Mental Health

Body Dysmorphia

In honour of mental health week I thought I would go back to my roots and do a blog post on mental health. When most people think of mental health they think of depression or anxiety and although it is those things it’s also much more then that.

Body dysmorphia is a mental health illness that causes you to pick flaws in your appearance that no one else sees/thinks. Individuals that suffer with this condition spend a lot of time worrying over their appearance. If you want more information the NHS site is really good; https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/body-dysmorphia/.

I’ve never been diagnosed with body dysmorphia and I don’t like to say that I might have it but recently, I’ve been obsessing over the way I look and what people think of my appearance more often then is healthy. Everyone worries about their appearance at one time or another but when it’s every minute of every hour that’s when you know it isn’t healthy. In a world that is constantly online and a population that is always comparing themselves to others this condition is becoming more common. I’m not saying social media is the cause of it but it doesn’t always help.

Recently, I’ve found myself staring at pictures of people on Instagram who have trim stomachs and small thighs and I obsess over how I look. I feel fat and disgusting and I can’t stomach to look at myself in the mirror. I never take outfit pictures anymore because I don’t think my boobs look nice or I have a pot belly, it is really damaging my mental health. I also rarely take selfies and then I’ll spend hours pouring over them until I decide that something’s wrong or i don’t like the way I look so I delete it. It’s not healthy but I don’t know how to stop.

I pick at my skin to try and make it look more even, my relationship with food is suffering and my relationship with other people is suffering. I’m constantly putting myself down and it’s not healthy. Professionals say if you have depression you are more likely to experience body dysmorphia so maybe that’s what it is but whatever it is it’s horrible.

This hasn’t been the first time I’ve experienced it; I went through a stage of controlling what I ate to control what I looked like. I used to go days without eating before I was forced to eat something. My psychiatrist used to have me keep a food log to document what I ate and how much, it was humiliating. It was humiliating stepping on the scales every week so they could track my weight, it made me feel more horrible about myself. It made me feel bigger and like they were making sure I wasn’t becoming too overweight. I’ve never had the best relationship with food I will admit, I used to give my lunch to the kids on the school bus so my mum thought I had eaten, but after awhile that started to diminish. I started to eat better and not be afraid to say I was hungry. That was until recently.

My relationship with food is suffering again but all I can do is stand by and watch. It’s a horrible feeling and I don’t know how to get myself out of this rut.

For more information on body dysmorphia there is a brilliant blog post that’s written by someone that’s been diagnosed and is in recovery with it. It really helped me make sense of what was going on; https://www.talkspace.com/blog/what-body-dysmorphia-actually-feels-like/.

I hope this makes some sort of sense to you guys and I hope you know if you’re struggling that I’m always here!

Love, Els xxxx

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