Our bodies are AMAZING. For example the way the liver can regenerate itself or the way we can gain strength in one sense when we lose another. My dad is a prime example of this when he lost the sight in one eye, out of all the full sighted people in our household he could always spot a big busted blonde before anyone else! lol
Women can grow a baby from a tiny weeny sperm and then push it out through a very small exit (I choose my words carefully!) My question is why when the body is so amazing do we still have negative thoughts? why is it the brain can send a message to tell your piggy toe to move or some people can learn to walk again after being told they will never walk again but it cant tell you that Dave from Dagenham is just no good for you? Or the guy who never returns your calls is just not that into you! Why is it that 100 people can tell you that you look amazing tonight but you don't believe any of them? Where do these negative thoughts come from?
Self image is something every single person on this planet thinks about at some point in their lives, growing up in a city/town made me even more self conscious as the competition to look good was high!
I defiantly think I have suffered from body dysmorphia during a few stages of my life:
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD, also body dysmorphia, dysmorphic syndrome; originally dysmorphophobia) is a type of mental illness, a somatoform disorder, wherein the affected person is concerned with body image, manifested as excessive concern about and preoccupation with a perceived defect of their physical features. The person complains of a defect in either one feature or several features of their body; or vaguely complains about their general appearance, which causes psychological distress that causes clinically significant distress or impairs occupational or social functioning. Often BDD co-occurs with emotional depression and anxiety, social withdrawal or social isolation.
In my own opinion I suffered from from BDD especially in school as I was larger than the other girls. Growing up from a teenager to a woman most of my negative feelings derived from my lack of self esteem. Every time I was declined romance (or a snog lol!) I would immediately think it was because of the way I looked, there was no amazing bodily sense that kicked in then and said "Natasha you are a pretty girl and it's his loss" or the mature approach of "each to their own" those thoughts did not enter my head.
This perpetual negative thought pattern just fuelled my need to diet, binge eat, starve myself or just generally overeat. I have to admit that I tried making myself sick on a number of occasions but in my own funny way I could not let wasted food go down the toilet (those that know me will know I am a hoarder! lol). I hung around with pretty girls with legs up to their arm pits something I defiantly was not in the queue for when god was giving out qualities! I think I lined up for big boobs and a sense of humour (something men like too!). I purchased magazine after magazine aspiring to what was portrayed as the perfect body. If only I had spent the thousands on counselling my internal unhappiness rather than newspaper I might have made a difference to my life back then. I socialised hard going out night after night, all my money was spent of looking good, the hair extensions, nails, tanning, skin and make-up products, gym sessions. I spent thousands every year but inside my heart I still felt ugly and fat!
I cannot to this day tell you what it was that I was seeking but I do know that having a child changed my priorities in a way which can only be explained when you have a child. This is not meant in a patronising way in any shape or form its just that something inside you changes when you become a parent. All your thoughts of yourself just disappear! You start to put someone else first and you simply don't have the time (or energy) to concentrate on yourself! This is neither a good or a bad thing it is just a FACT of what happened to me. There was no pinnacle moment of self help that healed my lack of self esteem for a while, it was simply the process of having a child that just put it on the back burner!
However, once the overwhelming feeling of being a parent had faded and the routine set in it was inevitable that the low self esteem issues would re-surface. The extra weight I gained through pregnancy made me feel low about myself. There is one major difference this time though and that is that I am (according to the BMI) obese and currently wearing a size 16-18, now I know that I am carrying 4 stone more than I should whereas before I was slim but felt like a size 20!. I would consider myself more of a realist now which is what makes me even more determined to lose the extra weight. Another reason I think I don't deeply insult myself as much as before is because I simply don't go out that much, it fills me with fear to try and find something in my wardrobe that not only fits but makes me look half decent. The second I get out I dive straight into getting drunk so I don't have to think about feeling insecure. My friends will notice that I will hold something in front of my tummy like a jacket or a pillow and I have to sit facing people rather than them seeing the back of me, all these things put me off going out!
I still buy some magazines but its more certain they will be Homes & Garden, the monthly Rosemary Conley mag or Horse & Hound (ok the last one was a complete lie) but what will never fail to get my attention in these magazines is the before and after pictures of anyone who has transformed themselves. I am kind of obsessed with finding out their philosophies and secrets, I want to know what changed for them, their trigger and what motivates them.
I am in no way cured of "low self esteem" but I have 100% started the journey of increasing my self confidence and I am determined more than ever before to build on this to find some internal peace and happiness. I am now a role model to my son and that is a job I take very seriously. xx