Thursday, July 29, 2010

We can do it!! Maybe...Probably?

I've been having lots of deep thoughts this week...about certain things. It's really about trying to understand how I feel about certain subjects.

I read a quote that I thought might help me get things more clear in my head. But then I tried writing the post, and I deleted it. I didn't like it.

I'm going to try again. Hopefully, this one will be better than the last.

The quote is from Peter Kocan's book Fresh Fields.

Diestl didn't despise anyone for being weak. He knew too well how cruel the world was and how it could frighten a person to their very core. What Diestl despised was a person who wasn't entirely weak, who had the potential to hit back, to make the world grin on the other side of it's face, but who shirks the duty.
I might be reading more into what Kocan meant to say. I'm not sure if that quote exactly fits what I'm thinking, and trying to say.

Oh, I'll just imagine it does.

Here's the thing. I don't believe that hard work + positive thinking = guaranteed success. I believe some people get a really tough break in life, and it's a huge struggle to overcome it. I think for some people it's impossible to overcome the problems, and an entity (like the government) has to step in and help them. That's why I'm politically left rather than politically right.

On the other hand, I think many people (including me) fall into a trap of making excuses for themselves.

This week I've been dealing with the subject of eating disorders. Why? A couple of weeks ago, I decided I want to go on a diet. I really want to lose weight...a lot of weight. This has made me feel like a total hypocrite because in my eating disorder blog, I said I'm against dieting.

So what should a girl do? How about making the blog private, so there's no public record of me saying I'm against dieting? Yeah. That's what I did. If you realize you're a hypocrite, quick and hide the evidence.

Anyway, I started the diet. I've increased my exercise. I can't say I've quickly dropped several pounds. Things are working quite slow here.

I decided to seek help via the Internet. I googled dieting after recovering from an eating disorder. Somehow that led me to a term called Wannarexia. The idea here is that some people don't have true eating disorders. They're not mentally ill. They're just....well, they're fools. They fall into a trap of wanting to be thin. They're overly influenced by the mainstream media, comments of family and friends, and vanity. Those who believe in this Wannarexia say one of the ways to distinguish this from the REAL Anorexia is that Anorexics are ashamed of their thin body and wear baggy clothes to hide themselves. Although they're really not ashamed of their thinness. They think they're fat. They're delusional. They're a bit insane. They're mentally ill....seriously and truly mentally ill.

Wannarexic people know they're thin, and flaunt it.

That was me. I was HAPPY to be thin, and I knew I was thin.

I mean there was a point where I felt fat at 108 pounds. But I don't think that's being delusional. I think it's a matter of comparison and perspective. Compared to 97 pounds, 108 DOES feel fat. Today, my scale said 134.5. That feels thin compared to the 140 lbs I was several months ago.

Anyway, I was angry and sad when I first read the wannarexic stuff. It's insulting. So I did the usual, Those bitchy know-it-alls have no idea what they're talking about. I DID have an eating disorder. And many websites, psychotherapists, and medical folks would agree with me.

Then I went into the other thing I think about lately....my belief that mental illness is overdiagnosed.

These days, so many of us supposedly have some kind of mental illness.

Am I mentally ill because I wanted to be very thin? Am I destined to end up killing myself with this new diet?

No.

Was my behavior in the past okay? Is it okay to exercise extremely excessively, count calories, weigh yourself multiple times a day, and totally obsess over food?

No.

But now instead of saying I had an eating disorder, I prefer to say In the past, I made very unhealthy and dangerous choices.
Choice.

That's the keyword there. I do not believe I have some kind of something in my brain/soul that FORCES me to go on extreme diets. There are things in my genes/brains that push me to make the wrong choices, but nothing forces me to make them.

I think there probably ARE people with real mental illness. They truly can't help themselves, and need major medication and psychotherapy. But I think a lot of mentally healthy people use the excuse of mental illness to make choices they don't need to make.

I can't go to work. I'm too depressed.

I have to eat that whole box of Twinkies. I have an eating disorder.

I have to waste my paycheck. I have a shopping addiction.

I'm a goal-oriented attention-seeking competitive perfectionist that overly worries about what others think of me, and longs to feel in control. I'm a perfect candidate for someone to want to be extremely thin. But I'm not CRAZY. I'm smart enough and mentally healthy enough to set myself straight...when I'm ready to set myself straight.

I've been mildly depressed before. But it's not mental illness depression. I have times in my life where I feel blue. I don't lie in bed and let the world pass me by. I get up, go about my life, and think awful depressing stuff while I do it. Then my life improves eventually, and I feel better. I think other people might fall into the trap of believing they are ill. Woe is me. I'm sad. When you're depressed, you're supposed to lay in bed, eat ice-cream all day, and think of ways to commit suicide. So this is what I shall do. I think some people make a choice to do this because they've mistaken normal human fluctuations of emotion with true mental illness.

I'm nervous people are going to think I believe there's no such thing as mental illness. Uh, not because I have an anxiety disorder, but because sometimes humans get nervous about things.

Anyway, I do think SOME folks are mentally ill....bipolar, schizophrenic, anorexic...whatever. But I don't think mental illness is some kind of epidemic, that some would like us to think.

I think some of us have hurdles to climb that others don't have....or they have them to a greater degree than average. Some of us have more baggage than others. Some of us have higher mountains to climb. Some people are tied down by major shit, and it's literally impossible for them to go upwards. But I think many of us CAN climb the mountain. We just have to believe we're capable....even if it's a hell of an effort. The problem is we have so many mental health advocates telling us we're sick. We start to believe them, and sit on the bottom of the mountain....waiting and moaning.

I have a challenge here. Because of my bad eating choices, my metabolism is still screwed up. I'm dieting, exercising, and the weight loss is annoyingly slow. I could give up, and be happy with my body the way it is. I've tried that. I'm not obese (or even overweight if you go by the BMI thing). But I'm honestly NOT happy with my weight right now. I look at photos of myself and cringe.

My metabolism can have some kind of happy recovery, and I can go on another crazed weight loss thing. Maybe I can go back to being 97 pounds! But no. I'm not going to go down THAT path. Nor am I going to give up anytime soon. I'm going to keep trying to lose weight, but I'm not going to lose too much weight. I'm going to make smart healthy choices.

I know I'm capable.

I may be pathetic, but I know I can rise above that sometimes!