Psycho-Babble Medication Thread 13470

Shown: posts 5 to 29 of 29. Go back in thread:


Re: Feeling Ugly

Posted by allison on October 20, 1999, at 10:31:49

In reply to Feeling Ugly, posted by Janice on October 19, 1999, at 22:51:26

Excellent thread.

I've always felt awkward and ugly. I cannot ever remember liking my physical characteristics. I cringe at school photos. I cringe at current photos, asking myself: "Do I REALLY look like that to other people?"

I've almost always been on the heavy side, although I would give my eye teeth to be as thin as I was 15 years ago in college when I thought I was fat. When I was in grade school and junior high, my dad used to try to bribe me saying that he'd buy me new clothes if I'd lose weight.

My husband always complimented me and told me I was pretty. Then I was diagnosed with depression and began really hating everything about myself: personality, shape, face -- you name it. I couldn't stand seeing my reflection even in a window. Even now I don't look at myself in mirrors, except to adjust something such as hair or hemline, and even then I don't look at myself as a whole. As our marriage fell apart, he told me that my attitude toward myself made him love me less.

This depression makes me feel even more hopeless. Why would anyone else want to know me if my attitude toward myself made my husband love me less? I cannot imagine anyone wanting to know me while I have this depression, and if I ever get out of it, chances are it will come back. Who would want to risk a relationship with this sort of defect?


Re: feeling ugly

Posted by dove on October 20, 1999, at 10:36:41

In reply to Re: I gots this theory, see?, posted by Noa on October 20, 1999, at 6:17:27

Wow, this is better than group-therapy.
Welcome back Janice - I hope you had a wonderful time!

I have also struggled with "ugliness" and the inability to see myself accurately in the mirror. Obesity runs in my family, and you can clearly see who has the "curse" and who doesn't. My sister was always so jealous of me because I could totally eat whatever I wanted and never gain a pound. She hated me actually, at least untill my 5th child and my subsequent 40 lb. weight gain.

Here's the funny thing, my bipolar combined with my hyperness is the most likely reason I was able to get away with the massive intake of calories. I would sporadically inhale enormous quantities of food and then go without food for days on end. I still struggle with this phenomenon but it is tempered by my mom duties but still I don't eat more than once a day.

Now, my self-image runs on exactly the same cycle as my food intake. When I'm in overdrive I forget to eat, I forget to look in the mirror and I find myself completely irresistable no matter what shape I'm actually in. My girl-friends hated me when I was like this. I have letters from them stating how it wasn't fair that every guy we met clung to me like I was the queen-bee. Every party was an opportunity to float above the masses. I was very honest and everyone I knew, which was a lot of people at that time, thought I was so incredible - so real - so unique.

Then the bottom would drop. I would lock myself away from everyone, boyfriends, parents, college classes. How many times did I drop my semester so I could sit in the dark drinking myself into oblivion. I knew I was ugly then and nothing could change that distorted image in the mirror, except my overdrive. When I was 15 I was 5'6" and 105 lbs. and completely convinced I was huge, if only I weighed that now (Ha-Ha! :-)

My Mom has struggled with her weight all her life, only thin when she was a speed freak in her late-teens and early twenty's. She never put any value on my weight or size (she's 5'11") and never compared any of us kids to each other. If she had been like my grandma or my dad I think I would be really messed up now (although cleanliness is still next to godliness the old school would like to remind). As I've gotten older and had children I don't put as much worth into my weight or even my looks. This could be a negative since I don't care if I shave my head bald or my anatomy is pierced.

So, what's my point? I have this self-image that is dependant on what end of the pendulum I'm on. The high and low ends have mellowed slightly with age and/or childbearing (and they don't swing as often). Meds haven't helped my perspective yet.

And, I really did attract people to me when I was out there with my gregarious behavior. It was not an illusion. My manic energy pumped others up, they would say that being around me was like taking drugs with no crash. Except, I crashed you know. But I did say and do things that hurt those closest to me. I had 15 boyfriends in one week because I didn't have a good reason to say no. I wanted others to feel loved and special and I wanted to feel those same things. The aftermath was nightmarish and I wondered why my boyfriends physically abused me (I know it's not an excuse but still, I really pushed them over the edge). This cycle finally slowed down when I was on Tegretol and met my husband.

And to Noa, I've thanked you before and I want to thank you again for your honesty and grace in your writing.

And to everyone who has opened their heart to share, Thank you! Your messages give me faith and fellowship, ya'll are teachers and healers even in your struggles.

dove (if I could just write a little shorter. Everytime someone sees my tag they're gonna run for the hills :-)


Hm... How many men in this thread? (hint, hint)

Posted by Racer on October 20, 1999, at 11:39:54

In reply to Re: feeling ugly, posted by dove on October 20, 1999, at 10:36:41

Isn't it sad that it's women who feel ugly in response to depression? I'm sure men do, too, but they must channel it differently. I for one would love to know how they cope, since it really does seem to be a focus for women.

