A very neglected aspect of the gastric bypass surgery is the psychological one. I thought it was just American sensationalist mass media trying to score with the gullible public when I read about raised suicidal tendencies in gastric bypass patients/victims.
I will not deny that the operation helps many. I can only speak for myself, yet I have read a lot of scary testimonies from others as well, so this procedure MUST be performed with greater attention to the psychological aspects.
Fat people who don’t want to be fat, are sad people. They feel ugly. Undesirable. Often rightly so, because like me, they actually do go unnoticed by the opposite sex (or whatever sex they’re attracted to). They feel lonely, ugly, undesirable, we’ve listed that so far and don’t need to explain the Whys of these feelings. While many see the inner beauty, or outer-beauty-aside-from-the-fat, rarely do attractive people find fat people as attractive and beautiful as they do people with a normal weight or only a slight over- or underweight. And fat people have standards too, and being fat isn’t = liking fat. So personally, I don’t want a fat guy just because he’s the only one who’ll take fatass me because he can’t do any better. I find obesity as disgusting as do many skinny people. That’s not hypocrite, it’s normal. Taste is not based on state. Meaning: so what if you’re fat or black or short, doesn’t mean you have to feel attracted to other fat, black, or short people. You think anyone with Borderline would wanna be dragged down even deeper by dating another suicidal borderliner? Maybe some, not me. When I learned a potential date suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder, I became sceptical of whether I should really sign up for this, while just like me, he’s a lovable person otherwise. That “double standard” is very acceptable and can’t be helped. I mean, why do you want to change? Because you hate the way you are, so why would you want to date someone who is what you hate about yourself? Makes no sense.
Fat people are people who are constantly being emotionally abused by society and the media: they get the hot-and-cold treatment. On one hand, they are told to accept themselves the way they are, and they try so hard, but on the other hand, these attempts are crushed by the ever-present obsession with “LOSE WEIGHT NOW!”. The best fashion comes in small sizes, popular celebrity and models are slim, their love interests are slim, protagonists in works of fiction are slim and even truth-based movies prettify the people they’re based on. Many are near-impossible, rarely obtainable: super-skinny with big ass and tits. Get up in the morning with perfect skin and hair, tight tits, no bed sores, clean teeth. Weight loss tips, products, promises, pills, encouragements/orders, everywhere.
Fat people get bullied as children and teens, and overlooked, neglected, ignored, or not sufficiently respected as adults. Unless you’re ridiculously rich, being fat ironically puts you at the bottom of the social food chain of who is desirable – not just for love – and who is not. Of who deserves respect and attention, and who does not. Whose opinion matters, and who can be silenced by “Shut up, fatass”. The best of causes recruit skinny people for their campaigns because fat people aren’t even wanted when it comes to promoting animal rights or cancer awareness. Beautiful people in the media are always slim, and only beautiful people are desirable to society and media, according to society and media.
Fat people who don’t want to be fat, hence are and/or feel more often than not:
-desperate and hopeless
-yet hopeful and gullible to any promise of any form of improvement, dietary or socially
-reclusive for lack of demand by peers
-susceptible to false hope
-hurting emotionally and physically (when I curl up in my bed, my fat rolls tend to hurt me)
-wasting their lives on whatever gives comfort, often food = vicious cycle
This makes them a great target for all kinds of weight loss promises. While the gastric bypass may work great for some, whether it works or not the side effects often apply to all, weight loss or no weight loss. The side effects tend to be severe. Disabling. Disgusting. Ending up making you slim and disgusting or sickly, rather than fat yet sturdy and presentable. Appearance: improved. Quality of life: not so much. Not always, but often, this is the case.
Yeah, yeah, “most surgeons” (not mine) will warn you ahead of the surgery that it isn’t a magic spell that will work without involving effort beyond fasting before surgery. They will tell you that you will have to adjust your life style. But a) they tend to play down these adjustments and the side effects or use soothing terms (“digestive changes” vs. “anal incontinence” could come to mind though luckily it doesn’t happen to everyone), and b) and this is my main point, the warnings are lost on the desperate.
I was desperate.
I’ve tried much. I’ve tried gastric band, I’ve tried severe and punishing gym sessions (I told her I wanted to join Israeli combat forces and that was how she worked me: her “baby steps” were 15 push-ups while I could hardly squat without cramping), I’ve tried pro-Ana, I’ve tried Slimming Drops (yuck), I’ve tried those silly “As seen on TV!” craptasticnesses, I’ve tried atkins, I’ve tried laxatives, I’ve tried lots of sex, I’ve tried appetite supressants, I’ve tried diet gum and pills and shakes, I’ve tried walking the dog for no less than 2 hours every night for years, I’ve tried jogging. Reading of the promises of the gastric bypass would often make me cry and I’d even get angry and scared with disbelief that such great hope could exist and I’ve been missing out all those years. I was so happy for the chance of finally becoming desirable and beautiful and a human being considered valid when I signed up for the surgery.
