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11.4.16

Body Dysmorphia: A Forever Changing Reflection


Groaning at your reflection in the mirror whilst picturing Victoria's Secret angels and telling yourself you should have got off ya lazy bum and been to the gym this morning? Well, we've all been there. But hey, imagine if you'd spent the past 2/3 years of your life dedicated to working your arse off (literally in my case) to get to the size/shape/feeling you wanted to be but then still not feeling content or even sure what you look like any more... it's a bloody nightmare. *majorly rolls eyes, because it's just such bull crap*

As many of you know, last year I went through a long process of recovering from Anorexia, along with some other illnesses. Going through anything like that, really takes it's toll on a person and as this post is going to discuss, it can leave you feeling kind of confused and lost.
I think one of the biggest changes that my struggle with mental illnesses caused for me was definitely how I see myself. Like anyone living in this day-and-age, I struggle a lot with body image and it's something I think that I've now accepted that I really just have to live with. I often talk about loving yourself and accepting yourself and whilst I mean every single word of that, I know that it's not always going to be the case. I mean, c'mon, I'd be a complete and utter liar if I told you that I walk round radiating confidence and loving the skin I'm in. I really don't. I bloody hate it.
At the end of the day I'm a size 6, 5ft 6in and an incredibly healthy person. Logically I can think 'I'm happy the way I am' or 'I look great' but, sometimes I just look and think 'what the hell am I looking at?' because often, I just don't even know. I feel like my body is something that has always been scrutinised, whether that be by myself or others. When I was bigger, I used to be constantly concious of my stomach and my weight was often made apparent to me by other people when I was growing up. I've been called 'fat' sooo many times and that's a word that can really scar you as a person.

As you can imagine, going from a size 16 to a size 6 doesn't leave you in brilliant shape and I'm sure that other people will agree that it doesn't always fix how you see yourself. Often, I look in the mirror and still feel like I'm seeing my size 16 body, despite the fact that if I were to wear a piece of my old clothing it would literally swallow me whole. I still look at my stomach and think 'oh god' or look at my thighs and groan but then other times I'll be thinking 'man, I look good today!'. It took me a while to realise that what I'm going to see in the mirror is going to be forever changing and that's something I've had to come to terms with.

This post isn't meant to be some kind of sob story about me feeling 'ugly' or a post to tell you to not feel shitty about yourself and get on with life, it's a post to let you know that it's okay to feel confused about your body, because I feel confused too. Okay, yes, I might be dealing with a mental illness and something a lot deeper, but that doesn't mean that those of you that I guess would be considered 'normal', can't feel confused too.

I suppose that I should explain what Body Dysmorphia is so that you can kind of understand how it works.

Body Dysmorphia is an anxiety disorder which causes you to have distorted view of how you look. It causes people to constantly be comparing themselves to others, excessively exercise and have an unhealthy relationship with mirrors.
I feel like to me, it causes me to zone in on every flaw that I have; every little stretch mark, spot, scar, lump, bump, are all highlighted massively to me, even if you, as another person, would never even notice. As I mentioned, it also makes me feel like I'm still stuck in my old body and that I still have the same 'flaws' that I used to. I will look in my reflection and see huge wobbly thighs and a flabby gut when actually when I feel my stomach with my hands, it isn't really like that at all. In the past, (when I was in deep depression and anorexia) I would also excessively exercise because what I was seeing in the mirror was just not changing.

One of the biggest things that I notice Body Dysmorphia causes me to feel is that I weirdly feel 'bigger' when I'm at home in my bedroom compared to when I'm walking down the street or at someone else's house. That probably barely makes sense, so let me try and explain it...
I think it has something to do with the fact that I've probably stood in the same place in my same bedroom, scrutinising myself for years and now, I can't erase the memory of how I used to feel. When I go outside I guess my mind works differently because it hasn't got that memory attached. But, it's really good that I can define a difference between that.
If I'm really honest, I've gotten incredibly used to seeing myself differently sometimes and don't find it too hard to deal with any more and in fact, most of the time now, I am pretty certain that I'm actually seeing the real me, which is amazing and just proof that things can get better!