Noa has a good point, that photographs are 2D, while we're all 3D. It is a combination of movement and the interplay of light and shadow, as well as attitude, that attracts one.

As for the general question here, I do know that I feel attractive enough most of the time these days. It's only when my self-conciousness strikes that I suddenly turn to a homely chick. The best thing in the world for me has been teaching. The first day I showed up for class and wanted to cry, I thought I was thoroughly incompetant, and would expose myself as a fraud. Instead, all my evaluations mention my ability to express technical concepts in understandable ways. I'm very proud of that, and I feel pretty dang good about it.

Now if I could find that balance for my students between the technical side of what the computer actually does, and the user experience... Maybe they don't have to understand the capacitors... (JOKING!!! I only tell them the things that matter to using a computer...)

My mother, by the way, used to say to me, "It really doesn't matter what you look like, dear, no one will be looking at you anyway." Most people think that cruel, but she had a very clear, and clearly explained, meaning: most of the world doesn't really see us. They're so caught up in their own concerns that they don't look at others. That means that one has a great advantage if one looks at others and tries to draw them out. If one makes an effort to make someone else feel comfortable, that will bring comfort to the exchange and obviate the need for self-consciousness.

Mother's other trick was to define the terms. Self-conscious: conscious of the self. So, how do you get over it? Be conscious of someone else. That has worked wonders for me, at times, and I recommend it as a way to feel pretty. If you're conscious of someone else for a while, that person will respond to you as being attractive, no matter how you look, and that will help you feel attractive. At least, it has worked for me many times!

My mother, by the way, is a squirrel. She is very eccentric, but she's got some very profound wisdom. Please note: for all the troubles we've had, if anyone criticises her, I'll be asking that bubba to step outside and repeat them words! (We're not sure what planet my mother is from, but I'm sure it's a nice one...)


Hey Racer, give us a minute here ...

Posted by Bob on October 20, 1999, at 12:28:32

In reply to Hm... How many men in this thread? (hint, hint), posted by Racer on October 20, 1999, at 11:39:54

... I'm still trying to figure out how much of being ugly, for men in general, is not so much a scarlett letter but, instead, a badge of honor! We're supposed to be proud of that spare tire ... its proof that we're good providers, evolutionarily-sound mates. And those love handles, you think we have them for us? No! Its our way of enhancing the overall experience, doncha know? Weekends are meant for not shaving or showering, even if you did sweat like a pig doing the yardwork on Saturday. Sure, there are men who are "passingly" ugly -- they really don't put in much of an effort, and are justly ridiculed for it. But then there are the hugely, monsterously ugly men -- men we like to place on a pedestal as an ideal to live up, er, down to!

Of course, that's all for show, gender-stereotyped socially-condoned behavior. I could never understand it myself. For instance, when you're 12 years old or so, why do girls think its so cool when boys belch loudly and repeatedly? Is it the same thing that makes Bill Murray so charming?

Anyway, of course I'm ugly. Spare tire (full-size, not one of those tiny emergency ones). Stringy hair with three major cowlicks and no even part anywhere (Once, I went to this fancy-shmansy Salon out in Great Neck to get my hair cut by my girlfriend's stylist -- $40 for a man's cut. I asked this expert lockstrimmer what he could do to make my hair look better ... he said "nothing.") Oh, then there's my teeth. Took a bite out of a dashboard on a sudden stop when I was five. Seems like part of my upper jaw stopped growing at the same rate. No one, not my parents nor my dentist, ever asked about braces. Anyway, I take that look in the mirror every morning when brushing my teeth and see all of that put together, and my girlfriend still can't understand why the thought of any intimacy is absolutely revolting to me. GACK!!!

... but I *do* have the coolest eyes (gray-green-blue) and a couple of cool scars in not-so-prominent places on my face, makes me feel particularly roguish with two days of stubble ....



Re: Hm... How many men in this thread? (hint, hint)

Posted by JohnL on October 20, 1999, at 16:55:54

In reply to Hm... How many men in this thread? (hint, hint), posted by Racer on October 20, 1999, at 11:39:54

Hi Racer! Hint taken. Was just too shy to jump in on this one.

I visit lots of retail stores in my job and get to deal with a lot of people. A lot of girls. I hear through the grapevine they all have good things to say about me. They love the way I charm them. Huh??? I don't charm anyone. If I do I don't notice. I also hear they are jealous of how I look. Huh??? Gotta be kidding!

I look in the mirror and I see this tall skinny boney scrawny guy with lots and lots of troubles inside. I cringe when I look in the mirror. Hopeless. Of course I do a good fake job I guess, so they don't know what really goes on inside. But in line with this thread, I feel rather ugly all the time and am completely floored when I hear otherwise. I mean....HUH???


JohnL, my ex-boyfriend used to say...

