There is a five step process to change for most people and I will walk you through the steps and how each one impacted my life. This will give you the opportunity to see if there are any similarities between what I went through and where you are in this process.
Do you get defensive when somebody asks you about your weight or your sullenness?
When it comes to depression, I realized early on in my late teens that there was something wrong but I didn’t want to face it. At one point I began to take medication and then stopped figuring I was smart enough to beat this on my own. That point alone displays how defensive I was and how much I didn’t understand what I was dealing with. I just wanted to be normal without thinking of myself as depressed.
When it came to my weight I decided that it was not up for discussion by anyone. Why did others feel like they have the right to comment on my weight or lifestyle choices? They didn’t live my life and didn’t deal with my problems so they could take a hike for all I cared.
Are you considering change and finally admitting to yourself that you have a problem?
During my depression I was willing to admit I had a problem much sooner than with my obesity. I think that had more to do with growing up around depression and realizing how difficult it could be. This is why I went and received treatment years before I contemplated my obesity problem. I assumed that once I was able to achieve some mental clarity the rest of my life would be simple to deal with.
My obesity became a big problem during my late twenties. It seemed like every time I went to the doctor’s, he had to increase my blood pressure medication because we could not get it under control. Sure he constantly told me I needed to lose weight and I always thought I could do it on my own even though I wasn’t. Finally, he mentioned weight loss surgery to me and how effective it had been for another patient of his. This was my aha moment, with a newborn on the way I wanted to make sure I was going to be here for him and the faster we could correct my problems the better.
After this discussion I began to do research into the surgery and who were experts at it as opposed to just general surgeons. I discussed this option with my wife who was very supportive as she knew I wouldn’t take choosing surgery lightly. It was time to bring in people that I trusted. At work I had a buddy named Mark that started sending me positive stories and outcomes of individuals that have had weight loss surgery and how their lives improved. This was a turning point for me as it showed me that someone who had no investment in my health was extremely supportive just due to our friend ship.
Being prepared ties into the research I did in the previous step. When it came to depression I had a long history of living and supporting someone with the disease and therefore was well educated on it. It did mean open and honest discussions with my wife and allowing her full access to my doctor as I realized that what she sees in me may not be what I see in myself. Sometimes the slippery slope that leads you back into depression can be slow and slow change is not as noticeable to the individual as it may be to someone else.
Obesity surgery was going to cause significant changes in the way that I eat and what I ate. This forced my wife and I to start making some changes. Essentially once I decided to have surgery I knew it would put handcuffs on me with regards to food and I would have to learn to live with those handcuffs. At this point I also brought my immediate family into the fold and let them know what was going on. Lucky for me they were all supportive.
My first actionable steps with depression had to do with finding the right medication and the correct dosage. This takes time and you need to be honest with your doctor about what you are feeling and what you think. Sometimes you have to deal with side effects but they are worth it when your mind becomes clearer. During the few months it took to find the right family of medicine then the exact medicine and dosage it was constant dialogue between me, my wife and the doctor. Again, my wife sometimes could provide me a view that I didn’t see from within myself but could be very helpful in fine tuning the medication.
The first actionable step with the weight loss surgery was to go and visit the clinic I had chosen for surgery. It allowed me to meet the nurses, doctors and other patients giving me a direct view into what I could expect. It also allowed me to feel comfortable with the clinic I had chosen. A few weeks later I had the surgery and made a significant change to my life.
My depression is a conversation between the same three parties always involved, me, my wife and doctor. Currently I am very happy with the medication I am on and the results I have been getting. If something at home seems to be off my wife is quick to let me know so we can identify if it is really a problem or just me. Even with treatment all people will have up days and down days so you cannot expect that everything is always supposed to come up roses when taking anti-depressants. The other aspect of it is that medication can only do so much. As an individual you have to want to get better and do things in your life to make it better. This is not up to the family physicians and the psychiatrists. Lastly, you should never self diagnose or determine that you do not need medication anymore as this isn’t a decision to be made by a sole individual.
My weight loss was significant and within three months I was off all my blood pressure medication. During the last two plus years I have changed to a different eating style and things have been good. I did come to the conclusion that I was ready to make significant changes to my eating habits as I still wanted to lose excess weight and not sit on the edge of the wall close to bad health and habits. That’s why after this much time I have made a mental change to my eating which has resulted into more weight loss. Weight loss surgery is only a tool but the mental part of the game is the toughest. Now that I have been comfortable in my life it is time to improve it some more. This is also why I write this blog, I realize that my depression and food diseases are closely related and I wanted to share. If they were related for me than I know that they are related for millions of others out in the world as well. Part of my continuation is improving all the time and sharing with others who may be inspired to improve also.