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The dance between self-pity and self-care

I have dealt with depression for at least three decades. In that time I’ve been various stages of medicated and unmedicated, sane and insane. This last Saturday was one of the worst unmedicated episodes I’d had short of attempting suicide or going for self-harm methods of coping.

I took today off work, one, because my sleep last night was awful, and two, because I’m allowed to handle myself with kid gloves two days after a mental break down. What I’ve discovered in thirty years of depression is that sometimes it’s a fine line between wallowing in self-pity, and the peace of self-care. Self-pity never solves or fixes anything; in fact, it usually makes things worse in the short and long term. Self-care, however, tends to fix and help.

So, how do we go from pity to care?

The first is knowing yourself and being willing to push. Most of us need motivating. But we also need to remember we’re the best judge of our own limits. Today, going to work would not have helped and might have possibly sent me right back into the hell of almost-suicidal. Tomorrow, though…I should probably push, unless I know for sure it’s a bad idea. If you’re uncertain, go for the option which nets the better result: going to work will net me a better time-off balance, and create a better environment with my coworkers. Plus, even if you’re in a terrible head-space, getting out and dealing with other real, live, human beings gets you OUT OF YOUR OWN HEAD. When you’re battling depression, staying trapped in your own mind and not having the ability or the time to think about something other than your own misery will often just create more misery for depression to feed on. Get as busy as you can while making sure you honor your own limits.

Next, learn to revel in your self-care. Get as much out of it as you can. In my case, I took to my bed – and stayed there, all day. Will this mess up my sleep tonight? Well, it’s 8pm and I’m already tired, so probably not. Whatever your self-care method (so long as it’s not harmful), take the time to really get everything you can out of it. We are all, each of us, worth our best efforts. And it’s perfectly okay to wallow in our best efforts to love ourselves.

I touched on honoring your own limits. This one is tricky. You may have limits that keep you safe and secure, but don’t actually enhance and sometimes even hurt you. We’ll take my social anxiety as an example. My Social Anxiety tells me that we won’t get embarrassed and/or flustered and/or feel stupid if we avoid others. And, sure, avoiding others means we don’t come up against those scary outcomes. However, there is no room for growth if we obey those limits. So, maybe I should go out, but only for a finite amount of time, and with a finite amount of people. There, I honor my limits, but I also stretch myself to try a little more. You have to find the right balance for yourself.

It’s a back-and-forth, give-and-take, between pity and care, and you’re not always going to get it right or perfect (and I’m not sure we should strive for perfect, anyhow). The main take-away is to get up next time and try again – and maybe not try harder! Maybe try smaller! Some of the best learning is in the trying.

It’s All In My Head, Take 2

It’s been almost a year since I updated. Things took a definitive downhill slide with my health (and since health is what this blog is about, it’s very relevant) and I lost half a year of my life to a quack of a doctor.

Let me explain.

In my last post, I expounded on how I get migraines. July 9th marked the beginning of the end, somewhat. I’d been slowly but surely getting worse when it came to my migraines, but July 9th was my last day at work. At that point, I’d run out of FMLA to cover my absences and could not return without a doctor’s release, per HR at work. So, I stayed home, attempting to get my Neurologist to pay attention to the fact that my migraines had gone from once a month, to twice a month, to weekly, to twice a week, to every other day, to daily. Because I was in constant pain, I was beginning to be unable to sleep in any meaningful capacity. My nerves were shot and I could barely concentrate or focus on anything. My neuro’s response was to change up my meds.

The first change was to nortriptyline, which is another antidepressant, actually, and works by kicking your norepinephrine in the junk. Or something like that. I’m no expert on how medications actually work. Now, because I also have Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymia and Trichotillomania, I’m on Cymbalta – the highest possible dose, 120 mg. The moment I started taking the nortriptyline, some interesting things began to happen. I began to get frequent cold sweats, random muscle spasms, excessive jaw clenching and teeth grinding, floaters in my vision, and ringing in my ears. I was exhausted, as well, though that might have been contributed by the fact that I could sleep for two hours, then be awake for two hours, then sleep for two, then be awake for two. I was also chronically nauseous and in pain owing to the migraine. In any case, the new symptoms were indicative (to me) of Serotonin Syndrome, a distinct possibility when you dump a tricyclic antidepressant like nortriptyline on top of an SSNRI like Cymbalta. My neuro couldn’t see me, so I saw a physician at my doctor’s office and begged to be taken off nortriptyline. This was permitted, and I was given tramadol to manage my pain until I could see my neuro. Now, tramadol doesn’t do a damned thing for migraine pain, but it’s great on muscle pain.