Posted by Racer on October 20, 1999, at 17:02:23

In reply to Re: Hm... How many men in this thread? (hint, hint), posted by JohnL on October 20, 1999, at 16:55:54

that I was "phenomenally beautiful". I don't know what I thought he was thinking, but Zyprexa did come to mind...

It's funny, ain't it, what we think of ourselves.

As for Bob, here's a question: why is it that all the women who posted here think that feeling ugly is serious, and you can take it lightly and find your good points (like your eyes)? That's why I hoped to hear from men in this thread. What's the difference that allows one person to say, "Hell, I'm not {Brad Pitt/Julia Roberts}, but I don't frighten children, either" and another to say, "I can't speak to my boss about a raise because I'm ugly".

That make any sense? My eyeballs are floating and I gotta grab some lunch before I lose the time to do so...

Damn, too late, gotta grab a slice of pizza instead... Urgh. If our volunteers ever showed up when they promise to, I'd eat better...


Re: Feeling Ugly

Posted by Adam on October 20, 1999, at 18:26:31

In reply to Feeling Ugly, posted by Janice on October 19, 1999, at 22:51:26

I thought when I read the header that this had something to do with BDD, but
I'll comment anyway...

I have heard that feeling ugly is a symptom of depression.

I personally don't buy the argument that "ugly" is purely based on individual
preferences. I think there may very well be some universal factors at work
that are "wired" into us. Thus I don't buy the idea that a self-assessment of
"ugly" is always inaccurate, or a symptom of depression. I imagine the part
depression plays in all of this is to what degree one's lack of perfection
distresses them. There are butt-ugly euthymics who are having a lot more fun
and enjoying life more than many attractive depressives.

Looks do matter. This is a provable concept. But they don't matter to the point
that one ought to hate themselves for being less than beautiful, or to shrink
from life.

My own issues with body image transcended mere depression-induced hypersensitivity
and were manifested as a full-blown anxiety disorder. I was never able to
convince myself, though, as my therapists tried to do, that what I saw in the
mirror was not what others saw. I think, rather, that my aversion to a particular
imperfection was too severe, took up too much time and energy, and caused too
much impairment. One can learn to live with certain "malformations", and be
perfectly happy despite them. I don't think the nature of the disease is so much
distorted perception as distorted affect. It is a bit of a letdown I think
to some that the road to recovery is not to someday awaken and find the ugly
duckling has turned into a swan but to realise that we can be just as happy as
most of the other ugly ducklings, which, to our suprise, is rather happy indeed.

My $0.02.

> Hi!
> I have had this symptom (I guess that's what I'll call it) since I was 12 years old. My period began at that age, and, looking back now, it was also at this time many of my emotional troubles began.
> I have just turned 34 and am feeling as good as I have ever felt in my life. I have manic depression (I'm on lithium for the highs and am currently not even suffering from depression); my eating disorder is under control (my body image is fine). My ADHD is as fine as it will ever be. I have trichotillomania (I pull out my eyelashes), but I honestly don't believe this has much to do with feeling ugly, although it does affect my appearance.
> Since I was 12 years old I have always felt ugly. I never look at myself in mirrors (when I'm working I'll check my face a couple times a day - and only because I feel I have to). I can't stand to see a picture of myself. If I see a picture of myself, I feel very sick inside. Looking at pictures of myself always reminds me of all the pain.
> Under no one's standards but my own would I be ugly. I'm slim, have thick healthy hair, symmetrical features, good skin. With my head I know I'm not ugly, but I feel ugly.
> This 'symptom' continues to baffle me. I've always thought it would go away as I worked through my disorders, but it seems to have a separate life of its own. Does anyone else have this symptom or have any ideas about it? Thanks so much, Janice.


Re: Feeling Ugly

Posted by Noa on October 20, 1999, at 19:54:43

In reply to Re: Feeling Ugly, posted by Adam on October 20, 1999, at 18:26:31

Wow, I am moved by everyone's contributions here. Dove, don't worry about the length of your posts (looks who's talking here--mine are long, too) because I, for one, LOVE to read what you write. So wise and eloquent. Racer, thanks for telling us your mom's pearls of wisdom I can't ever imagine my mother giving me such gifts. Your mom sounds special.


Thanks you guys...

Posted by Janice on October 20, 1999, at 23:03:02

In reply to Re: Feeling Ugly, posted by dj on October 19, 1999, at 23:18:04

What fantastic responses. It definately seems like I am not alone. After quickly reading through your posts, I'm wondering if many 'normal' (non-mental disordered) people also feel ugly too. Maybe this 'feeling ugly' says something about society rather than any mental disorder.

I used to think it had to do with depression, but I am no longer depressed. So then I thought it was something to do with my eating disorder and trying to obtain some kind of external perfection. As my nutritionalist said, 'feeling fat is not an emotion', nor, of course, would be 'feeling ugly'. Whenever I felt fat (like you dove, 105 lb at 5'6"), I'd say to myself 'what the hell is going on here, feeling fat is not an emotion'. So I'd look around at what was going on in my environment and it was ALWAYS an uncomfortable situation that could potentially make me feel too much (my most dreaded and major symptom of all my disorders - I have intense emotional reactions that are generally not acceptable). So obsessing about feeling fat took my mind off reality. But feeling ugly is much more vague than feeling fat, and there is no single action you can take (like stop eating) to get rid of it.

you guys gave me such wonderful answers, I can't possibly respond to them all with the responses they deserve. I'm going to go read through your responses again. Janice.


great theory racer...

Posted by Janice on October 20, 1999, at 23:36:18

In reply to I gots this theory, see?, posted by Racer on October 19, 1999, at 23:35:14

hi, so you think we all feel ugly inside because we form our opinion of our appearance at the most awkard and ugly phase of our existence, and when, unfortunately, appearance is most important to us.

Is your internal snapshot a good one? Is it a visual one like a picture, a 3D moving picture, or an emotional snapshot?
I like your suggestion of keeping it a separate issue because so far, feeling ugly doesn't seem to be a part of any of my other disorders. I used to wear make-up... lately I don't because I'm travelling and can't be bothered. I think you're suggesting make-up as a psychological boast, and just thinking back in my life I believe it could have helped. So you concentrate your attention on your the individual features, rather than the big picture so you don't get overwhelmed. And you try not to judge yourself. So I probably have to become aware of when I am judging my appearance (so far I am only aware of feeling ugly - somewhere along the line, I certainly must be judging myself), and then maybe talk myself out of it. ]

I loved your story about your mother's words of wisdom (I had three quick, distinct emotional reactions while reading that story, to put them simply, I laughed, felt bad, and then I understood). I also really liked what you said about 'feeling ugly' being a type of self-consciousness. Thanks so much for your response, I may be asking you some more questions. Feeling ugly is ridiculous, Janice.


Noa, I think you're feeling alot...

Posted by Janice on October 21, 1999, at 0:11:30

In reply to Re: I gots this theory, see?, posted by Noa on October 20, 1999, at 6:17:27

I don't think you are successfully avoiding your feelings Noa. I read your posting about ADD and wanted to respond to it but haven't had the time. I think you know my story, treated for depression for 5 years unsuccessfully until I discovered I also have ADHD. I now think about 65% of what I considered to be my manic depression is actually my ADD. Okay the differnce for me between ADD and depression... this is a spontaneous and very non-scientific list.

Qualities I attribute to my ADD
*self-torturous thoughts (similar to anxiety)
*I'm stuffed full, never feel empty
*unable to relax, never feel like I've gotten anything done.
*oblivious to gossip
*don't/can't do small talk
*never at peace
*EXCITABLE (emotionally)
*serious troubles feeding myself (food bores me to tears). My ADD sister loves food and binge eats (she can't control her impulses).
*I used to (I have 'cured' this symptom) have extreme difficulties being organized and clean. I was unable (although I have a high IQ and am a gifted student) to figure out how a room got messy and how a room got clean.
*I'm intense
*times when you can't control yourself. i.e., I'm completely intolerant of pretences. When someone pretencious is around, my brain and mouth collaborate and take over my being. I have no control and find myself very artfully criticizing the crap of the person. This fills me with shame, but usually, my friends will tell me that the person deserved it.

funny enough, talking alot and not listening to other people is a common symptom of this disorder. I talk relatively little and listen intensely.

Symptoms I attribute to Depression
*flu like symptoms (fever, aches and pains)
*not being able to get out of bed
*comes with anxiety and small OCD type thoughts (i.e., I cannot be late for anything, not even 2 seconds)

This is not a great list Noa. The two can be so similar. I definately have both, and am, right now, trying to figure out for myself what is the difference.

I'm sorry to hear about your weight gain and how it seems to feed off of and feed your bad feelings. I have been anorexic so I definately know about feeling fat, and the fear of fat. You talked about your mother criticizing your appearance. I am a hyper-sensitive person so I'm not certain as to how accurate my perceptions are, but I believe my family spends too much time talking about my appearance, even now. I wonder why they do this? I certainly don't talk about other people's appearances. How's your coctail going? great response Noa, I enjoyed it. Janice.



Posted by Janice on October 21, 1999, at 0:21:32

In reply to Re: Feeling Ugly, posted by Noa on October 20, 1999, at 19:54:43

I just thought of something else. People with ADD generally tend not to feel sorry for themselves, wheras self-pity can be a common feature of depression. There should be a book for people to help them distinguish between these 2 disorders. Anyway, I just read another one of your posts, where you said you were already farmilar with ADHD. Janice.


Ugly to the bone ...

Posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 0:55:25

In reply to Noa, posted by Janice on October 21, 1999, at 0:21:32

Why can I laugh at it, Racer? Janice summed it up best, "Feeling ugly is ridiculous." I used to ridicule myself so much that I became numb to the shame and started laughing instead. More seriously, our society grants men the right to be ugly, and punishes women for being so. Okay, quick poll here -- who is better qualified for the description "double bag ugly" (or what we used to call the Oklahoma Double-Bagger, and no I don't know why): Bill Clinton or Monica Lewinski? My vote goes to the Schnozz (well, I do have a history of voting for him) but who was the butt (pardon the pun) of the late-night comics?

You wanna hear my Emancipation Proclimation? Stop purchasing goods from companies that advertise in magazines that promote unhealthy body images for women. Hit'em in the pocketbook, because they'll never respond to reason.

as for JohnL:
> I look in the mirror and I see this tall skinny boney scrawny guy with lots and lots of troubles inside.

Man, you're a waif!! No wonder those women say all those things! It's like those Kate Moss-Obsession ads, but you're there instead of Kate. I always wanted to be a waif ... just couldn't do the chain-smoking or the occupational drugs to keep my 6'2" frame down around 105 lbs or so. Damn. I'll never forgiven McDonalds and Haagen Daas for this....

Back to Racer, tho ...
You ever get the feeling that, given a different set of circumstances or a different gene or two, you could have been this person hiding inside of you who you really think you were supposed to be? Somehow, somewhere, I acquired the ability to step out of who I am and, for a while, step into who I should be -- a person who is, in part, naturally gregarious and out-going, always playing the host/cruise director role instead of being painfully shy and buying clothes that match common wallpaper or panelling patterns/colors. I had some very good friends back in junior high and high school who kept dragging me out. In comes the ridicule part -- when I found that I could make people laugh by saying the things that made me cringe, I found being social easier and easier. Like I said, the words lost their meaning for the most part, but I did learn that role quite well and can put it on like a mask.

Men are supposed to look professional, but outside of work we're either hunks or lumpyprolees. We've built a culture for ourselves that says its not just okay to be part of the unwashed masses, it's your birthright as a man. So, above all, don't rock the boat by bellyaching about your looks ... well, I refuse to finish the stereotype here because it just becomes too offensive, but I'm sure you all know our culture's connotation of men who are overly concerned with looking perfect.

Guess I need my own Emancipation Proclimation of some sort ...


dove...I think we have the same nervous system...

Posted by janice on October 21, 1999, at 1:10:26

In reply to Re: feeling ugly, posted by dove on October 20, 1999, at 10:36:41


Geez could I relate to everything you said. I love your long responses. When new age people talk about how we create our world; you and I know exactly what they are talking about. Except, of course, we can't control our states; but we know how our states, our emotions create our world, day by day, mood by mood. Yes, there are at least 6 billion different worlds out there.

my eating history is similar to yours. I'd starve myself for days (I generally can't stand eating, especially having to do it 3 times a day-an ADD thing). And then I'd binge (say once a week on a great big pizza). I certainly never planned the eating disorder or was even conscious of it. It's wild how whacky my life has been.

my manic phases often involved knowing how to make everyone blissfully happy. As far as I can tell now, they were as real as any depression. I used to talk to spirits sometimes (I couldn't call them, they would just spontaneously come to me) and everything the spirits ever told me came true. Some manias seem more real than even depression.

so your self-image depends on your manic-depressive cycle? I'm stable for the first time in my life, and now after reading your posting, I'm thinking that perhaps I have never had the time to build any self-esteem (accomplishments and goals mean nothing if your manic depressive). you're right, our self-image relies/relied solely on the manic depressive cycle.

Maybe my feeling ugly is about my need to build my self-esteem like any regular person does. Maybe feeling ugly is a metaphor for how I feel about my life. Most pepole probably build their self-esteem before they are 34.

So far, none of my accomplishments mean anything to me. I wonder how you get accomplishments to mean anything? I'm not depressed, but how do you get things to matter to you. I find that what others deem to be of high value generally seems useless and petty to me. By my nature, I am basically a complete rebel.

I like to think I've come a long ways, but I believe I may have a long ways to go yet. I could quite possibly die before I feel good. now that's depressing.

dove, I'm sorry to hear you're not having any luck with your medications. Have you started your mood stabilizer yet?

Unstably stable, Janice.

what I will probably need at the end of all these wonderful posting is a psychiatrist to analyze my responses.


Re: Ugly to the bone ...

Posted by Noa on October 21, 1999, at 5:13:22

In reply to Ugly to the bone ..., posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 0:55:25

bob, did you mean to say 6'2" and ***105 lbs***??? That sounds awfully skin and bony to me. Maybe you meant 150. Or maybe I need to reread what you wrote to understand it better.


Re: Ugly to the bone ...

