Monday, 5 January 2009

gratitude (open letter to Shapely Prose)

Dear Kate, Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine,

I'm a fattie with a long term compulsive/binge eating disorder, and I've been reading Shapely Prose for less than a year. This time last year I was weeping on the eating disorder clinic's couch about how I couldn't cope with my eating disorder any more and couldn't cope with being fat any more and oh my God please help me or I'll die. (They didn't, for various reasons.)

Now it's a year later, only a year, and I am faced with a PCOS diagnosis and possible diabetes diagnosis and the resultant change of diet that those things may entail for best health, and, amazingly - beyond amazingly, staggeringly, astonishingly, incredibly - I'm okay. I'm emotional, sure. I'm worried, definitely. And I'm really pissed off when I go into the shops and see foods that I'm being advised to avoid to help with my insulin resistance. But I'm still okay. I'm not pissed off because I need all those crazy foods I'm being told to cut back on - I'm pissed off because it's so incredibly boring to have to worry about this.

The thing is, though, a year ago? Boredom wouldn't have even entered into this. I would've been crazy and desperate and bingeing like a maniac. Only a year ago...

At some point early last year, after the encounter with the eating disorder clinic (which didn't go very well), a friend of mine pointed me towards Shapely Prose, and it's just struck me that without her recommendation, without your blog, and without the whole FA environment (including all those awesome people who have been reading my own blog), I really doubt that I would be where I am now. Without understanding that it was okay to accept myself exactly as I was, even if I was fat, even if I was crazy, even if I was unhealthy, I would not have stopped binge eating completely.

Yes, of course, there are other factors - I recommend Stephen Cope's work a lot, and there are various other things I've been up to, and I've slogged my guts out over the past year. But I can't underplay the importance of what reading your blog has done for me.

If I hadn't found you, I wouldn't be in recovery. If I hadn't found you, I wouldn't be able to face all this low GI nonsense with relative equanimity and emotions going only from grief to boredom. If I hadn't found you...I don't even want to think about it.

So from the bottom of my heart, I thank you. Thank you for pointing out that it was okay to be fat, not just fake okay, but really, really okay. Thank you for pointing out all the flaws in the "OMG FATZ IS BAD" illogic and bad science. Thank you for giving me a language to talk to myself about this in which was positive and logical, because without you, I doubt I would have made it, and I'd be facing the illnesses I'm facing without the tools and relative equanimity I now have.

I know the three of you get a lot of shit for all kinds of reasons, but I wanted to put it out there that what you do here is of immense value. For me, it has been life-changing.

Thank you all three so much. Seriously. Thank you.



Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the diagnosis but I'm happy to know that you're doing okay. Reading about your strength and progress over time has given me hope you wouldn't believe. I've followed your lead on a couple of things and though our problems are somewhat different, the concepts have worked beautifully for me as has knowing that it's possible to get better.


DRST said...

I just got diagnosed with PCOS a couple months ago, too (and I'm really effing baffled how my previous doctor didn't notice it). I already had hypoglycemia, though, so the impact on my diet is probably less dramatic than it is for you.

I just wanted to say "Amen" to this. I found SP and the FA movement last spring and it's made a huge improvement in my life.

Elizabeth Twist said...

Yes, hooray for Shapely Prose and all the wonderful work Kate, Fillyjonk, and Sweet Machine do.

sassy said...

Shapely Prose has had a part in my own recovery from a binge eating disorder.
Accepting yourself as you are is a big help in treating yourself better, and size acceptance blogs of all types are great at that.
You are doing great:)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad SA/FA has been helpful to you. Kate, Fillyjonk and Sweet Machine do a wonderful job. You should also check out some of the other blogs on the Fatosphere feed; there are way more blogs out there than just Shapely Prose.

Maddie said...

Charlee - Thank you so much. I'm so glad to hear that some of the things that have been working for me have worked for you as well. And yes, it really is possible to get better - I can hardly believe it myself, but here I am, and it's been months since I've been troubled by it. I do wish you all the best with getting there yourself.

DRST - Thank you. Yeah, the diet impact is fairly significant for me, not least because dealing with the eating disorder has meant not dieting at all. But it's actually going okay, and it hasn't triggered of anything yet. As for Shapely Prose, without fat acceptance in general, and SP in particular, I wouldn't be in this place. So it's all good. :)

Elizabeth Twist - Indeed! They are awesome.

sassy - Yes, that's exactly it. If you learn to accept yourself as you are, and not to be seduced by all the bullshit about weight (and to be sceptical of everything you read), it does make it way easier to stop playing the whole weight loss game. It's made all the difference to me.

Anonymous - I do read a number of other FA blogs, but Shapely Prose was where I started, and it's still the one I return to the most often.

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