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Sarah Thompson, founder of Resilient Fat Goddess, writes about body positivity, body liberation, and fat liberation at the intersections of gender, sexuality, and eating disorders. 

Our world is not designed to fit me.

Turnstiles for subways and event arenas. Conference seating. Clothing. Shoes. Cars. Seat belts. Airplane seats. Airplane seat belts. Buses. Roller coasters. Movie theaters. Restaurant seating. Booths. Bathrooms. Aisle widths. Chairs in providers offices. Coffee shop seating. Life jackets. Sleeping bags. Physical exam equipment. Surgical equipment. Anywhere there is a waiting room. Beds. Yoga mats. Stadiums.

 Photo is not of the actual Northwest ADHD office. But they are very similar chairs. Photo by:  Christina Welsh

Photo is not of the actual Northwest ADHD office. But they are very similar chairs. Photo by: Christina Welsh

Our world is not designed to fit me.

I've recently decided to address mental health challenges that I've been experiencing. This is already a tough and vulnerable decision. It's not easy to ask for our help in our "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" society. I was diagnosed with ADHD, PTSD, and social anxiety about 18 months ago. But I chose to not seek treatment outside of acupuncture, Chinese herbs, and therapy at the time. Things haven't really improved significantly, and now that I own my own business it effects me in different ways than when I was a graduate student. There were many things that influenced my willingness to seek information about treatment for ADHD. But I was finally willing to seek out this kind of help.

I did some research and found Northwest ADHD Treatment Center here in the Portland area. After waiting for several months for them to take my insurance, I eventually was able to schedule an appointment. I think I waited another couple weeks for my initial appointment.

It was finally the day. My first appointment. Here I was nervous to be visiting a psychologist for the first time with all my fears about how I'm going to be treated. I'm fat. I'm in recovery from an eating disorder. She has worked with a lot of people with eating disorders, but I know that there is a ton of weight stigma in ED treatment. I'm afraid to be viewed as a drug seeker for wanting to discuss taking stimulants for ADHD especially with my history. I'm nervous to even discuss medication. I had been very anti-medication for myself, even though I know meds help a significant amount of people. I don’t judge others for taking these meds. But somehow I hold these beliefs for myself. Then there's the re-telling my story.

The building seemed new, and didn't have great signage. I wonder around the office building looking for the office. I wind around to discover the elevator bank. Go up a floor. Walk into the office, and thankfully I only had to sign electronically when I walked in because I had filled out all my paperwork online.

I turn around to go have a seat in the waiting room. There's a corner with a child-sized table and chairs, a book shelf with children's books, and nondescript square, wooden armed chairs with blue upholstery on the seat. These were the only chairs available for me sit in. I could tell by looking at them that they weren't going to fit me. I tried anyway. Nope.

I was standing in the middle of the waiting room with no where to sit.

None of the chairs in the room fit me.

Looking around wondering what I was going to do.

I decided to stand and wait.

Now not only was I not anxious about all of the things I listed above, but now I am angry, frustrated, and hurt that not a single person considered larger sized people in choosing the chairs for this office.

This sends the message that I am not welcome here. That my body was never even thought about.

Our world is not designed to fit my body.

Turnstiles for subways and event arenas. Conference seating. Clothing. Shoes. Cars. Seat belts. Airplane seats. Airplane seat belts. Buses. Roller coasters. Movie theaters. Restaurant seating. Booths. Bathrooms. Aisle widths. Chairs in providers offices. Coffee shop seating. Life jackets. Sleeping bags. Physical exam equipment. Surgical equipment. Anywhere there is a waiting room. Beds. Yoga mats. Stadiums.

Leave the United States and there is an even greater gap in size ranges and accessibility.

Our world is not designed to fit my body.

Please support the Kickstarter funding for the Allgo app if you haven't yet. This would be life-changing for me, many of my friends, and many people around the US. 


 

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