Friday, 25 October 2013

crazy and fat

Did anyone ever call you crazy?  Did it make you crazy?  Are you feeling so crazy right now?

I was listening to the latest installment from Stuff Mom Never Told You - a podcast on crazy women stereotypes, like sex crazed, crazy bitch, baby crazy, etc.  They were arguing that categorising women as crazy when they don't behave is basically a means of enforcing gender norms.  I can totally see that, and see how women collude in it while describing themselves as crazy when they do break the norms - when they are interested in sex, or obsessional about having a baby.

There are those who say we shouldn't use 'crazy' for all these things, because it's putting down people who are genuinely crazy.  However, I am pretty sure everyone has a bit of crazy in them at some point in their lives, and what is crazy, if not breaking norms?  Sure - some people are at some points really very debilitated by mental illness.  I've been affected myself, I'm not going to say it ain't so, but isn't that just the thorny end of a very long stick?  Isn't crazy normal?

Channel 4 seems to be obsessing about fat people of late.  Apparently there are a lot of fat people around, and it is their fault, but if you listen to the stories of fat people, you find a lot of unhappiness, and fear.  It makes me wonder if overeating isn't maybe a form of eating disorder?  One that, like all eating disorders, is linked to mental and emotional health, but one that seems to be overlooked with a whole lot of victim blaming.

I had a bit of a problem with eating when I was a teenager, and as soon as my parents realised what was going on they took me to the doctor.  I was sent to a psychiatrist and a dietician straight away, and took up eating again, mainly in the hope that they would all leave me alone, but my point is, I got help.  Maybe not good help, but an effort was made.  

Being fat is another matter.  When I go to the doctor, I get told off for being fat, and advised on what a healthy diet involves (I mean really, as if people don't know what a healthy diet involves).  I basically get told that I'm stupid and being difficult, but I wouldn't choose to be fat, and I wouldn't choose an unhealthy relationship with food.  Lest we forget, people are dying from over-eating, meanwhile the NHS is wondering whether to bother helping them.  On one occasion I went to the doctor and told him I was feeling sad and hopeless, and was comfort eating.  He did refer me for CBT, but he didn't include my eating in my diagnosis (although surely it is?).  Instead he said, as I was leaving, that I should stop doing the comfort eating.  Thanks for that then.

I'm not saying that the NHS should take charge of my diet, or anyone else's, but maybe we should have a think about why people eat too much instead of just berating them for it.  The 'world's fattest man', Ricky Naputi, is said to have eaten himself to death, and no doubt he would have, if he had carried on as he did, but he chose a swifter suicide, because he was not only fat, but also sad.  When he was trying to get help there were lots of doctors talking about his weight, but precious few talking about his mood, and how can anyone succeed without the will to do so?

What about you?  What's your kind of crazy? 

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