Body Image Mental Health Must Read

My body and I

Body image and a lack of self confidence got me good today.

It’s not something I openly talk about, normally.

Talking about it gives me heart palpitations and literally makes me feel like I want to vomit. I get panic attack just thinking about talking about it. You get the idea.

But lately, I’ve been feeling like if I give it an external voice, it won’t hold as much power as an internal dialogue. That, somehow, writing it down, getting it out my head, lifts the weight off my shoulders a bit.

This morning started off well, when the pool and steam room in the hotel were empty. It was about an hour and a half before other people arrived. One other woman, in a full body suit, I could handle that, there was nothing about a larger woman doing her morning exercise that made me uncomfortable.

The moment it went downhill was the moment a young, slim, toned woman walked in wearing a bikini… followed by her 2 friends, and then 2 others. All very comfortable with working out and then swimming to cool down. It was this point that I felt beyond uncomfortable. My stomach was in knots, I practically hid in the corner of the pool praying they’d all go away. They didn’t and I couldn’t stay. Just the thought of staying made me nauseous. I then had to psyche myself up to get out of the pool, to get my towel from the lounger and return to the changing rooms.

I’d love to be able to say I chucked the towel round my shoulders and strutted out of the pool room like I didn’t care if they could see me, but I didn’t. I wrapped that towel around me like I’d got out the bath and walked as quickly as I could to the changing rooms, grabbed my bag from the locker and ducked in to the shower cubicle.

Side note: the chlorine has stripped so much purple out of my hair.

I may have spent the next 15 minutes crying in the shower, followed by the quickest shower I’ve had in my life. I just needed to break for a moment and then get out of their as quick as possible.

Now I’ve always struggled with my body image. I’ve never loved it. I’ve never felt positive about it. I’ve never been able to have a healthy level of self esteem. Being drunk never counted.

For years I have struggled with this.

I’m still fighting it, I am still trying to find a therapist I can work with long term form these issues but how long does it take to help someone with deep rooted self loathing?

When you wake up on a morning and hate what you see, it’s not easy to admit that you want to cut parts off your own body. It’s not easy to admit you spend hours googling breast reductions and which exercises you need to trim which ever body part down. It’s not easy to admit you felt all of that when you were a size 8 and that all those thoughts and feelings are amplified by the fact you’ve ballooned up to a size 14, and by the fact the majority of that weight has attached itself to your chest and your arse, the parts of your body you already hate.

It’s not easy to admit that you are NOT over an eating disorder.

How do you deal with the emotional trauma from years of being told negative things about your body? From hearing those things so often they become embedded in your psyche and you end up believing them yourself. It needs dealing with though, because I now have my own daughter who needs to know how beautiful she is, inside and out.

I will never tell her her “figure is weird” when she starts developing.

I will never tell her she’s “getting fat” when she tries to cover up her figure because she thinks it’s weird.

I will never tell her her “boobs are huge” when she’s only 14!

She will only hear positive words from her Mama.

What she will hear from me is “you are beautiful”.

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