Articles Tagged ‘cross addiction after WLS’

An illusion and another face of cross addiction

Pictures tell stories yet sometimes the pictures are an illusion.

I love to be creative.   The dress I was wearing was way too big and I just couldn’t bear to part with it so I played with the ways I could still use it in a photograph.  To look at this image you can’t really tell the dress is huge.  You also can’t tell that I haven’t had any reconstructive surgery yet.  It is an illusion.

Women who are covering parts of their body can be very industrious.  I remember thinking I was a master of disguise but that could have been delusional thinking because I probably wasn’t hiding how I was feeling under the layers of 4X shirts.  As much as I tried to cover my obese body for thirty years my insides were screaming “I am ugly and everyone knows it!”.  I was sure that every mean person treated me that way because of my size.  (I was wrong about that…sometimes people are just mean.)

This picture was taken about a year and a half after surgery and I was ecstatic because I felt normal for the first time in my life.  In those days “after care” didn’t exist and I was totally on my own.  I assumed after I had surgery that I was supposed to lose the weight and be at goal forever.  There was no one to say “way to go” but since I didn’t know any difference, I didn’t miss it. On the other hand I am so grateful I didn’t have anyone tell me that I would fail or that I had the wrong surgery or that I would gain it back so I followed all the rules and got the results I expected because I totally believed in the outcome.  I didn’t even have to hear  “*results not typical” even though they aren’t.  I accepted my role, ignorance was bliss, and I didn’t consider it hard or easy…it just was what it was.

Part of the reason I have worked so hard to stay at goal was because I was afraid of what lengths I would go to if I were to regain my weight.  My history of diets wasn’t pretty so why would it be any different this time around?  I didn’t want to return to any of my previously mega unhealthy methods so I worked my program every single day.

Recently I got a message from someone who is at goal but has paid a terrible price.  I have gotten several of these lately and there is no doubt that “regain messages” outnumber the ones I’m about to discuss.  Like most actions that are associated with shame, this behavior hides in hush hush places and no one wants to talk about it  openly.

We all know that many post-ops are set up to cross addict if we are not careful but the majority of stories are usually about those in the throes of chaos, the ones that have hit bottom….not the day to day present day functional addicts.

One email was from a woman that begged her bariatric doctor for diet pills to fight regain and now she has built up an immunity and it takes more and more of them to get the same affect.  She didn’t want to go into detail about how she was getting more pills from another source.  Another lady has turned into a full fledged bulimic and another has become anorexic.  The last one talked about developing a $150-$200 a day cocaine habit.

This post is dedicated to awareness about the seemingly successful post-ops that have chosen something horribly unhealthy to stay at goal.  Some of them are fighting monsters that no one knows about.  It is never fair to assume things about anyone and I think through my blog and facebook page that many post-ops have figured out they can trust me so they share some of their darkest secrets.  There are so many of us that need a safe place to fall…. where we aren’t afraid of being judged.  Some of us are so busy pointing out what’s wrong with everyone else that few are willing to trust anyone long enough to ask for help.  And for those that have no resources for therapy, I hope this opens the door for those that have written me and felt left out.  Perhaps some of the professionals in the field will hear your voices and work to develop even more strategies to help those in need.

Regardless of who we are, all of us are doing the very best we can each day.  Take a moment to reach out a helping hand because you never know who needs it the most… that seemingly healthy “at goal” post-op might just be an illusion.  If you have access to therapy, use it.  If you don’t, there are many good programs that are free of charge.  Reach out to someone you can trust because together we are stronger.  Remember to always pay it forward because it helps us in the long run and most importantly…. never forget where you came from.