Thursday, June 29, 2006

Depression and Weight Gain

There has been quite a response to my last post on kilorats of depression, so I want to thank those who read it.

My intent all along in this blog has been to make people laugh.

In that spirit, bloggers have informed me that Thursday is the traditional day for bloggers to post poems. Notice I have a link to "Poetry Thursday."

Again, for the veterans here, if you look at my profile at the top of the page you may have noticed that my weight has changed from 250 lbs. to 270. I blame this on quitting smoking and the weight-gaining medications I'm taking for my depression like lithium and olanzapine (Zyprexa). But I'd much rather be fat and happy then svelte and depressed, and I am improving incrementally. It helps when Kathleen makes fun of me. It seems in my depressions only abuse feels ego-syntonic, probably because I think I deserve it. And in that abuse by my friends and family, I find a certain sanity, and a connection to my own humanity I might otherwise not make.

Satirizing me when depressed helps much more than compassion, as sympathy will bring the "tears, idle tears" of which Tennyson wrote. He was, incidentally, likely a bipolar II and his uncle (or father?) "Mad Jack" was definitely a bipolar I. At least 20% of recognized poets through the ages have been manic-depressive, the highest of any known artistic pursuit, and I suspect it's even higher when you look at self-treatment with laudenum and alcohol.

But enough statistics. I'm posting a poem today about weight gain as a consequence or defense against depression, a poem that should convince the skeptic that poetry can actually be fun. Here goes:


Two days ago I woke up fat.
I'm not gonna hate myself for that.
I did indulge my appetite

like a starving rat,
So I avoid mirrors and dress in black.
I’m not gonna hate myself for that.

I may be fat but I'm not blind.
I did indulge my appetite
because depression savaged my mind.

You see, it's not easy to be easy on me.
I'm all spiky inside like a cactus.
Two days ago I woke up fat.

I may be fat but I'm not blind.
If I did indulge my appetite,
it was only to distract

my stomach’s acid pit
from the black hole of my mind,
too melancholy to react.

(published in Ygdrasil)

(click on the magazine to see this poem and others)

And what does all this prove? That fat people aren't always jolly!

Though improved, I'm at least in a 2 kilorat depression.

Thine in Calories and Committment,



  1. Good one! Happy Canada Day Long Weekend! (I'm going camping...)

    I trust there will be more good poems awaiting my return :-)

  2. Thanks, Rea, and Viva Canada!

  3. had a good laugh... as you know I have to take daily prednisone.. so I have gain (in the last two years)50 pounds...

    As my husband keeps reminding me, "do you want to be a beautiful corpse or a chunky live person."
    Guess I have picked chunky...

  4. Good for you on quitting smoking.

    I finally did. When I realized that the only reason I was smoking was because I was bored out of my mind, I stopped. Cold turkey. Never looked back. Haven't felt even a craving since.

    Incidentally, why is it called cold turkey?

    Hey, my advice to you, CE is: Physician, heal thyself. If you're fat, stop eating until you're hungry--you'll be surprised how long that might take. Then, only eat when you're hungry. Don't eat because you're bored or angry or depressed or because the food is there or because everyone else is eating. Eat because food is fuel. Period.

    And speaking of fuel, why not expend some? Do you exercise? If not, do. Don't laugh. I know it sounds as ridiculous as eating only when one is actually, physically hungry, but it works. And you don't have to kill yourself in a gym. Walk. That's how I started 5 years ago. Started walking every day an hour a day a few months before my father died, and I've been doing some form of daily exercise ever since. Walked for 2 years then branched out into aerobics and weightlifting then added some kickboxing, running and biking to the mix. But really, all you have to do is walk. Briskly. You have a dog and a wife. Hit the road, jack. It'll be good for your body AND your mind. I'm living proof that daily exercise eases the effects of chronic depression. Sure, I' still bottom out from time to time, but I find that I cycle out of my down and outs alot faster since I began exercising.

    Oh, I'll shut up. Everyone rolls their eyes at me when I start rattling on about how I got thin and stayed thin. I am serious though. Eat only when you're hungry. Eat slowly. Stop eating before you get full. Eat what you really want, not that crappy diet food. And exercise. Move your body every day. Walk. That's it. That's all it takes.

    Hey, no one said it was easy. But man, it works.

    I think I'll go exercise right now....

    Oh, and I stop over at Melic from time to time and saw your question. I say ditch the board unless you can attract bonafide poets back to the site. Remember what Melic used to be? I do. Geez, that's where I learned how to behave on a poetry board, how to crit, how to accept criticism, how to revise my work. I miss what Melic used to be. Writer's Block is okay and so is Gazebo but neither of them feel like home. Melic felt like home.

    Sorry I prattled on about eating and exercise. But christ, daily exercise has made such a huge difference in my life, in how I feel in my body and in my head, that I can't help but extoll its benefits whenever I can.

    Oh, and hey, do you ever hear from Ken Ashworth? I miss him and the whole gang from the old days. Sherry and Zola and you and Metz and Ken and Chellemiko and Teresa and Cazden and.......I could go on and on. Melic was such a damned good board.

  5. Dear LKD,

    So good to hear from you. And your dietary advice is utterly sound, and sounds like me talking to a patient. There is one fly in the ointment, however: some psychiatric meds, like two I'm on, tend to reset your hypothalamic satiety alarm. In all the bipolar groups I've been in or led, I never heard of someone who didn't gain weight on these drugs. Luckily I won't have to stay on one of them when I get better.

    Kathleen and I do walk, actually hike a bit, four times a week on averaage. Kenyon limps since Mexico but he's good for a couple of miles. I joined a gym but have been only once; on all the medication it seemed like I was encased in Jello on the stairmaster. Also, my back, the other reason for my disability, can't tolerate running, jumping, bicycling, or sitting for more than two hours. But I love to swim and I think that's my most promising venue for weight loss. Kathleen is also trying very hard to cook healthy.

    As for Melic, it had its day in the sun. I was burned out before the last issue, and getting that one out burned me out even more. Jim Zola set up the board for those who wanted to continue, but it became overgrown with tyros and the few good poets remaining lost interest. We have now pronounced it "dead" and Jim will soon delete it.

    I keep in touch with Sherry and Jim, sporadically, with Teresa more often. Ken disappeared long ago; he had my disease and trouble controlling it. Metz evolved beyond the board, I think, became rather successful at this art. And Cazden I haven't heard from, nor Chellimiko.

    It was always a pleasure to publish you and have you contribute to the board. Now Melic is an archive site. I hope the cyberghosts don't haunt it.



  6. CE... I also exercise 3-5 times a week. Doesn't help me lose weight, but it does keep me at this weight. Side effects of drugs can be so lovely.


  7. good morning, you. :) great post. glad to see you quit smoking - can only get better from there, yea?

    one thing that you should try to do is cut out any side dishes. instead of potatoes or rice, cook large mushrooms and peppers to go beside the main meal. you will be surprised at the outcome. also, eat boneless chicken in your Italian dishes, instead of red meat. let it simmer all day in sauce and pour it over your pasta with black olives, and red pepper. :)

    hope I am making sense - just woke and am extremely lagging! whether you are 900lbs or 50... you are still a great person. have a safe and fun weekend!



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