I was growing disillusioned with my neuro, and my work was growing disillusioned with me. I made appointments with two other neurologists recommended to me by other migraineurs I know in the hopes that I could get myself treated. At this point, I was terrified that something was horribly, awfully wrong. I was sick in a way I’d never been in my life. My workplace proceeded to send me through our long-term disability insurance company so that I could continue to receive benefits while I wasn’t drawing income.

Meanwhile, I was continuing to see my neurologist. I went in after being given permission by another physician to stop taking the poison she’d prescribed me, and was more or less read the riot act for daring to be ungrateful enough to stop taking something I /knew/ was wrong for me. The nurse was sarcastic when I attempted to tell her my symptoms, basically accusing me of being a hypochodriac and asking why I hadn’t been tested for Restless Leg instead of going off of the nortriptyline. I was also told, for the first time since I’d started seeing this neuro, even though I’d been with her for over five years, that if I had a migraine for more than three days, that I needed to call in and let them know so they could document it in my file. I had /never/ heard that before. They refused to fill out any paperwork pertaining to the long-term disability, instead opting to give me a copy of my file, even after I pointed out that their failure to assist me was going to cost me my job. I left there defeated and nearly in tears, with a new prescription for propranolol – a beta blocker. My blood pressure had come up high that day, so they figured changing my drugs again would somehow help my migraine.

Because my General Practioner Doc knows I’m not a big baby, and because I trust her, I made an appointment to talk to /her/ about my long-term disability paperwork and to see if she could help me. Of course, because I was out of work due to migraines, a neurological condition, she couldn’t fill out my paperwork, but at least someone knew now that I wasn’t making this shit up. I was in legitimate, daily agony. I couldn’t sleep. My head hurt constantly. My thought processes were minimal. I felt like a ghost.

I met my new neuro on August 11. Dr. Reilly sat down with me for two hours at our first meeting and went over every single symptom I had, even the ones I thought were silly. She was pleased with the changes I’d already initiated on my own to try and handle my migraines – yes, believe it or not, I had done things on my own without prompting, such as getting a bite guard to cut down on the teeth grinding when I /could/ sleep, and Chris and I had changed our diet to something closer to Paleo – we were avoiding weird chemicals in our food. I already knew about rebound headaches and that I couldn’t and shouldn’t over-use painkillers because that would lead to a rebound headache situation. After two hours with this neurologist, I had hope. I also had a new prescription for a daily medication, an order for a new MRI since my last one had been in 2008, and an order for a sleep study to see if my lack of sleep was caused solely by my migraine or if there was something else going on. As she was leaving, Dr. Reilly looked at me and said, “In the 20 plus years I’ve been practicing, I’ve only had 5 intractable/untreatable cases. I don’t think you’re going to be my sixth. I think we can help you.” I left with a folder full of information about migraines, and hope for the first time in over a month.

At the end of August, I saw my first neurologist again for a follow up appointment on my propranolol. I’d already gotten my MRI completed. I still had a migraine every day. She was baffled and finally suggested new imaging. I sheepishly admitted I had seen another neuro to get a second opinion and that I’d already gotten an MRI. She was … gracious about it, and called up the results, elated that my scans were normal. And she’s very fortunate that they were – imagine if I’d had a tumor or scarring from mini-strokes or something that could have been caught if someone had taken me seriously sooner. She also had a lab draw my blood to see if I had any thyroid conditions – a folly, really, considering I get tested yearly for both thyroid conditions and diabetes. First Neuro suggested that I only see one of the neuros at a time so as not to get conflicting drug prescribing, and I agreed. I left her office for the last time.

