You don’t have to look at the scale.
Just because they weigh you doesn’t mean you have to look at the scale.
They are going to weigh you and you need to know how you’re going to handle that.
You don’t need to look. You don’t need to know. You wouldn’t have weighed yourself at home so why weigh yourself now? It’s just a number. You don’t need to….
My heart stopped.
I gained 5 lbs.
5 lbs. 5 lbs. 5 lbs.
I gained 5 lbs since I weighed myself last. I don’t even know how long ago that was. I made Craig hide the scale. I couldn’t have a healthy relationship with the scale. My resolution was to just get rid of it. What was that…4 months ago? That’s a pound per month. How could you have let this happen. You’re so stupid.
How can anyone take you seriously if you can’t manage your own weight? What kind of healthcare professional do you think you are when you’re the epitome of unhealthy?
The thoughts started spinning. Flashback to every minute I spent in front of the mirror pinching my rolls until I bruised. Measuring and remeasuring my wrists, my big fat man wrists. A dainty bracelet would bust right in half if it ever had the unfortunate placement on my wrist.
I feel so bad. I feel so guilty and feel so sad for anyone who has to look at me. I feel the need to apologize.
I need to make myself small before anyone else has the chance to. If I can tell myself all the ways to hate me, maybe it will take the sting out of someone else’s words.
I know they are all thinking it. I need a bright neon sign hanging above my head telling everyone “I already know. You don’t have to wonder.” Does she know how obvious it is that she gained weight? I feel like addressing everyone first, “Why yes I did gain weight and how are you?” Yes – humor and sarcasm – my tried and true defense mechanisms.
Self hatred is a slippery slope. A slope I thought I’d conquered. I vividly remember sobbing into the mirror. Mom walked in, asked me what was wrong. “I hate myself.” I sputtered. Where do I even begin? If you haven’t lived inside of a body you want to tear yourself out of, how can you possibly understand what it’s like to live at war with yourself 24/7?
The thought process can become addictive. The anxiety, the worry, the compulsive mirror checking, the measuring, it is all addictive. I was doing so well. My thoughts were clean. I was clean. Add that to the list of failures. You’re a failure.
“What would your therapist tell you? Is there a tool you can use right now?” Craig so sweetly suggests as I hang my head in my hands at the dinner table. Not a single technique that I have learned in the years of counseling is useful to me in this moment. What is rational, what is fiction, none of that matters and it is indecipherable.
Someone turned the TV on and cranked it up to 10 and I can’t find the remote. Profanities and insults scream at full volume every waking second. My chest tightens. My skin feels too tight for me to fit in it. I want to cut it off. I want a drink. I want to scream but my mouth is too dry to make words.
The thoughts were gone. I have been at peace. The TV has been off, things have been so quiet for so long it makes the sting of their brash return that much more painful. I was clean. My thoughts were clean. The cycle had broken. I had control. I could name 3 things I liked about myself just like I had learned to do in therapy. That all changed in an instant. Now I can’t think of one. I can’t think of one thing that would qualify me as worthy of love or respect. Especially not love from myself.
A disproportionate response to reality? Absolutely. But today it is my response.
I can’t control this sneak attack, hateful words spewing out of no where. I can’t control this more than I could control vomit from coming out of my mouth when I have the stomach flu. I can’t will myself better the same as I can’t wish a sinus infection away. It’s going to take time. It’s going to take practice and effort to tuck this all back neatly where it laid dormant for so long until I stepped on that scale.
I’ll close with this: a piece I wrote years ago, early on in my battle with body dysmorphia.
My mind is playing tricks on me tonight.
It is telling me my waist has more inches today than it did yesterday and telling me that I’m filling in the once loose skin on my arms.
It tells me I’m not good enough or smart enough. It tells me I look like a man.
It tells me to move my legs so many times that I can’t sleep.
It yells in a conversation, “THEY KNOW YOU GAINED WEIGHT. THEY ARE LOOKING AT YOUR ZITS WONDERING WHY YOU CAN’T TAKE CARE OF YOUR SKIN!”
It yearns to be silent. It yearns to have peace. It yearns to appreciate the blue in my eyes instead of the blackheads on my nose.
My mind is loud tonight. My love for myself is scarce tonight.
I hope tomorrow will be better.
For more on my struggle with body dysmorphic disorder, check out this blog post: