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At times I feel sorry for myself, because not only do I have a mental illness, but I have to deal with the health risks of medications, as well as, weight gain and lack of motivation. Everyone with a mental illness who is on medication can relate to what I am talking about. You probably have to get your liver, kidneys, sugar, cholesterol, and for some of us, our hearts, checked on a regular basis. These things add to an already stressful life and situation.

But the health risks don’t damage self-esteem like the weight gain does.

When I had my last medication change my weight went up to 178 pounds.  I was at that weight for a while before I couldn’t take the way I looked or the impact the extra weight was having on my body like sore knees and chaffing when I walked.

I went on a diet for a year and lost 53 pounds.  At 125, I was so thin, and so happy. I stayed at 125 for a couple of years, and then gradually I started to put the weight back on. I gained 25 pounds.

I know I am not fat, but I have a roll of skin around my waist, and everything about me is bigger. I don’t like it at all. So, I started back on a diet again. Losing weight on medication is not for the weak willed. It is difficult, it is slow, and it takes a great deal of discipline. Also, I noticed I am in a better mood when I put more food into my body. When I eat less, I am cranky far more often. I notice that I snap at my husband for things that shouldn’t bother me.  I think blood sugar is something I am extremely sensitive to.

So, hopefully, if I can stay disciplined over the next 25 weeks (approximately six months), then I will lose the weight I have gained back after my original diet.

Everything I just wrote is factual, but there is something else happening in my life in regard to beauty. I see physically beautiful women and men all the time, but I am not taken in by their looks. What I am taken in by in my life are people who can write or create something beautiful. I am taken in by the ability of people to reveal a part of their depth or soul. If someone can write words that help me travel their inner landscape, I find myself thinking that person is beautiful in a way appearances don’t touch.

I have never fell in love with someone based on their appearance, and I have never befriend someone for their looks either. I think I have always been able to see more than what someone has displayed on the outside, but what I am experiencing now is a whole new definition of beauty and I do desire to be close to it, to experience it, to know it in a way that physical beauty has never drawn me in.

So while I am trying to get my weight back down to where I am comfortable, I am not preoccupied with it, or shaming or hating myself for the body I live in.  I know what kind of food will make me truly beautiful and it has nothing to do with eating. It is the kind of nourishment I give to my soul and to my art. It is the time I spend alone trying to discover what lives inside of me and how to bring those jewels out into the light.

I know it is hard to gain weight, especially as a consequence of taking care of yourself by taking your medications, but try not to be hard on yourself. I see your beauty every time I get a glimpse of what lives in the inner most regions of you.

Those dark spaces that you shed light on are beautiful. I love seeing you.