Yoyo spins fat to skinny: up, down and up, down again

Depression, mania, memory loss, hypersexuality … hey, let’s add drastic weight gain and loss while we’re at it. Ya know, just for shits and giggles.

You’re well acquainted with our extreme mood swings but did you know a vast majority of Bipolar folks are stuck spinning on the end of a weight yoyo?

Some say it’s the medication, others say it’s mood swings – whatever it is, it sucks.

I could clothe three women with the array of sizes I have in my closet – not to mention my bra and panties drawers. I might as well buy everything in small, medium and large.

I say this very tongue-in-cheek, but it’s no wonder they say us Bipolar folks spend entirely too much money shopping. I suppose others would too if their weight went up and down, and up and down again like ours.

I’ve gotten my weight cycles pretty much down to a science. I’m always heavier in the summer and my smallest in the winter. Go figure. It just couldn’t be the other way around.

Noooo! That would be too easy.


No, the photos aren’t me. But you get the idea .

Of course I’m like most of my Bipolar siblings. I’m heavy when I’m depressed and skinny when I’m balanced or manic. My weight spins on a yoyo from 120lbs. to 160 lbs. Now I bet you understand why I have to keep a variety of sizes on hand. Forty pounds back and forth, on a 5’3″ frame, doesn’t just mean I ate one too many cookies. It’s a life-changing state of being.

Not only is living on that yoyo bad for my closet, for me it also makes depression and mania worse. When I’m depressed and I start to get heavier, it sinks me further into the darkness. Of course when I’m manic and I’m super skinny, I think I’m the sexiest thing since Marylin Monroe.

For me my weight can be an obsession. It doesn’t go as far as an eating disorder but when I’m depressed or manic, it’s the scales on which I measure my attractiveness – when I’m depressed, it measures my worth. This of course has a direct effect on my self esteem and the way others treat me. My husband seems to be more at ease when I’m heavy and more territorial when I’m skinny.

Of course my tendency to predict what others are thinking says, “well he’s not concerned about someone moving in” on his girl when she’s fat and unattractive. But boy when the weight comes off, nobody had better stare a second too long.

Of course I know, and he’s said, this is not a correct interpretation of things. When my imaginary crystal ball is neatly tucked away I know that he has also learned to gage my moods by the bathroom scale, too. While depression is a terrible and dangerous place, my mania – for him – is hell on Earth. He knows I am more likely to put myself at risk in a hundred different ways. If you read my blog much, you know he’s a police officer. The number of “bad things” he can image are plentiful.

My husband isn’t the only person who treats me differently based on what the scales say. I’ve discovered most everyone – especially women – are much friendlier when I’m carrying a few extra pounds.


However, when I’m small I’ve been the target of some very pointed comments. I’ve never been the victim of fat shaming but I’ve been a whipping post for skinny shaming. People do and say things to me that they would never say or do when I’m a big girl.

For example, I’ve been asked if I’m starving myself when I’m small. Would you ask an overweight person if they were gorging themselves? A simple, “you’re getting too thin” would suddenly become very offensive if the phrase was “you’re getting too fat”.

I have my theories on why we indulge such obvious double standards, but that’s a topic for another blog entry.

It’s time to rotate my closet – season and size – because hot and humid days are giving way to cooler nights and the days will soon follow …

One Comment Add yours

  1. gserpent says:

    My sister is bipolar so I know how hard it can be. Thank you for writing about this.

    Liked by 1 person

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