Struggling with Your Body Image and the Lies We Tell Ourselves
We like to think that we know ourselves better than anybody else. We are ourselves, after all, it seems so simple that we should be the ones who have the ultimate opinion as to what type of human being we are. We believe that when we look in the mirror who we see is the truest form of who we are; we know that person better than anybody else and no matter how close other people may be, they still don’t actually know. That could be true to some degree but we all have so many different factors and influences that change our perspective, warping the way that we view ourselves. This is never more prominent than in someone who struggles with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. When dealing with this illness, a person is unable to see their physical appearance as it truly is; to them, they will always be too overweight, too skinny, or any other physical critique they can think of. BDD usually comes with an eating disorder of some kind, and it is a constant self-criticism that a person feels. No matter how much work they put into themselves, they always see themselves flawed in that one way. So when we hear others tell us that we look so good or look fit, we don’t believe them. Instead, we shut out their compliments and tell ourselves that they are just saying to be nice.
Stop. Just stop listening to that voice for a second. Look back in the mirror. That person before you is someone who is flawed just as every other person is on this planet. That person before you has numerous positive and beautiful qualities about them that make them worth being complimented. That person before you is perfectly imperfect and beautifully complex. That person is struggling with a mental illness that is changing the way they are thinking. As hard as it may be to admit it, that changes the validity of their criticisms of themselves. We are not saying that you have no opinion on the matter, but just that you have to realize how your brain is changing the way you look at yourself.
The worst part about dealing with Body Dysmorphic Disorder is the way that it can completely change everything you see. In severe cases, a person can actually form an image of themselves in their mind, a hallucination, and that image is all they see in the mirror, despite it not being true at all. Dealing with this affliction isn’t easy to do; you are constantly looking at yourself and seeing someone that isn’t there. You are building up this idea about yourself that isn’t true, and there really isn’t anything anyone can say to you to convince you otherwise. You are stuck fighting the devil in your head and it is an exhausting thing to deal with day in and day out. We wish there was an instant fix, as we do for every other affliction out there. We wish we could tell you that if you just thought about it this way then your entire mindset would be different. But that’s not the case and to say otherwise is a disservice to the struggle you go through. Dealing with Body Dysmorphic Disorder and the ways we pervert our own reflection is something that has to be dealt with carefully, and over a long period of time. It is there because of a lot of deeper causes that are embedded in you. You can’t just turn it off because it is built on a foundation of years of pain and anger. The damage that is inherent in that fact is monumental and is not an easy obstacle to get over. You will have days where you feel good about the way you look and you will have days where the very sight of your reflection just makes you sick. But every day, think about the things you like, spend the time to give those parts of your attention. Change the things that you can and learn to live with the things you can’t. Our physical appearance doesn’t need to have a negative influence on us.
You will find a way to love yourself and accept you for who you are in spite of the things you dislike. You are beautiful the way you are and your own head doesn’t need to convince you otherwise.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with anxiety or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]