The other night, I had a total breakdown over something small. On another blog of mine, some readers willfully misinterpreted something I wrote and wrote some attacks. This was so upsetting to me that I cried. In fact, I cried for much of the night over a few angry strangers who didn't know me at all attacking me. Though I knew that what they said of me was not true, and that their response was to an imagined intent on my part, I still wanted to delete my blog and hide.
Rationally, I knew that my response was incredibly disproportional to the potential pain inflicted by the situation. Yet, I sobbed into my husband's chest several times and told him that I was angry with myself for letting something so trivial upset me so much. I also remarked that I felt incredibly empty inside and that I didn't know who I was anymore.
The second part is likely part of a Freudian utterance. That is, in a moment of distress, the manner in which I've changed my lifestyle and how it is affecting me came tumbling out. It was an issue that I hadn't really considered until the feeling was there. I felt empty and I didn't know who I was. This feeling is almost certainly a response to the fact that I can't comfort myself with food anymore and I don't know who I am without food as my sympathetic friend. I'm defined by my weight so much so that even I don't know who I will be if I am no longer controlled by my appetite.
Getting back on track to the main point though, and that is that I reacted so strongly to small provocations from strangers, my husband said that he feels this is a form of post traumatic stress. He said that I spent so many years being attacked and hurt and building up a defensive system where I am always looking for potential harm that I can't distinguish between real threats and harm and unreal ones. He said it's like a soldier who saw a bomb explode a bridge near him who can't drive under a bridge without feeling anxiety because of that.
My husband said that my desire to delete the blog and hide is a throwback to all of the times that I was tormented for my weight and just wanted to run away and be safe from the pain. Even though the problem with the comments wasn't related to my weight or even anything tangible, it didn't matter. My fat-related PTS kicked in and told me everything that it usually does when I feel attacked. That feeling is that I must get away.
I also told him that I feared that, after those attacks, I would lose all of my readers, but he said that was also a part of my sense that no one would love me anymore and that I would be abandoned. If you're the fat kid, you don't take revenge on your tormentors because no one likes you for being fat and the few who feel sorry enough for you to be your friend will abandon you at the drop of a hat if you act badly. My husband is quite the insightful man and I am grateful that he both comforts me and guides me out of my torment.
In the end, I think a lot of people who have grown up overweight and have been tormented have similar responses. I want to keep in mind that, even if I lose weight and reach a point where I am average, I will almost certainly still suffer this form of "fat PTS" and that it's another stage in the recovery from being overweight to deal with.