Dave's Progress. Chapter 73: Finally Losing It.

So, after a longer than usual sojourn from blogland, I have returned to say that, yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm finally losing it... Weight, that is. It has been a long and hard struggle, but if I'm correct, I think I have lost something in the region of 13 lbs, 1 lb short of a stone.
Since taking anti-psychotic medication, a prominent side-effect of which is gaining weight, I have veritably piled on the pounds, and it is difficult to get people to understand that I haven't exactly eaten myself in to this situation, that it has largely been due to the medication I take. Indeed, as my girth has increased, I have become increasingly embarrassed by it and have become acutely aware of just how much our society is entirely geared towards the attainment of "thinness". It would seem, even, that we are living in some form of apartheid, the thin and gorgeous at one end of the spectrum, the fat and loathsome at the other.
It is even, it seems, becoming apparent, that incidences of anorexia are on the increase, while obesity seems to be fast becoming one of, if not the, major health problem of the west. While some, then, seem to succumb to the overwhelming social feeling that the thinner you are the better it is, others wallow in equally self-destructive eating habits, which either through poverty, social exclusion or just plain ignorance, means that they constantly indulge in the wrong types of food and get little exercise. I should say though, that anorexia could be said to not be about weight at all, but is rather about an overwhelming need to be "in control". Usually, as it is with many mental illnesses, after some form of emotional upheaval, people find themselves unable to control the circumstances they are in and thus look for something which they can control, that being their food intake, with resulting feelings of having "been good" if they restrict their diet in the way they want to. This is, as far as I know, what anorexia is really about, but not being an expert on the subject, you will have to excuse any errors I may have made.
As for myself, I have managed to avoid many of the pitfalls that being overweight entails, such as type 2 diabetes. However, I do now have to take medication for high blood pressure and have been told that my heart, to use the words of my GP, has been "under some strain". I am now, then, exercising for 30 minutes, five times a week and eating a very low fat diet and so far this seems to be working. I feel healthier than I have done in ages, and at last can say that I may well be on the road to not becoming another statistic in the sad annals of the experiences of those with psychotic illness, who, as I have said before, are increasingly becoming prey to early deaths due to side effects of medication, continued bad habits and sedentary life-styles. Indeed, as I have also said, those with diagnoses such as mine are said to live, generally, ten years less than the average.
So, as I slog myself stupid on my treadmill at home, this is something I always remember. And as the pounds steadily fall away, perhaps I can begin to finally lose some of what has become my own obsession with weight.
That's all for now from your normal, average, paranoid, delusional and slightly thinner man.


bazza said…
Hi David; This post raises some very interesting questions.
My late mother-in-law only survived as long as she did thanks to taking steroids for many years. They, too, have a side-effect of making the patient gain weight but, like you, she fought back and controlled it.
I think that most eating disorders are not really about food but, instead, about control, making a statement (eg: of resitance) or just symptoms and pointers to, some internal disorder. Just as when one undergoes behavourial therapy to remove some OCD condition it often reveals some deeper problem.
David said…
Dear bazza,
Indeed. The more I get to know about mental illness, the more it seems to me that it is often as a result of some great emotional trauma. Of course mainstream psychiatry would tell us that it is more than likely the result of chemical imbalances in the brain, and not surprisingly it is psychiatrists and the big pharmaceutical companies that have the most influence over the contents of the DSM and ICD (the two diagnostic manuals which define what an illness is).
More recently, however, some pressure has been brought to bear on such people by organisations such as CASL (campaign for the abolition of the schizophrenia label), one of the members of which, Marius Romme, sees all incidences of psychosis as a response to some deep hurt, hence his touted new name for the illness being post traumatic psychosis.
Having said all that, I think we have to acknowledge that sometimes mental illness is endogenous, i.e. that it sometimes just comes out of the blue for no apparent reason at all.
Thanks for an interesting response, bazza. Hope to speak with you sgain soon.
With Very Best Wishes,
klahanie said…
Dear David,
Another insightful and informative blog. What with the treadmill, it is somewhat of a 'slog blog'.
I am fully aware of the rather unfortunate side-effects that can occur due to the taking of 'anti-psychotic medication. A most frustrating situation for you.
Thankfully, your general health is not too bad. I really hope you maintain this healthy momentum. It's going to do you the world of good in so many ways.
Perhaps you can use this old fart as some inspiration. Twelve years ago I was very overweight due to the fact my liver and kidneys had almost packed in. An alcohol-induced state. However, I was determined to challenge myself and get back to a semblance of a healthy weight. I mean, look at me now, I'm a flipping sex god :-)
Well done, my friend, and keep going.
With respect and good wishes, Gary
David said…
Dear Gary,
Thanks so much for the encouragement. It is, perhaps, sorely needed!
Your own story is an inspiration and I only hope that I can get down to a "managable" weight.
So, I will keep on slogging (and blogging) for the forseeable future.
Thanks once again and Dollys Lane awaits you!
With Very Best Wishes,
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