Body image

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Something I have always struggled with is my appearance

Alot of the time I feel rubbish. My body. Purple Stretch marks. Fat. Cellulite. Scars. One eye is bigger than the other. My boobs are humongous. My thighs have always looked like tree trunks. I’m too tall. My body – it’s not perfect. Nothing is perfect. I have OCD. I don’t think I could ever get a tattoo because it’s not going to be perfectly symmetrical. It would have wobbly edges. It wouldn’t be positioned perfectly. No one else would notice but I would.

At a time where I was so very stressed with my appearance my skin was getting worse & worse.

You see that’s the thing. We are self obsessed. People are so worried about themselves & how they look that they don’t seem to notice other people. I couldn’t tell you what my friend wore to that party. I would be able to tell you the colour of my toenails that night though!

I like my eyes. They’re really blue. My list of things I don’t like is very long & although I like some things about my appearance – my list is considerably shorter. Learning to list things I do like as opposed to things I don’t is needed.

Social Media is bad for us!!!

I’m going to save my thoughts on Instagram & Snapchat for another day. The way young people are effected by it is astounding. Awful.

I have seen multiple medical professionals over the years (I’ll save the joys of this for another post) Something that occurred regularly in conversations with mental health professionals was my inability to say ‘Thankyou’, ‘sorry’ or ‘no’ without using the word ‘but’ or a strong sense of avoidance. Saying no is allowed. You don’t have to feel guilt. Saying Thankyou & just Thankyou is allowed. You don’t have to reason.

I was told if you don’t accept people’s compliments- ‘you look nice’ ‘I don’t’ in a way you’re actually hurting the other persons feelings. They tried to do something nice & you shut them down. They now feel bad about themselves. Make sense? Saying Thankyou as opposed to ‘I disagree’ or ‘but’. British people are very quick to say sorry. Say Thankyou instead. ‘Sorry for being late’ ‘Thankyou for waiting for me’ The flip of perspective can have such a positive influence on the minds of others. It gives them a sense of purpose & appreciation whilst also assuring yourself that you do not need to apologise for ‘life things!’ I went through a stage of crying every time someone drew attention to how I looked be it positive or negative. My therapist told me she liked the logo on my hoodie and I cried. If I am confident and happy in what I am wearing and how I feel/ look then I should no longer feel as self conscious. ‘thank you but I disagree’ this is still not accepting a compliment.

As a child when I was in the bath- I used to count the bruises on my body & tell a story about how I got each one- I loved it. I now know: part of my condition is that I bruise very easily- randomly and everywhere I hate that in photos copious amounts of fake tan (Bondi Sands is my favourite if you were wondering 😉 ) still will not cover my random purple bruises. People tell me my skin is so glowy or clear- yet I see all the imperfections. I live with my own body.

For me — I know I am going to have a bad mental health day if- I don’t put makeup on, don’t do something nice with my hair- yet I still wear huge hoodies and elasticated trousers, unwashed hair… ‘If I look bad and I know I look bad people won’t comment on what I look like’ ‘If I try to look nice when I just don’t look nice that’s embarrassing.’

Taking it back to being a child- the idea of lipgloss or getting ready for a party was exciting- putting on your favourite dress and sparkly shoes!!! I know if we treated everyday like we were a child we could feel happier in our skin. If I put more effort into my appearance regularly and it went well- I could feel better.

I am cute.

So… WHY is it that now- if I get an invite to a party or a night out or even a family meal, the thought sounds absolutely lovely- until it gets closer & comes down to what will I wear, how will my makeup look- it then gets to the point I become so overwhelmed that I ‘stop caring’ I really do care! I then come across so unbothered about the event (usually turn up in pyjama like comfy clothes – that is if I manage to turn up at all) If I were to cut it back to being 10 & pre planned as if I were a princess maybe I would enjoy myself more.

