In general, I have had extremely good experiences with my doctors. I
have numerous medical issues, and neither my GP, nor my gynaecologist, orthopedic surgeon, podiatrist or dermatologist have ever tried to blame a problem on my weight. I think I have been really lucky.
However, a few years ago I was suffering from pretty bad depression,
and had just broken up with my boyfriend. I’d been on Prozac for a
while, but it was having some unpleasant side effects, and had seemed to have stopped working. My psychologist recommended that I see a psychiatrist to get the medication adjusted to one that was better suited to me. She sent me to someone who had a practice just a few streets away from hers.
I don’t think I spent more than 10 minutes explaining what was going
on in my life, before he began with the fat hate. The first clue I
had, and it should have sent me running from his office, was that the
chair in his office was so small that I barely fit in it. I wear a UK
16/18, and I don’t usually have any trouble fitting in chairs – not
even airplane seats!
Basically he felt that all of my psychological problems were caused by
being fat, and that if I just lost the weight then all my problems
would be solved. I guess he never heard of the Fantasy of Being
Thin… He changed my medication to Zoloft, which is supposed to cause weight loss (it didn’t) and then told me that if I didn’t lose weight fast enough then I could come back to him and he would prescribe Topamax!
I have a friend who was taking Topamax at the time – an epilepsy drug – for migraines. Her side effects were pretty severe, and she lost so much weight (she was thin to start off with) that people kept asking her if she had cancer or something. Here are just some of the lovely side effects of Topamax: pins and needles in the fingers and toes, dizziness, lowered sense of feeling in the skin, difficulty with
language, nausea, diarrhea, forgetfulness, difficulty with
concentration or attention, difficulty in sleeping (insomnia),
anxiety, mood swings, depression, changes in taste and vision
At the time, I just sat there and nodded and cried, and believed him.
Luckily for me, my mother recognises bullshit when she hears it, and
managed to convince me that he was full of it. Needless to say, I
never went back to him. I’m still furious with him. If I hadn’t been
in such a fragile state of mind I would have stood up and decked the
man. I wish that I had reported him for malpractice.