The NHS explanation of Body Dysmorphia is; a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance.
Obviously it’s a lot more to it than just that, but – it sums it up in lamest terms. To be honest, this isn’t something I felt like I could talk about for the longest time. I didn’t even know that the way I felt had a legitimate term associated to it. However since I was in my early teens I’ve always been body conscious. But a part of me felt grossly guilty, like I shouldn’t have body issues, because in theory, I was an average size girl with proportioned body. Years went on and the obsession to look thinner grew. May I add, I never actually became thin, it was just an obsession. But my mind was fixated on the notion that being slim, meant everything would be ‘okay’.
My relationship with food became unhealthy, to a point where I would never finish an entire meal – and this never went un-noticed by loved ones. My portions were childlike, I would usually miss breakfast, starve my body the entire day and then binge on chocolates and crisps in the evening. Simultaneously I grew an interest with fashion, I loved the cat-walk and although, rightly so, the world screams at how thin these models are, with the collar bones sticking out and cheekbones as sharp as razors – to me, this was the goal. Looking back I can see how disjointed my perception of ‘normal’ was. Now a days I enjoy food way too much to limit myself, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t days where I didn’t binge.
Body dysmorphia has consumed me in the past, when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see the real me. I saw someone much much bigger, I was unhappy with every inch of me. I would even avoid social situations because I just couldn’t deal with getting all dressed up and looking in the mirror to only end up criticising myself.
I ended up buying clothes way too big for me, in fact I remember for graduation (almost 10 years ago) I brought a silk shirt which was twice the size I should’ve got. Luckily (and I am forever grateful for this) my saint of a mother tailored my shirt to fit me. I look back on my graduation photos and think, wow, I had great legs. Why was I so unhappy with the way I looked? Why didn’t I just enjoy it?
It’s easy to say that ‘learn to love yourself’ but doing it, actually believing it – is bloody hard.
I am 31 – and I thought this would’ve passed by now. But it hasn’t. Sorry if you thought this was a post revealing 10 ways to get over body issues. This is not that kind of post.
With that being said, summer 2018 I was able to lay in a beach in Croatia in a bikini and for a brief moment I was proud of my curves. Albeit seeing a photo of me a few minutes later and this had changed my mindset quickly. But for a moment I loved myself and it felt fucking fabulous. I want that again. Not for a few seconds this time. I want this for good.
I mean you understand that its not just the way I physically look, its the way I think I look. When I was a size 6, in my mind I thought I was a lot bigger, now I’m a size 10…you can imagine what games my mind plays with me and the battle to deal with that is beyond me on some days. Also can I add size is just a number, and this is just said for reference.
The physical aspect I know can work with, I relatively enjoy being active, you know, going to the gym, the occasional run, bike ride, etc. and getting fitter is always on the agenda. But how do I tackle the mind and where it takes me. Social media doesn’t help, oh god. As much as I love the good ol’ instagram scroll to kill my mind, expectations are becoming slightly insane and warped from reality.
We’ve (I) have established that this is more than just a physical aspect, but do I really believe that? Every now and then, a part of me thinks, if only I can tip the weighing scale on the other end, it’ll all stop and it’ll all be okay. But then I remember, I was on the other end – and it wasn’t any better.
There is no doubt that entering my 30s has resulted to my metabolism slowing down, weight has been gained, activity levels have slowed down – clothes that fitted me 5 years ago are no longer going past my thighs, hell, clothes brought 2 years ago barely fit – this is probably another one of my triggers.
I am envious, of all the amazing people on and off social media, who are able to confidently embrace every inch of them with grace and conviction – I want that!
How do I get it? It’s not something I can jump on asos on buy – because trust me, if it was I would have bags of it by now. Self confidence is something I struggle with in general. At work I have amples’ of it – probably because I know I’m darn good at what I do. A pinch of that sprinkled on the rest of my personality will be great – thank-you very much.
Looking back on all the years, I’ve missed enjoying myself, living in the moment without worrying about something that holds little value.
I don’t want that anymore. I want to enjoy me, for who I am, for every inch that I am. Here’s to making every effort to do that, even when somedays it’s the hardest thing to do.