In retrospect, I should have walked out when the doctor said, “I know you’re in pain but we really need to talk about your weight.”

In tears, I responded, “I don’t care if I’m fat, I’m in agony and I’m ill.” That particular day, I couldn’t sit still or sit up straight because of the pain so I was rocking myself on the couch in front of this person. Holding my ribs by crossing my arms in front of myself, willing myself not to vomit, and wearing a large pad I’d saved from the hospital in case I couldn’t hold my bladder or bowels once again. Between c-section scar tissue and two weeks solid of vomiting anything I ate had tore my abdominal muscles.

“Well, of course you’re in pain, you’re a big person… If you focus on losing weight these symptoms,” motioning at the length of my body, “will go away.” I shouldn’t have fought back my nausea but directed it at this person’s face.

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My current self. Same weight as this past summer.

Much like telling a doctor you’re a smoker, once you step on the scale it’s their excuse for not being able to help you and this doctor was no different. This person had decided I was obese and stopped listening beyond that idea. Everything else was a symptom in their mind and not a cause or a separate issue.

This doctor’s advice could have killed me. If I had continued to take that SSRI at that dosage in combination with those supplements I would have had organ failure and was well on my way to doing so.

It took me digging down deep in my mind, finding the strength that my body didn’t posess, not all that unlike childbirth, to ask the painful question of “why” and keep asking. To find the courage to fight openly with the many doctors who were making me worse.

It got much worse before my persistence ultimately brought me to the doctor who saved me and diagnose me with SSRI toxicity. It took months of recovery but my body is on the mend because of her wisdom and simply not giving into the other doctors discrimination.

My chronic conditions of PTSD, depression, PCOS, stubborness, a snarky attitude, and an aversion to exercise are never going away but I learned valuable lessons from this experience.

1. It’s ok to be an asshole. It’s ok to fight for yourself and be an asshole. I’m a bitch when I need to be for the sake of my children’s health and safety but it’s ok to do this for myself as well. In fact, they need to see this in my behavior at times so they know it’s ok to do so for themselves.

2. Being a grown up can kill you. Being a grown up is dangerous, it can kill you, and it’s frightening. People, small creatures you created, are counting on you to be responsible and function normally. Their big eyes are staring at you, lined up at the baby gate, as you wretch and purge without any clue as to why or how to stop it for yourself. They really need you to pull it together.

3. You can be your own hero. You know those moments when you wish someone would save you? When you wish you could count on someone to come through for you? There is someone, you. 24 hours a day, you. Trust yourself and keep fighting.

4. If someone fat shames you, fire them. I did, and it saved my life, it might save you someday. Hell, it’ll at least cheer you up.

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