It’s that time of year again. Escape from Iqaluit for a vacation in southern Canada.
That means I get to see a lot of people whom I haven’t seen in a long time. About a year, to be precise.
The last time most of said people saw me, they saw me after I had been losing some weight and trying to get healthy. And since the last year hasn’t been particularly kind to me, things have changed for this visit.
I can see it in everyone’s expression as they lay eyes upon me for the first time in a year.
I thought she was smaller….?
And while trying to prevent their faces from screwing up into a weird mesh of disgust and surprise, they manage to let loose a gem like this: “Suzanne, you look good!”
No, I don’t.
So seriously…just stop.
I have gained back almost all of the weight that I lost last year.
So the subject is eventually broached and people start to wonder why it happened. For everyone who I haven’t seen yet, here’s the story. Remember how I broke my wrist back in November? Well, it certainly threw off my workout schedule. I didn’t want to go to the gym, because I was afraid to walk anywhere in the city for fear of finding another super patch of ice to fall and break something on. I fell out of the gym routine and let’s face it…that was a miracle in itself that I actually managed to develop that routine in the first place. It became difficult to keep up with the healthy eating in the winter: Iqaluit barely has fresh produce that’s tasty in the summer, so the winter is next to impossible to find the kind of food to keep me happy.
And then…my mental state was not exactly peak either. After another battle with depression in excess of a year, I started to wonder if I wasn’t actually dealing with a personality disorder. After doing a lot of reading, I had begun to recognize patterns within myself that suggested I might fit into the diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. That’s a scary thing to face. And in Iqaluit, it can be difficult to find proper mental health care, so I because really nervous.
I began to hate myself. Yeah, yeah…I know. Who doesn’t hate themselves? Seriously though. Hatred. Full on self loathing. I’m not the kind of person to feel suicidal. I don’t get those thoughts usually. I sometimes consider what life would be like for people around me if I wasn’t around, but that is pretty much the extent of it. And with the hatred I was feeling, I was to the point where I didn’t even feel like I was worthy of ending it all. Yup. That was my hidden life for a pretty long time.
I began to let my eating get reckless. I ate for comfort. I ate for boredom. I ate because I hated myself so much, I just didn’t care. As a diabetic, it’s not a particularly safe way to go about things. But I didn’t care. Some people drink. Some people turn to drugs. My path to self-destruction began at the grocery store.
With luck, I managed to find an amazing therapist in Iqaluit thanks to a recommendation from a friend and I have been seeing her since. She has helped me learn to meditate and accept and recognize that it’s okay if I can’t solve my problems. It’s okay to feel what I’m feeling. It’s okay to let myself be myself. To be honest, it’s been so long since I really understood who I was that it seemed like an insurmountable task to just be me.
But I’m getting there again. I’m beginning to feel at peace with the woman I’ve become. I’m getting there mentally. I’m getting there emotionally. And one day, I’ll be there physically too.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to be where I want to be in terms of weight. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to get rid of that flab that I don’t necessarily feel like looking at. I’ve never been a small girl. I’ve always struggled with body image. I know I’m lucky that I have a supportive partner in that regard. Ian doesn’t really pressure me one way or another and it’s helpful. I hope I inspired him last year with what I accomplished, because now I need that same inspiration to get myself back to a healthy lifestyle.
I recognize the amount of work that it’s going to take for me to maintain a healthier body and in being honest with myself, I’m not sure if I have the energy – mental or physical – to spare. I will certainly try, but I also am trying to accept. Whatever path I take, I am trying to accept that I am who I am…and that’s okay.
If that’s the only lesson I learn in this journey, at least it’s one of the good ones.