Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Body Dysmorphia and Therapy

Alright. I have my first therapy session tomorrow. I have no real idea of what to expect or where she will want to go first or how to let her get to know me. I am pretty self aware and "get" what my problem is... I just don't know how to get out of the cycle. I focus on food and my body because I can control those things, unlike life, which I cannot control at all..

Oh, well. Hope it helps or starts to help!

And I will warn you... there is a stream of consciousness-esque rant coming. I am trying to get all these feeling out and tangible so I can sort through them mentally. They've been banging around in my crazy brain for a while.

I am really wrapped up in my own anxiety right now. I don't know how to focus on real life and big issues... so I focus on my body. And I am kind of hating it right now. Only about 3 pounds heavier than when I "liked" my body. It's obvious the liking/hating of my own body has little to nothing to do with what my body actually looks like, but my state of mind.

I also usually hate my face... did I ever tell you I didn't look in the mirror for about 5 years or so? I was a teenager and just. couldn't. do. it. I really have very few memories of what I looked like then, so when I see a photo, I am shocked. I liked to pretend I was beautiful and seeing the mirror reminded me I wasn't.


I feel kind of pretty and put together today, so I snapped a photo to remind me that I am not some weird monstrous troll like hideous thing that no one can stand to look at.

Just a normal woman, really. Not exceptionally beautiful or ugly. Just a person who should just be using her body to live life... not focusing on how her body doesn't measure up. 

I try to fight it and am usually successful, but in the end, my control issues make me idealize the lean, hard, strong body that is VERY hard to obtain because women are so naturally curvy and round (because we NEED to be to be fertile!).

Control issues because my parents died, decades apart, in ways that were very traumatic for me. Anxiety because I feel so out of control in life.... other people could die, the dog could die, the cat could die, the house could burn down, the world could go to shit, we could be broke, etc, etc, etc.

I'm a mess.

It's okay.

And it's okay if you're a mess.

We're breathing, we're alive, so that means we have lots of chances and lots of hope to get this right.

I spill my gut here to let you know that just because I've hit maintenance, just because there are no longer any outward signs of the problems that made me fat in the first place, that just because I might look like a skinny bitch I used to hate on.... that all doesn't mean there isn't still a LOT of work to be done.

Obesity is a symptom.

I was really close to curing the DISEASE that made me fat (my anxiety and control issues and sadness) when I found my father unexpectedly dead in the house I now live in. Before his death, I was so close to not feeling disordered, so close to thinking like a normal human. I spiraled right back (which means that I hadn't cured it, just kept it at bay).

The disease came back full force and I am trying hard as hell to not let all the symptoms come back, as well.

Aaaaaand, this is why I am finally getting into therapy.

Because this isn't easy.

It requires work. Healthy eating, being active, caring for your MIND and your SPIRIT. You cannot take any of those factors out if you intend on journeying towards a well-rounded and healthy human at the end of all this.

I'm doing the work. I will get better. 

There is hope for all of us :)

Namaste, forgive my crazies <3


  1. I'm sure a lot of women relate to what you wrote (myself included). Your post made me think of this story. My students recently wrote reports about a famous person they felt was a hero. I printed out a photo of each hero and put it on the wall next to each child's report. Not one of the women was conventionally attractive! Almost all were plain. Eleanor Roosevelt, Susan B. Anthony, Florence Nightingale, Frida Kahlo, Gertrude Stein, etc. That wall in my classroom has really been reminding me that being "pretty" isn't that important and my actions are so much more important than my appearance.

    Anyway lol. Good luck with therapy, I have heard it can take a few sessions to start seeing progress but I hope you will feel better sooner rather than later! :)

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it!!! I know, logically and deep down, that my spirit and my mind and my actions and my love MATTER so much more than my body... it's why I am trying so hard to get past this!

  2. Thinking of you and sending you positive vibes. You are beautiful and I am glad you are getting the help you deserve.

  3. Wishing you the best. Going through therapy will be rough, but it will be SO insightful...and it WILL help. :) You might need a little medication in the beginning to help right the ship, you might not. Don't fight it if she recommends it.

