posted by meowser
Er…oh, hai. I did say I was going to do “part 2” of this post “tomorrow,” did I naught? Hm, well, if I can pull off this three-weeks-equals-one-day thing off for the rest of my life, all this Fat Kills You Young stuff will go right out the window, right?
Yeah. Okay. Well, I’m still here and typing, which means the drugs are working, right? Or at least I think they do, which means more or less the same thing. No, me-and-me aren’t running out to get a marriage license or anything, but “me” isn’t telling me to fuck off and die because she sucks at positively everything ever, either. I (and I) could get used to that, even if it means I’m still spending ludicrous amounts of time unconscious. (Whoever said Remeron would put you out like a fistful of Tylenol PM wasn’t kidding.)
But let me tell you something. This drug is turning me into Cookie Monster. The one I remember from my youth, the one who actually ate all the cookies he wanted and didn’t feel a smidge guilty about it. Hell, CM ate everything, didn’t he? I remember him biting into a microphone once. Somehow my 6-year-old self knew better than to emulate him, go fig. For years I rarely ate when I wasn’t physically hungry, and didn’t eat huge amounts of food even when I was — just because I physically couldn’t, not because I was Trying To Be Good. Now I find myself cleaning restaurant plates that once would have produced leftovers, grabbing handfuls of this or that to nibble on whether I’m truly hungry or not, just because I’m craving it. I’m having lustful thoughts about the Trader Joe’s sesame-honey cashews I polished off a week ago, now at 1 in the morning, OMfreakingG.
When my psychiatrist first gave me the scrip for Remeron, he told me that it could make people gain a lot of weight when they were first on it, so I might want to “watch what I ate” for the first month, until the dosage was ramped all the way up, which allegedly kills off the weight-gain effect. HAHAHAHAHA. I’ll bet HE never had to take this stuff, or he’d know it’s frigging impossible to do anything like diet while you’re first on it. (To his credit, though, I don’t think he’s the kind of person who would push the issue.) In fact, I am now more convinced than ever that the roots of binge and compulsive overeating (in cases where it’s unrelated to diet-rebound effect) are rooted intractably in brain and body chemistry and don’t have SQUAT-ALL to do with “willpower” or any other such mind-control guck. I’m not craving microphones just yet, but give me time. I still have three weeks to go before they bump me up to 45 mg.
In fact, now that I’m starting to feel like I have a spine again, I’m starting to wonder about why there’s so little mental-health help available for fat people that comes from an HAES perspective. How many doctors — hell, how many people in general — assume that weight loss would either alleviate a fat person’s depression, or would be an inevitable side benefit of getting better? Too many for my taste. I can tell you right now that anything I’ve experienced as a 200-plus-pound person mentally, I also experienced at 125 pounds and at all points in between. Do people actually believe that thin people don’t suffer from major depression? Doctors even? The lobes boggle.
Plus, hasn’t anyone stopped to notice that 1) people gain weight from these drugs, and 2) they get better anyway? Even if you assume that all the Fat-is-Unhealthy stuff must be true, what’s “unhealthier” — wear and tear on your internal organs, or actively wanting to blow your brains out? I mean, is there really any contest? That’s why I told my psychiatrist that if they put “obesity” in the DSM-V (that is, make it an official psychiatric diagnosis) as is currently being discussed by the American Psychiatric Association, they are making a horrible, tragic error. Millions of people will become noncompliant with drugs that are saving their lives, because these drugs also make them fat, and the “obesity” diagnosis essentially means that if you gain hella weight on psych meds, you will never ever be out of remission. He agreed with me that it shouldn’t happen. I’m fervently hoping more of his colleagues agree with him than don’t.
(STOP READING HERE IF YOU DON’T WANT TO READ ABOUT SUICIDE.)
And I’m embarrassed to tell you I’ve never read anything by David Foster Wallace because my gnatlike attention span couldn’t quite commit to it. But any time I hear about anyone’s suicide, as a major depressive, it rips my guts out. (Okay, maybe not Hitler’s, but there’s always an exception that proves the rule.) Not least because of how people respond to it. If I have to read or hear, “But they had so much going for them!” one more frigging time, as if it had shit to do with crap, I will let out a shriek that will bounce off of Mt. Hood, then ricochet off the red rocks of Sedona and into your Chicago latte. (Yep, that noise was me!)
