Friday, April 29, 2011

Going Beyond "Bad Body Image"

Today in therapy my T asked me what my bad body image was all about – what is really going on in my head when I say I look fat or ugly or [insert some deprecating comment here]. I looked at her, kind of surprised, because I never really go beyond the surface of “I’m gaining weight and I look so gross and therefore I must be fat and THEREFORE I must be a bad person and THEREFORE that must mean that I feel inadequate around you and feel ashamed and NATURALLY that must make me just an all around really vile person.”

So when I said to her, “I don’t know what it’s about. I just know that I’m gross and big and I don’t like looking at my body,”
and she replied with, BUT WHY???”
And I don’t know.
So I started to cry instead.
(It seemed like the natural thing to do.)

She told me to really think about it, and then talk to her about it  – because I’m never going to fully recover from my eating disorder until I can root out why I feel so poorly toward my body and work through it. This is all very interesting to me – this idea that I’m not fat or gross and that I shouldn’t feel self-conscious about the way I look – knowing that maybe, at some point, I’ll feel positive toward my body and accept it when it is healthy and thriving sounds almost wrong – but what a scintillating idea! I hope I hope I can work through this, and that the key to really and truly overcoming my body image blues is to figure out WHY I feel this way, and then face that belief head-on and really challenge the hell out of it and prove this idea that I’ve had in my head for years – that I’m fat and bad – WRONG.

And then maybe I can really move on.
I’d like to have a day where I think I look nice. Maybe even okay.
Maybe even have a day where I AM OKAY.
So it’s a goal; something I really want to work on.


Krista said...

OMG I just wrote the longest comment and it didn't publish! I HATE when that happens!!!

So I will try to repeat all my thoughts I just had. I think I am just starting to finally understand the "fat" feeling for myself. I have always hated when people asked me why I felt fat because I was like "Duh! Can't you see I just AM fat and ugly and stupid and there is nothing else to it." But I have finally discovered that for me, I have never given myself a voice. I have always been too concerned about the thoughts, opinions, and approval of others. I think doing this over many years has lead me to have a lot of self-disgust. I didn't allow myself to be me or to have my own thoughts or opinions about anything and most importantly I didn't know how to get my needs met. In my head it was wrong to do so, but it also made me not like myself. I guess my built up self-disgust manifested through my eating disorder and self-harm and self-hate. I don't ever look in the mirror and think "Oh I didn't give myself a voice today" but rather "Shit I look like a cow today!" It's not clear cut and that's what makes it so damn confusing, but I do know that when I do allow myself to have my own opinions and to get my needs met I feel better about who I am. I certainly am still working on this and it's hard as hell because I'm undoing years of thinking that way.I'm sure it's not the same for everyone, but that is what I have come to understand about myself. Anyway, hope that makes sense and helps.

Anonymous said...

I think it's great you allowed yourself to "go there" with your therapist. Body image was such a tough topic for me, I refused to let my therapist or dietician bring the topic up. The furthest we'd get is them saying "How's your body image?" and me saying "Crappy."
You've probably heard this before, but body image is one of the last things to change, and in my experience lately it just... does. By working recovery in other ways, other things such as body acceptance just naturally fall into place. I never believed that till it happened to me personally, so hopefully it's some consolation.

Sia Jane said...

She is right, only when you challenge the why, will you be able to move on.
There were numerous reasons for me.
A healthy body was attached to the rape (I was a healthy woman shape at the time)
I connected weight to health, which scared me because I didn't always feel well (if I was having a depressive moment)
The list goes on.
But if you ever want to talk, do not hesitate to contact me.

If you can deal with this, you will truly be able to learn to love your body.
I love my body now, and I would never go back.
I feel great in myself and it is such a refreshing change after years and years of hatred xxx

Tylaine said...

I wanna say something but have nothing profound or helpful to say like the others. I just think you're awesome and I heart you Brie!!
You WILL find that awesomeness in you. The road getting there is just so dang hard sometimes.

Penny said...

I don't know what to say either except that I love you and I love your fellow friends who share their wisdom and experience. Your blog not only reaches your heart but mine too. I also believe it touches us all or we wouldn't keep reading. The principles you discuss are those that we all need no matter what our struggles are. It still takes faith and work and hope and courage to just plain old make it!

battleinmind said...

Oh gosh hunny that is such a hard question to think about. If someone asks me that....well I dont know, I guess it feels like I shoud feel like way.

I really hope you can work through these issues because they suck.

Marissa said...

So I was totally just pondering something along those same lines. I have never thought that I had a bad body image, per se. I just thought that I knew that there was plenty I could improve and that the bad things outweighed the good things. But the other day, I was reading an old friend's blog, and she mentioned how happy she was that she was fat, that she actually preferred it. I had always secretly pitied this person because I believed that she must not be able to change herself, otherwise she would be thin. So her comment blew me away and made me think: "Am I happy the way I look? Am I glad to be who I am?" And the answer was no, and I was really surprised, because I hadn't taken stock of myself for a long time; I had just been down on myself for a while and hadn't noticed, I guess. But the point is, I think you have a really awesome goal, Brie, and that I think I'll make it my goal too. Because seriously, it takes waaaay too much energy to dislike myself and my body. Anyways, hope that didn't sound preachy cuz it really, really wasn't supposed to. But your post just reminded me of something I've been thinking about for awhile, so thanks for shedding some light on that.

jen said...

For me, my hatred for my body was really a hatred for myself. I hated who I was (I wasn't who I thought I was supposed to be.) It really had NOTHING to do with weight gain or food.

I dealt with being abused, and the beliefs that came from being abused, and I like ME now, so I like my body.

The days that my body image is bad its because there's something else going on. And I have to ask the question that your T asked.