    Also, re worrying...I have a PhD in worrying. Did you know that about 95% of what we worry about never comes to pass (or, comes to pass when it should.) I think you have already used up your 5% (or more) with your parents, so I'm betting on you. All this means is we worriers waste a LOT of time, energy, and heart on events that will NEVER occur. AND, even if they do, we will muster our way through them like you did your parent's deaths. Why ruin precious GOOD time worrying about something that will likely never happen? I know that's easier said than just need to train yourself to stop those worry worry worry thoughts dead in their tracks. A good therapist will teach you how. :)

  4. Thank you for the crazies. :-) Besides helping me to feel I'm not the only one, it reminds me that losing weight won't solve my problems. I'm not sure these things ever are "cured", but that doesn't mean we can't strive to find peace. Take care.

  5. That was really good to share - you do look beautiful by the way! My daughter has issues as well. Not obesity but anxiety - really, really bad at times. She is always better when she is pregnant (as she is now) and I'm not sure whether it is because it is OK to not look slim or whether her hormones align? Who knows. One thing I do know from life is that many people feel the way you do and I'm glad you are getting therapy.

  6. My therapist had me take a series of written tests when I first started. Some of it was to gauge anxiety. (Anxiety is always based in fear). Others were to determine my perception of things. I remember it was a lot of tests.

    I used to make myself lists. I have taken blog posts in to read to her. I have sent her "ask me about . . ." Texts and emails, When I was afraid I might chicken out on topics.

    My now 16 year old has a cardiac related condition. When she was (finally) diagnosed in 2012 (problems started when she was one, we heard a lot of what it wasn't, until I finally took her to mayo) I had her see a therapist to make sure she was handling it okay. She seemed okay, but wanted to be sure. That therapist asked her a lot of questions based on living with a chronic condition (and the fact that she was going to only child at home, other two going to college, and was starting high school). She was okay. But a lot came pouring out. She got in car that first day and said you know how good the therapy appt was based on Kleenex box - very much her sense of humor.

    One thing I would caution is not to assume you know cause and effect. Everything you SEE might be symptom and cause might be invisible. Or a lot of it might be need of meds. Or it might be PTSD from past events (like finding your dad or things from your past which had a bigger impact than you might have realized). An example is a lot of my anxiety (which is always based on fear) comes from very real things from my childhood. And it sort of dominoed on me. My therapist says that people often come to therapy expecting to find one big AHA event or problem that everything else sort of started/is hinged. And it is rarely one thing.

    My therapist had me read Jill Bolte Taylor's My Stroke of Insight
    It is not a self help book
    It is the story of retraining neuro pathways
    And that is a lot of what we have to do
    You have already retrained yourself with tangible habits
    (Food, exercise, etc)
    Emotional and thought processes can be retrained too.

  7. Oh Jeanette, you beautiful girl! I call BS on the "not exceptional" bit. It takes an exceptional person to do everyday what you do everyday. I've always thought you were beautiful, the raven hair, the clear blue eyes, the tiny waist, the long lean look of your figure. (Is that creepy, me saying all that? I don't mean it to be.) :-)

  8. I can totally relate to so much about this post. Thanks for sharing. Makes me realize that I am not alone in my feelings about myself. You are such a gorgeous woman. Inside and out. I definitely need to follow suit. Therapy is definitely something that needs to be in my future too:)

  9. "Healthy eating, being active, caring for your MIND and your SPIRIT." Love that sentence.


    Who says life is easy - it isn't - it' s how we deal with things that are important.

    Take Care - Take Heart

    All the best Jan

  10. Glad you are seeing a therapist. You've undergone a lot of body and life changes. Makes sense to work through things now. Much better to do before you have kiddos (if you are planning). Take care and my life is better from my therapy from 10 years ago each and every day. I realize I can't learn everything from my family of origin. You are young. Glad you are taking this step. :)