For better or worse, I was on a bit of a roll with posting. Then I didn’t for a few days; now I don’t know where to begin. Shit.
From what I can remember, I’ve been balls deep into watching my food intake and working out every single blessed goddamn day like I’m an Olympian as I try to lose the weight that so cleverly attached itself to me via years of being on the antidepressant hamster wheel.
I’ll explain the hamster wheel with this life outline:
Years 0 through 10: I have very little memory of. I assume things were OK but probably not.
Years 10 through 20 were spent overeating to cope with a variety of family issues that I could write a book on. I gained an obscene amount of weight, and instead of that being a warning sign to family and educators that I was dealing with some heavy shit at home and in need of help, I was humiliated and shamed daily. So I ate until I hit the 300 pound mark. I’ll show you!!
Finally, around age 21, an obese desperate and lonely me said, “enough is enough,” and got myself in shape and eventually found cycling. I “trained,” “raced,” and enjoyed every second of not being made fun of. Well, at least about my weight.
Despite losing weight, falling in love with Wifey, getting married, and having a wonderful son and life there was always that underlying inherited self-loathing. That’s how I was raised. True happiness and joy were something that other families experienced, not us. Unless it was at the expense of someone else.
When I left my 20+ year job as a graphic artist for a Pittsburgh newspaper back in 2009 (accepting a buy-out of my annual salary and vacation time instead of being laid off from the now defunct paper), I started XXC Magazine and xxcmag.com as a way to promote the sport I love and to try and find a new career.
Things started slow with the mag, then got busy, then I got overwhelmed, and eventually, after 5 years, I had to pull the plug. I was putting way more money into the mag than I was getting out, and for better or worse, most people thought that XXC was a “real” magazine with an actual budget and everything. I assure you, it was not, and if you got paid by me for a story or a photo, or I needed to invest in equipment or promotions, it was more often than not right out of our family bank account and I designed the whole mag and site from my home office.
With that perceived as a failure (because that’s how I roll), all the self-loathing I had as an adolescent crept back, and I became unbearable to live with. I was drinking booze and eating to deal with the shame. So I got help in the form of antidepressants.
And they worked just like they were supposed to and really helped me through some tough times, but with one catch: weight gain. Fuck!
A few extra pounds can be no big deal for most people; we all get older and put on a few pounds here and there, you’ll get no judgment from me. But when you’ve lived most of your life in full-on shame at the way you look in the mirror and suffered no shortage of family members, classmates and strangers willing to point out each and every flaw through words and or the violation of personal space, a few pounds can feel like 200. No matter what age you are!
So I would then talk to my doctor and be told it was not the medicine’s fault but rather because I was eating too much or “not moving enough,” and then I would slide further into depression because of the continued weight gain. So I would drink to forget what I looked like and add more empty calories to my diet and more issues to my life. Issues that needed dealing with. How? With MORE antidepressants, of course!! Which led to more weight gain, more drinking, more apathy, and more self-loathing.
“I mean, how many calories are you really burning while cycling? 200, 250 calories?” – Doctor Fuck Face1
As my weight continued to climb, I found myself dealing with more and more issues from the past that resurrected themselves every time I looked in the mirror. And don’t even get me started about actually seeing my family; that has put me in a full-on panic attack on more than one occasion.
I can remember the person, place, and time of nearly every insult hurled at me about my appearance over my lifetime. Hurt and shame were always bubbling away just below the surface, even in my thinnest days, so as you can imagine, gaining upwards of 75 pounds over the past 10 years has brought a shit ton of those repressed memories back to the surface. Memories that I can’t just “put aside and get on with it” like many people can. The trauma from my adolescence runs too deep, and I went through more than most people know about or I care to share here.
“Every time I think I’ve heard everything, you share some fresh hell from your childhood that I never heard before.” – Wifey
How do you deal with all that? MORE MEDS! More meds, more weight gain, more of making a problem worse with the solution.
Thank the dogs above for therapy! Goddamn, has that helped! Most of what I wrote about above has been realized through talking to a qualified therapist over the past few years. She has helped me deal with the past and many of life’s continuing problems in a way that medicine never did. It’s only because of O.G. Mindbender and the attentive ear of my PCP, Doctor Bob, that I feel confident about getting on with life without the aid of an antidepressant. This process is just getting going, so I’m hyper-vigilant about my food intake and daily workouts so as to hit the ground running, or lumbering as it were, when I’m all in.
Long-winded hamster wheel talk over. Sorry.
As part of my daily workouts, I’ve been back on the bike more of late and got two 20-mile Better Than The Trainer Rides in over the weekend. I also got in a quick walk at the Sylvan Preserve to take some macro shots, but I didn’t get too much that I dug.
For not knowing where this post was going, it looks like I found the direction. Sort of reminds me of how I met my therapist; About three years ago, the issues above started to really affect our marriage, so Wifey found us a counselor to go to. I agreed, and we went. We went into the office, exchanged pleasantries, and Wifey briefly outlined our reasons for being there. Soon it was my turn to talk. I opened my mouth and didn’t shut up for the remaining 55 minutes. That was three years ago!
Lots of work to do, and for now, that includes tracking calories, daily workouts, and weekly sessions with the O.G. Mindbender. For the first time in years I feel like I can get back to the old me (the good old me, not the prick) and get off this goddamn hamster wheel of meds and self hate.
All the pics here were taken over the weekend. Time for my workout.