Wednesday, 3 June 2020

LIVING WITH BODY DYSMORPHIA DISORDER

 
Hi, me again. The commitment to you all is very much real! Another week, another blog post but this post is a little more serious. I wanted to create a follow up incase some of you had more questions around how i live with it now. I featured in a podcast that i was kindly asked to support in creating over on Emma Haymes podcast channel, The Guilty Fitspo. I have only addressed my body dysmorphia a handful of times. Once, on mental health awareness day and secondly on the podcast i have just mentioned. 

I originally planned to post a blog around the same time the podcast was aired, only i didn't feel i was able to cram everything into one blog post without boring you all to death (that's my anxiety creeping in there, i'm worried that i'll bore you). So, i thought as we're in lockdown, our anxiety doesn't just stop, our insecurities don't go away and we all still may need a little support. I'm opening up to you all about the hard faced truth of living with BDD (Body Dysmorphia Disorder) a very real, awkward mental health condition.

I say awkward because it's sometimes a funny one to explain, everyone's BDD is different. For example mine is solely focused on my stomach. The shape, the size, the colour everything. From a very young age i have always had an uncomfortable relationship with my body. I have numerous amount of scars, mainly from my open heart surgery (i have a heart condition). Puberty hit me early and i had size C's before i reached year 9. Though my hips didn't become so womanly, so quickly; so often people would refer to me as an "ironing board balancing two melons" i genetically have no arse either (thanks Dad love you) so yeah, being a teenager with a figure i viewed as ugly, wasn't the easiest. 

Naturally that manifested itself, i spoke about the different triggers i had as a young adolescent in the podcast such as wearing a bikini in front of friends with very little preparation, catching my reflection side on in a shop window. Honestly, the smallest of things could ruin my day.  So what i want to share with you is how i'm able to live life with BDD now and what useful tips have helped me overcome certain anxieties to do with my stomach. 

I've learnt to accept the shape of it, i can't break bones, make my insides really tiny to get the shape i shamefully once desired. You kind of need to come to terms with bodies 80% of the time are down to genetics, so what a friend of mine looks like weighing ten stone, could look very different on me. Which is where my second guideline comes into play, stop the comparison i suppose this one truly came with time and age. Please stop comparing yourself to anyone but your reflection. You decide who to follow, don't put the onus on others you have the responsibility to decide what you view. No body has your genes, you are you and that is truly your power. Start addressing what you love and like about yourself, hype yourself up, why the hell not GO ON HUN.

I've stopped weighing myself every day and then looking at myself for 15 mins in the mirror, poking fat and prodding parts as if that was going to make me feel any better. Why, it's toxic, unproductive and you may aswel press the self destruct button. I have a relatively healthy balanced diet, i incorporate exercise into my daily routine, whether that's going to the gym (pre lock-down) or going for a walk/jog. I discovered even on my worse days an hour or even half an hour of exercise really helped me through. No, it's not about the calories i've burn't, i associate exercise with being productive and jesus i love a bit of productivity. 

I don't wear clothes that i know i will feel uncomfortable in, i used to try and attempt trends because everyone else looked good in it. The truth is if you subconsciously know you hate a style/trend why force yourself to like something you so obviously hate. For example, i know exactly what style of bikini bottoms i dislike, it doesn't matter so much about how you think they make you look. It's about how they make YOU feel. Trust me, when you're wearing something you hate, you will honestly just have a face like a slapped arse. 

The hard truth is you don't just get over it, you get control of it and you tell yourself you are bloody fabulous, because you are. I had a girl on Instagram ask me "How can i overcome this? I have been trying for years and no matter how many people tell me i'm skinny and stuff i can't see it myself". I firstly would be honest with you and tell you, you will never ever believe a compliment unless you believe it to be true in the first place. For example "You're a genius" am i though? So the day you take a compliment in and smile and accept it, is the day you've learnt to overcome it. Along with the above, i suggest therapy, you need to recognise what are your triggers and what is your focus because knowledge is power and as soon as you know what sets you off, the sooner you will be free. 

Whilst it may be disappointing to know BDD doesn't disappear i can promise you in time, with some of the strategies i use and the help of a professional you in time learn to love yourself, accept yourself and it becomes a second thought. Though, i suggest taking baby steps, the healing happens over months, sometimes years not overnight. You absolutely have to face the demon head on, address the underlining issues. 

I haven't had an "BF" that's short for (bitch fit) in a really really long time but when i do i do the following; take myself off so i'm by myself for a few minutes, i count to ten and ask myself, what's the issue here Harriet? I give myself a couple of minutes to "sort myself out" i write down the trigger in my notes section on my phone and i go back and address it at a later time. I do not and will NEVER ever allow this condition to ruin my day, a friends birthday, a holiday or even a Christmas Day. So, neither will you.

Let's just summarise; A healthy diet and good exercise routine, no comparing yourself to a stranger or even a friend, wear clothes you love and are happy in! Seek professional help, if required and please, be kind to yourself! 

Lots of love and well-wishes, 

Harriet x 


I'm always only a DM away! I'm not a mental health professional, nor am i medically trained, these are only copying mechanisms i have taught myself over the years, if you wish to learn more about BDD there is so much online support click here. If you need further help, please contact your GP. 
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