But here is a simple truth. I had my menstrual cycle last week, started feeling very depressed, moved less, ate more, and am up to about 129 pounds today.
And Chris had to deal with a girl this weekend who felt utter disgust for her own body.
Yes, I gained some weight. But I am putting the brakes on it. Despite feeling depressed and low energy, I am getting back on the proverbial horse. Four pounds weight gain shouldn't make me hate my body. I am still under 130 pounds. I am not huge. Not too many people would notice the gain except me.
But, damn it, I have struggled with dysmorphia for a long, long time. I didn't even realize it for a long time.... that what I was seeing in the mirror wasn't always the truth. That what I saw in the mirror was completely determined by my MENTAL state rather than my physical one.
I also didn't realize for a long time that I didn't HAVE to feel that way, that not everyone did. That a lot of people were perfectly comfortable with their bodies, flawed or not!
Right now, when I touch my body or look at it in the mirror, there is little difference between the current me and the obese me. I feel just as much shame about my body now as I did then.
Here I am, at a weight lots of people would love to be at.... and I feel shame and disgust for myself. And the truth is, I could weigh ANYTHING and feel the same exact way. These feelings are a sickness and have nothing to do with the reality of my body.
Here are some of the symptoms of dysmorphia that I deal with and try to mitigate on a regular basis. These symptoms fade and strengthen over time, depending on my mental state:
Obsessive thoughts about (a) perceived appearance defect(s).
Chronic low self-esteem
Feeling self-conscious in social environments; thinking that others notice and mock their perceived defect(s)
Strong feelings of shame.
Compulsive mirror checking, glancing in reflective doors, windows and other reflective surfaces.
Compulsive skin-touching, especially to measure or feel the perceived defect.
Seeking reassurance from loved ones
Comparing appearance/body parts with that/those of others, or obsessive viewing of favorite celebrities or models whom the person suffering from BDD wishes to resemble.
Compulsive information-seeking: reading books, newspaper articles and websites that relate to the person's perceived defect, e.g. being overweight.
These symptoms are not the worst that someone with dysmorphia could have. I am not self-destructive, physically. I have never sought help for it. I want to get help for it now... and I will when I get insurance in a few months. Because I don't want this for myself anymore.
But, till then, I need to stay aware and not let it swallow me.
This post is cathartic. I have deleted it several times this morning, unsure of whether to share this sad, dark part of myself with you. But it is a part of me. I need to stop feeling shame about who *I* am, physically and mentally.
So, my message as always is: love yourself, take care of yourself, this is your one life and don't waste it.
And I will be here, trying to follow my own advice.