When you feel like a stranger in your body, analyzing why isn't a priority. You don't spend time on thoughts about how society has brainwashed you to think a healthy body is a skinny body. You're definitely not analyzing the behaviors around you that influenced you along the way. Most of your thoughts are consumed with ideas on how to conceal your size, so when I found out the final step towards bariatric surgery included a psychological evaluation, my mind spiraled.
Was the psychologist going to identify problems that weren't yet on my radar? Was she going to declare me an unstable candidate for surgery? I couldn't handle that rejection. I had finally faced my addictions, peeled off my armor, and for the first time in my memory I saw myself. I was not going to let a psychologist discredit me in a 60-minute conversation.
The day of my psychological evaluation, my palms were sweaty. I felt nauseous, my mind raced with worst case scenarios and I built a wall. I walked into the dimly lit room, lavender filled the air. I sank into a leather loveseat made of what favored a butterscotch lovers dream. In any other circumstance, this would've been the perfect setting to spill your soul.
In the lobby, I answered a questionnaire, which she currently glanced over. It asked questions about depression, family history, and resources for support. She looked at me and asked immediately about my use of diet pills. I made it clear, "I'm addicted to food and the gratification I receive while eating not pills." She put down the clipboard and responded, "If you want a successful evaluation you need to realize, I am not in your way but you are. Let me in and I trust you will be fine."
I softened. She was right, this was not about her and her determination. This was about me. For some reason, we see our surgeons as the only helping hand. Everyone else like the nutritionist and the psychologist seems like obstacles in the way of our progress.
The psychologist saw right through me and she spoke directly to my fear. She was transparent, identifying places of concern and predicting I would fall into depression after surgery as an overwhelming 40% of patients do. She then went further to provide support groups for after surgery as well as her personal number.
She prepared me for the mental battle ahead, while everyone else focused on the physical battle. Reflecting on all this, I can see she saved me a couple months down the line. I never sought out the help of a support group when the depression came but her words echoed in my mind, "You will get through this, change will come but so will your mental metamorphosis. In the darkness hold on to the feeling of your walls crumbling down and see it as you breaking free from who you think you need to be."
That night I wrote those very words in my journal. As the universe would have it, I found them on what felt like one of the hardest days post-op. It reminded me that we always have angels around us, and sometimes we are fortunate enough to clearly receive their messages, even if it is as a result of a psychological evaluation.
I'm Macielle, (Mah-see-el) most people call me Macie. I'll be taking you through my journey to a healthier me and the problems I faced during that time. My story will be continued here for the next few weeks. Stay tuned!
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