Living with BDD.

Sometimes when we look at people, even the ones we love, we don’t always see the struggle behind their eyes. We don’t fully understand or comprehend the demons they face every day. We are humans, we are hard wired to feel. That isn’t always easy, the feelings that well up inside aren’t always “good.” And that’s okay. My hope for anyone reading this is that you try and be more kind – not only to others, but to yourself! It’s really that simple. I believe something as little as kindness could be the start of a revolution. We have no idea just looking at one another, the battles that we are facing every single day, and we need to be more sensitive.

BDD is body dysmorphic disorder. It is when an individual obsesses over their perceived flaws. It can cause extreme bouts of depression and anxiety. Being a child athlete, I was always obsessed with my body from about the age of six onward. It didn’t start as an obsession, but as a little girl who compared herself to her peers, I was told by my coaches that I needed to look a certain way, burn fat, and build muscle. This spiraled when I hit puberty, as it does for every young woman. I began to obsess over the fact that I seemed to be a little heavier than the rest of my friends… (never taking into account that I was an athlete and some of them were not). The worst part is, looking back at pictures, I was tiny and I should have never felt that way…. but I did. What I see in the mirror every day is not the same person that a stranger would see – I see all my flaws and they haunt me.

As I have gotten older, I have learned ways to cope with this daily battle. I started going to the gym to seek refuge in the feeling you get when you push your body physically. As someone in her mid-twenties, I’ve learned “self-love” and its importance in one’s life… I truly love who I am and I have always been proud of what was on the inside. I just had to learn how to be proud of what was on the outside too, and I am now, more than ever. I have my hard days, sure… I still struggle with my reflection… But I know now that being me, is my super power, nobody else can do it better than me! Feeling good in your own skin, is one of the most powerful things you will ever do as a woman.

Tonight, is too much.
The demons are overwhelming.
Feeling like I’ve just summitted a mountain; highs.
Feeling like I have willingly tied boulders to my feet and jumped in the ocean; lows.
Tonight, is a low.
“Gravity has taken better men than me. Just keep me where the light is.”
Opening up to people, the hardest thing to do.
I shut down, I sleep. I will close the door on you every single time.
It’s too much for me to bear, but I won’t put that on you.
Ever feel consumed by something?
“I’m fat.”
“What a silly thing to say!” – “You are not!” – “Don’t say that about yourself, you’re beautiful.”
Sweet sweet lies
When I say, “I’m fat.” I’m not looking for a compliment, I am not looking for reassurance.
I am crying out “I AM NOT OKAY.”
I am saying that today life is hard. Today my demons are getting the best of me.
Today when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see me. I saw a twisted horrible version of me.
A girl who is afraid to take her sweatshirt off even in 100-degree weather; people can see my body if I take it off, don’t you know that? A girl who is afraid to get up to use the restroom on a date because “he’s going to look at my body when I get up… and he won’t like what he sees.” A girl whose afraid to float the river. A girl who hates shopping because she can’t pull off the styles she imagines in her head.
I know that this is a disorder. A problem. I’m a problem.
I know that what I see in the mirror isn’t what others see.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t make it easier. It doesn’t make is less painful.
What you think of me and what I think of me is very different. The only voice that matters, the only one that needs a reality check is my own. It’s the only way I will ever feel happy someday, but I haven’t figured out what the key is. Maybe, there is no key. There is. There must be. HOPE.
At the end of the day. I know deep deep down that I am beautiful.
But right now… right now, I don’t feel so beautiful.
** written August 3, 2017

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