My body and me

“It’s hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head.”
Sally Kempton

for the majority of my life, i’ve hated what has stared back at me in the mirror. i was diagnosed with bdd in my late teens, but i can see that i was already in it’s grip for a good ten years prior to diagnosis.
one of my earliest coping methods was to stop eating, putting all my focus on avoiding food meant that i had little time or energy to focus on the real problems, it helped me feel like i was in control when everything around me was spiralling away from me and it helped to stop me feeling anything… it kept me numb.
even aged 6 i can remember feeling body shame…. and that has never gone away. 
that shame has trapped me, prevented me from living a full life. I’ve missed parties because i felt intimidated, i’ve spent too long throwing up in toilets instead of connecting with the people around me. i’ve never been free to enjoy all that life has to offer, because every day i have been suffering the fact that i can’t stand what i see in the mirror.
for the past 8 years i’ve struggled to accept that my body is not what it once was. i still compare myself to how i was at 20, to a body i’d achieved through anorexia and bulimia. now after 3 babies, my body is not as skinny as it was.
whenever things get tough, and i’m back in the depths of depression… controlling my eating blocks everything else out. it stops me needing to deal with the reasons behind my depression. it consumes my every thought and blocks all else out. it’s as if my mind thinks that abusing my body negates the abuse that has been done to me.
a few weeks ago i read Tara’s post on body compassion, as well as the post from Ronnie which inspired her. i also came across the First Ourselves website where i spent several hours reading the info there on healthy body image.

it was like a wake up call, i cannot keep on abusing my body, i have to find a way to accept me for who i am. truthfully it’s never really been about being ‘skinny’, although a little voice in me head always tells me “if only you were skinny then everything would be ok”. i know that that isn’t true, and the past 20 + years are proof, i also know that at a uk size 10 i hardly qualify as fat. but it’s more about how i feel than how big i really am. 

another thing i am all too aware of is i have 3 daughters. and when i’m bent over the toilet bowl, throwing up the dinner i made myself eat so they wouldn’t wonder why i wasn’t eating (again), tears rolling down my face and my heart breaking at the thought of them ever feeling like this. i am no longer just me. my actions no longer affect just me. so for my daughters sakes as much as for me i say no more. no more starving. no more binging. no more purging.

my body isn’t the same as it was when i was 20. but even after all i have done to it, it still gave me 3 beautiful daughters, which goes to show just how amazing the human body is. i’d been told that because of my anorexia it would unlikely that i’d be able to conceive.

my body needs lots of love and  tlc, it needs me to appreciate all the good it has to offer, all the good it has given me. it needs me to nourish it me healthy foods and accept and love it no matter what.

more than anything i want my daughters to grow up with a healthy body image, to not think that being a size 0 is the only way to be beautiful. to know that a female body is a thing of beauty, glorious in it’s curves, a thing to be celebrated and proud of.