How Societal Norms Feed and Breed Mental Illness

I was driving home, my mind doing its ping pong ball thing, and I had this gloomy thought of yesterday’s weigh in at the doctor’s office. I gained fifteen pounds since January! My God, I suck, I am a fat slothful gluttonous-
Then I stopped my brain and reminded, It’s all just a numbers game and if I pay attention to that, I will become more neurotic and miserable than I already am. I am fluffy, NOT fat, and my health has always been good, so…I choose to focus on being myself rather than aiming to be some “ideal” number some powers that be created without regard to mitigating factors.

Anorexia, bulimia, dysmorphic body disorder..THAT societal norm number is what breeds, and feeds, these illnesses. We are taught almost from birth what “normal” looks like from the toys we are given to play with. Hell, I was ten before I realized not all dolls were blue eyed and blonde. Because that is the norm society has for beauty. (Master race, anyone?) Don’t even get me started on Barbie. (Though I did have this Disco Darcy doll when I was five and she was very tall and stout. Which was probably why she was phased out quickly.)
The propaganda says it’s about “being healthy”.
No one gives a damn if you’re heavy but healthy as a team of oxen.
You don’t LOOK pretty and fit into some cookie cutter mold, you must be a hideous lazy misfit.
I wonder back to caveman days when survival was the big issue if people stood around, pointing, fat shaming, judging…
When did society become so vile, so cruel, so…inhumane?
And it’s not just heavy people who face discrimination. There are some who are naturally thin even though they eat normal meals. They, too, are judged for not fitting the mold.

No one can focus on being healthy when it’s all about meeting some idea weight number and LOOKING good. I once saw a thread on Reddit where some troll said all fat people should be killed because we make everyone else look bad.
Well, hey, life is just like junior high, it’s all about looks.
The kicker for me came when my daughter was four months old, still on formula, and the doctor said I should put her on a diet because her weight was increasing off the ideal chart. Yeah, I’m gonna put an infant on a diet.
Go fuck yourself. Got a different doctor for her.

I am in no way in denial that I am plumper than I should be. I am also tall and carry the weight better than say a five foot tall woman would. But I struggle so much with my mental health, I choose not to get hung up on numbers. I did that bit in my teens and twenties, popping hundreds of diet pills to kill my appetite and keep my energy up so the weight wouldn’t stick.
I STILL didn’t fit into societal norms because, contrary to what the powers that be claim, you CAN be big boned.
Example: My sister. She has lost a ton of weight even though was never bigger than a size large. A doctor told her she weighed too much. Not the right thing to say to a recovering bulimic. She became obsessed with drinking water, exercise.
And she dropped fifty pounds, she’s now five foot five and a size eight.
But if you go by the number on the scale, she is obese. Because she weighs around one seventy, even though she looks about one ten.
That pisses me off to no fucking end.
And that size 12 is considered “plus” size makes me want to form a one woman lynch mob with torches and burn down the living space of ignorant people who think that.

Even at my smallest, I was a size 12. From age 13. I’m way bigger now but I blame that on my love affair with Dr. Pepper more than anything.
I will NOT be defined by some unrealistic societal norm as far as my appearance goes.
And the fact this societal norm has helped breed adolescent and teenage girls into self loathing size obsessed kids with eating disorders is disgusting.
And “skinny” shaming is no better.

To add insult to injury for the mentally ill who are already on the fluffy side…They give us these meds that put weight on us whether we starve ourselves or not. Risperdal caused me to gain fifty pounds. My grocery budget for the MONTH was $90 so there is no way in hell I was overeating when everything had to be rationed.
The uber helpful doctor said, “Oh, it raised your appetite, but it’s not causing the weight gain. You just have to make better choices in what you eat.”
Then another doctor will warn, “This could cause weight gain.”

Here’s a thought. YOU take the fucking things and see how it affects your weight.

I have an autistic cousin who was on anti psychotics, like three of them, cos he did get violent. He ballooned to nearly three hundred fifty pounds.
A year later, they changed the meds and he’s down to less than one fifty.
Yeah, if you weren’t depressed and psychotic to begin with, that combined with society’s attitude will make you that way.

This is why I haven’t owned a scale in 20 years. I don’t step on one unless the doctor’s office forces me to. I don’t need that extra weight on my already over taxed brain. No one needs it and no one fucking deserves it.

“Kill all the fat people.”
So says one of the ideal cookie cutters.
I say watch the movie Gattaca.
Because if they start doing away with anyone who doesn’t look “normal” it won’t be long before they start doing away with anyone, in utero, whose genetic testing shows even a propensity for illness.
Your great great great great grandmother’s cousin had heart disease?
People think I’m crazy to say this shit, but they’re also the morons who say the holocaust never happened.
I am so thankful idiocy isn’t contagious.

The point here is, be healthy, be happy, but most of all…Love and accept yourself without regard to societal norms. There’s not one person out there who couldn’t be improved in some way (especially internet trollfucks) but they’re content to be assholes.
So let me be content with my fluffiness. Don’t shove your ideals down my throat. It’s like declaring the world is only allowed one ice cream flavor for life.
Be you. Love you. Make improvements because it’s what you want, not because some societal norm dictates it.

Now…I think I will have something very greasy and fattening to eat and wash it down with Dr. Pepper. Guilt free.
There is nothing that motivates me to do something more than being told it’s bad for me.
I shall follow it up with several cigarettes, maybe even a cookie or ten.
And the trolls can bite my fluffy ass.

2 Responses to “How Societal Norms Feed and Breed Mental Illness”

  1. What a great post and I couldn’t agree more. I’ve gained about 15 to 20 pounds in the last few years too and yesterday morning I had a bit of a tantrum when I couldn’t fit into a pair of pants I wanted to wear. I felt depressed about it all day.. I go to the gym 5 nights a week to yoga or some other class, why can’t I get this weight off? Then a co-worker who’s on this incredibly restrictive diet started complaining all day long about how hungry she is and she won’t eat the cupcake another co-worker brought in and yadda yadda.. I just had that moment of “life is too short to not enjoy these things..I’m eating that damn cupcake, hell I’ll have two.” I’m fine with my weight, I am just always so paranoid what friends think when they see me after awhile..if they’re thinking “oh wow, she’s packed it on..” But you know what?? Who cares! Thanks for this post, a great one!

    • Oh, I’ve been getting the “you’ve put on weight” comments for years now and it does make you self conscious. Doesn’t help that most people don’t put it diplomatically, either.
      I’ve just gotten out in front of it. “I’m fluffier than the last time I saw you.”
      Very few people comment further. Guess if they can’t be insulting there’s no sport.

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