Although I do and will post often about weight-loss. This blog is not about weight-loss for me. It’s about my journey to health and wellness. It’s about me finally getting healthy at age 43.
I’ve struggled with weight and depression for as long as I can remember. I was always the biggest girl in the class and the last one to finish doing laps in P.E. I failed every state standard for fitness, in every grade.
My depression really took hold of me in middle school. I slept all of the time, stopped showering for days or a week at a time and stopped talking. I graduated barely.
I thought moving to college across the country would help. It did for a while until it didn’t. I dropped out after a year. I thought moving to NY would help, it didn’t, so I moved to Seattle. Seattle didn’t help either. I continued to try to travel, move, job change, and self-medicate my way out of depression for many, many years.
I finally could not take it anymore. Something had to change, I didn’t want to live another year the way I felt.
At around age 28 was when I first starting taking on anti-depressants. I had lost a lot of weight going away to college, doing crash diets and starvation. I put it all back on as soon as started taking anti-depressants but for 6 months I thought Prozac was a miracle drug. I finally felt happy and what I thought normal must feel like. I couldn’t believe what I had been missing. I decided I’d rather be fat and “happy” than how I felt before. My euphoria lasted 6 months. Then I just became flat, not really happy but not not as depressed as before. The weight gain defiantly did not help my feelings of depression.
I had resisted using medication because of the side effects I had heard about. However, since the first 6 months on Prozac were so wonderful, I continued to chase the happiness dragon with pills for years and years.
I took a break when I was pregnant with my daughter but I went back to them right after I stopped breast feeding. I kept asking about ways to get off of them but my depression was so severe and I had a relapse after my daughter so I was highly discouraged from stopping.
My husband also told me things that I could not see for myself. He said they did really make a huge difference even though I did not see it.
I ballooned to my highest weight ever 275. I was miserable in my body. I felt trapped in a fat suit I couldn’t get out of. Doing anything involving leaving the house was an extreme effort.
Are you depressed because you are fat or are you fat because you are depressed? It is the chicken before the egg question and no one has an answer.
I was still very high functioning but I did change jobs often but I finally got my “dream job” in my late 30s. I wanted so badly for it to make me satisfied, fulfilled and “happy.” It didn’t, it was an incredibly stressful and demanding job. I believed in the work though and thought it was important. I slowly became obsessed with work and my obsession never stopped, not on weekends or vacations. I could not escape it.
It took a huge toll on my family and on me mentally. In every work review my only negative comment was that I took too many days off. We had a generous sick day policy but were HIGHLY discouraged from using it. I kept it to myself that my sick days were days I could not get out of bed because I was so depressed. I kept saying I would try to do better.
After a year of being at my “dream job” I was on a laundry list of medications. Medication for depression, anxiety, ADHD, and insomnia.
Then it happened, my break. I thought it was out the blue but looking back it was happening slowly. I was talking nonsensically and feeling paranoid for quite awhile. I started hiding the fact that I was getting home so late because I was missing freeway exits and getting confused on my way home. I just said I worked late. I had severe insomnia despite being on powerful pills for sleep. There were many days I went to work with no sleep at all.
After a two week period with almost no sleep while continuing to take all my medication I had a psychotic break. My husband reluctantly took me to ER on my psychiatrist’s recommendation. I was held in a psychiatric ward for two weeks. I slowly came back to reality but the hospitalization changed me.
I really tried to return to my life and work but it was so difficult. The side effects from the anti-psychotics were horrible. They had to put me on very old strong medications to get me to come back to reality. After awhile my eyesight was going and I couldn’t stop pacing. While at work, I had to close my office door to pace. I also struggled to read my off my computer screen. Everything felt so surreal. I tried for a couple of years but I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I relapsed into horrible depression and could not get out of bed.
Things had to change and here I am now, fairly “stable” on medications that are not supposed to affect my weight or make me a zombie and working through the day-to-day process of living the healthiest life I can.