This is the most painful post I have ever written. Not even my family knows I suffer from this…Today I am opening up my heart and sharing with you what is it like to live with body dysmorphia.
“Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.”
I have had this “mental disorder” as physicians call it for as long as I can remember. I recall being no older than 6 years of age in my parents living room one afternoon in Montreal. I specifically remember wearing my green spandex bodysuit (it was from gymnastics). I laid out my weights on my exercise area (I had seen my dad doing this from a young age). I then put on one of my Dad’s exercise tapes. I didn’t like going to gymnastics classes and would often tell my Mom I was “sick”. I did not feel I looked the same like the other girls, they were all much taller and had thinner bodies, I was already afraid what the world would think of me. For sure they thought I was not as eloquent or flexible as the other kids. That I was inferior. I already thought I was “fat” and I was only just a little girl. I have continued this tormentous ritual of thinking until this very day.
I ask myself today…Is it good to exercise in front of your children, weigh yourself on a scale, look at yourself in the mirror? I feel really lost right now and specifically because I am raising a little girl in a very tainted world.
In elementary school it didn’t help that I was bullied by a group of girls. I’ll never forget someone teasing me and telling me that I looked like I had down syndrome. This label stuck for life.
It didn’t help that I was always told I was “too sensitive”. Maybe it was just a cry for help. This label stuck for life.
High school was average. I never really had a set “clique” of friends I was more or less friends with a variety of people from different groups. I liked the “geeks” and went to parties with the “cool kids”. Again, I always compared myself to the other girls. I had a list of my “problems” I would go over and dwell on. I hated my hair it was unruly and wild, so I wore it tight up in a bun every single day. My Mom would get angry at me. I now see myself picking on Ruby for never wanting to wear her hair in a ponytail or different style. Am I setting her up for a life with BD too? I wished my hair was long and sleek like the other girls. I was not “thin” enough. I probably weighed no more than 50 KG. People always said I was “so cute”. I didn’t like that, I wanted to be one of the “hot” girls. Did they tell me I was cute out of pity? Another label…
This mindset dragged on through my 20s, carried it to college and up until I got to Dubai. Perhaps it is at it’s worst now as I approach my 30s (especially with the environment here). I can’t tell you how much I yoyo with my weight, I am worse than Oprah! I was my perfect size just this past year, specifically this time last year! Of course one year ago I didn’t think I looked good either! Today I stepped on the scale and wanted to stick my fingers down my throat and hide under the covers. I have put on nearly SEVEN kilos. I feel so disgusting. My daughter hears me moan to my husband how much I don’t like myself. I need to be careful what I say around her…
I have always been approached by friends and random strangers who tell me how pretty I am, that I look like a doll. My skin is so clear, my waist is so tiny, my eyes are so big, I have a cute dimple. What I see when I look in the mirror is a girl with spotty skin, a huge forehead, horrible hair, awful breasts, a fat face, fat arms, fat legs, an ugly EVERYTHING. You get the point…
Living with this mentality has been SO difficult. I think it goes hand in hand with my depression! Because of my BD, I often avoid posting pictures of myself online or posing in photos. I always think “I will look ugly”. I am afraid to go in public places because of what people will think of how I look. It’s awful, but this swirls around in my head every time I pass a mirror, change outfits, or see a picture of a person with “the perfect figure”. I need to get rid of this sickness; I am SO scared Ruby will grow up with these demons. Sadly, I have already heard her drop an “F” bomb a few times (fat).
I am/will be doing something about it. I am getting back on track with my daily regime of walking/biking/Jillian Michaels 30 day shred! I want to do a weekly class with “Pure Fitness” as I love the fact that I can bring Nate with me. I know I should be back on track in a month. I seem to lose weight as fast as I put it on when I get in the right mind frame. My problem is keeping it off! I truly believe in “thinking yourself thin”. Likewise with “thinking you are fat”, the more I think I am fat, the bigger I get.
The issue is not losing weight. The issue lies deep within me. Learning to LOVE myself no matter how “fat” I am. To burn and put a ban on my “labels”. How does one with BD hide it from her children? Get help and get better! Easier said than done! My whole life I have wanted to love myself. I hope 2016 can bring me this peace and new beginning. I know it will be a long process and not happen overnight. One can only wish and pray for positive change.
I can blame my body dysmorphia on social media but that would be a lie. It started before internet even existed. I’ll never know how it emerged within me. I only want to learn how to get rid of it now!