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My weight gain is more than just "getting fat"

I was looking at old photos of mine last week. In these photos, I was still in my late teens. There were a few wherein I was 20 years old and I was on my last year in the university. My face looked so nene, my hair was dry and frizzy, and I had no makeup on. I was also slim.

That was also how I looked like for most of my twenties. My hair stopped becoming dry and frizzy though when I cut it short and learned more about hair care, but my body stayed slim. My metabolism was like a well-oiled machine: so efficient, so fast. I could feast on carbs as much as I wanted without gaining an extra pound or an extra stomach roll. In fact, that was one of the things I loved about myself then: I could eat what I wanted without gaining weight.

But that was also the time when I still hadn't received psych treatment. I had neverending bouts of anxiety. I often felt down and sad without any clear reason. Stomach aches and acid refluxes never seemed to end, and life was just too heavy, too difficult to bear. At that time, I didn't know that I would be diagnosed with major depressive disorder. I simply didn't have any explanation for what I felt except for what others called it. For them, I was simply being too emotional and too sensitive.

I didn't get picked on for my figure, but I wasn't too happy with myself then. Yes, I loved that I could wolf down pizza and pasta or get extra cups of rice without "getting fat," but what else did I really love about myself then? Nothing much. I was always scared of what people would say about me. I couldn't sleep at night because of racing thoughts that didn't make any sense. I was often insecure about other people, too.

Fast forward to today. I have a fuller figure, with stomach rolls and wider hips. I'm already in my 30sof course, I would no longer have the lithe body of a teenager. My hair is nicer, my face looks fresh and pretty (hello skin care and makeup!), and I look happier. And the most important thing? I've been undergoing treatment for major depressive disorder since 2015, and I am now doing so much better.

So when people tell me "ang taba mo na!", I get so annoyed (and even offended) because that's the only thing they see. It's as if they are rejecting this full-figured body and what I am right now. For them, slimmer is more beautiful. But the time when I was slim was also the time when I was in my dark mental state. That was the time when I was still untreated for depression. That was a stage in my life I didn't want to go back to.

I may have gone one or two dress sizes up, but I love where I am in life now. I am in a good place mentally and emotionally. I take half a tablet of antidepressant every day, and I still go to therapy sessions when needed, but I love the progress that I have made. I have learned to put up barriers between me and what other people say. I have also managed how I respond to triggers. Everything that I have learned in therapy has made a difference in my disposition. It's no longer rainy and stormy all the time. I now have sunny days, too.

Of course, I am also aware that I should get more exercise, but that's for staying healthy and not because I want to fit in smaller clothes sizes. If getting better means getting a fuller figure, then so be it. I love it for what it represents. And if someone has a problem with it, maybe that person shouldn't be in my life.

So here's to gaining a few pounds while getting better, because I didn't just gain pounds. I gained mental and emotional stability, clarity of mind, and the ability to get out of my dark hole and see the sun. What's not to love about that?


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