Mental Health..more than just the surface

Mental health self esteem

I have made no secret of my disdain for the local public mental health system.  I seem to get handed the bottom of the barrel case manager and lately the doctors are not much better.  I am currently seeing the head psychiatrist..but this doesn’t mean that I am receiving better treatment for my Mental Health.

At a recent appointment with the Mental Health appointed psychiatrist, the doctor felt it necessary to mention my grey hair and weight.  He had the notion that I was keeping both of these things in an *unattractive* state in order to continue to have something to keep my mental health unstable about.  His reasoning being that all women place their self worth on their appearance and so by making my unworthy of being ‘beautiful’ I was in turn keeping my self worth low.  I could rant all day about his stupidity but I promise I will try to keep it short.

In the last 2 years I have put on a lot of weight, enough weight to be a whole other person.  I’m not proud of it, I don’t like it but I have finally come to a point where it doesn’t affect my mental health as much as it used to.  I have stopped weighing myself obsessively and I no longer binge and purge.  I’m not at the place that I 100% want to be, but I am making steps to be there, and I’m ok with that.

I no longer place all of my self worth on being ‘that size’.  I have come to realise that it doesn’t matter how much I weigh or the number on the clothing tag…my mental health issues are still the same.  My outward appearance can dramatically change, and the feelings beneath the surface driving those decisions doesn’t change.

I was dumbfounded that a supposed professional from mental health was telling a patient that their self worth, based on their gender, was based purely on what was on the outside.  This man is dealing with women day in day out who no doubt have some form of body issues, who hate the body they are born with and here he is telling them that it’s normal to feel that way about yourself because you are woman.  Does that mean that if I was a man who was overweight and had grey hair it wouldn’t even be brought up because in his eyes a man’s self worth wasn’t based on his outward appearance and so wouldn’t affect his mental health?

Also who is this man to decide what is beautiful? I may not be completely happy with my appearance but there are plenty of women who are the same size as me and are more than happy with how they look.  Does this mean that because they don’t fit into what society deems as beautiful that their mental health and self worth should be low?  On the other side of the coin, there are the women who do fit into that tiny mold of what beautiful is.  Does that mean that their self esteem and mental health issues are less important?

Self worth is such a personal thing.  No two people have exactly the same sense of self worth.  Our self worth also changes as we go through life.  Something that meant the world to you when you were 16 may not even be a blip on your radar when you are 20.  For some people it may be their looks..and that is ok.  I just find issue when someone makes the assumption that we all have the same self worth goals based on nothing more than gender.  Having a vagina is about as far as the same-same goes with being a woman.

What makes you feel worthy? Has it changed dramatically as you’ve gotten older?

Linking up with Kimboslice for The Lounge.

 

 

 

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27 thoughts on “Mental Health..more than just the surface

  1. Lydia C. Lee

    I’m not even touching on the weight thing, or the female thing – but is he saying, if you have grey hair and you choose not to dye it, you have mental health issues? or self esteem issues? Someone better tell Helen Mirren and Judi Dench. And Martin Sheen. And Shaun Micalif (sp?)

    Reply
  2. Valerie

    Making you feel bad about it wasn’t right. I once watched a program about a woman who had surgery and lost like 300 pounds. They only focused on her body and never delved into what was going on in her mind. Later in the show she was a thin woman. A thin woman who drank a lot, took drugs and became highly promiscuous. They completely missed whatever was wrong with her inside.

    Maybe he was well-meaning but it really came out backwards. Rather than saying you’re deliberately staying unattractive, it would be better to try and find out why you may not have been taking care of yourself.. the weight issue, not the hair – that’s trivial. Are you eating out frustration or anger or pain? Are you running from something? That’s what they need to look at.

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      If he had bought it up that way, yes it would have been more well meaning but what irked me the most, and has stuck with me since is his belief that all women only see worth in their appearance. He didn’t say that *I* appear to place worth in it, but that all women do, which is simply untrue. A woman shouldn’t have to see her appearance as the only thing that makes her worthy as a person.

