I used to love Winter as a kid/teenager. Christmas time, Halloween and the dark nights where you’d most likely be snuggled up inside with a cup of tea watching movies was the best kind of feeling. The whole season had the essence of comfort and celebration and lately I’m so nostalgic for those carefree Winters that I had up until about 2 years ago or whenever I started struggling more with eating and my body image. I never really like to talk about struggling with BDD or body image or self-esteem or eating, or to be blunt – my body. Why? I feel it’s because deep down I don’t think talking about it will do anything positive or encouraging aside from it being me wallowing in my own low self-esteem.
Unfortunately what people who don’t struggle regularly with body image issues whether it’s just low confidence or further on an eating disorder scale is that compliments or ‘reassurance’ doesn’t do much. You tell someone, ‘god I just don’t like my body lately, I’m so unhappy with it’ and they’ll go ‘well don’t worry I think you’re beautiful!’ or ‘no don’t be silly, I’d kill for your body’ and it really doesn’t do anything. BDD or eating disorders or confidence related anxiety is a selfish monster but at the same time maybe it’s society’s lack of knowledge on understanding different kinds of anxieties and eating disorders?
That always bugged me as well, when people bring up the ‘I’d love your body’ kind of compliment. When you grow up with body image anxiety, the biggest advice given to you is ‘don’t compare yourself to anyone’ and it is very good advice. You shouldn’t compare yourself to anyone ever because it’s such a toxic habit that when out of control you can end up upset. From my experience I’ve been continuously trying to ram this idea into my head which is even harder with society throwing magazines, billboards, social media posts and the lot in my face of different ‘perfect, unique aesthetics and bodies’ and then I’m sat in my BDD anxiety state feeling completely alien cause I can’t even relate to the beautiful bodies that aren’t your ‘stereotypical Kate Moss model skinny’. So when someone picks up on my low self-esteem and tells me they wish that they had a feature I had, it’s like reverse psychology to compare myself to them again. I never win.
Lately my BDD has been crushing me because of the winter. The winter term of University meant going out drinking more which leads to weight gain/acne etc., and then poor eating habits leads to the same and then Christmas lead to more and now I’m sat wanting to physically slit off my own fat because I can’t stand being in it. It’s not even the problem of not liking what I see in the mirror, it’s like you can physically feel the fat and lack of health in your body. What I can only describe as a beer belly, feels like a mass on my stomach about to explode. Whatever clothes I put on I feel like my body is trying to eat it alive because everything just clings to my fat. I feel like a potato. An alien. I don’t feel like my body shape is even human. This is the pain of BDD and I hate it, I wish it would go.
I hope soon I can maybe sort myself out and eat better or exercise more but everything feels like a giant mountain to climb right now and when I reach out to people, it seems like people think it’s almost ridiculous. When really the BDD makes it feel like something that’s eating my body alive.