I did two rounds of sleep studies. They found that not only did I grind my teeth in my sleep, I also had sleep apnea and very very mild restless leg syndrome. The apnea was a bit of a surprise, given I had no real markers for it – I didn’t snore with any regularity, had never been known to just stop breathing in my sleep, or any other weirdness. The only marker I had was being fat.

Following up with the new neuro in mid-September, I was instructed to avoid dairy and start taking COQ10 supplements to help me focus/concentrate. I also had new blood tests ordered to test for vitamin deficiencies. Two weeks later, I got a head’s up – I was severely deficient in vitamins D and B12 and was to start taking mega-doses immediately unless I was really fond of rickets.

The moment I started taking those supplements, my life changed. The body spasms stopped. The ringing in my ears stopped. The sweats stopped. The floaters in my vision stopped. And because my body was no longer freaking out on an epic scale, my daily migraine med could finally start being effective. I went one day without pain. Then two. Then three. I was starting to get better. I got the CPAP machine for my sleep apnea in October. I’m still trying to get used to it.

Throughout all of this chaos and drama with my health, I was taking the last two classes I needed for my associate’s degree. They were online classes, but they were definitely not at my own pace. Turns out my Women’s Lit professor was a stickler for making sure everything was in on time while simultaneously failing to give feedback on things she said she would or even responding to e-mails. On the flip side, my mythology class was wonderful, but so information intensive some days it felt like my brain was bruised. Frankly, I could not have worked in any capacity, done both of those classes, AND have been in constant pain the way I was. Some days, I had to opt to not do some of my schoolwork because I simply couldn’t process what was being asked of me. I passed Women’s Lit with a C and Mythology with a B – both classes I would have aced had I been in normal health.

In November I received the verdict on my long-term disability claim: denied. They had based it on the testimony of my first neurologist, who more or less told them my migraines came from being too stressed and depressed, not from any actual physiological problems. I was given the option to appeal, which I had to do if I wanted to continue my benefits with my job. And I would have appealed it anyhow, because I’m pretty sure having a migraine for five months is a long term of disability.

So, from July to November, I had had a migraine nearly every single day, and was slowly coming out of it. I was beginning to sleep at night again. My body didn’t ache all the time. I was beginning to feel human again. I had a major setback after Thanksgiving, when I realized I’d been off of my standard mostly-Paleo diet for ten days and had been eating stuffing in large amounts, which made me realize that I probably have a bit of a gluten intolerance. So now I’m cautious about overdosing on wheat.

And now we’re just past the holidays. I still have migraines about every two weeks. Sometimes a little more frequent. I’m still in recovery. I am fully cleared to go back to work.

Now I just have to find a job.

It’s All In My Head

Content Warning: Discussion of illnesses, Discussion of pain, fat shame, dismissal of agency.

Patient: Doctor!  It hurts when I do this!

Doctor: Then stop doing that.

I think have spent the vast majority of my life building up a tolerance for long-term pain.  I’m not sure how or why this started.  It could have very well been my own stubborn-headed resolve to not flinch in the face of whatever pain I faced, to be bigger and meaner than it was.  Whatever the case, I can endure a great deal of long-term, grinding pain.

People marvel at my ability to work through migraines.  The truth is that not all of my migraines are the same, for one, and secondly, I try to tune them out as long as it’s only the pain that’s bothering me.  The full blown migraines are the ones that are pain, nausea, halos around lights, disorientation, noise and temperature sensitivity that lasts for hours or sometimes even days.  This will lead into a day or two of a “hangover,” where I feel run down, lethargic, and somewhat tenderheaded – I won’t be in pain, per se, but my head will be sensitive, still.  Sometimes the migraines come with only one or a few of the symptoms.  The worst ones, I feel, are the ones that only come with the disorientation, because it’s easy to tell someone your head hurts, it’s another entirely to try and explain that your head doesn’t hurt, but you’re not all there.

I also suffer from dysthymia, which is a constant and pervasive low-grade depression.  As long as I can remember, this feeling has always been with me, like a shadow hanging around, having a good time at my expense.  Even at my best medicated, dysthymia’s still there, it’s just manageable.  I don’t fly off the handle as often or stop bathing completely or empty my bank account buying presents for people because giving gifts will cheer me up.

