Body Love (?)

Hanging out in my Knix, as per usual xo

I’ve shared openly about my journey with PTSD, recovery, trauma, and mental health. All of these things happened TO me, and I found a way to cope through them.

What I still find tricky to navigate is talking about my journey with body dysmorphia and disordered eating.

I honestly don’t even really know how to start, because I think most people wouldn’t even remember me going through anything like that. I was ALWAYS verbally adamant that I was completely healthy and fine, that I wasn’t struggling. Every now and then someone would make a comment that I was smaller than they thought, ‘skinnier’, and I would take it with such pride as confirmation that I was doing the right thing.

Here’s the thing; I was never bulimic, and I don’t think I was anorexic? I definitely went for very long stretches of time without eating. I was constantly finding ways to ‘earn’ eating. But I don’t think it stemmed from wanting to be smaller at all.

For me, it was a way to control my body, maybe even punish my body. When I was 16 I stopped dancing because I had become so riddled with injury I couldn’t move without being in pain. I was also highly anxious, and leaned towards some obsessive behaviours (that I really tried to keep secret). So for a time, it felt like the only thing I had any say over when it came to my body was food intake.

I remember making up calorie counts in my head, looking at my body in the mirror and saying horrible things to myself. I once went through a period of time where I set alarms on my phone to remind myself that I didn’t deserve to feel good.

I actually have only ever shared that with one other person, so we’re getting really vulnerable on here today.

I have learned through all my accident related recovery stuff that sharing is important, community is important.

I started seeing a councillor at my high school, but after a particularly hard assignment I didn’t go back.

She asked me to write a list of 5 things I liked about myself.. I couldn’t do it. I had to text a friend, who sent me a LONG list of reasons why I was fabulous.

I felt like because I was never ‘as bad’ as other people who I knew were suffering with EDs, that it meant I was different. Controlling maybe, obsessive maybe, but I wasn’t where they were which made me okay.

I have been learning a TON about eating disorders, and especially treatment in Ontario recently. I have been learning that it has the HIGHEST rate of mortality out of all mental health categories.

After the accident I was in, I gained a little bit of weight. I had a moment where I was looking at myself in the mirror, completely unable to fit into my clothes. At first glance all I saw was rolls of flesh bunching up on each other as I tried to squeeze myself into my jeans.

Then I looked again

I saw a leg that was slowly working on building muscle.

I saw a foot that wasn’t even able to weight bear yet, but that still moved perfectly.

I saw a chest that had been bruised and smashed against concrete, but could still support my breath and spine.

I saw a head that although has been split open, held the face of a strong, beautiful woman.

And that’s when I decided it didn’t matter. Fitting in to a pair of jeans didn’t fucking matter.

I had survived something so incredibly dangerous, that most people die or are paralysed.

My body didn’t deserve mean words, it deserved love- I deserved love.

Everyday I work on making sure I send my body only lovely thoughts and vibes. I eat food that makes me feel nourished, which sometimes even means brownies and chocolate covered almonds.

I make sure to laugh, and to moisturize, and use sunscreen.

I notice when the negative thoughts creep in and CHOOSE to change them.

The power of change really comes from choosing.

I choose to notice the moments when I don’t feel my best, and ask myself why.

Sometimes its because I’m really tired- so I go take a nap.

Sometimes its because I haven’t moved my body in a loving way- I go and take a class.

Sometimes its because I’ve been obsessively watching instagram stories about people doing cool things, and not doing my own cool things.

But mostly I just talk to myself the way I would talk to a young girl who I loved.

Remind her that she is powerful, loved, amazing, brilliant and beautiful.

And my friend,

So are you

D xo

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