It’s much easier to let them have their bariatric surgery first.THEN LET THEM DISCOVER THEY HAD AN UNDERLYING ISSUE THAT LED THEM TO OVEREAT!!! Wanna talk about scary!
It’s very scary to get your weight under control then wake up and realize life has fallen apart.
WHAT THEY DID NOT TELL ME IN MY PRE-OP CLASSES, WHAT NO ONE REALLY BOTHERED TO MENTION….maybe it would have scared me, maybe not.. but it would have planted a seed for when it all manifested into my LIFE!
A couple of weeks ago a bright, beautiful young woman committed suicide. It was talked about heavily on the Bariatric boards and on Face Book. Everyone had their own reaction ranging from sadness for the loss of life, saying she must be crazy “why do that after she lost all the weight?”, there were a few “oh that will never happen to me’s” and of course some people sat still and very quietly sat back and watched and listened.
This week as I watched and listened I noticed several articles about the high rate of suicide after bariatric surgery. It is alarming… it IS scary.. and believe me I wish someone had of planted the seed of knowing BEFORE my surgery…
This post is for YOU if you are a newbie, pre-op, OLDBIE, non-op, a family member, support system OR a professional who treats people with Morbid obesity.
When I was 385 pounds and living life of pain and sadness, I made myself sick more than once. I had an autoimmune disorder just could not be identified. They eventually decided it was a rare form of lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Made sense considering the joint and bone pain I was having. I spent 3 months on bed-rest, and I could not even roll over in the bed. I was hospitalized a couple of times and put on 100 mg’s of prednisone a day so I could walk, and methotrexate and plaquinil. I was taking tylenol on the 12, 4, 8and 8’s. And Motrin on the 2,6, and 10’s of the clock. I still hurt, the pain seemed unbearable. I FELT LIKE I WAS DYING!
I wanted to DIE!
Eventually my body seemed to physically heal somewhat and I came off the meds and went back to work then within a couple of years all the toxic crap I was allowing in my life had accumulated and I was miserable again. This time instead of becoming physically ill, I found myself in a wreck. A roll over accident in my SUV appropriately a (Path Finder). The rescue workers and the police said it was a miracle that anyone survived that accident. The preacher’s in town said God just wasn’t ready for me and it wasn’t my time.My children, my parents and my grandmother and my close friends and family were just thankful, I was alive.
That automobile accident changed my life! It seemed as though I had gone through a doorway and all I could see beyond that door was love, light and peace. I did not physically die that day… but there was a part of me that died… a part of me that had FOUND her PATH and started working toward healing.
I had gastric bypass less than 6 weeks later in an attempt to BE healthy and well!
No one told me how I would grieve food, how my ability to numb my emotions would be gone. No one told me that it would hurt bad enough that I would consider alcohol, or shopping or any other form of “comfort” measure.
Would it have changed my decision to have surgery NO! But, it would have created an awareness. Do I blame people for NOT telling me NO. But, what I did learn is part of the bariatric education is missing. SO much effort is put into the physical aspect of the surgery. What can I eat, don’t drink after meals, don’t drink with a straw, chew-chew-chew-, Protein first blah blah blah!
Don’t get me wrong that is all important, but we get so focused on all that—we don’t take time to deal with the “underlying issues”.
Mary Jo Rapini has a wonderful article called Hurt People Hurt People, think about that one! It’s one long viscous cycle. Someone hurt me when I was 4 years old, chances are they were a HURT PERSON, and then I grew up and gained a lot of weight and HURT PEOPLE… oh and my favorite person to hurt……MYSELF!
This did not change just because I had bariatric surgery and lost over 200 pounds. Instead it made the condition worse! I could not eat to sooth the pain. So let’s try going to the gym 3 times a day 7 days a week. Addiction to exercise, that has to be good right? WRONG! Let’s become obsessed with the number on the scale. Weighing in twice a day could not be bad right? WRONG.
I used these things to criticize myself and judge my progress. If I had of been journaling and told you my feelings when I was racing on the elliptical machine ( I named mine Diablo BTW) it would have said something like. I ride this machine for an HOUR everyday, why are my thighs still so large? Why do my but cheeks have dimples? Why are my calves more like HEFFERS?
I did not like me, say nothing about LOVE… Yet, I kept searching outside of me for love and understanding… Oh Diablo, make me skinny on our one hour date each day. Bring love, happiness and beauty to me… Make me happy.
I was a miserable PERSON, with a beautiful SOUL… and I HURT!!
Each day of my life on the machines at the gym I would secretly sing “I hurt Myself today”
Eventually, I mustered up the strength to leave an abusive marriage. I can’t say the marriage caused my low-self esteem. I would say I married him because I had low self esteem. That I had carried since I was 4 or even younger.
So, losing the weight, and leaving the husband still did not fix me. Ahhh, fix me. I thought I was broken, unworthy and dirty. (Yes, this is where that 75% of obese patients have had sexual abuse or trauma)
Still I looked outside myself for comfort and love and acceptance.
Awhile back someone posted it was suicide awareness day, and god bless the family members left behind and god bless those who have taken their own lives. I replied “And God Bless those who failed at their suicide attempts” and I posted that because it meant something to me.
Believe me, when I had surgery I had surgery so I could live… yet at 5 years post op.. I found myself wanting to die. Surely it would be easier. Surely it would numb my pain once and for all. Luckily I was with a friend that night who knew exactly what to say and what to do, because I was drunk and could not make a decision for myself other than death.
I stood on the edge of the canal ready to jump when my friend said “T, if you jump I will have to jump in that cold, dirty water and save you”. I could not have that now, could I? I decided not to jump in the water NOT to save my life, but to keep my friend from getting cold, wet and dirty.
NO, I never dreamed I would want to drink myself to death or at least to numb my feelings to the point of not feeling.. BUT it happened. Does it make me any less of a person? Does it make me crazy? Does it make me a poor wounded soul? Does it make me less respectable or maybe someone you no longer want to listen to?
Let me tell you what it makes me…
It made me strong as nails. It made me see just how precious and valuable I am. I have a place in this world and I stepped up to take that place. I am woman, I am aligned with God! I am certainly in deep gratitude for my life! When I wake up and tell you I am sitting in the sun taking in life, meditating and yoking with God! It means something to me!
I spent many evenings in therapy after that night, getting to know the inner child that had been so injured and neglected. I spent many nights crying myself to sleep. I spent many nights healing. Learning how to forgive myself for the choices I made throughout my life, and learning to love me!
Please don’t argue and have harsh words with each other about creating an awareness of these issues.. these issues are real.. and they could affect any one of us at any time. Instead of wasting time arguing, spend the time creating awareness. Lobbying for education and therapy for bariatric post op… and don’t fool yourself.. it could happen to anyone, including you. Including me.