And then there’s the meralgia paresthetica, which people don’t get at all.  Let me explain.  It started when I was about 18 or 19.  I began to get this weird numbness and tingling on the outsides of my thighs.  It just made my legs ache, from my knees up to my hips.  I saw a guy at a clinic and he just looked at me and told me to stop wearing tight jeans.  Granted, I am a fat person, but it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I stopped wearing clothing that was TOO BIG.  So here I am, in an exam room, wearing baggy clothes, and this nimrod tells me to stop wearing tight jeans.  I figured that I’d learn to ignore what I was feeling, and I did for over a decade.  Finally, I saw a neurologist because my legs were hurting so badly again.  That was when I got the concrete diagnosis of meralgia paresthetica.  It goes like this – the femoral nerve, which runs through the pelvis, has one job: to provide feeling to the outside of your thighs.  For whatever reason, my pelvis thinks it’s a great idea to squish my femoral nerves to smithereens.  The only cure is weight loss.  Seriously.  That’s the option I was given.  Oh, and some drugs that could help with the pain (that totally didn’t help with the pain).

That’s what the doctors have me listed as, officially.  Unofficially, I think we’re looking at some minor anxiety disorders as well to add on top of the dysthymia, but I haven’t asked my psychiatrist yet.

Now over the years, I have been in and out of doctor’s offices trying to get answers for why this or that hurts, because I’m of the opinion that bodies aren’t supposed to hurt unless they’re injured.  When my knees hurt, I saw my doctor and she sent me to physical therapy so my kneecaps would stop sliding all over my joints and hurting me.  When my hand started going numb, my neurologist sent me for some tests and they couldn’t find anything.  The person testing me looked at me and basically told me in the most bored voice ever, “It’s all in your head.”  Later, when I just hurt, my regular doc sent me to a rheumatologist.  I thought for sure they could tell me why my whole being hurt.  They tested me for everything: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis…and came back with a vitamin D deficiency.  Well, rickets will certainly make you miserable, but it won’t make your muscles hurt.  It will make your muscles weak, but not ache.  My muscles ached.  “Meh!” said the Rheumatologist, “It’s just a vitamin deficiency.  Take these horse pills of Vitamin D.  Anything else is in your head.”

In the meantime, as my migraines got worse, I did some work on my own to mitigate them.  The spouse said I ground my teeth at night, so I went to the dentist and demanded a night guard (even though the dentist said it didn’t look like I ground my teeth at night).  That put a damper on some of the migraines.  Then I wondered if I was allergic to something that might be setting off my migraines, as I started getting them with more frequency.  I sat down with an allergist, told him everything, and he verbally patted me on the head and said, “It’s all in your head, kid.”

On the neurology side, my neurologist changed my medications (Imitrex did squat for me; now I take Relpax as my emergency drug, and Topamax as my daily), changed the dosages, and when a migraine didn’t want to let go, prescribed steroids for me (which have also had a track record of doing very little).  My dysthymia had gotten resistant to different drugs, so I’m now on drug number 5.  Nothing has worked for my legs, so I have gone back to ignoring them – like I’ve done with all other muscular aches and pains that don’t resolve in a reasonable amount of time.  Because it’s all in my head.

A couple of weeks ago, I had another migraine that wanted to burrow in my head and not let go, so I got prescribed steroids.  The time before last, I was able to sleep, so I thought I’d be able to do it this time; it wasn’t to be so.  I was getting sleep in 2-5 hour increments at best, and being awake for far longer.  This started over the weekend, so I hoped that by the week’s start, I’d at least be at a low enough dosage (since it was a taper-off pack) that I could get some rest.  Again – it was not to be.  I called out of work Monday and Tuesday, delirious from steroids and lack of sleep.  It also doesn’t help that one of my migraine triggers is lack of sleep, and I could feel that migraine just waiting for the steroids to wear off.  Tuesday night, I threw every possible sedative I had at the steroids so I could sleep and go to work…Wednesday morning I woke up and could not stay awake.  I began to have a panic attack because not only was I failing my boss and coworkers, I was failing my spouse, who has chronic health issues of hir own.  I called out again, because there was no way I could function in that drug-induced stupor.  I thought I was ready to conquer the world again when I woke up Thursday morning…to a migraine.  I called out again, in surrender.

