Manchester, UK

Living With Body Dysmorphia

I’m a closed book by nature; there’s only a hand full of people who know anything about the personal side of me. That being said, conversations like the one I’m about to have don’t come easy but it’s to the internet so it doesn’t feel real and maybe talking about it is a way to overcome it.

 

I don’t use the term suffering lightly but I thought long and hard about it and if I’m perfectly honest, I whole heartedly believe it is the right world to describe this. I have been suffering with body dysmorphia my entire life and I’m pretty devastated to say, I don’t see myself overcoming it. But if I’m not overcoming it, I may  as well start opening up about it because one of my favourite lines is ‘Do what you’ve always done, get where you’ve always got’ and we must at least try to get out of these ruts we find ourselves in.

So what is body dysmorphia? A hard question to answer because it’s ever so complex and means something different to everyone. In effect, it’s a mental health issue based around seeing your body, or parts of it, in a negative light and seeing it not for what it is. Basically, you see yourself differently to what you are and you’re pretty down about it.

I didn’t know I had this for a long time until I heard someone talk about it. Someone once said that they don’t recognise themselves and that is exactly it. I have a huge disconnect with my own body and I strongly believe if there was a line up of naked bodies, minus the head and any recognisable features (tattoos, moles etc) I would not be able to pick myself out. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? But that’s what it is. I cannot remember the last time I looked at myself straight on in the mirror without covering something, bending a certain way or only looking at a small section, purposely ignoring the bigger picture.

I take photographs of myself, so how can this be true? I can’t explain it, but it just is. I take photographs of myself in motion, walking, posing a certain way or wearing lose clothing and any photo where I think I look quite good, trust me I’m by no means believing that its not just good lighting, lucky posture and just all round fake news.

I don’t have anorexia or bulimia and I never have had – it’s not about control it’s about disconnect and ignorance. I don’t know me, I just know I don’t want to and don’t want to look at it. I often look at other people whilst out and about, thinking ‘huh, I wonder if that’s what I look like?’ and ‘Is she the same size as me?’ and this happens with people of all shapes and sizes. It’s weird but also normal at the same time; I’m not alone and issues around body image is not uncommon so if anything, at least I do know that.

Jenifer x

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