GETTING CAMERAS OUT AGHHHH As a millennial taking photos is an everyday occurrence- I do not mind. What I do mind is seeing the photo afterwards. I cannot look. If I were about to go out for a night out as an example (a rare occasion as someone with ME) If a group of my friends were to harmlessly take photos of us all at Pres I know for a fact if I look at the photos once they have been taken- I won’t be going out anymore, I’ll feel disgusting. If I were to look at the photos in the morning- it is true I probably will feel uncomfortable with the way I look- but I can self criticise alone where no one can see me.

Funnily enough – looking back a year, 3 years, 5 years – I see someone completely different to who I see now. At the time I felt awful. Ugly. Fat. Looking back now I feel I looked stunning- my skin was glowing my body shape so much nicer. People are very quick to become stuck in the moment – I try to imagine myself in 30 years looking back at my 19 year old self. It is no secret that I have put ALOT of weight on in the past 2 years. I’m chronically ill. I used to go to the gym 4 times a week now I’m lucky if I can walk up & down my stairs a few times in one day. My self confidence in my appearance has got worse as I have put weight on for sure. Don’t dwell on things you cannot change. I used to hate my skin- it cleared up by itself. I now hate my weight- we are hoping it settles when we sort out all the medical fun. I used to have 3-5 severe panic attacks a day – with time it got better. Many of my conditions contribute to weight gain. No I don’t eat more than I used to. I have the odd treat but nothing compared to people I know. I’m not physically as able anymore- it’s therefore making me put weight on which consequently affects my mobility more. With time things tend to fix themselves- our bodies work very hard everyday to keep us alive, cut yourself some slack.

You cannot change what is in the photo as it is a reflection of your appearance but you can change the way you feel before, during and after the photo.

self care

Your appearance says a lot about you. I’m am NOT at all saying makeup is the cure to happiness- everyone should wear it- absolutely not. But on days where my depression is bad- I won’t shower. I won’t brush my teeth. If I have chapped lips I don’t use lip balm. I sleep, forget to take medication and feel worse. Simple physical self-care could make the world of good.

MY STEP BY STEP GUIDE TO A HAPPY DAY:

– Brush your teeth & hair (unless it’s curly STOPPPPP get some water & oil)

– Fill in your eyebrows or put some mascara on. Minimal makeup could make your mood go from a 2 to a 4. You never know you might start to enjoy yourself and whop out the pink eyeshadow! Putting a little effort in can make you feel so much better.

– Give yourself a break! Make sure you leave enough time for all activities so you don’t feel overwhelmed.

– Go outside even if it’s only to put the bins out.

– Fruit & Water

– Have a shower or a bath- Even if it’s all you do all day!!! Don’t be gross just because you feel gross!

Pinterest is perfect for any self care type help!

HOW TO LOVE YOURSELF?

Think of a list of 7 things you love about your body- revisit this list regularly, it could take a really long time to create, that’s okay, be honest & creative. Share what you do to don’t want to.

Fake it till you make it but this isn’t always necessary. Convince yourself of just how true each point you make is. Regularly.

– Unfollow people that make you feel rubbish.

– Start Following Body positivity accounts on Instagram such as: @meararose @beckyloubutton @98smlc @Jessicalaurencurve @kenziebrenna

– Wear Clothes that fit.

– Do your makeup.

– Don’t spend time with people you don’t want to.

– Surround yourself with empowering women. I find I can be so easily swayed by other people’s body confidence issues- their obsessions & flaws. I respect that everyone struggles but I also know that I am so easily triggered by other people’s emotions that I have to put myself first. I used to say ‘A lot of my friends say they look ugly or fat or need to go to the gym- when in reality they know they aren’t ugly or fat- I am’ I know this isn’t true now. But I can still feel this way.

– Don’t look for validation in others – love yourself and believe in your choices without the need for reassurance.

– Say something nice about the things you usually hate.

– Set manageable goals

YOU DESERVE LOVE