posted by meowser
(TRIGGER WARNING is in effect for this post for those who are triggered by stories about suicide or suicidal impulses.)
As no doubt you know already if you’ve been reading other fatblogs, the state of Alabama has decided that they’re giving fatasses with BMIs greater than 35, along with people with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar of all weights, until the year 2010 to get their numbers into what they consider an “acceptable range” or be charged $25 a month for their insurance. They’re already charging tobacco users that surcharge. (I have to assume, though, that all these charges apply only to rank-and-file employees and not to top-ranked government officials; I can’t see Bob Riley, for example, getting hit by a random nicotine check to see if he enjoyed a Cohiba the night before.)
The usual blah-blah about “higher health care costs for teh fatties” is being used as justification for this beeyess. But I’ve four (4) predictions:
1) Doing this will save Alabama’s government not one red cent. Ever heard of higher health care costs because of crash dieting, eating disorders, and emotional stressors related to discrimination, guys? And making people go on multiple medications for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc., not to mention many of those people having to go on additional medications and miss work time because of side effects, isn’t exactly inexpensive either. And medications require doctor visits and lab checks, y’know. Early and often. You can’t buy Lipitor and Lopressor and Glucophage over the counter, capisce?
2) They won’t give a damn about that and will just keep doing it anyway, because it’s worth the extra tax dollars to punish people for having any external stigmata of allowing themselves pleasure and relaxation, or even just having a life. Not to mention that it’s a great way to sneak racism, ablism, classism, and agism through the back door. Last acceptable prejudice, my economy-sized turkeywattle — it’s code.
3) (and perhaps most germanely) Every other fucking state in the union will soon follow suit.
4) And good luck trying to find a private employer that doesn’t, either. They will have to need your skill set reaaaaallly badly in order not to subject you to Random Bacon-Spotting Whiz In This Cup Tests. (Evidently Alabama thinks any interchangeable simian with a college degree will do for most of its positions, even one that had only half a can of dry tuna and two brownish apple slices for lunch.)
And that’s where I come in. Or don’t. You see, not only do my lipid panels show an LDL screaming for multiple statins, in spite of the fact that studies show that those drugs do approximately bupkis for preventing heart disease in women, but I’ve lately discovered through costly trial-and-error that the only way I can keep my BMI under the magic number of 35 is not to take antidepressants.
Know what happens when I don’t take antidepressants? For the first couple of couple of months I’m emotionally fine, for the most part. My weight starts dropping. I start thinking I can do without the damn pills that make me sleep like a hibernating bear and make me gain, gain, gain, gain, gain, without my having to take so much as an extra mouthful of anything — in fact, even eating somewhat less than I did pre-medication. I keep reading all these stories that make BMI 35 the OMG Instant Fatty Death Explosion Cutoff — countries whose health plans require you have your BMI under the 35 mark to get health care no matter what it takes, not to private insurers that won’t pay doctors that don’t recommend WLS to anyone with BMI > 35 with “comorbidities” (including depression! like it isn’t a wonder that any fat person could go through life without a case of the black bile the way we get treated!) — and I freak.
Mandatory weight loss surgery. That’s all you have to say to me, and I want to stay far, far away from the Evil Zombie Psychoactive Drugs of Doom.
But over time, even with tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of therapy and fistfuls of vitamins and amino acids and light boxes and exercises and affirmations and all those other good things that probably do a world of good for people whose depression doesn’t get as bad as mine does, I start to slide. And that bottom is low. Very low. Suicidally low.
Hey, at least Alabama wouldn’t have to pay for my health coverage if I bit it, right? (Yeah, I can actually make bad jokes about it now. Believe it or not, that’s progress.)
Here’s the pattern. I start having suicidal feelings first once a month. Then multiple times a month. Then multiple times a week. Because I’m aspie, I don’t have a neurotypical pattern of depression, more like a constant low-volume background hum of “I suck I suck I suck” that eventually turns, under times of meltdown, into a full-throated roar. A roar that could kill me. Ninety-five percent of the time I don’t feel like killing myself. But that five percent is what’s really fucking dangerous. And it would probably have taken my life, had I not gotten my still-fat-but-just-barely-under-BMI-35 ass to the doctor and gotten myself back on the meds.
Specifically, he put me on Remeron. Here’s what the Crazy Meds site has to say about Remeron:
At any dosage it will make you crave doughnuts. Seriously. You will want to invest in Krispy Kreme stock (or maybe something along similar lines that isn’t tanking); as Remeron’s antagonism of the H1 receptor and stimulation of your serotonin production gives you the munchies for carbohydrates and sugars like you were 16 and smoking the best pot ever in the parking lot of a strip mall with a 24-hour doughnut shop beckoning you with glazed and jelly-filled ecstasy. People dipping spoons into a bag of sugar and eating it as is – not unheard of when on Remeron. This stuff is nothing more than legal marijuana, and if I knew crap about biochemistry I could probably prove that crazy statement…When it works it makes people feel really good. I mean really good. Remeron is the closest thing to a happy pill on the market. Until you get all bummed out about how much weight you’ve put on and how little you do because you’re sleeping all the time.
No, I haven’t been eating sugar out of the bag or boxes of doughnuts or anything like that. And although I did feel monumentally dopey for about the first week, that’s mostly gone now. But he’s not kidding about the sleeping part. There’s days I spend more time asleep than awake, although I’m told that — along with the other side effects — will diminish as the dose is titrated up. (For what it’s worth, I was a total all-day zombiewoman on 7.5 mg but I could actually spell my name again once I went up to 15.)
I haven’t felt suicidal since I started taking the stuff. Two weeks, now. And even the superego background you’re-a-failure assblattering is starting to recede. (All the therapy I’ve had for the last 10 months is finally starting to get through, whoot.) But even though I don’t weigh myself, I can feel the spare tire, can feel my fat cells filling up, can feel myself start to gain weight again.
If I cave in to the Obesity Epi-Panic, I could lose everything.
More thoughts tomorrow.