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PriorFatGirl is a community of writers who share their healthiness journey with you, our friends. Currently, posts on the main page are written by Liz who is fighting through her healthiness journey (and winning!) You can read other priorfatgirl journeys by clicking on the “Other priorfatgirl’s” drop down from the top menu.

Through the ups and downs of life, the scale, and emotions, we share our stories as a form of therapy for us, and as a way to help remove stigmas associated with trying to live up to social expectations of being perfect. We will not ever promise to be perfect, but we will promise to share candidly our journeys of learning how to be healthy in an unhealthy world, sugar coating not included.

 

Mental Health Monday – 600 people

Welcome to Mental Health Monday!  This was born out of Steph and my session on Depression, Anxiety and Healthy Living from Fitbloggin’ 15.  Every 1st and 3rd Monday one of us will host a link up for others to share their experiences with Mental illness – either from their own experience or from the experience of helping and walking with others.  Our goal is to reach out to the world and let people know that they are not alone in their struggles.  You are never alone.  Join us – link up, visit new blogs, support others.  Speak out:  “I am crazy…CRAZY AWESOME!”  (You are welcome to use the badge below!) – This week’s Link up is found here.

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I wish I had something profound to say about Mental health today.  Instead I find myself more than a little sad about the immensity of mental illness, mental health and stigma.  Last week at my church there was a funeral for a high school boy who committed suicide.  Over 600 people came to the funeral.  I didn’t know him but I was struck by the disconnect of all that.

Though I don’t know the circumstances leading up to his suicide I can intuit a few generalizations that are more often than not felt: “The world would be better off without me.”  “It is too hard.” “I am alone.” But 600 people came after the fact and mourned the loss of a young and amazing person.

600.

That number catches me to the core.  It is the math degree that periodically rears its head – numbers have meaning in my head and I have thought about it all week.  600 people mourning a person who was certain he was alone in the world, or at least certain he was better off alone.

600 who are changed by mental illness and its intrusion into their lives.

Depression, anxiety, mental illness… they are masters of isolation and illusion.  We suffer in silence, overwhelmed by the hardness of life, when it seems so easy for everyone else.  Depression lies.  The truth is that it is easy for no one, at least it is never consistently easy.  The truth is that you are NOT alone.  The truth is that you, and I, are so much more connected than we are able to see.

Think about the people you know in your life who were lost to suicide.  I can name far too many – acquaintances, friends, celebrities.

When Robyn Williams committed suicide the world took notice and for a brief moment talked openly about mental illness.  And then the news faded into the next event and not much has changed.

600 people separated from a son, a brother, a cousin, a friend….

Depression lies.  Speak the truth.  Life is hard, but it is worth living.  We feel alone but we are surrounded by more love than we can see.  Reach out.  Ask for help.  Don’t struggle in silence, because people care about you.  I care about you.

#wycwyc at church camp

Whew.  I am wiped out.  I just spend the last 8 consecutive days at church camp for work.  I drove back and forth 3 times bringing kids and making one dr appointment, but I ate and slept and played at camp for essentially 24/7 while I was there.

It is fun and tiring.

It also is an odd time – the mornings and evenings are completely scheduled with events and activities with the camp kids, and during the free time after lunch there is a balance to strike between doing your real-life work so I am not behind, interacting with our church kids, and finding some time to rest yourself.

It doesn’t lend itself to traditional working out – but there are plenty of things I did that go a long way.  I utilized Roni and Carla‘s #wycwyc idea.  Wycwyc stands for “What you can, when you can” and that is how I was active this week.

To start with we did plenty of walking around the camp.  Camp is quite hilly too so most of the time I got in many floors without too much trouble.  The only days I didn’t make my step goal of 10,000 steps were Thurs and Friday and I spend 3-4 hours in the car going back and forth those days.

     

I’ve also started doing some daily yoga, influenced by Heather’s Instagram #w00tyoga daily challenge.  Half the time I feel like I am just trying to match her picture with no real clue of what I am doing, but it has been a nice addition to my daily routine.

I also did plenty of play.  Field games were a daily occurance, and unlike many of the church staff, I jumped right in and ran around with the kids and their counselors.  Even E2 took part on Saturday when she joined me for the weekend at camp.  We were a tag team to rescue kids that had been tagged in an epic game of “Mighty Mighty Scoop Noodle Challenge.”

  

This was great fun because it was a way to be connected to the kids AND to keep me moving.  As a result I was often a sweaty, tired mess by the time I got into my bunk in the evening (often after doing more “real” work).

Camp is such a departure from my normal reality.  On the one hand, I have many kids to look after and I am at work, on the other I am mostly removed from parenting and other stresses.  I was pleased that I got my steps in and made the most of my week at camp.

And I am really excited to sleep in my own bed tonight!

Bullying Rant

In the past few days I have witnessed bullying 1st, 2nd and 3rd-hand – all around size, weight, and “perceived” heath.  Even the USA Today ran an article on how “chubby kids” get bullied more often than other kids.  In fact is says that obese children are more likely to get bullied than “normal-weight peers, regardless of gender, race, socioeconomic status, school demographic profile, social skills or academic achievement.”

This is a fact that is backed up by experience with both kids today (at church camp this week, in school, on the playground), my own childhood, as well as the cyber bullying that I see so often on the internet – particularly aimed at my blogging friends.

As a blogger I know I put myself out there and frankly I have come to expect negative comments. So have many of my blogging friends that I know.  Most of the time we know to ignore them and we do our best not to let them get to us.  When they do we have the tribe of people who love and support us to remind us that the bullies don’t represent everyone.  But here is the thing, even as I expect bullying and recognize it as common place: Why should we have to put up with it? 

When did it become acceptable to judge another solely on appearance?  When did it become ok to post lewd, hateful and cruel comments under anonymous pseudonyms?  When did it become okay to demean anyone we don’t agree with, or who lives life differently than we do, or who speaks out about their own journey?  When did being fat become the worst thing in the world you can be and worthy of ridicule?

There are children out there daily committing suicide.  There are young children whose parents have to make sure eat their meals, so deep is their fear of being fat.  Eating disorders, depression, anxiety are running rampant in our world and our determination to spew hate does nothing to improve the lives of children.

Children are bullied primarily by children, but children learn that behavior from adults.

Once, prior to my husband’s gastric bypass, we were shopping at the grocery store.  (We were in produce by the way, not the cookie section).  A child of about 7 stopped and pointed at my husband and made a loud statement about how fat he was.  The parent was right there and heard the whole thing and just laughed.  The parent also shrugged as if to say “kids will be kids.”

I call BS.

Kids will repeat what they are heard, and if they get it from somewhere else it is the parent’s job to remind the child that it is not okay to belittle and demean people – no matter their size (or gender, or sexuality, or race, or disability, etc).   Even if kids don’t learn the language from parents, the learn that it is acceptable because their behavior is not corrected.

I cannot share all the stories I’ve seen and heard this week. They are not my stories to share.  But I feel deep sadness that it happens and the horrible cruelness I’ve seen online especially.

Bullying is not about health.  It is not about motivation.  It is about making yourself feel better by demeaning others.

I know that this post won’t fix the internet culture, nor will it stop bullying, but perhaps it can make us all think and remember that when we don’t speak up and say that bullying about weight then we are saying it is ok.

It is braver to choose kindness than cruelty.  Be Brave.