Friday, January 16, 2009

Monty Python foot

This whole week has been tough mentally. After the nutritionist appointment Monday, I feel like a Monty Python foot came out of the sky and stomped in my general direction, but there were no hilarious British guys tumbling around afterward. I have had no energy and keep going back to sleep after I do the stuff I have to--shopping, cleaning house, etc. I thought I was getting a migraine for a couple of days, and the meds for that do make me sleepy.

I sound like a lazy hypochondriac to myself, which is frustrating. (Of course, I am currently unemployed, so there's my internal built-in guilt from that.) There never used to be too much wrong with me medically--of course there couldn't be, there was no money or insurance. Until I was 30, I paid for my glasses, dentist, and any other medical stuff I needed with a VISA card. When I was at university, I used the on-campus medical clinic a couple of times, and thank goodness for Planned Parenthood. (I will always donate money to them.) I was younger then and could fake my way through most of the time. When I think back, there were many things I should have gone to the doctor for that I just had to ride out with over-the-counter drugs and time. I've been paying for it--in more ways than one--now that I am getting older.

My first experience with therapy fifteen-plus years ago was paid for on my own when I still earned minimum wage with no benefits. I met the therapist at my then-place of business and we clicked. I ended up giving her a nominal cash fee every session and worked at her house to pay off the balance, pulling weeds, housesitting, taking care of her pets. She relocated, I still had a balance, but she never tried to collect it. I tried to contact her years later to give her some money, and she never responded. Wherever she is, I will always be grateful to her for her help.

That therapist hooked me up with a free support group during the time I was seeing her. It went on for five or six months and was facilitated by a couple of counselors. I'm not sure which shingle any of them hung out, but they did do assessments on each of us prior the the group work. The rest of the group work was just that--a group. Sometimes we did activities or assignments, but a lot of time we just talked and listened. I did some of my most important therapeutic work there, so my participation ultimately made a positive difference in my life.

Support groups have a really interesting dynamic. I am not sure a support group is going to benefit me while I go through the specific weight-loss surgery experience, but I may try one, at least online. In a support group, you really go into the trenches with yourself and other members. They are not only seeing everything about you that you hide from the rest of the world, but watching you actively deal with it. It's very intimate and can be quite powerful, but you don't necessarily want to run into those people at the grocery store. I stay in touch with most of the people I've ever known in my life that have mattered at all, but I haven't remained in contact with any of the women from that support group. Fifteen-plus years later, I still remember most of their names and faces--and stories--and will wonder, from time to time, what happened to them.

I'm glad there are online support groups now. I was in one for several years and met one of my best friends there. This friend knows me as well as anyone else in my life, but I have still never met her in person. We have been writing and calling each other for nine years now, and to this day there are some things I have to discuss that only she understands, and vice versa.

There is a real freedom in online support groups. The use of a pseudonym, for one, is really freeing. You can be completely honest and truthful and people have to judge you for your words alone, not the way you look. If something you say helps them, or they like you, it is the greatest compliment because they are judging by your heart alone. You could be Jabba the Hut with a keyboard, but that doesn't matter--your words do. That's my kind of world.

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Seattle, WA, United States
This blog focuses largely on a personal journey to and through weight-loss surgery. It's also about reading, writing, animals, photography, love, humor, music, thinking out loud, and memes. In other
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