My point is: downplayed warnings, in comparison to the raised hopes, are lost on the desperate. The desperate will read and understand the warnings, the implications, all that shit, they will believe that they get it, but the false hope prevails in the end and the ever so understood warnings turn out to have been taken too lightly after all. The hope sings louder and nicer than the warnings.
The hope, when crushed, will turn into a nightmare. If the promises aren’t kept or at the very least if the weight loss isn’t acceptable in proportion with the side effects, you are looking at crushed hope, often your LAST hope (having your stomach cut up is drastic), and a life time of disabling and disgusting side effects. A life time, unless maybe if you reverse the surgery, killing the shreds of hope that one day your bypass will suddenly start working after all. Your surgeon may even have discharged you with a Pro-Ana-esque diet plan but no further support: your guts are maimed, you’re told to eat crap forever, and is that diarrhea you feel coming on? You’re on your own with your “1 tomato and a slice of white cheese for breakfast” diet plan. You may not have got sufficient warning that your small stomach pouch can, and will, stretch very far, very fast, if you’re not careful, rendering the procedure useless.
You cannot expect the desperate to fully understand the implications and the limitations and conditions of success. They understand the words, they may picture the meaning, but the hope for improvement outweighs that. It’s blinding.
Fucking tell the desperate that not just “they may become lactose intolerant” but give them a graphic description of how that lactose intolerance looks like [well this is so disgusting I decided to delete this part]. Good luck with that at a first date. Good fucking luck keeping that guy around after he signed up for you when your post-OP issues turn the cozy warmth under the blanket into fucking Auschwitz.
Fucking tell the desperate that dumping syndrome doesn’t just feel unpleasant, no, it may force you to take a day-long nap.
Fucking tell the desperate that if the malnutrition affects their hair, a nice conditioner won’t keep it from falling out in bundles while you’re trying to out-pretty the other girls at a club to finally find love. You will pull your scalp hair out of your ass crack. Your hair will become pale and bland and dry and straw-y. It will stand off because it’s so thin gravity no longer impresses it.
Considering the ridiculous dietary restrictions, I wonder what the point is. The same diet will cut your pounds even without the operation. Without the misery. The malnutrition. Keeping that ridiculous diet won’t do much for your quality of life unless you really do become and stay as skinny as and toned as a cheerleader. But if you do lose weight as fast as promised, you will not be firm. Rapid weight loss means saggy skin means plastic surgery means scars means more reasons to feel ugly!
Oh, the gym? With some insanely stringent and extreme workouts, you may refill those skin bags with some muscle, but chances are you’ll sag. Your tits will not get firmer at the gym. If the fat is drained from them, they will sag. You will need scars. The gym doesn’t reduce skin. It affects what’s in the skin: it may burn fat and increase muscle tone. It will not lift your boobs or smooth out your cellulite. If you can’t fill your skin with muscle, it will still hang. Honestly, I’d rather be chubby and tight than slim and saggy. Like Dr. Torres from Grey’s Anatomy. She’s not skinny, but she’s firmer and prettier than body lift/tummy tuck patients (often bypass victims!). Really, do you want to trade your fat ass for a 20 inch scar that looks like a caesarian gone horribly wrong? Maybe if you’re not a fan of the water, like me, yearning for the day you can relax in a swimsuit or bikini and enjoy the water rather than feel stared at and delusionally smoothing down your fat rolls time and again because you think you can. I want to be slim, but I want to be slim AND beautiful, and trust me, they don’t always go hand in hand; sometimes they’re downright impossible to combine, like when you’ve lost so much weight so fast you need major plastic surgery to tighten stuff, leaving horrific scars, and believe me, I’ve done it, I have those scars, they are horrific and some cannot be concealed – some will be seen by your lover but concealed on the beach, others will be seen by both, and some are so gross you want to cut them out with your kitchen knife. I’ve thought about it. Disfigure the area of my scars so they have to open it all up and reconstruct from scratch and hope for improvement. Because good luck finding a plastic surgeon who’ll touch the fuck-ups of another. It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.
See how far this psychologically impacts you?
Fucking warn the desperate, and do so graphically, explicitely, and disgustingly. Remind them that digestive problems aren’t just icky – remind them why. The expected weight loss is too good to not come at a very high price, but exactly how steep that price is, is often only revealed once it’s too late. It’s like all those fairy tale pacts and wishes. You get a huge promise, a fine print mentioning that you’ll be paying a considerable price, but only once you’ve agreed and rubbed the lamp, married the vampire, or sang your voice away for that neat pair of legs, will you realize what the price actually MEANS. While Arielle is still dreaming of her legs and her walks on land, she thinks she’ll be able to communicate with her pretty eyes and hands only, and then her voice is gone and she finds herself unable to speak when everything depends on it. THAT is the gastric bypass promise. You get the legs, you lose the voice.
You get the big promise, the small warning, and the huge bill, a bill fatter than your pre-OP ass and the one you take to your bank.