If y’all remember, last week I was afraid to go to the doctor for a pain that I was having in my knee and in my back because I was afraid that I would be shamed for my weight. Well, I went to the doctor and was treated with respect from every member of staff from the nursing assistants, the physician’s assistant, to the nurses and finally the doctor. My primary diagnosis is that I moved wrong and got a big owwie!! They took Xrays and couldn’t find anything majorly wrong with my knee. There was a little bit of arthritis, but nothing major. They suggested that I follow up with an orthopedic doctor for another exam. They weren’t concerned with my back at all because I didn’t have problems controlling my bladder and I didn’t have a fever or radiating pais. I was given a prescription for Naproxen (extra strength Advil), given an ACE bandage and sent on my way. No one mentioned my weight once. Honestly, since then, since I know that nothing is majorly wrong with me, I have felt better. I know that I am a bit of a hypochondriac and that I have an overactive imagination. I was actually afraid that they would discover cancer or tell me that my body was falling apart and that I would have mobility issues from now on. None of that happened.
Now that I have made peace with my body, I’m starting to see familiar thought patterns a lot more clearly. I thought that I may have been dying because I’m so fat. I thought that I had eaten my way to a fatal disease and a premature death. I have been fed this line my whole life. Just recently my mother has added a new weapon to her fat shaming arsenal: my health. She takes every available opportunity to tell me how concerned she is for my health because I’m fat.
When I was diagnosed with diabetes about two years ago, my mother actually worked really hard to make me believe that I was just going to suddenly die. She told me about this cousin of my father’s, a big lady, who had diabetes and just dropped dead at 35. She scared the shit out of me. I already have General Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder and OCD along with my depression and this just made everything worse. My mother now attempts to use her “concern” for my health to guilt me into losing weight. She has told me more than once, “You’re just thinking about yourself. You don’t know what it will do to me if I have to bury my own daughter.” She recently told me how angry she was that a diabetes educator told me that I didn’t have to worry about suddenly dying just because I’m big and I have diabetes and that if I managed my diabetes that I could successfully avoid the long term effects of the disease. Of course she’s angry, because she believes that if I’m afraid then I will finally commit and get down to her goal weight for me: 110 pounds.
My mother who has been thin her whole life also has type II diabetes. She dieted constantly and exercises like a fiend and still contracted this disease. That’s probably because it runs rampant in our family. Her father had it, her brother had it and so does her sister. They were all slim people. I’m not going to allow my mother to make me feel that I have diabetes because I’m fat. I’m also not going to allow her to frighten me into doing what she wants me to do. I have just about enough of her emotionally abusive manipulation.
Don’t get me wrong. I know that my mother is worried about my health. She gives lip service to the belief of Health of Every Size, but I don’t think that she fully buys into it. In her mind thin=healthy and it always will. But as my favorite therapist once told me, “You don’t have to subscribe to your mother’s view of the world.” And I am not going to.
Thanks for Reading!