I won’t call it a new quest. I’ve started this quest many times. I have always stumbled, fallen, and abandoned the quest, before returning to the quest-giver and trying again. I’ve restarted this quest so many times, even the quest-giver has started rolling her eyes when I return (tip: the quest-giver is ME). I don’t care, though.
Well, that’s not true. I do care. It’s disheartening and painful and demotivating when people I love and trust, including myself, start doubting my sincerity and ability to actually succeed.
This time will be different, I swear!
It will, be, too. That’s not just fluff. Every single time, the quest is a little different. I try different techniques or different support networks. I try to be more aggressive or less so. I try listening to this camp instead of that camp, and reading those books since these books didn’t help. It’s always different. So what makes this time different?
Understanding, for starters.
Before I go on, I suppose I should elaborate on the mysterious ‘quest’, for which I am my own ‘quest-giver’.
Contrary to my character’s appearance, I am not a slender, healthy little thing. I’m fat. Fat, diabetic, and afflicted with a small laundry list of issues both physical and psychological. What? Fat isn’t a bad word, people. It’s all in the way it’s used. I am fat, there’s no getting around that fact. I’m 5’4″ tall and weigh a gloriously jiggly 368 lbs. That’s almost 167 kg, or just over 26 stone for you folks in the rest of the world. I’m not happy to be fat, though I am happy with who I am. Fat doesn’t define me anymore and I won’t let anyone or anything change that. It is, however, a fact of my life that I need to address in order to come to a healthier, happier place where I am able to do all the things I desperately want to do.
Several times a year, I embark on this quest to shed the pounds and become that healthier, happier person. I’ve probably failed and tried again so many times William E. Hickson would have given up on me already. I’ve certainly lost the faith of a few people around me, I’m sure. I’m used to the hesitations, long pauses, or rolled eyes when I say I’m trying again. They have caused me to give up faster, in the past, but not this time.
This time, I have understanding. Not my own, but that of someone near and dear to my heart.
Yesterday, I laid out my newest plan before my sister, in full and glorious detail. I braced for the rolling of eyes that I was sure I’d be able to ‘hear’ right through my chat window.
It never came. Instead, in return for my trust and enthusiasm, I received several statements of utmost patience, kindness, and understanding.
She told me how she would support me in any way she could. She told me she was glad to see me feeling ambitious. Then, she told me that the only thing that worried her was seeing me fall into another depression and give up on myself again. She told me how it pained her to watch me give such a sincere effort and then give up when the depression hit. She told me how she knew that I really wanted change, because I never half-tried or gave it a half-assed effort, but depression is my clever and relentless enemy along the way.
Woah! Stop the wagon. Say what?
People have told me they knew I’d just give up, before. No one has ever mentioned my bi-polar depressions as a factor, though. Not many people fully understand what being bi-polar means, or what depression really means for that matter. Then there’s the natural bias that causes us to attribute our own failings to less shameful sources while attributing other people’s failings to laziness or other negative sources. No one ever seemed to consider that my brain might also be tricking me into believing I deserve to be fat or that food will somehow solve all my problems. The same brain which plays horrible tricks on me including making me hallucinate on occasion and making me think I don’t deserve to live.
I had to thank her. That one moment of realizing that someone understood what was really going on in the battleground that is my mind changed my entire outlook. In that moment, I was reminded that there are people who care and want me to succeed, even if I fail a thousand times more. I was reminded that just one person who truly understands me and my struggle can be a truly great source of encouragement. I was reminded that I have an actual disease that causes my mind not to connect entirely with reality or logic at all times, and diseases can be treated.
This time, I’m going into this quest fully aware of the challenges I will face along the way. I am going in with a full team of medical and mental health professionals at my back and my best friend, my sister at my side. I know I’ll have the support of a number of family and friends, as well, even if some have lost hope that I’ll ever succeed. I’m learning a lot about how my brain works, and I have recently started to really learn and believe that it doesn’t matter if everyone, or anyone at all for that matter, believes that I can do this, so long as I believe it.
So here I am again. Standing at the quest-giver’s post. I’ve changed the rules a bit, once again. I’ve definitely changed the plan of action. Maybe this will be the one where I succeed. I sure hope so. The quest rewards are too sweet to pass up, on this one.
Wish me luck!