Fat Phobia

I am fat. I have been fat since I was in fourth grade. I got very thin in medical school mostly from not eating and dieting. The trouble was I could not keep the weight off. I felt like a failure when I gained back the weight. I weighed a whopping 142 pounds! Over the years and through my own therapy I realized I had to love the body that I had. That I was never going to be thin and that my constant rejection of my body would show up in other ways.

Weight Loss Rarely Lasts

What didn’t help was when my doctors would ask me, “have you ever thought about losing weight?” Are you kidding me?! I don’t know any overweight woman who has not thought about losing weight! Even the thin ones want to be thinner! I don’t know any woman who is truly in love with her body. In my practice so many women reject themselves and their bodies. I am also seeing it more now with men than I had in the past. There seems to be an association with thinness and happiness. Most of the doctors I see for any thing will typically counsel me at the end about weight loss. Thankfully, I have learned to tune it out. I know that weight loss only leads to weight gain and usually we add more back each time. I also know that after five years only 2% can keep the weight off. That is the same statistic as surviving pancreatic cancer. Why would I accept a prescription that has a 98% failure rate? A few years ago I had foot pain from what was diagnosed as a “stress reaction.”. The orthopedist told me I would likely improve if I lost weight. Well, that didn’t happen and HUZZAH my foot got better on it’s own. Guess that blew his theory out of the water.

Attacking our bodies is bad for our health

I am not going to pretend that my own negative feelings never come up now and again. What I must do is take on the battle of rejecting myself. This is what I teach my patients. It’s more about attacking myself rather than the actual struggle. When we reject our bodies it can show up as physical illness. It may show up as Lupus or another autoimmune disorder. Which by definition is the body attacking itself. I will teach my patient not to reject herself. Hopefully she will listen rather than believe I am “not on her side.”

Chickens are the best

This is a picture I would have hesitated to post many years ago because it does not depict a flattering image of myself, BUT this is who I am. I am fat and I love my chickens!  

Face to Face, the Sequel

I haven’t written in a while and I know it is long overdue. I am feeling back to my “new normal.” I play my flute, exercise, garden when the weather permits and talk virtually or by phone with friends. During this time it is important to maintain some sense of structure and connectedness. My practice is entirely Telehealth. I have even met with new patients that way which is quite different than I would have ever done it in the past. Most of my patients are finding it OK. Only a handful have not.

 

Psychotherapy is not Crisis Management

This morning I read an article in the local paper. It is not my first source of daily news but it gets delivered online so I took a look. There, on the front page was an article about therapy. I read it and I found don’t agree with much of what was being said. Sure there was an occasional valid point being made, but my practice is much different from the ones’ being described in the article. I have always felt I practice quite differently from my peers. I believe in depth psychotherapy and my work is not crisis or symptom management driven. My practice certainly has seen an uptick but not due to the pandemic. Talking about the pandemic was surely on the agenda in the beginning of all this but most of my psychotherapy patients continue to work on the very issues that brought them in the first place.

Feelings, whoa Whoa Feelings

One question that is now coming up for some and also for me is when do we go back to face to face meetings? The simple answer is I don’t know. But if I look more deeply at that question, it can mean my patient is missing seeing me.  It can mean she wants to feel more connected in my office space.  I will explore her feelings around this and see if we can get to the heart of what she is feeling. The work I do is always about  feelings.

The Ugly Duckling Strikes Again

I have always felt I was a bit different from my Psychiatrist peers. I used to wonder if that was a bad thing not quite fitting in. When Psychiatrists wanted to become more biological, I was still more in favor of psychotherapy over prescribing. In the fairy tale, The Ugly Ducking, the beautiful swan just needs to grow into herself and find her truth. My truth has always stayed the same. My new truth is Telehealth works. I will stay with this as long as I need to to keep myself and my patients safe. I will deal with my patient’s feelings as they arise the same as I would doing face to face. I do believe we will be back working physically  face to face again. I just don’t know when.