19 Jun 2013 09:14

This is Thin Privilege

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Thin privilege is being told you need to lose weight instead of actually getting help for your heart condition-when said condition makes it hard to actually lose weight.

When I was about 18, I started having daily palpitations. I went to the ER, and they told me that it was probably nothing, that it was normal, and then I got what I’ve heard most of my life-“you need to lose weight.” I honestly tried, but I noticed that my palpitations and heart rate got worse when I tried to do any kind of moderate to heavy exercise. I reported what happened, but I just got “you’re just out of shape, keep going.” My reports of what also increased my heart rate in a weird way (emotional outbursts, getting suddenly frightened, ect.) went ignored, or they would nod, but I could clearly see them not even considering it. I would get bursts of rapid heartbeat (often while lying down), but it was just ignored. It was normal…right? That’s what they said. 

Then one day, while I was at the library, my heart kickstarted and it wouldn’t stop. An ambulance had to be called, and it was absolutely terrifying. My heart went over 200 BPM for over ten minutes, and had to be stopped and restarted via a chemical injection. If there was one glimmer of hope, it was that surely NOW someone would believe me when I said there was something wrong with my heart. I was scheduled to go see a cardio specialist, and I went.

She didn’t believe me. She looked at me skeptically the entire time, and told me “well, I don’t believe it’s that bad.” She told me to come back in three months if it kept happening, which I couldn’t because my insurance would run out. And of course, I heard that old line once again. 

“You need to lose weight.”

For two years I had no choice but to just ignore the palpitations and the racing every day. It actually became normal to clearly feel my heart beating hard, or to feel it go thump-thump-thumpthump——thump. Then one day, when we didn’t even have beds in the house because of a bedbug infestation, I woke up to the same rapid heartbeat and had to go to the ER again in an ambulance.  This time, after being told the same fucking line again, I was actually prescribed a beta blocker. 

And my god, when it actually kicked in I was afraid because my heart had never been this quiet in two years. And then I got mad because it took TWO YEARS for someone to realize that hey, maybe we should put this girl on some sort of medication!

But you know what really made me mad? I had, basically, a ticking timebomb in my chest that had a tendency to count down FASTER if I did the type of exercise I would need to lose the weight they wanted me to. And when I tried to warn them? I got the same line, over and over again. 

Last time I knew, being fat didn’t actually interfere with your heart working properly. But what do I know? I’m just a fat chick who’s too lazy to lose weight.

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