This may be a stock image, but seriously, it could be a photo I have taken at some point of all the medication I have been prescribed to take over the course of one day. Yep, that looks about right. Maybe take away 4 or 5 tablets.
I am 42 years old, not 80.
My health issues began at a very early age with my weight. On the day I was born, 2 weeks premature, I weighed 5 lbs 13 oz. I have been told the majority of my life, by my mother that she was made to feel guilty, by my Dad (which I do not believe), for my early arrival, since she drank and smoked throughout her pregnancy.
So she “made up for it” by over feeding me.
By the time I was 5 or 6, I was overweight. That trend never really stopped. I was also perpetually on a diet from that point as well. My mother would allow me to eat teeny tiny portions, one bite at a time. Take a bite, put down my fork, take a sip of water. Rinse and repeat. Salad without dressing for dinner. No breakfast. Lunch only when I was in school. The only time this was different was when my Dad was home, or whenever we were at my grandparents or around other people.
Obviously, she couldn’t behave in this manner around others.
I got quite used to just saying that I wasn’t hungry. I trained myself not to be. I drank a lot of water so that I wouldn’t be hungry, ever. I remember being in high school and eating club crackers with diet Italian dressing on them for lunch. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with that.
And I was still fat.
At least, that’s what I heard, all the time. So that’s what I saw when I looked in the mirror.
When I was 16 and found out I was pregnant with my oldest son, I was 5'5 and weighed approximately 150 lbs. Overweight, yes, but not the whale I saw when I looked at myself in the mirror.
I got there later.
When I gave birth, I weighed approximately 160. Directly after giving birth, I weighed 145 lbs.
By the time I was 17 or 18, I was up to 180 lbs. I was no longer living in my mother’s house, I left right before I turned 17 or shortly thereafter. A switch flipped I guess. And I started stress eating. Between being the sole caregiver of an infant, a man who wouldn’t work, a homemaker, going to school full-time, and working full-time, I just wasn’t handling life very well.
So, for the first time in my life, I ate exactly what I wanted. Junk.
I had my youngest son when I was 22 and was back down to a reasonable (for me) weight of around 160. But after staying home with him for almost 3 months due to medical issues he had from birth, I ballooned. I went back to working full-time and being the sole provider of everything once again.
And the stress eating began once more.
By the time I left my first husband, I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. 260 lbs.
That was in 2004.
My weight has fluctuated back and forth a lot since then. I am currently hovering between 200 and 210. Two years ago I decided to change my lifestyle, eating wise. I can’t call it a diet. My mother made sure of that 35 years ago.
I started eating low carb high fat (LCHF). It worked for me. I have never exercised. I know, it’s awful. Sure, I’ve started. I would decide I was going to start walking. I would stick with it for maybe a month. Then quit. I would join a gym, same result.
I lost a significant amount of weight, for me. I was back to 150 pounds. I’ve come to the conclusion that this is reasonable for me. However, stress and I became good friends again, and the weight came right back. I no longer stress eat, I stress don’t eat.
That’s just as bad, if not worse.
In the past, I had consistently allowed myself to be in situations where I was systematically abused. It started in my childhood, where I had no control over the situation obviously, but once I was an adult, I continued to put myself in the same types of situations.
And my health, mental and physical, suffered greatly because of it.
In 2008, I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. There is typically a triggering event that causes this. I’ve had symptoms of this disease since the late 90's-early 2000’s. It is very likely that one or more of the severe beatings I withstood at the hands of my first husband was a triggering event. It could have been the birth of my youngest son.
But I truly believe it was the stress, abuse, and other myriad bullshit I dealt with throughout my time with my ex. That’s enough to trigger a lot of things.
I’m also bipolar, have PTSD, and have severe anxiety disorder with agoraphobia.
Yep, I’m a fucking mess.
I take no opioids. I’ve been prescribed Roxycotin twice, oddly enough, by a doctor in the ED when I had a flare up of costochondritis. It didn’t help. I took it for 2 days and flushed it down the toilet.
When I was without insurance for almost two years, I couldn’t get the medication I needed. $2500 a month isn’t reasonable for most people, especially when your income is less than $1k per month.
Even with insurance, I have a hard time affording my medication. In the last two months, I’ve had to ask for help paying an electric bill. Power trumps medication. I have a small child in the house.
There are days I physically can not get out of bed. More often than not, that’s the case, being completely honest. Do I wallow in that? Most of the time, no. I am stubborn as hell. I make myself do a lot of things that I probably shouldn’t. But I also know, that with a lot of the shit I have going on, the more I stress myself, the more I push myself, the day will come, sooner than I want, that I will end up in a “flare” and I won’t be able to do anything.
When that day comes, it usually lasts days, not just one.
But I do it anyway, because I refuse to be waited on. I can’t just be still. I’m not used to someone else taking care of me. I still have the mindset of being the one who has to do everything, because it was that way for so long.
That’s partly what got me where I am right now, health wise. I know that.
There are some things that are beyond our control when it comes to our health, things that, no matter what we do, no matter how healthy we eat, drink, exercise, etc. are going to happen. But when it comes to the things we can change, we should.