      Reply
      1. Valerie

        I feel your pain, I really do. It’s bad enough that the media gives people unrealistic expectations. The one person you should be able to trust is your doctor. But I’ve had a run-in with a horrible psychologist myself and I know it’s hard move past it sometimes.

        Reply
        1. Tegan Post author

          The crazy thing is that my GP who *should* care about my psychical health, is perfectly ok with how my weight is. She is happy that all of my vitals are where they should be, and so the weight, at the moment, is something that can be pushed to the side until my MH issues are dealt with properly.

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      2. Angela

        I guess this guy is living in a bubble because there are a lot of people around that don’t feel that their worth is determined by the state of their hair or body. And, I’m sorry, but regrowth happens. It would cost a FORTUNE to hide it permanently. WHAT A DOUCHE!

        I am happy within myself of who I am, and although I wish to be healthy which in turn would result in me losing some weight, my body image does not change how I feel about myself. My worth lies in the decisions I make and the company I keep.

        I don’t ‘LOVE’ my body, but I don’t hate it. I don’t obsess over how it looks, it is how it is as a result of choices I make.

        I am very happy though, that you are now at a point that you are more comfortable with what is 🙂 and that your mental health isn’t affected as much by your outward image. You are a beautiful person and that is all that matters.

        Reply
  3. Leanne Winter

    He sounds incompetent. Can you make a complaint/ask for someone else? Can you see a psychologist rather than a psychiatrist? No psychologist would insult you with such rubbish. I feel so bad for that you had to hear this, Tegan. Wonder what he’d think of me – I made the decision last year to cut my hair really short and stop dying it – you can see it on my home page. Best thing I ever did – removed an entire source of stress from my life. Interestingly, I could never have done this when I was younger. I feel that it’s because I’m now able to measure my self worth by things completely other than personal appearance and stereotypes of how women are supposed to look.

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      I was already seeing someone else and then got referred to him as he ‘knows me’ which is the worst thing really because he is seeing me as I was years ago rather than now, with a whole different plate of stressors. I already see a psychologist but unfortunately they can’t prescribe or review medication so I am stuck seeing this guy.

      That’s so awesome that you have now come to a place where you can see worth in your traits that don’t involve how you look.

      Reply
  4. Ness

    I agree with Leanne. This dude seriously sounds like he’s in the wrong profession. He needs a slapping. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but glad that you’re making progress towards self acceptance (no thanks to him!) The fact that you can see through his shitty remarks is a great credit to you. Hugs. xo

    Reply
  5. Min@MinsMash

    Wow – that man is so, so wrong! The feelings of self worth and self acceptance, regardless of your gender, comes from within. How you think about yourself does not change based on your hair colour or weight. Yes – you may feel more attractive if you lose some weight or have your hair done BUT it does not change the programming within our minds. That’s like saying DO judge a book by its cover. SO glad you didn’t believe this guy! xo

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      It’s so true Min. I know for myself that I was most depressed when I was thinner…so the way my body looked obviously had no bearing on the way that my mind worked.

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  6. Emily @ Have a laugh on me

    OH MY FUGGING GAWD – what an idiot! Sorry but ummm that is just not cool to say. Furthermore, why should the way we look be a reflection of how we feel inside? If that’s the case then why do I often feel so very overweight and unattractive yet by standard conventions I’m probably not! What a dick – seriously T!
    Great post x

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      Further again, everyone’s definition of what beauty is, is completely different. So by his standard if a person deems another person to be ugly, they should then feel depressed. Thankfully not everyone thinks like that or there would be a lot more unhappy people in the world.

      Reply
  7. Sarah@Slapdash Mama

    Holy shit. Wow that is just…crap. Are you seeing a psychologist as well as a psychiatrist? Psychicatrists don’t often have the same….ah…bedside manner. Just..ugh. Talk about tactless.

