*Trigger Warning for mention of eating disorders and typical medical shaming things*
Ahhhh.. doctor’s offices…. Aren’t they just the nightmare for the Fat Girl? Like many of you, I avoid them whenever possible. As long as being of an overweight category means I will be shamed, ignored, trivialized and disrespected while seeing a health “professional” about physical matters it will always be an appointment of absolute necessity. As sad as it is to say it.
So I get called in and have a health aide walk me directly over to the scales. Now, I do not weigh myself. I have not in years. I do not want to ever again. Why? The number will never ever ever be the number I want. It will always be higher and trigger very old recurring panic attacks that then begin the very terrifying slide down into a very scary and horrible place, a place that lacks all logic and is pure panic… I do everything I can to avoid Body Dimorphic episodes… weighing myself is the Queen of all triggers.
So as I am being walked to the scales I say to the young lady, “No… no, I do not do that. We can skip this portion of today’s visit.” I’ve got this down to a science, this whole, “refusing parts of treatment” thing. Most people do not realize they can refuse any part of their treatment… most people have been raised to view their health as something they just have to “open and say AHHH” to… and that we are not allowed or should not voice things that make us uncomfortable or awkward….
So, I have gotten pretty good at voicing my own needs but every time I do it I always get such interesting reactions from people. The last time when I said, “We can skip this.” There was a middle aged woman, perhaps of the same size, maybe a little less, walking towards us in the hall… (of COURSE the scales are in the most public, most well trafficked part of the offices just to add a little more shame to your otherwise stellar day) and she actually backed up a step with a shocked, “what?!?!” that was half laugh, half incredulity…half wonder… so I responded, “I know I’m fat… so what’s the point here?” and she kept staring at me as I rocked it down the hall. Her reaction was a mixture of WTF/yes you need to get weighed, fatty/could I do that too?/she is going to get into trouble/and, I wish I had done that, too. This is very typical in terms of reactions.
A couple of years ago I would tell people, “I am a recovering Bulimic” and even though I had no basis of understanding why, I just knew that if I said that people would back off and become compassionate or they would ask me, “is your Bulimia under control? Do you get triggered often?” It seemed funny to me that being the same person in the same size that I am would get a compassionate, understanding response if I claimed that my issue was in regards to my attempts to become thin… but I get a whole range of responses (none compassionate) I do not play homage to societal norms.
How would people react if my authentic response was, “I do not weigh myself because I am struggling with overcoming body dysmorphic disorder due to years of horrific social abuse because I was and am fat and weighing myself only triggers intense feelings of shame and guilt that I know are reactions to not attempting modify my body to the cultural ideal.”
What say you darlings, should I try this line and see what the outcome will be?
So instead of telling others I’m bulimic I just let it ride as it is. I do NOT have to explain myself or my choices to you. I do not have to place myself in a medically induced state of anxiety nor do I have to deal with practices or a conversation which are not only completely useless in terms of my weight but actually is harmful to my mental health, well-being and physical wellness.
So after my little scale avoidance episode I am left in the office to await da’ Man. While in the office I took note of my surroundings. On the walls of the office were:
A “Quit Smoking” flyer by the American Heart Association
3 flyers calling for participants in various studies at the local research hospital
1 poster detailing the symptoms of depression (brought to you by Zoloft… no I’m not kidding)
1 poster giving me a number to see if I qualify for Gastric Bypass Surgery
1 flyer to see an in-house “Nutritionist”
…. Uh…. Well, I….don even…..
The only flyer that actually is concerned with health and wellness is the quit smoking one. So in case you aren’t ALREADY coming to see the Doc for depression, anxiety, etc etc etc… ZOLOFT wants to make fucking sure that just in case you didn’t actually “know” you were depressed well ZOLOFT has is right there in a 2 by 3 foot poster… and the remedy…hmmm… lemme guess…Zoloft?
And the other one… the OTHER ONE…. Same thing…. Say, let’s not talk about health, REALLY… let’s not talk about lifestyle, holistic health practices or just taking a fucking walk every day no we want you to know that we are there for you… if you want to cut your stomach in half… we are here to “help”. And if you don’t want that then we have a Nutritionist because you, fatty, you we are sure do not know how to eat… as if eating well is a science… have any of you seen a Nutritionist? You get weighed, you are given a menu then you have to cough up your weekly write-in diet and get shamed for bad choices…. Hmmm what does that remind me of? Oh yes! Every other weight loss plan out there!!!!
Before I am even seen by my doctor I am bombarded by messages… no, not messages… billboard advertising… telling me what my problem is and what thing I can buy to fix it.
First a patient is weighed. Then she is left to sit in a room with a Zoloft and gastric bypass ad. It doesn’t get any more genius than that, does it? The doctor need not say a word… the system is doing all the work.
Any posters about health? Wellness? Meditation? Yoga? Walking? swimming? The benefits of a vegetarian diet? Managing stress? Nope.
I wonder how much Zoloft pays doctor’s offices to allow them to place their posters up in each and every examination room.
So anyway, that is why I avoid seeing my health practitioners as much as possible. A for profit system can never be honest in that it has your health and wellness as a primary concern, nor are the health prescriptives based on health as much as it is the bottom line. As long as society is pulling its collective hair out running around in circles, “OMGOBESITY!!!! Run!!! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES” and the government supports it and Hollywood supports it then there is good money to be made in making fat a medical issue worthy of reduction at all costs… and even better, at a high cost.