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I Cannot Gain Weight. Please Stop Wishing You Had My Problem.

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“Oh my! Is this how I really look?” is the question I am asking myself as I stand in front of dressing room mirror. Maybe it’s the lighting in here that is making me look worse than I really do. But in that moment, I see how frail I look, pale with no warmth to my skin tone, so many bruises that I have no idea where they came from, and the road map throughout my body made by my veins. I had no idea I looked like this… I really do look sick.

I tell myself that I must push through this and try on some clothes. After all, isn’t shopping supposed to make you feel better? As I try on jeans (the smallest I could find on all the racks) I start to cry. They are so big and so loose on me, it looks terrible. I obviously need a smaller size, and my brain fog is bad today so it could be possible I missed a smaller option. I will do my best not to get discouraged as this is the first time I have tried on anything in almost a year. As I wipe the tears off my face and put on my clothes that I came in, I take a deep breath and walk away from that mirror of shame.

I find the sales associate and ask if there is a smaller size for these pants? She immediately began to laugh and said, “Honey, you need to go to the junior/teen section, I don’t have anything smaller than that in the women’s section.” I began to choke up and the sales associate (with good intentions – most likely) said, “Honey, everybody wishes they had that problem.”

At that very moment, my heart felt like shattered glass. I walked away not wanting to argue with the woman as she doesn’t know who I am, my illnesses, and probably was just trying to make me feel better. But as I walked away I said to myself, No, you don’t wish to have my problems. I have autoimmune diseases, all types of disorders, and my body is equivalent to someone twice or three times my age. I cannot gain weight while I eat more than anyone I know. I do not digest my food properly, proven by my gastro doctor. Some days I can be considered malnourished because I am not gaining all the nutrients I am supposed to. I only gain weight if I am on a high amount of steroids for an excessive period. And if I do gain weight it’s very little.

So pretty please, with a cherry on top… do not tell me that you wish you had my problem. I would love to shop in the women’s section of the store but obviously it’s all too big. I only wear sweatpants and leggings because these are the only things that don’t remind me of how sick I really am. And those people who wish they had my problem view me as lazy and that I always look like I am in pajamas.

I am tired of people making ignorant comments. “Oh, it’s better to be too skinny than to overweight.” I understand that people have good intentions but unfortunately you cannot judge a book by its cover, or someone’s health by the way the way they look. I am very sensitive about my weight, always have been, and probably always will be. I always hear that people wish they could eat all day and not gain weight. But let me be the first to tell you it’s exhausting, depressing, and not normal. Truthfully it sucks.

So, to all those who are wishing for this, be careful what you wish for, because my problem comes with a ton more problems that I am sure you don’t want. And if you want one of my problems, be sure to take the rest with you. Because unfortunately if you knew how I felt inside you would be wishing for something else.

Getty image by Kate Shamanska

Originally published: May 5, 2018
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