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      Yep I am seeing a psychologist as well as a psychiatrist. The psychiatrist I had before him was awesome. Didn’t mince words but still managed to come across as caring. Hell anyone who says ‘Tegan you need to calm the fuck down’ and gets away with not getting their head ripped off is alright in my books 😉

      Reply
  8. katyberry

    Bleurgh.
    It sounds like he doesn’t have a clue.
    You have been putting up those super cute pictures of your new dresses and makeup, and so it seems to me like what you are saying is true – you might not be 100% where you want to be (who the fuck is) but you have a healthy enough view of your external self that you can recognise when you are looking good and are happy to share it. I love to celebrate the good and share that self-love around.

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  9. Kim

    Tegan this is an awesome post. And I’d like to wallop that dick. He has NO clue how to do his job. I’d second your thoughts on self worth. Mine has not changed to match any changes in my appearance, weight or otherwise. I’m ok with my appearance now, but it doesn’t change that I have v poor self worth and esteem. The two things are not directly or logically related.

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      They are definitely not linked, or at least they shouldn’t be. What happens when we lose what we think are our looks? Does that mean that we are then destined to a life of depression because our outward shell now no longer is appealing? No it doesn’t because we are all more than our bodies. Our bodies are nothing but a bunch of cells. We are what we do, not what we look like.

      Reply
  10. Rachel

    What a wanker – it’s awful that you have no other option but to have to interact with this fuckwit to get the treatment you need. There is so much about his opinions regarding women infuriating that I just don’t know where to start. Reducing your mental health issues to superficial physical appearance is both cruel and incompetent. It is a testament to how strong you are that you have not actually taken his ridiculous opinion on board. Imagine the damage this cunt could be doing to other, more vulnerable patients?
    PS you are kind, extremely generous and very funny, and I know these things without ever having laid eyes on you in person. If you event needed proof that the exterior really isn’t that relevant then you have it right there xx

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      The woman before me told him he was a useless cunt (in the waiting room, I had to stifle my laughter) so he’s not exactly known lately for his good stuff.
      Thank you again for your kind comments xx.

      Reply
  11. Alison

    Horrendous. Almost beyond belief. I have been really lucky, both my psychologists (I met with psychiatrists in the UK when I was younger, but it was just a wham bam yep she’s fine to send her home and out the door) were simply fantastic. But I keep hearing shocking tales of woefully poor psychologists and psychiatrists out there.

    A friend recently had to see a psychiatrist as part of a court ordered custodial thing, the whole family, including her ex, had to be assessed by this guy. He asked her, flat out “Do you hear voices? Do you think you have special powers nobody else has?” She laughed and said no, but she wouldn’t mind being Wolverine.

    So, as part of his in-depth report he noted that she didn’t appear to have schizophrenic or delusional issues. Not sure how the fuck he would know, since he only asked her two questions. Really digging deep into her psyche there. It seems pretty obvious that if she did have those issues, she would lie to a stranger about it so what was the fucking point in even asking? And it’s never, ever been mentioned or considered that she has any of these problems, she has NO mental health problems and is one of the sanest people I have ever met – so what the actual fuck? This must just be something he ticks off on all his patients? And seriously if THOSE are his clever psychological tools – asking a blunt question within 20 minutes of knowing someone – I have to wonder if he got his degree from an Aldi catalogue maybe?

    It is a sad state of affairs that the very people who are supposed to be professionals and who we rely on to help us with our mental health are often completely clueless fuckwits. Sigh.

    Reply
    1. Tegan Post author

      The psychiatrist I saw as part of my court trial decided that I had schizophrenia. It was revoked when three other psychiatrists I saw disagreed with the diagnosis.
      I am dying my hair this week in prep for the GC, I have an appointment with this guy next week. If he makes a comment about it I just might feel inclined to make a formal complaint.

      Reply
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