Sunday, August 10, 2008

Confusion...Brain Whirling...Body Dysmorphia

One of the things that has been causing great confusion in this mind of mine is my thoughts about my body these days. I know I'm not fat...but in my eyes, I'm not thin either. Others say I am. I don't feel it. I feel like I look fit, but not thin. I can look at my arms, my legs, and see muscle definition and be very pleased with how both look...but it's like it's not MY body...it's A body, but not MINE. Will it always be this way? Or will I someday be able to reconcile the body I see in the mirror with the one I see in my head? In therapy this week, I discussed this quite a bit and we talked about the need for me to do more affirmations that refer specifically to MY body, not THIS body (which is how I tend to refer to it). These arms, these legs, this stomach, not MY arms, MY legs, MY stomach. The only time my brain actually feels connected to my body (yes, I had to backspace over THIS body there and change it to MY) is when I am working out and I can look in the mirror and see my muscles moving while I can feel my heart pounding and hear my breath and feel my sweat. It all feels very surreal the rest of the time. I think it's probably typical that people who have had WLS and experienced significant weight loss take some time for their minds and bodies to catch up and be in sync. I find it particularly unsettling.

Today, Zachary and I went to brunch with my brother and sister-in-law at Denny's. Not the easiest place to find something reasonably healthy to eat, but I stuck with a veggie and cheese omelet, gave away my hash browns and so other than being higher in fat that I might like, I got in some good protein and veggies. Then we went to the mall, saw a movie, and shopped around a bit. At Old Navy, I ran into not one, but three people I know. And the first two that I ran into were chatting with each other...Maureen, from Heart and Wellness, was standing there chatting with one of Zachary's classmate's mom, who I also know. So I stopped over to say hi and I told the mom how I knew Maureen, and Maureen said "I wasn't going to say it" and I said "well I knew that, but I'm not quiet about it." Maureen gave me some kudos about how well I've done to Erica, and that really made me beam a little more. And then, standing in line to check out, I saw Sandy Skinner, who is on our relaxation CD and led relaxation and did some other education talks during my post-op Heart and Wellness program. I obviously recognized her and I thought she might have recognized me, but I wasn't sure, so I smiled and said hi, and she said hi, told me I looked great...and I wasn't sure if she had placed me just yet, but then she said "people are really enjoying your writing" and I said I was very happy to hear that. And I told her that I had just run into Maureen not 10 minutes earlier there as well. It felt like affirmation to me to be out and about, and seeing people, and being confident enough to approach people and say hello. I feel "normal" and not like some fat freak most of the time. The weight loss has definitely made a tremendous impact on my ability to socialize.

Dating...well, I'm on both match.com and eharmony now. Neither are proving to be particularly fruitful these days. I will continue to do my best to put myself out there and maybe someday meet someone. There are times when I feel like the years of my life are spinning by too quickly and I don't want to run out of time to enjoy my life. I don't think I ever held that perspective before. Despite my confusion about my body and my brain, I guess I'm still feeling very positive overall about my life and the changes I've made in it.

My brother asked me today about how my coworkers have reacted to my weight loss. We talked a bit about that, and he also said that it will effect my career in ways that he imagines I haven't probably even thought of. For example, he said that they have now seen me take care of my own health and be consistent in my efforts to manage my health issues, my weight, continue to move forward daily, and that they also know health-wise, I take care of myself and so my reliability/dependability because of health issues is less likely to be a problem as I continue to work there. I never thought about it in those terms, but he's right. They've learned quite a bit about me, my character, what is important to me, my determination by something that is completely unwork-related but still bodes well for me in the work environment.

A couple of weeks ago, my brother gave me an apology for, as he put it, not necessarily always giving me the benefit of the doubt or thinking about my perspective when our mom used to talk to him (read that as complain to him) about me. He said that he realizes now that her perspective was likely very skewed and that as a result of him taking the situation at face value from her vantage point, he'd done me a disservice. He wanted me to know that he was sorry for that as it probably effected our relationship quite a bit then. I told him not to sweat it...that I learned a long time ago that there is always his side, her side, and somewhere in between is "the truth." As such, I try very, very hard to be a good listener in any situation but not place any judgment on the things I've heard because frankly, I haven't lived in either party's shoes. I'd like to think that in the couple of years since our mom has died, he and I have gotten to be closer (at least a little) directly, without mom's manipulative interference to color either of our perspectives on the other. I'm a direct person...I'm an honest person...and so, when I've had an issue with my brother, I've dealt with him with it directly...usually without anger or harsh words. I think he's learned a bit about who I really am, and how that person is different from who he thought I was based on the things he heard from our mom. I know it's a good thing...and it reassures me that if I am true to myself, everything will work out as it should.

1 comment:

Mind Body Shop said...

There's something about death that is comforting. The thought that you could die tomorrow frees you to appreciate life now.