Side Notes: Dysmorphia
I am making this year about my eating disorder, in a good way. I have gone through so many steps of recover since starting to see my counselor in the summer of 2010 that I know I can kick the last part of my ED that persists and has kept me from achieving everything I know I can. That one part that lingers and makes easy things so much harder than they should be: Body Dysmorphia.
What is Body Dysmorphic disorder? The Mayo Clinic defines it as:
“Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw with your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone. Body dysmorphic disorder has sometimes been called “imagined ugliness.””
I have spent the past 8 years of my disease dealing with this, which was ultimately what got the whole thing started. To this day, I cannot look in the mirror without picking out some sort of flaw and letting it belittle me to no end. I cannot put on a nice shirt, dress, shorts, pants, you name it, and seeing some way in which my body makes it looks bad. Most of the time I can’t say I look pretty or feel beautiful and really, that just makes me sad.
I have written about this before, constantly checking things in the mirror, and as much as it comes and goes with certain events, it never seems to go away. I would love to say that it has gotten better, but I have seen the signs of its return and can feel myself falling back into it’s whacked out games. I actually had the gall to say to Whit’s face that I looked FAT. Yeah, I said it, and as soon as I said it, I couldn’t believe it, since it’s been YEARS.
I mean, I go through moments during the month when my body is adjusting to certain things and gets more bloated than I’m comfortable with, but since I now know it’s temporary (there’s my fighting the irrational thoughts) and will go away within a few days of lots of water and just trying to relax. But the feeling isn’t going away. It’s lingering and breaking down walls I’ve created throughout the years to keep it out.
(“You are looking at the person most responsible for your safety“)
A lot of the time these feelings reemerge when I’m uncomfortable with something. Lately, it’s been the aspect of recovering from an injury and starting to run again, though afraid I am going to get hurt, but also the fact that I’m moving away in 2 short months for a 6 month job with potentially nothing to do thereafter. In the past this hasn’t bothered me at all because I thrived on moving around, but after putting down roots and getting a cat to take care of (and no, I will never give her up!), I think it’s starting to leave me on edge. I don’t know, but I’m trying hard to find out what is making me feel this way and banishing it in the only way it knows how to reveal itself, through my ED.
Fighting this thing always feels like a losing game. I can take so many steps in a better direction and then some part of it crawls out and makes it so hard to make any progress. Every time I slip up I become afraid to talk about it because I feel ashamed that it’s not gone yet and burdening the people I talk to about it have to hear about it, again. It’s extremely frustrating and exhausting, but that’s the only way I’m going to get through it, right? By fighting and talking about it? I think so.
So in 2012, I’m going to fight harder than ever. It’s going to be more difficult than any other year because as far as I’ve come along with the help of my counselor, soon I will be living 8 hours away from her and without her guidance. But I believe the things she has taught me in almost the past two years will help me get through it all. Feeling like I can’t do it won’t get me anywhere, staying positive will keep my spirits high and determined to one day say that I no longer only see flaws when I look at my body in the mirror, that I feel pretty, and that I’m beautiful.