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Archive for the ‘medicine’ Category

About two months ago I took a large step, which I never thought that I would. I finally went to my doctor’s office and asked to be prescribed medication for depression. Depression is something that I have dealt with for a long time but I have also been very against taking medication to try and help with it. Partly because being on a medication for it would make it more real and not as easy to ignore and partly because I work in a pharmacy and I see the side effects that people have to deal with and how long and how many trial and errors can happen before they find the right medication. For the past couple years, I have gone back and forth trying to decide if I should go on medication or not. When I would have good days, or even weeks I would think no way I need medication I’m fine but then the bad days and weeks would hit and I would be stuck in bed wishing that I had something to help me because I no longer can do it on my own. Finally, after discussing it with my therapist and my pharmacist I decided to take the leap and get prescribed medication. So far it has been helpful and I notice that I do not feel so down all of the time which is nice. It is not a huge change, and I’m not fully convinced that my feeling better is not just a placebo effect but I am glad that I was able to finally take this chance and really start working towards bettering myself and not just suffering through to the next day.

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So today we’re going to talk about my fun times with mental illness, since it’s the reason this blog post is late. Yay.

I didn’t plan on getting too personal for this blog; my list of topic ideas is mostly cultural critique. I’m sure I’ll come back to that list for later posts and even save some of them to put up on my own blog(s) eventually. Right now I need to process some meta before I can get back to doing the thing.

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Underweight is mean you have a body mass index that is below 18.5. Many folks think being fat is a health risk, they might think being too skinny is good. But being overly skinny carries its own health risks,too.

About four years ago, I happened to have poor absorptions of nutrients. At that time, my weight was unintentionally dropping, and I was overly losing weight. I lost almost 20 pounds in just one month. In school, classmates and teachers started to give me dirty looks. Even when I go to the grocery stores with my mom, people ooked at me like I was from a differernt planet. I felt so bad. I did not try to lose any weight, and I was eating as much as I used to, since then I even tried to eat as much as I could everytime till I throw up. My family started to worry about me because I eat so much, but still did not gain any weights. They forced me to stop exercise and rest, at that time, they would just put me to bed after dinners. Finnally they took me to the doctor. The doctor said that I might suffered with an eating disorder. But after he arranged the blood test and all of those long examations for me, he told my family that I was diabetic, and I had to go on drugs to control it. Because diabetes affects the way my body uses the blood surgar, I would lose weight if my body do not get enough of suger to generate, even I might be eating as much as usual.

For most people, losing a few pounds without meaning to could be a good thing to them. But it’s important to know when unexpected weight loss is a serious cause for concern. And sometimes, unexpected weight loss can be a sign of a depressive illness, many cancer cause unintentional weight loss as well.

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I’ve always been active. In high school I was a year round athlete and my body reflected this. Looking back on pictures I can hardly believe that I looked like that because I always saw myself as huge. According to my weight which was 15-30 pounds higher than my friends I thought that I was so much larger than I was at 135 pounds, I had an extremely warped view on my body. Now as a senior in college I have gained about 20 pounds and it is a continuous struggle to love myself. There are days I stand in front of my mirror and feel empowered and beautiful and strong and there are days when I’m getting dressed with friends or looking at old pictures that I feel like somehow I’m failing, but why do I think that way? (more…)

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Earlier this week, my boyfriend sent me a link to an article about boobies!

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index

          It’s extremely difficult to write about my relationship with my mother’s illness because I have lived with it for so long that it is simply a natural part of life. Many of my memories of growing up revolve around playing games with my siblings seeing who could be the quietest while my mom rested. At the time I didn’t really think about it – it seemed perfectly natural that she needed to spend long hours in the day lying down in her room with the lights off – and we were just happy to play together. Only looking back do I realize the reason my mom needed to spend so much time resting; she has a relatively unknown disorder called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or CFS).

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There was a week, once, where I slept near a big glowing cross, and the light shone sideways through thick panes patterned with a wiry crosshatch. The sheets smelled like sickness and clean, and at night you could see the Domino Sugar sign–big for a billion miles away.

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I silently sign my name on the sheet telling the front desk staff sitting at the computer that I am here, and sit down in a generic, but expensive-looking chair.

Aiming for comfort.

Aiming for comfort.

Women are glued to their copies of Parenting or Marie Clare. A couple sitting cattycorner to each other look up at me, and then glance back at each other talking. An instrumental version of Memories from the musical Cats plays softly in the background. I don’t have a magazine, so I take up Candy Crush. After 10 minutes the woman at the front desk calls my name.

“Hi, Amelia! We just need to get a urine sample from you, so if you could just go down the hallway and to the second door on the left and leave that for us in the metal cabinet, then go to room number two, that’d be excellent!”

