wednesday, the thirtieth of may, two thousand one
No sidebar today.

I went to my doctor this morning, about the back pills, the Vicodin and the Flexeril that I couldn't get refilled over the phone.

Can I tell you just how much I love my doctor? For someone I picked blind from an inch-thick book of providers, I lucked out. She is thorough, she looks at me when she talks, she asks all the right questions.

A minor tangent: I was supposed to go get my thyroid levels checked at the end of April, and I sort of blew it off until last night, because I knew I was going to see her and I wanted to at least tell her that I had done it. So I went last night at 5:00, and don't you know, the results were in my file at 8:00 this morning. With all the complaining people do about HMO's, I'm just saying, there was a fifteen hour turnaround on my lab results, which was pretty cool.

So we talk a little more about my back, and my MRI results, and the exercises I got from the physical therapist last week, and the pain levels. And she straightforwardly but kindly told me that if I lost weight, my back would undoubtedly get better, and she was willing to see what she could do about it.

So I said, "Okay, let's talk about that," and I started to cry, which surprised me as much as it did her.

And I told her everything, things I haven't been able to say to anyone, things I haven't even been able to write here. And we talked for a long time, and we discussed some options and set some goals and she wrote me some prescriptions.

Phentermine. And Zoloft. Because, you see, I have a problem.

Binge eating. It is an actual disorder, and many, many people suffer from it. But for a host of mostly societal reasons, it doesn't muster the same amount of concern or sympathy as the two more well-known disorders, anorexia and bulimia. They're acceptable now, as diseases go, and make no mistake, they are absolutely real and are terrible burdens to those who suffer from them. But binge eaters, well, we're just gluttons with no self-control.

I'll give you an example. Three weeks ago Monday, I joined Weight Watchers. I followed the program to the letter for four days. On the fifth day, Saturday, I went to the meeting. I had lost four and a half pounds. The initial success was supposed to motivate me, to show me that if I put my mind to it, I really could lose this weight, this horrible, ugly, esteem-defeating beast that I have been battling for years.

But it didn't motivate me. It released me. I went straight home and ate everything I could get my hands on, and I mean everything, so long as it didn't require cooking. And when I was done with my kitchen, I drove to McDonald's and ate some of what they had.

Believe me, that is not an isolated incident.

The thing is, I don't eat until I'm full. I eat until I'm sick. That is one of the things that defines a binge eater. I acknowledge the feeling of fullness as I'm reaching for more. I eat until it is simply impossible to put another bite of food in my mouth.

And the funny thing is, I think it's all a big secret. I think that if nobody sees me do this, then nobody can tell what I'm doing to myself. Which is, of course, a huge joke, because all you have to do is take one look at me, and you know exactly what I'm doing to myself.

So. Phentermine, which is indeed the half of Fen-Phen that they didn't take off the market, to control my appetite and increase my energy. And Zoloft, for the compulsiveness and the low-level depression I've been trying to deny for the past few weeks.

And the Vicodin. I was rather amused at the quantity of controlled substances I had in my possession all day.

Part of the reason I haven't said anything about this until now is that it is simply how I choose to deal with things, healthy or not. It's all about the head in the sand. I tried to start therapy a couple of months ago and due to the fact that I couldn't get an appointment for the psychiatric evaluation until July, my courage and tenacity failed me and I'm too anxious to go back right now, even though I do need to, as my doctor suggested today.

But it's different now. I'm looking 30 in the eye. I have a bulging disc that was likely caused by my weight and will likely repair itself if my weight goes down. I've been reading scary things about overweight women and heart disease, overweight women and diabetes. The health effects were never real to me before, but they are now.

And there is, of course, the other side effect.

A while back, Monique wrote, in this amazing entry, about her feelings concerning her body:

I have no problem believing that I am a beautiful person. Sure, there are people who are not attracted to me because of my size. But if I am not someone's type, so be it, you know? I can accept that. I am still beautiful to many people, and that's not something I have a hard time believing.
It ripped straight through me, because I can't identify with a single thing she said. I read this entry and I read Camryn Manheim's book and these women are happy and healthy and feel great about themselves, and I believe them, but I have never been there.

Quite simply, I am ashamed of the way I look. Even when I spend more time than usual on my appearance, even when I spend days shopping for the perfect dress and hours doing my hair and make-up, inevitably I see a picture of myself and I feel nothing but disgust. It is the reason I didn't go to my high school reunions. It is the reason I have not looked up old friends here in town.

It is the reason I am single, no doubt about it. Intellectually, I know that there are men who might possibly be able to find me attractive, but in my heart I am utterly unable to believe it.

So, okay. I'm going back to Weight Watchers, under my doctor's orders, and I'm going to take some pills and go on some walks and do some exercises and we'll see where this goes.

But you know me. There are better than even odds that I won't mention any of this after tonight. Maybe I'll share the minor successes, the minor frustrations, but I don't see myself opening the door quite so wide again, at least not about this. I'll be fine, of this I am certain, and there is no need for anyone to worry.

It's going to take some time to work my head out of the sand, is all.

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