Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Longing Of Body Confidence


I've been wanting to write about this particular subject for quite some time. It's been on my mind a lot lately, and I've tried my best to ignore these feelings but I have learned in the past that they don't go away really, not until I address it. I find writing all my feelings about something that is troubling me really quite therapeutic. Transferring all my thoughts down into to something else just to ease the intensity of what's going on in my head. It helps, it really really does help, as I have a tendency to drive myself crazy with my own mind.

I struggle a lot with body image, I've touched upon it before, here and there, not really going into it as I tend to keep actual ''personal life stuff'' very very private. I share a lot online, but things like this, I struggle to be more open about. I know I'm not alone in the way I feel in regards to myself. I know A lot of people struggle with body confidence. When I was 22 I gained a lot of weight. I have always been tall and slim, around a size 8-10. I've never really had to worry about weight gain, I could eat what I wanted and not put on an ounce. So when I actually did start putting on weight, my metabolism finally giving out, I did something about it straight away. I Remember exactly when it was, I was looking at pictures of myself on an ex's phone, just candid shots, that's when I first noticed, and that's when I took action straight away.

I joined a gym, I dusted off my running shoes and I ran 32lbs off. I was strict with what I ate. I stopped eating junk, as difficult as it was, I just stopped. Determination and will power not letting me succumb to binges for my daily cravings of sugar. It was hard but I did it. Seeing the changes in my body spurred me on. After 6 months of graft, I stepped on the scale, I had done it. I had hit my goal weight, I was 'me'' again vowing never again to let myself get like that ever again.

It was around this point that things in my life turned a bit unbalanced. I was 23. Something happened within my family. My mum and dad would ring me, confiding in me getting their stresses off their chest. They were worried and I took it all on board until I cracked. I couldn't control the situation that was going on around me, but the one thing I could control was my weight and how I looked. The more stressed and the more uncontrollable the situation we were dealing with became, the more I took it out on myself. I would starve myself, purge and exercise to an excessive amount. Never giving myself a break. It was getting to a point where I would make myself throw up after everything I ate. I wouldn't leave the gym until I burnt off at least 1000 calories. I got a buzz from not eating, from being able to control this. People would buy me treats and to not arouse suspicion as to why I wasn't eating it [people knew I loved sugary stuff] I'd eat it, excuse myself and then get rid of it. I'd do it at work, taking my toothbrush with me, covering up all traces of what I'd been doing. I did it so much I broke the blood vessel in my face, just underneath my eyebrows. I'd take concealer to cover them up. When choosing what I was going to get in the staff canteen or at home, I'd grab my hips, my stomach the parts I hated the most, almost feeling how big they were and to see if I could allow myself a meal. A habit I still haven't 100% parted with. Even now when I''m choosing something, sometimes my hand starts grabbing my hips. I started to look ill. My skin was waxy, hollow and pale. My hands scabby and marked from making myself sick. I lacked energy. I remember I was pretty much just a ghost. I was going through the motions of life, I wasn't really there. People at work started noticing. I wore a lot of layers so people couldn't see my body. It was affecting my performance at work. I could tell my colleagues were getting annoyed. I just didn't have the energy to care at that point.

I woke up one morning feeling particularly dreadful and zapped of energy realising I couldn't keep doing this to myself. The buzz I was getting was replaced with fatigue. I was tired, I was tired of all of this. I made a promise I myself that If I threw up intentionally that day, I would make myself go to the doctors. Knowing I wouldn't be able to stop doing so, I purged and then after work I marched myself to the doctors, I knew I needed to get help. The receptionist asked if I'd like to make an appointment and then proceeded to ask the nature of it. I couldn't get the words out, noticing the distress she told me to go through the doors where I could speak to her in private. I still had trouble actually saying it out loud because I knew how stupid it would sound. She sat next to me on a chair down the corridors that led off to doctors offices and I cried and finally told her I couldn't stop making myself sick.

I began seeing a doctor once a week. I finally told my mum, I didn't want to worry her as she was moving to New Zealand in just a few months and with the stress of the other situation going on I didn't want to add even more stress. I was given things to read and I was advised on books to buy that could help. After a while, I was told I needed referring, that I needed to see a specialist. I was put on a waiting list, they would be in touch. It was around 9 months after I was told that, I received my letter. I never went to the sessions. In the 9 months, I waited I ''made myself better'' i.e I forced myself to stop doing the unhealthy things I was doing. I tried to make myself realise I didn't have to feel guilty for wanting to eat something, for skipping the gym. The once strict diet slipped, I relaxed. I thought I ''fixed'' myself. I thought that I would be taking up a valuable spot for someone else that really needed it. I would feel like a phony if I went.

3 years on I still struggle. Sometimes it's easy to ignore, sometimes the old feelings I had towards food still haunt me. Sometimes it's so damned hard to ignore that monkey on your shoulder. Sometimes it's hard not to be ashamed of what you see in the mirror, wanting to go back to the old harmful ways I had. I know I shouldn't feel like this but I do. In the last few weeks, it's all intensified. For the first time in 2 years, I cried about my body. I saw a picture of myself and I cried. Sometimes it's all I think about, it's all consuming and I would just love to be rid of it. I wish I was accepting. I should be grateful for my body, I know this so why aren't I? It is something I'm working on, I really am. I would love to find contentment in myself. I'm my own worst critic, I compare myself to other people, strangers I have never met.

 It comes and goes in phases and I just guess I'm going through a really rough one. The rituals are still there, I get up, the first thing I do is analyse my body, hope my stomach is flatter.'' Is it getting flatter? Perhaps I should skip any of the sugary stuff today, aim for 800cals at the gym . . . . '' then I have to squash these thoughts right out of my mind. My scale broke last week and I panicked. My best friend and James are excellent. I confide in them all the time how I feel, how I really really feel. And they're there always for me. I think at this moment in time I'm going through a rough patch. A really really rough patch, the worst one since I was at my worst. Unfortunately, I've started to learn that this thing I have, won't ever truly go away. There will always be some echo of it and I'll, of course, fight to keep it at bay. I guess I'm just finding it difficult, this moment in time.


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10 comments

  1. If you need anything at all, feel free to message me! Also getting all the words written down sometimes lifts a little bit of the weight off your shoulders, doesn't it xx

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    1. Thanks so much darling, means a lot xxx

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  2. Oh my, you poor girl. I hope you're doing fine now x like you, I also struggle with my body image. Sometimes I feel confident, sometimes I don't. I wish there's a way I can stop myself from feeling drab about it all the time.

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    1. Thanks darling. I'm ok :) some days it's just hard to ignore like anything. It's just nice to get it all out. I hope you're ok x

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  3. So glad you posted this, as hard as it can be to open up about personal issues it's really important to be open if you can and help others that may be struggling with similar issues to know they're not alone & there is hope!
    x

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  4. How brave of you to share this, Jess. And how brave of you to walk into the Dr's surgery by yourself one day! There should be more immediate action when it comes to mental health issues. It's a huge gap in the NHS. If you ever need to talk, I'm just a DM away. xx

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  5. Oh jess I love you so much ❤ I'm glad James and your best friend are so great for you and we're all just a text or phone call away if ever you need us. You're so strong and you'll be able to deal with this, even if it never truly goes away. You've got this and you're beautiful inside and out. ❤ xx

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  6. Oh jess I love you so much ❤ I'm glad James and your best friend are so great for you and we're all just a text or phone call away if ever you need us. You're so strong and you'll be able to deal with this, even if it never truly goes away. You've got this and you're beautiful inside and out. ❤ xx

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