I laid there and finally assessed my entire body.  Not only were my thighs in more agony than I’d accounted for, but there were entire muscle groups I didn’t realize were in pain.  I’d been trying to ignore for some time that sitting, which until now was the only position other than standing that didn’t aggravate my femoral nerves, now causes numbness, tingling, burning, and pain through both thighs, buttocks, and lower back.  The palms and bottoms of my feet were throbbing.  My forearms, shins, and calves were aching.  My shoulders, which were always hard as rocks, felt like fire.  Even across my belly and chest it felt like my muscles were bands of constricting pain.  Allowing myself to feel how badly my body was hurting was a blow to my pride, because I always felt that I was stronger than any pain.

Since I’ll be seeing my neurologist tomorrow, I figured I’d do some research to see if there was anything I could help lead her to in treating me.  I plugged all of my symptoms – all of them! – into a symptom checker.  The top result was depression.

It’s all in my head.

On John Scalzi’s “Single White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is”

So, John Scalzi wrote what I felt was a brilliant damned metaphor for how privilege works:

A friend of mine posted this to her Facebook last night.  She didn’t really comment on it;  just kind of left it there for the world to absorb.  She and I are known to each other because when mutual friends of ours post sexist shit, we’re typically the first to call them on it, so we fell in together over mutual feminism.  It’s nice to have a friend who is just as rabidly feminist as I am, and knows the language I speak.  In any case, an acquaintance of hers commented on the article – a straight white male acquaintance of hers – taking exception with the whole thing.

Basically, this dude didn’t read the article.  He saw “straight white men have it easier” and stopped.  He then attempted to mansplain to my friend and her audience that “sometimes straight white men have it hard, too!” and that we’d be better off all just getting along and fighting injustices together rather than maligning the poor straight white male…which was…not…what the article was about, in the least.  Because I’ve seen this argument before and I get tired of repeating myself all over the damned internet, my response was “This is why we can’t have nice things.  If you find a decent metaphor for privilege, the people that are privileged are going to find a problem with it.”  To which Dude responded in faux-outrage, “Nuh uh!” and threw a temper tantrum all over my nice friend’s Facebook.  She chimed in later, calling him what he was – a privileged spoiled brat – and his response was, continually, that instead of pointing out how he has privilege, we should be focused on fighting injustices together rather than hating him for his straight white maleness.  (Or “Nuh uh!”)  Eventually, my friend was done, and sometime between last night and tonight, she deleted the post entirely.

However, the dude wasn’t quite done.  He PMed me with this:

  • Dude
    • Now, while it was not my intention to offend you, I will apologize if you were. I was just trying to suggest that helping the less fortunate is a better solution than attacking those who are more fortunate. Anyway. I will no longer be participating in that discussion, I blocked her because she seems to want to do nothing but hurl insults and attacks since I will not just apologize for being male. Hating a group of people just for who they are is silly and does nothing but continue the cycle of hatred and anger.

So I responded with this:

  • I appreciate the apology; I was not offended.

    Now, if you had read the article in depth, you would have seen that it was not an attack on straight white men, but a way to discuss privilege with straight white men without having to use the word privilege. You seemed to prefer, instead, to interpret it as a damning screed against straight white men and your commentary reflected this, then proceeded to tell your audience that we would be better served by concentrating on valuing the traits of the individual and banding together to fight injustice than attacking those with privilege.

    Which is why I rejoined with “This is why we can’t have nice things.” Because the article wasn’t an attack on straight white men at all, yet you chose to read it as such. We can’t have a better society when a reasonable (even if it is not perfect, even if it has its problems) metaphor about privilege is presented and the response from the most privileged is to mis-read what was presented and then try to drown out dissenting opinions and mansplain what would be best for everyone.

    I don’t hate straight white men, and don’t believe they should apologize for who they are. I do believe, however, that when one has privilege, one should check it, and check it often, and work to be someone that someone with less privilege can trust, because that is how one becomes an ally – not through rousing speeches of let’s-just-all-get-along-now, but through actions that make me trustworthy. And that occasionally includes being uncomfortably aware of how good I have it for no other reason than my skin colour.

