When I wake up the first thing I do is look for my dogs, if they haven’t found me yet. Then I get up and let them out to go to the bathroom and grab my coffee. I would say that it is never more than 20 minutes before my first negative self thought enters my mind. Maybe I caught a glance of myself in the mirror or maybe I look down at my body as I sit drinking coffee – and I immediately start in on myself.
Why are you letting your thighs and stomach get so big? Did you really need that ice cream and cookies last night? How big was your ass in the mirror yesterday? And not that GOOD kind of fat ass either, right? How can you make your hair grow faster or look cuter since you went and shaved all of your hair off again?? What kind of clothes will hide what you want them not to see and show off what you do and still allow you to feel comfortable? And what kind of make-up and hair care products will allow you to style all of your bad hair days away and hide all of your imperfections and aging??
Wow. Talk about being hard on yourself. My hell this is bringing me to tears as I type. What kind of earth have we created that we are so focused on what we look like and not on who we are? Why does the television and print magazine make me feel like I will never, ever, ever measure up? Just when you think that they are going to stop with the model types and glamorized, plastic surgeried actresses… out comes another contoured, perfectly shaped, primed and prepped person who people “admire” “envy” and want to be just like.
I have struggled to feel comfortable in my own skin all my life. One person eventually told me that I have body dysmorphia. People who have *body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) think about their real or perceived flaws for hours each day. They can’t control their negative thoughts and don’t believe people who tell them that they look fine. Their thoughts may cause severe emotional distress and interfere with their daily functioning. They may miss work or school, avoid social situations and isolate themselves, even from family and friends, because they fear others will notice their flaws.*
Thank you for the diagnosis whoever told me that. How true can it get? I even justified using methamphetamine at one point in time for weight loss because I had been struggling to see any changes with regular diet and exercise. Do you think that is a bit excessive? Apparently, I didn’t.
The crazy thing is that I don’t ever find the same faults in others that I see in myself and I truly don’t look at people the same way that I assume they are looking at me. I have rationalized with myself and still do on the daily, that I am fine. I look fine and I am fine. That I will still be loved if I am not perfect. That people will still like me if I have a few extra pounds or a blemish on my skin.
What I want is for people to become aware of what we are doing to ourselves as a society and the pressures and strain that we unnecessarily put on ourselves to live up to that ideal perfectionism that we see far too often portrayed in the media and in our daily lives. I would also like to bring awareness to this particular disorder and let people know that help is available. I am no doctor but I am sure you can find one who can help you treat this self defeating problem that I think so many of us, men and women alike, suffer from that is on the daily – breaking our own hearts and crippling our minds.
It is said that even people like Michael Jackson struggled with this disorder and you can see from this time lapse picture what he did to try to fit into the expectations that he imposed on himself because of the pressure he felt from being in the spotlight.
Being healthy is important. Please don’t get me wrong. But constantly criticizing yourself and trying to live up to unhealthy and unrealistic expectations – can kill you, too.
Please love yourself first and foremost and practice positive affirmations and self talk. Love yourself as you love others and don’t be so critical. And most importantly, if your self criticism becomes too much, please seek help and talk it out with a doctor or therapist. You are too important to lose.
**Body Dysmorphia info cited from: Anxiety and Depression Association of America
** Featured Photo courtesy of “Into the Fold” ‘How my scars affected my body dysmorphia