It’s not like the years before Dad died. I’m still getting out a little. I’m running with some friends today. And I’m starting a new boot camp on Monday for one month to hopefully kick start my health again. As long as I’m still making small efforts we’re not in code red, I don’t think. And I’m not even saying losing the weight would make me happy, the two aren’t that intertwined at all. But losing the weight would at least help with the social anxiety part of my mental health. And being around friends helps me with the rest of it. It’s part of the complicated puzzle of my balance of mental health which is precariously unstable right now.