    In any case, no apologies were necessary.


    Because that’s the whole point about privilege and checking it.  Once you are aware that you have privilege, you can respond, like this dude, with “Nuh uh!” and a rousing rendition of the Oppression Olympics.  Or you can sit quietly, and uncomfortably, for long moments with your privilege, and then do something that makes you trustworthy to the people over which you have privilege.  Like listening to their stories without interjecting.  Like asking for ways in which you can be a better ally  – even if that means you get no fucking glory.  Because glory isn’t the point.  Leveling the playing field is.

On Introverts and Movie Theaters

It is opening night in 20 minutes for “The Avengers.”  Several of my friends are going to see this film.  I’ve been invited to see this film.  I’m likely not going to see this film – not in a theater, anyhow.

Here’s the thing.  A long time ago, back when I was younger and more foolish, I would attempt to please whomever I was seeing by attending opening night movie events with them.  Invariably, this led to standing in long lines, surrounded by rude people.  Rude, loud people.  What I didn’t understand then but understand now is that I am 1) an empath and 2) an introvert.

Put an empathic introvert into a large group of obnoxious strangers, and the empathic introvert becomes someone that not even they recognize.  I would end up becoming this bitchy, hateful brat, usually before the movie even started.  The lights wouldn’t have even gone down and I was already fed up with everyone around me, even if I adored them.  Especially if I adored them, because I’d put myself in this untenable situation for their benefit.  Then I’d spend the entire movie bristling and become this sullen, angry person on the ride home.  I didn’t enjoy the movies in the least, even if I’d actually wanted to see them.  Over time, we’ve come to realize that I can do movie theaters if the atmosphere is more subdued.  The group of friends I go with cannot be huge.  Matinees are preferable.

Obviously, movie theaters aren’t meant to be libraries, but for those that are either empathic or introverts, the noise level goes beyond just what you hear into what you feel coming from other people.  This kind of a large environment where people aren’t as good about shielding their feelings or behaving politely is a breeding ground for miserable empathic introverts.  So, tomorrow, when all of you extroverts rush out to see “The Avengers,” maybe make a smaller trip later on Sunday around noon with your introvert buddy if they want to see it.  The quieter vibe will suit them better, and you’ll get to see them in a better light, too…not as the jerk the crowd will morph them into being.


Dear Governor:

There are almost 1000 pieces of women-unfriendly legislation floating about the United States today.  It never surprised me that my state, Kansas, is spear-heading several of them.  Kansas legislature is inherently conservative – not conservative in a fiscal way, but conservative in a women-unfriendly way, a “reverse the clocks, take us back, family values” kind of way.  It’s a conservative view I do not agree with, being a women and all.


As Governor Sam Brownback signs laws that make abortion harder to acquire, that allow doctors to lie to women about the state of their fetus in case their truths cause a woman to consider aborting her fetus, I am reduced to mute fury.  I am not a child.  I understand what abortion is, why women get abortions.  I’ve studied the facts, I’ve come to conclusions for myself regarding abortion.  I know that the procedure must remain safe and accessible for all women.  This is a question of women’s bodily autonomy being reduced to…nothing.


At first, I contacted my Representatives, back when the discussion was just the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban.  “Please.”  I begged, “Please don’t dismiss women.”  I provided facts, figures.  I pointed out how keeping the procedure legal and safe was more important than anything, how the ban they were arguing for was for a procedure that happened in minute cases, but the legislation would lead to a slippery slope of legislation that would erode women’s bodily autonomy.  The responses to my pleading were textual pats-on-the-head, about how I didn’t understand that life must be preserved and adoption was such a wonderful blessing and I didn’t know what I was talking about.


It did lead to more legislation against women’s bodily autonomy.  Now state’s are considering “Personhood” bills with little irony that they’re arguing against the personhood of women.  I continued to plead with my representatives, to send facts and figures, to tell them, “I am a woman.  I own my body…don’t I?”


Don’t I?


Finally, my Senator-turned-Governor signed a law that allowed my doctor to lie to me if my doctor thought information about my fetus might encourage me to abort the fetus.  And in addition, my doctor wouldn’t be held responsible for whatever that withheld information did to me, my body, my life, my family.  The only thing that could be done is if the fetus killed me…then and only then could my doctor be sued for wrongful death and malpractice.  I realized I’d become an incubator.  Nothing more.