Nowadays, if I'm having a shitty day, I won't look in the mirror or I'll put something on I feel comfortable in. Most people feel more comfortable in baggy clothes, but something I've found that makes me feel better is wearing fitted clothes. Baggy clothes make me feel bigger than I am, so I find wearing nice fitted clothes shows me what my figure is actually like. It just depends what makes you feel good.
I also try and avoid comparing myself to others. If I see a bikini post on Instagram, I'll zoom past it or I'll even sometimes un-follow the account if I think that it's going to effect me that much. If I start to compare myself, I stop and try and think about how far I've come and the fact that I'm ME and other people are THEM and that, that isn't something that is going to change.
And well, if worst comes to worst then distract yourself as much as you can. Go for a walk, watch a film or my personal favourite, have a nap. zzZz

My body is still such a work in progress and I don't want to stop until I feel comfortable in my own skin and at least more than 50% happy with how I look, but it really is a very long journey. It can be really terrifying to be sooo unsure of what you look like but something that I've realised is that if you yourself can't see what you truly look like, then you really have to listen to other people, notice what clothes size you're wearing and figure out if it's a certain place or piece of clothing that is making you feel/think they way you do.

I'm so so so determined not to let Body Dysmorphia affect me and cause me to feel rubbish about myself for the rest of time and I'm hoping that you guys are ready to start accepting the fact that it's okay to be confused and feel down but things can become better!
We just have to learn to love ourselves as much as we can but remember that it's okay to feel crappy sometimes too.

Hopefully some of you out there can relate to what I'm talking about or have found this a little bit reassuring that you're not alone at least. I'd love to hear some of your techniques for dealing with distorting thoughts and also how you stop it from affecting you day-to-day.

Sending all of you a massive wave of love and hugs ♥

13 comments:

  1. You have a beautiful figure and it's so nice to hear that you can distinguish between what is and what isn't. Well done you for coming for far and for such an insightful, well-written post xx

    Emily - www.positivelystupendous.co.uk

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  2. Incredibly brave post to write! I think a lot of people spend too long in front of that mirror scrutinising themselves (me included). You look fabulous, thanks for sharing x x

    www.mintymemories.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you so much! It's so true! xx

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  3. You're so brave writing posts like these Hol! I've never been through the Body Dysmorphia thing but I've always had weight issues and not liked my body etc etc and all I can say is that I literally think you always look fab and amazing! Here for you if you ever want to chat! <3

    Robyn / Phases Of Robyn

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    1. Thank you so much Robyn! Remember that you're absoloutley gorg and I'm always here for you too! <3

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  4. I always fluctuate between loving my body and detesting everything about it. i havent done much research into body dysmorphia but it sounds like something that describes the relationship I have with how i look. I just wish i loved myself all the time.

    Abigail Alice x | Check out my Carli Bybel Giveaway!

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    1. I'm the same and I know it's difficult to deal with. I think you're probably experiencing more of a bad body image than Body Dysmorphia because you're not necessarily seeing something completely different and obscure in the mirror. Body Image is something that's really difficult to tackle and I don't think we can all ever love ourselves fully because there is always going to be something that we don't like because that's life! But you just slowly have to learn to love yourself and take care, rather than hating yourself constantly! ♥

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  5. Incredibly brave young lady that has gone through dark and very testing times...this post underpins the very fact of how strong and persevering you are, how beautiful you are in and out and a lady for all to aspire to xx

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  6. Such a brave post, you're doing so well. I envy your strength! <3

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  7. Really nicely written! Although, I have a slightly different experience, from being really skinny all my childhood and after my teenage years I got curves, which made me really confused with my body. I see myself different in different places and in different mirrors, but nowadays I just try to ignore my mind. I wish strength for you with your journey and hope it will get easier and better!! :)

    Lii

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  8. This is such an amazing and heartfelt post! Would love to see more posts like this :)

    Jane
    http://marbleandrose.blogspot.co.uk

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