Posted by Racer on October 21, 1999, at 11:07:34

In reply to Ugly to the bone ..., posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 0:55:25

Bob's comments about it being more socially acceptable for men to be less than hunky makes a good point. For men, being a failure connotes an inability to keep a job, to be successful professionally, to forget the value of soap, that sort of thing. It's a lack of internal value. For a woman, though, it's tied up in looks and an ability to attract men. I think the male equivalent of this 'feeling ugly' is probably more like 'feeling stupid' or 'feeling incompetent'. I try hard to remember that, though the three usually go together for me: I never feel smart, competent and ugly; nor do I ever feel stupid, incompetent and pretty. Then again, I've often been accused of being 'like a man' by the people closest to me. (You know, rolling over and going to sleep, getting too involved in football, the stereotypes...)

I laugh at the feelings a lot, too, Bob, so don't take what I said as being critical. I was only musing. What do I say to make myself laugh? "Gee, my mother always told me it hurts to be beautiful, and I'm not a glutton for punishment - I'll just settle for vaguely cute..." "Ah, heck, I don't need to be beautiful, I have a personality and skills to fall back on instead..." You know, that sort of thing.

Mind you, I am attractive. I know that. Some days I can't feel it. Fat, that's another issue all together.

I am seeing a new man (as some of you may recall), and he is highly attracted to my big fat belly. All these years of being so self conscious about having a pot belly? Now here's a man who adores it! I said something to him last night about my fat belly, and he reminded me 'not fat', and also 'feminine'. This will be interesting for me...

As for the fat issue, though, here's something that happened at the beach with my ex-boyfriend: we were comparing female bodies. He knew all about the anorexia, since I was 5;9", 110# when we met - and it took an act of God to make me eat in front of anyone. Anyway, I'd pick out a woman who's body was about the size I thought mine was, or who had a shape like what I wished I had. He told me that the women I was picking out as being most attractive were about the same size I was, and the ones that matched my self-image were about 50 pounds heavier than I. It was a really valuable lesson for me. If any of the people here have a supportive friend who can do this for you, do it! Find a place where you can look at bodies and choose some you think match you, and some you find attractive, and see which are closer to your size...

The scariest thought of all this for me, of course, is the time we did something similar: I pointed out a couple of women I thought were much too thin, just as we walked along one day, saying, "I don't understand wanting to be that thin. It's just not attractive" He told me they were heavier than I... That was a shocker.



Posted by Jane (janey girl) on October 21, 1999, at 13:10:04

In reply to Re: Ugly to the bone ..., posted by Racer on October 21, 1999, at 11:07:34

I was raised where being fat meant you were ugly.

Didn't matter if you were fat or not -- 10 lbs.,
25 lbs., 100 lbs. overweight. My brother even
divorced his wife because she'd gained 30 lbs. over
the period of a 15-year marriage (she looked just
fine). Dad can't stand fat people. Everytime I
see the family, I'm reminded over and over again
about how ugly I am, whether I've lost or gained

I'm crying right now as I remember and write this.
Doesn't matter that I've lost 30 lbs since August,
I feel fatter than I did before I lost the weight...

Failure... told you so.


Failure is a state of mind, janey's not

Posted by janice on October 21, 1999, at 13:41:22

In reply to Ugly, posted by Jane (janey girl) on October 21, 1999, at 13:10:04

much more than a mood. You just lost 30 lbs, that should be a success.

janey girl, you are definately going to fail when you use someone else's standards.

i don't even know you, and from what I can tell, you can operate a computer, get on the internet, write articulate sentences and sound like a decent human being.

I think what you're doing is all or nothing thinking. If it feels good to confess, keep doing it janey girl, but i don't believe you. But I'll believe that you believe yourself. Janice.


Re: Ugly - Janeee!

Posted by Racer on October 21, 1999, at 15:40:12

In reply to Ugly, posted by Jane (janey girl) on October 21, 1999, at 13:10:04

I've got the same fat=ugly thing going on. I think most of us do, if we've grown up in Western European culture. Just remember what it is: RACISM!!!

So, if you look at a black person, do you see ugly? Asian? Hispanic? So, this anti-fat thing is the last acceptable form of racism. You wanna be racist?

Why is it racism? Because it's based on the body type of the dominant genetic group: WASPs. Why? Because being thin means being able to afford to eat the healthy, low fat foods that keep you thin, while indulging in other forms of gratification. Who's gonna buy and eat a doughnut if the alternative is an hour with the trainer, another with the masseuse, and then buy a nice Cartier watch?

In the real world, most of us can indulge ourselves by buying that doughnut. So, we don't stay stick thin unless we're anorexic or something. The idea of one body type being the only acceptable one is nothing more than a safe way to say, "hey, I'm better than you are." That's a nice safe hobby for the stringy haired, unbathed, fat, illiterate [fill in group of your choice here] of the world...