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I’ve been aware of The Adipositivity Project for a number of years.  Most people who float around Fat Acceptance circles online are aware of it, but when I’ve shown it to friends who aren’t aware of FA, it’s always surprised them.  I thought, given the reading for our next class, this was at least visually on topic.  I’m also always a fan of activism through art and you can’t say Substantia Jones’ photographs aren’t beautiful or radical.   Many of the photographs are nudes, so beware if you decide to click through.  I’ve pulled some of the more modest ones to show the intent of the images.

Adipose: Of or relating to fat.

Positivity: Characterized by or displaying acceptance or affirmation.


MISSION:
 The Adipositivity Project aims to promote size acceptance, not by listing the merits of big people, or detailing examples of excellence (these things are easily seen all around us), but rather, through a visual display of fat physicality. The sort that’s normally unseen.

The hope is to widen definitions of physical beauty. Literally.

The photographs here are close details of the fat female form, without the inclusion of faces. One reason for this is to coax observers into imagining they’re looking at the fat women in their own lives, ideally then accepting them as having aesthetic appeal which, for better or worse, often translates into more complete forms of acceptance.

The women you see in these images are educators, executives, mothers, musicians, professionals, performers, artists, activists, clerks, and writers. They are perhaps even the women you’ve clucked at on the subway, rolled your eyes at in the market, or joked about with your friends.

This is what they look like with their clothes off.

Some are showing you their bodies proudly. Others timidly. And some quite reluctantly. But they all share a determination in altering commonly accepted notions of a narrow and specific beauty ideal.


I love this project, especially considering the attempts by the media to include “real” bodies through the use of marketing like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty and “plus size” (really a size 6-12) models, and how different these fat people look from those culturally approved fat bodies.  These aren’t the media portrayed idea of what is “real” (and how problematic is that word in regards to any person?).  These (mostly) women, according to the BMI (another problematic method of judgment!), are obese, or more likely morbidly obese (sometimes called Death Fat in the FA community).  Most of them probably weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 or 300 or even 400 pounds – yet I don’t think they look like the stereotypical bed-ridden mordibly obese person most non-fats think of when they hear those numbers. Or maybe they do look like those ZOMG FAT people to you.

However you see them, these people are fat, but they have accepted the bodies they have and are living their lives in them.

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According to a “recent study,” conducted by a company that maintains an online self-diagnostic tool and then misinterpreted by some website on the internet, “1 in 4 British women has misdiagnosed themselves on the Internet.”  Mind you, this wasn’t just posted on any old internet, it was posted on the Internet, so it’s totally legit, guys.  I believe it.  (By the way, Jezebel has some commentary that, while not problem-free, tickles the funny bone.)

This blog needs more color, so here's a rainbow.

Regardless, it raises some important questions about the role of diagnosis and self-diagnosis.  When overused or used irresponsibly, self-diagnosis on the internet can lead to a lot of unnecessary worry.  It’s an especially big problem in a culture that does not openly discuss bodies or illness, making it difficult to determine what is “normal” and “abnormal” for a body to do.  Female bodies, disabled bodies, older bodies, trans bodies, and non-white bodies, in particular, are susceptible to this kind of worry.  If your body was never “normal” to begin with, how can you possibly know if something is wrong?  If your body has always been strange or mysterious or untrustworthy, when does it cross the line from weird to dangerous, or sick?

I don’t have exact answers to these questions.  I do know, however, that since the majority of people cannot afford to see a doctor every time their body aches or something leaks, and since most female, aging, disabled, trans, and non-white bodies (to name a few) are not given serious consideration in the doctor’s office, the internet is an important diagnostic tool.  Several years ago, for reasons I can’t remember, I found a diagnosis for myself on the internet, and it was a major turning point.  As far as I knew, this was the way that I had always been, but at that time, I started to realize that it wasn’t the way that I would always have to be. It didn’t change my anxiety, but just having a name for it allowed me two conceptualize the phobia and my personality as two separate things.

These people stared at this x-ray for hours before realizing that it was blank.

When I later filled out an inventory or questionnaire, I hit every one of the symptoms.  But I never would have known that these were symptoms without coming across that page on the internet.  How could a doctor have possibly diagnosed me if I never expressed that anything was wrong?

Of course, my story might be unusual, and it might be somewhat unique due to my class privilege.  Still, I maintain that the internet should have a place in diagnosis, since no doctor can ever know a person’s body better than the person themself.  What do you think?  Does self-diagnosis cause more harm than good?  How can the internet be used or changed to improve diagnosis and available medical information?

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