Those of us with body dysmorphia are preoccupied with an imagined flaw in our physical appearance. For example, those who struggle with anorexia imagine they are overweight and develop obsessive behaviours to lose weight.
Mine is my weight. I spend a lot of time checking my appearance, comparing myself to others and expend much energy trying to hide those parts of my body which still look overweight. After years of morbid obesity, the fear that I am the same shape and size as my past controls my life. it’s hard to accept that I no longer stand out from others, and that I am not the elephant in the room. I am afraid of having my picture taken and hate crowds. I believe I am eating unhealthily, and I am lazy and unmotivated. My friends regularly remind me of the huge lifestyle changes I have made.
These beliefs are a symptom of my childhood and adolescence when my eating was out of control and I lived a sedentary lifestyle. Looking back, I can see that my shyness and lack of confidence as a child and adult was because I was ashamed of how I appeared.
Writing about this is hard, and I feel shame as I am still working to overcome this problem. It is a difficult task to change thinking patterns which became entrenched in childhood.
Why am I sharing this? Because I want you to know that you are not alone.
Do you think you are ugly in some way? Do you fear you stand out from the crowd because of something negative about your appearance?
I hear you, I empathise, and I understand. You are not alone, and you are loved. We will get through this together.
In love, Jenny.