Janey, you are many things. You are hurting, you are sad, you are suffering, you are focussing on the negative, but you are not a failure. You are articulate, you care enough about yourself to find this place to vent some of your anguish, you have inspired caring in a number of people on this board, and you are trying to make yourself better. Guess what? You're likely to make yourself better by my standards than your family members who give you grief for your weight without bothering to note that you've lost 30#! Hell, I'm proud of you! The only way I could lose 30# would be to put duct tape over my mouth! (Hey, the duct tape diet book.... I'll make a million!)

Here's a trick for you Janey: when you find yourself falling into that place where you list every one of your failures, make yourself a list of every success you can think of. No matter how small, no matter how long ago, wrack your brain. Post that list where you can see it regularly. Read it daily. Make it pretty. Remind yourself of your successes. You've got them.

It may not mean much, but I've taken time to answer you today. I'm so overpressed for time I can't bear it, finding my way to the ladies room is going to be tough, and you've caused me to care enough about you that I've typed this long message in hopes of helping you feel better. That's an accomplishment.


Re: Failure is a state of mind, janey's not

Posted by dove on October 21, 1999, at 16:02:05

In reply to Failure is a state of mind, janey's not , posted by janice on October 21, 1999, at 13:41:22

Jane - I understand exactly where you coming from, that mean streak the relatives like to dish out is absolute garbage for the soul. My father's side is just the same and my Mom is always getting scrutinized, up and down and their smug little grins. My Dad is so neurotic about his own weight, it's just a joke, almost.

Everyone has issues with weight, size, shape, symetricalness, lopsided heads, age-related wrinkles ect.. But, inside of these little bodies are people with dreams, thoughts, aspirations, failures and successes. Every person has a vulnerability and a strength, even if it remains hidden from themselves.

I have read a number of your posts and I appreciate your honesty but you must see that you are more than someone elses measuring rod. You are so much more than your hair, your shape, your voice or even your accomplishments. We all have worth not because of our strengths or weaknesses but because we are alive. Even the ants on the ground have someone somewhere that finds them interesting and worthy of attention.

You are not a failure as a human being. You may have failed at many goals, you may fail daily in your interactions with others. I have countless examples of failure, and what we do with this is the key to being well. We have to look beyond the details if that is what we're failing at. For me, I have to look at the details to see my success. I cannot let my failures be more important than my life or my person.

Honestly, I know there are many things I have blatantly failed at but they do not make me worth less than if I had succeeded at those very same things. In fact, it would probably make no differnce right now or in the future to me or anyone else if I had kept my house in perfection all the years of my life.

There are real mistakes with lasting consequences, those actions bringing death, disease or maybe a spell in the jailhouse. But even under those dire circumstances we can still do the right thing and we are still worth everything! You are worth so much more than what you perceive as failure. You were created a precious beautiful thing while you were in your mother's womb. Doesn't matter how you even got to your mother's womb, you have life and soul and you are existing in this world under the curse of insecure and short-sighted people's cruel judgements. They may reject you but you are not rejected, they may fail you but you are not a failure!

You are more than all your failures and forever you shall be! This is not a contest based on pluses and minuses, it is a walk that is judged on the ability to keep moving. Going backwards, okay. Going forwards, great. Crawling, yes that counts too. I see you and I recognize me in you and there are many here in the same situation. Gathering the brokenhearted, the overburdened, the lost and confused, the rejected, we're all here and we're all unique and precious and yet the same.

You are important, you are helping by sharing and giving by reading. We have so much and yet so little, our sight and vision needs to be stretched and realigned and we all need to put our dreams where our soles slap the ground.



jane the poet

Posted by Noa on October 21, 1999, at 18:10:33

In reply to Re: Failure is a state of mind, janey's not , posted by dove on October 21, 1999, at 16:02:05

Jane I was just noticing how the "I'm a failure" line appears at the end of your post like a refrain in a poem or song. This is the song that was sung to you and which you continue to sing to yourself.
You have inspired some amazing reflections and writing here--Racer and Dove's last posts, for example. You have something of a catalyst in you, an energy that stimulates others to think and create.


janey's a poet but she don't know it ...

Posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 23:51:36

In reply to jane the poet, posted by Noa on October 21, 1999, at 18:10:33

... what size shoe do you wear, grrrlfriend?

My problem with the failure thing, personally, is that I try so hard to prove it to myself and then I go and screw things up by succeeding at something -- most times, without even trying! I just hate it when my capabilities blind side me like that.

[You'd better cover up, jane ... you've been inspiring and responding with support and all -- your successes are bearing down on you like a blitzing 250lb linebacker with a clear shot at the quarterback ....]

Ouch! It hurts just to think of it!


