I am continuing to watch episodes of House, and last night I watched the season 7 episode “The Fix.” In a scene at House’s apartment, him and Wilson have the following exchange:
Wilson: You think all your problems are your leg.
House: And you’re here to tell me that no matter how depressed I may be, it’s not enough.
Wilson: I think you want everything to be physical, tangible, simple. You want unhappiness to have a cure. House, you obviously—
House: I hate that word.
This is not the first time that someone has pointed out to House that he likes things that are measurable and tangible. In the season finale of season two, Morarity tells House: “You think that the only truth that matters is the truth that can be measured. Good intentions don’t count. What’s in your heart doesn’t count…Just because you can’t measure them, just because you don’t want to measure them, doesn’t mean it’s not real.”
I can relate a lot to this need for things to be measurable and tangible. If I have a bad week, but don’t lose weight, I feel like my distress doesn’t matter because the thing that can be measured (the weight) hasn’t changed. Distressing thoughts/feelings are not tangible, but the weight is. Before going further I would like to clarify that I don’t think this about anyone else – if a friend told me that having distressing thoughts didn’t matter because her weight stayed the same I would say that is completely not true. But, it is something that I struggle to accept when it comes to myself and my treatment.
Furthermore, in the same way that House wants to blame his unhappiness on his leg, I want to blame everything on the eating disorder. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have a lot of should statements when it comes to my body and physical health. I should have energy after eating and with caffeine, I should be hungry at X time, I should lose weight if I restrict etc. Recently I have been chronically exhausted despite doing well with my meal plan and making sure to get enough sleep, and that frustrates the hell out of me. Engaging in eating disorder behaviors provides a nice justification for why I am tired or feeling depressed. It also provides this weird sense of hope that I will feel better once I stop engaging in behaviors. However, if I am following my meal plan, taking my meds and sleeping, then I feel like I have no tangible thing to blame for my tiredness, and I start to feel hopeless about ever feeling energized and being 100%. Just as his leg pain provides a nice, tangible thing for House to blame his unhappiness on, the eating disorder provides me with an “out” so to speak.
Moving onto the second part of the scene, I agree with House about hating the word “cure,” especially when it comes to my ED and depression. Unfortunately, mental health issues often don’t have an easy fix or a magical cure. It is a process, and often a long one at that.