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When Stepping on a Scale Feels Like You're in a Horror Movie

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Dusty in the corner, the scale beckoned to me.

I hadn’t weighed myself in months.

I ignored it all day. I was not going to give in. However, like the beginning of all horror movies, the heroine does something incredibly stupid, like take out a ouija board. Me? I dusted off the scale.

I was at my highest weight ever. Cursing myself, I threw the scale away. But much like throwing the ouija board out does little to calm the specters of the night, throwing out the scale could not eradicate the haunting number in my mind.

I knew I should pay it little heed. I knew I should post a bikini pic with the hashtag body positivity as I was known to do. However, in those moments, I was frozen. The sensation of icy pins and needles began in my feet and worked their way upwards until my entire body was encompassed in this dreary melancholia I’d brought upon myself. Was I sad? Having an anxiety attack? Did I feel lost? All of the above.

I felt fake. I touted body positivity on my social media. I had endless smiling photographs where I’m enveloped in sunshine and self-assurance. This time, I had no self assurance. I cursed myself for opening pandora’s box. I knew it would trigger me. Yet, I was beckoned by the abomination of glass and metal to know my worth in its numerical form.

So disgusted with myself and my lack of self-control, I purged. And purged. And purged, until my stomach was so empty it felt like a gut punch.

I knew why I’d let the monster into the room. My debilitating bipolar depression. I’d stopped other methods of self-harm long ago, replaced by my internal psychological abuses. My depression felt empty and lacking, so by weighing myself, I gave it purpose.

I then did something I would not have done 10 or even five years ago. I called and made an appointment with my therapist. Yes, I pressed play on the horror movie, but that didn’t mean I had to keep the reel going. I began disordered eating when I was 16 and it’s followed me like a shadow figure ever since.

I’m not perfect. I am working on a new concept — body neutrality. Body neutrality dismisses the concept of judging someone’s health by the state of their body. Body neutrality works by separating the appearance and size of your body from your self-worth. Instead, it focuses on what your body can do for you.

I cannot say I’ve exercised my demons, but I’m close. This is the part of the movie where we think things are over, but it’s set up for a sequel. That’s OK… I’ll come out of this on the other side and an audience loves a good comeback story.

Getty image by Alex Linch

Originally published: September 8, 2021
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