Re: My Two Sense

Posted by DMK on October 22, 1999, at 7:50:35

In reply to janey's a poet but she don't know it ..., posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 23:51:36


I'm not really adding much to the thread, but I wanted to say that I feel ugly all of the time, too. My friends & my doc disagree, but I think they're either lying or mistaken. I'm a male, but I'd uch rather be underweight (as I have been) than overweight (I think I'm fat but people don't agree with me there, either. Well, my friends don't. Acquaintences feel compelled to MARVEL at "all the weight" I've put on.)

I think the comment above about listening to "your own" standards and not other people's is important, except that I don't seem to HAVE my own standards! (and if I ever do, they always turn out to be "wrong"!) Even on the rare occassions that I buy new clothes, I'm so paranoid that I look stupid in them that I watch the faces of people on the street to see if they're staring/laughing at me. (Of course, my looking at them makes them look at ME, which just makes things worse.)

On a "good" day I get get myself angry enough to think that I'm "inflicting" myself on the world just by leaving the house, and that displaying my ugly self is my way of "standing up to them" or something.

But I almost never look in mirrors (there's one particular public bathroom where, when I wash my hands, I stand over to the left of the sink so I'm not in front of the mirror!)and even when riding the train at night I have to keep my eyes lowered so I don't catch a glimpse of myself reflecting in the window.

Having said all of this, I don't know if I feel better or worse. Probably the same.

Um. That's all, I guess.


For Bob: My mother's wisdom...

Posted by Racer on October 22, 1999, at 23:50:04

In reply to janey's a poet but she don't know it ..., posted by Bob on October 21, 1999, at 23:51:36

My mother always said that "children are cooperative"...

When the first boy I ever loved was killed a decade ago, after years of his mother saying he'd die young, my mother was furious with her. "Children are cooperative"

Bob, and Jane, and Racer, and probably most of us here, have heard from others that we're 'failures', 'losers', 'incompetant', 'unloveable' or whatever. Guess what? "Children are cooperative"

Now, what do we do about it?

We learn NOT to cooperate! We learn not to live down to others' expectations of us.

My beloved aunt is right: I can't keep a job, something always happens and it's always a personality thing. You know what, though? I find I'm freelancing rather well, and almost supporting myself at it... Well, not quite, but getting there...

And you know what else? When that personality thing happens? It's always been because I try to make someone else happy. When I say, "Hey, Buster, sit down, shut up, and listen to ME!!" these problems don't occur. I'm working to learn to do that more often.

Here's a work story for Bob:

I worked in a place with a bunch of good ol' boys salesmen. They all complained that I was bitchy, and not nice enough to them. My boss called me out on the carpet, with two of them in the room, to rip me up one side and down the other for being a lousy person, and 'be nicer to the sales guys'. I tried to be nicer to them. What happened?

I got called out on the carpet again. Why? "The sales guys are complaining that you keep coming on to them..."

Can you say "can't win situation"?

My judgement of the situation, by the way, was that the salesman who complained the most was threatened by me because I was smarter than he was, and taller than he was. He didn't like the fact that, after years of telling everyone that he was a computer genius, I walked in the door, said outright that I knew almost nothing about Macs, and proceeded to fix all his problems! And was more knowledgeable about PCs than the network administrator, most of whose job fell to me once I showed that I could fix all the troubles she got herself into. Of course, that's not fair, since I'm not only the accountant, but also a woman. And a woman who wore appropriate clothing (ie: suits with skirts and heels...).

Let's not even get into what happened once I started wearing pants to work on Fridays... Let's just say I'm not gay, no matter what anyone says, and, while I'm sure she's very nice, I don't want to meet your sister...


Re: Racer's mother's wisdom...

Posted by Bob on October 23, 1999, at 20:18:07

In reply to For Bob: My mother's wisdom..., posted by Racer on October 22, 1999, at 23:50:04

> My mother always said that "children are cooperative"...

It's not just families. There was a somewhat controversial article in a top educational journal a few years back about schooling's culture of "compliant cognition" -- of how it's more important for students to think as the teacher wants them to think instead of thinking for themselves.

As for the job, you should just listen to what my HR director told me a couple of weeks ago. My boss, being a boss, is always right and I, being a supervisee, am always wrong. It doesn't matter if the boss contradicts herself, violates company policy, or even violates federal law, she's right.

That is, until the feds come knocking on her door.

It just sucks so much, doesn't it racer, that you're there to work hard, to do a good job, and then you get double-teamed for being who you are and being better than they are.

I'll say it again ... I damn sure am glad to be a man, and a tall white one with facial hair. Our society cuts me so much slack for that, and I don't know if I would have the strength that the women on this board have shown in dealing with being depressed and being employed. I admire every single one of you for that.


This is the end of the thread.

Show another thread

URL of post in thread:

Psycho-Babble Medication | Extras | FAQ

[dr. bob] Dr. Bob is Robert Hsiung, MD,

Script revised: February 4, 2008
Copyright 2006-17 Robert Hsiung.
Owned and operated by Dr. Bob LLC and not the University of Chicago.