Many people will often speak negatively about the way that they look. Being critical of our appearance seems to be something that comes far more naturally then speaking positively about ourselves.
But what happens when it becomes something more serious? When it starts to take over a persons life? And when what was once a negative comment turns into a full blown destructive thought process?
Body dysmorphia. A very serious and debilitating thing to live with. Can you imagine the pain of seeing yourself in the mirror and hating what you see? Day in and day out?? Can you imagine what it feels like to get ready and to actual believe that you are larger then you were the day before? To compare pictures all the time and convince yourself that you have grown in size? To find the smallest flaw in your appearance and to focus on it obsessively? To scrutinise your face in the mirror all the time? To examine photos in depth and always conclude things negatively ? To feel as though your clothes are tighter all the time? To be convinced your stomach, or your thighs, or arms are growing consistently ? To see your face as larger and larger every day ?? Torture. Non stop – the voices whirl around and around in your head.
It makes no sense to everyone else. How can it ???
What your seeing isn’t real. What your feeling isn’t real. Yes – to you it is. Right in that moment – you see yourself exactly that way. It takes over – it pulls you in. You feel like you might break at any moment.
Yet everyone around you tells you how great you look. How amazing you are. People give you attention and comment on how attractive you are, or how lovely your outfit or hair is. Yet you don’t feel it. Any of it. Deep inside your consumed. Your thought process is raging. Your emotions are taking over. You feel awful. The voice is loud. It’s taking over. And you hate it.
It isn’t easy at all – but remember – that voice – it’s lying to you. It’s putting you down. It’s telling you things that aren’t true. It wants to keep you in a low place. It wants to drag you down and convince you that you aren’t good enough. It wants to point out every slight possible negative thing about you – so that you feel worthless. So that you feel disempowered. So that you hate yourself and feel so low you can’t even begin to start the day.
It’s like a controlling partner – who wants to dominate your life and to take away your power. Its like an abusive relationship or toxic friendship – where your constantly kept in this vulnerable position – feeling not good enough. Feeling empty, low and worthless. Body dysmorphia – it wants to take you down. It wants to destroy you. Any chance of happiness you might have – it wants to take it away. Anything good – it wants to sabotage. That’s the irony – things might be going well, something positive might happen. You might be feeling happy with something – and there it is – ready to pounce. Ready to destroy. ‘You don’t deserve this’ it whispers. ‘This won’t last’ – it says. ‘You can’t be happy’ it repeats quietly in the background. And instead of allowing these vulnerabilities to be explored, it focuses on the physical – pointing out the negatives and drawing your into a world of self-hatred.
Its also there when your very stressed, when your run down, tired and overwhelmed. Things might be getting on top of you – you can’t cope with it all. BOOM – there it is. Telling you how awful you look. How massive you are, how disgusting your body and face are. Its ready – it wants to take you down. You feel awful – it wants to make you feel worse.
Fight back!!!! Try not to listen. Talk about it. It’s so hard. But say it out loud. The voice doesn’t want you too. But say it. Then it loses its power. Tell someone close to you what you are feeling. Articulate your worries and concerns. They can help to reassure you – and while they can’t take it all away, they can focus on grounding you.
Write your feelings down – get them out of your head. Don’t let them take over. You can beat this. You don’t have to listen to every negative thought in there. Your worth more – write and write until you can tell yourself that.
Look after yourself – simplistic but true. Good positive self-care makes it all easier to manage. If you are eating properly, sleeping well, getting enough down time and calm time – then you will feel so much better in general. And the voice won’t have such a chance to take over.
If you feel your self-care is lacking at the moment, then step back – evaluate. Think about what you need more of – as well as what you may need less of. Sometimes people turn to things like alcohol or drugs to stop the voice from being so loud – but this in turn makes everything more difficult to manage. Addictive behaviours only exaggerate negative thought processes.
Spend time with those that make you feel calm and at ease. Be around those that make you feel good in yourself. Limit your time with toxic people or those that drain your energy and take from you. There is only so much of you to go around. You need to focus on what is good for you.
Look at your use of social media. Unfollow anything that is triggering for you. Try to limit the time you spend using social media – but also be very careful about who you follow and what you spend your time looking at.
And don’t forget – there is also therapy. Counselling can really help when it comes to fighting the battles of body dysmorphia. It helps people to understand the root causes of what is going on and change day to day behaviours. It helps to put coping strategies in place and to move forward in a more positive way.