I turned to my Governor’s Facebook wall.  And I saw the questions that other women and men were asking.


“Governor Brownback, since I’m a lesbian and won’t be using my eggs can I donate them or do you need to do an ultrasound to make sure they aren’t gay eggs?”


“Hi Governor Brownback – I am curious how you expect me as a physician, to lie to a patient? How is that not a violation of HIPAA? 
Thanks – I look forward to your answer, here on facebook”


“I’ll be flying over Kansas next week. Is it cool if I ask the pilot to throw a bunch of birth control out of the plane? You know, like they have to do with medical supplies in other third world areas controlled by overzealous religious folks…”


And I was inspired.  So I, too, wrote to my Governor, detailing where I was in my period, and asking about the clotting I experience.  Since he is, apparently, an expert.  I continued my asinine questioning for several days.


Throughout this, several people thought I was being juvenile.  “Shouldn’t you speak to him respectfully, with facts and figures and like an adult?  This is juvenile.”  Having tried facts and figures and adult-speak, I know it hasn’t worked.  So I use my sarcasm like a balm for my weary soul.


Because if you’re going to legislate to me as if I were a child, I’m going to show you how childish I can be.

Sugar Plums…dancing in my head…

We live in world where people are judged based on their appearance, and few moreso than athletes, especially in the hypercompetitive world of professional ballet. But how to we factor in childish comments on a ballerina’s appearance, as well as that ballerina’s own life history?

I reviewed the article ’I’m not fat, says ballerina faulted for ‘too many sugarplums’ NY Times critic slammed ‘Nutcracker’ dancer, igniting online firestorm of protest.”

The ballerina in question handled her criticism with grace and dignity. During her career as a ballerina, she’d come to have an eating disorder, and managed to reverse her situation to have a healthy relationship with food, while still being active in her career and passion, ballet. However, because she did not look as thin as all ballerinas do, her critic described her with the childish comment of “having eaten too many sugarplums” (the ballerina was depicting the Sugarplum Fairy in the Nutcracker). 

 From the article:  “ As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form,” Jenifer Ringer, 37, told TODAY’s Ann Curry during an interview Monday. “At the same time, I am not overweight.”

Well said, Jennifer.  But on the flip side, perhaps we need to examine what makes a ballerina, and what doesn’t.  Can adequate skill, passion, and emotion overcome a large body?  I think it can, and should.


First Post

I am 34 years old. I’m five feet two inches tall. As of this morning, I weighed 214.5 pounds. This gives me a BMI of 39.2, putting me in a category of Super Obese; that is, so very obese it comes with its own cape and leotards.

In the meantime, I can leg press fifty pounds, bench press 45, and do assisted pull-ups equaling sixty pounds. I can belly dance for three hours straight. I don’t eat much, and when I do, I try to make my choices fresh and unprocessed (not always, but most of the time). I don’t obsess over my weight. I don’t obsess over my inches. I don’t obsess over the size of the clothing I wear. I wear clothing I feel fantastic in. My other health markers, my glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, are all within a healthy range.

And yet somebody is going to tell me how much healthier I’d be if I were thinner. How much more I could do if I were thinner. The only thing that I’m sure I could do differently with my life if I were thinner is just be thinner. Being thinner isn’t going to build my stamina: dancing more will. Being thinner isn’t going to make my food choices better, or make my body process them differently: my body is already an amazing machine that processes everything just as it is supposed to. Being thinner isn’t going to make me stronger: lifting weights is going to make me stronger.

So why the obsession with thinness? Why does our media prey upon us and make us insecure in bodies that are working perfectly as they’re supposed to? Why does the diet industry makes millions of dollars a year on a product that doesn’t work? And why does the suggestion that thin can be healthy and fat can be healthy infuriate some people?

I believe in Health At Every Size. I believe that the best body image comes from a place of complete health: mentally, physically, and spiritually. Oaks and willow trees are different in nature for a reason, but both are perfectly beautiful trees. Fat people and thin people are different for a reason, and both are perfectly beautiful, too.

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