I had a nurse practitioner named Cindy a couple of years ago who committed suicide; I found out when I tried to make my third appointment to see her. She was the last person anyone would suspect of being depressed; she was always so fresh, so cheerful. I later found out from the doctor who ran the practice she worked for, who assumed care of her patients after she was gone, that she left two notes so nobody would have any doubt about what her intentions were. Her husband told him, “She could do that, just totally fake people out like that.” At the time I didn’t understand how it could happen, that you could feel that way and literally NO one would be able to tell. Now I know.
Whenever someone kills him/herself because of depression (as opposed to doing so because of terminal illness or intractable physical pain), the internal reasons and the final trigger are different for each person. But I really believe there’s one constant that binds nearly all of them, and it’s this: The moment you admit you want to kill yourself is the moment you start to become radioactive, and you become more radioactive every time you say it.
And that doesn’t go away if you’re rich and famous and good-looking and have a MacArthur grant and all the blah blah freaking blah you blah blah blah. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it is harder for a famous person to publicly admit to feeling suicidal, not easier, than it is for someone like me. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain; their reputations, which others have built their lives and dreams around, are at stake. People say, “If I’d only known I could have helped them,” but really, how many have the stomach to hear people go on, over and over again, about what stinksome seepage they really are and that everyone would be better off without them? Especially when the depressed person in question has had external successes beyond most people’s wildest fantasies, and knows that any complaints about his/her mental wellbeing will be looked on by many as whiny at best, downright insensitive at worst?
Even if you have the shrink and the drugs and the support system at home and all that other good stuff, that doesn’t put everything away. Shrinks often fail or are incompatible; drugs are often poorly tolerated or don’t work at all; even the most loving partner or close friend often gets to wondering why his/her love isn’t enough to save you. Riding it out with someone who’s that depressed, regardless of that person’s external life circumstances, is a tall order. (Chris, if you are reading this, I LOVE YOU TO LITTLE TINY FUR-COVERED PURRING PIECES.) We know it. We don’t want to wear anyone out. So we keep it in, until we can’t stand it anymore.
I want to change this. I think what saved my life until I got the professional help I needed is that I contracted with several people close to me that I would not harm myself, and I kept re-contracting with them every time I had a close call. I also truly believe that one advantage that I have being aspie is that I physically CAN’T hold back a secret about myself that huge for very long with anyone who cares about me. Your secret I can keep; mine, nope. I always figure, I’ll be found out sooner or later anyway because I’m a lousy liar. So “faking people out” like Cindy did, or as numerous celebrities have done with their public, was never going to happen with me.
But I can see how it could happen to them, it’s because suicidal depression is The Great Shame of the Cities; if you have any acting ability at all, you want to avoid that shame, but doing so could kill you in the few seconds it takes to find the dry-cleaning bag and put it on your head before you even know what you’re doing. If you are reading this and you are feeling suicidal, please don’t stuff it down or cover it up. I care about you and I want you to get better. If you want to contract with me that you’re not going to harm yourself (andeejr at geemail), even anonymously or pseudonymously, I’m happy to help. I’m no shrink, and I may not be able to do much more in return but affirm that I received your note and that I care, but I can at least do that.
Oh, and Backwards Day means that from here on in, whenever I catch myself saying something bad about myself, I have to find something good about that bad thing. I’m inattentive? Inattentive people are great; they can think of something more than that oh-so-important bit of work business that nobody will remember in 200 years anyway! I’m sloppy? Sloppy people are great; they’re not preoccupied with superficial appearances! I’m whiny? Whiners are great; they’re not swallowing their feelings and taking them out on everyone else! I sleep too much? I’m storing it up for next summer, isn’t that smart of me! I’m too hard on myself? That’s great, it means I won’t ever become a flaming egotist who doesn’t think she has any faults!
I’m a fatass? (Fill in the blank!)