How I felt sitting there listening.
The shame was immediate. Intense. An anchor around my neck pulling me under. FAST!
Shame has a way of doing that.
Where was I that was making me feel so worthless and ashamed? I was at the doctor’s office. I was being examined by a PA, instead of my primary care doctor. I was there for a specific issue that would need antibiotics.
The PA walked into the exam room with her laptop open to my medical record. She asked me how long I had been dealing with this sore throat and painful sinuses. Her response to my answer was a sucker punch to the gut that came straight out of left field!
“Before we get to that, let’s talk about your exercise and weight. Did you know there are new medications to help with weight loss?…..”
In that moment I held my breath so that I could stop the tears welling up inside me.
In my silence I was boiling inside- a cauldron of shame, disappointment, shock, fear, worthlessness all threatening to bubble over and erupt at any moment.
I sat in silent disbelief.
She continued. Trying to convince me that I needed medication, a little pill, that would curb my hunger and make me lose weight. A pill that would balance the metabolic hormones that were obviously (to her) out of whack in my body. A “miracle” pill.
I remained silent.
When she was done and finally ready to examine me, all I could manage was- “I went back to Weight Watchers.” And “I need to do my research before I agree to take a pill” (knowing full well I was NOT going to take the “magic” pill).
I was so ASHAMED in that moment.
She didn’t know me. She didn’t know my history. She didn’t know how Weight Watchers has worked for me. She didn’t want to hear me.
This was HER issue. HER value. HER kickback forefront in her mind.
But I was the one wearing the anchor of shame.
I KNOW I need to lose weight (thank God I have only gained back 35 of my original 85 lb loss).
I KNOW what I need to do.
I KNOW it can be done.
I DO NOT need a pill.
I DO NOT need to be shamed.
I DO NOT need to be judged by anyone. I judge myself quite harshly.
What I NEED is to feel less shame. To feel supported. To take care of myself.
I left the doctor’s office with a prescription for antibiotics and that anchor of shame, disappointment and self-loathing wrapped around my neck. And I did what I know to do, as a food addict, to make me feel better….to stuff the emotions that were threatening to erupt….. I ate.
I went home from the pharmacy and found the jar of peanut butter. I made 2 pieces of peanut butter toast and while the bread was in the toaster, I also made a half sandwich. I ate those. And then I ate, not 1, but 2 (TWO) Hershey candy bars. I went to what I know.
And I felt better for a little bit. Until I didn’t.
I am a food addict. Being hungry isn’t my issue, so a “magic” pill to curb my appetite is not going to fix me. Finding a new way to deal with the emotions, without food, is the only way to fix me.
I wish more people, especially medical professionals, understood food addicts. It isn’t a lack of will power. It isn’t being hungry all the time. It isn’t a moral failing.
Food addiction is real. Difficult. Shameful. Demeaning. Navigating food addiction is about finding MY worth when I am feeling worthless. And it is also about learning new ways to deal with emotions and life without food. Hard to do when we HAVE to eat to live. And food is EVERYWHERE!
I wish more understood. I wish there was less judgement.
Yes, I ate to stuff my emotions today. BUT I will NOT let this moment define me as it has in my past. I will NOT let the anchor of shame weigh me down any longer.
I WILL move on, grateful for ALL that I have learned on my long journey.
I will remind myself that I AM worth it.
I CAN and WILL do this- in my imperfect way. WITHOUT a little pill!