body confidence, BDD, body dysmorphic disorder, self esteem, self love, self care, mental illness, confidence,

Why I Need To Change My Relationship With My Body

I woke up this morning feeling ugly because I thought I had lost control over the way my hair looks – yesterday I bleached it and as you can guess, it didn’t go according to plan. I looked up how to fix such hair blunders and read a lot of different pieces of advice from lots of different sources. After getting stressed about what to do, I buried my head under the covers as my SO held me tight, trying to reassure me that I was still beautiful.

Whenever I feel that I’ve lost control, whether it’s the appearance of my hair, face or body, my BDD comes crawling back.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is a condition in which a person has to perform certain tasks in order to ‘neutralise’ imaginary defects in their appearance. It’s more common than you may think (affecting 1% of the population) and it can hide in plain sight.

 

Everybody has their own insecurities about their appearance (some more than others), so it seems pretty normal for a friend or relative to talk about how they hate their hair or wish they could change most of their facial features to look like somebody else.


When these insecurities start to take control, that’s when support is needed. When I was diagnose with BDD in my teenage years, there were certain things that I had to do in order to either a) not look totally and completely ugly, or b) stop others from noticing my ugliness. These things included:

  1. Putting make-up on BEFORE a shower.
  2. Showering in the dark/with very limited light.
  3. Putting make-up on after the shower, in said limited light.
  4. Avoiding all brightly lit rooms if I could help it (mostly clothing stores).
  5. Avoiding mirrors where I couldn’t control the amount of light in the room.
  6. Not looking at window reflections.
  7. Avoiding photos, unless I was taking a controlled selfie.

I remember an early moment of my BDD, when I must have been about 9 or 10 years old. I was an avid fan of girly magazines like Mizz (remember those?), and one of their cutesy articles suggested writing down your biggest wish on a piece of paper to put under your pillow for a fairy to grant it. My mum found my wish and sad me down to talk about it. I had wished to be pretty by no longer having purple bags under my eyes, red cheeks or freckles.

More recently, my brain has decided that I am ‘fat’ because I haven’t been working out as much as I used to. I have no real proof of this because a) I don’t weigh myself, b) I don’t measure myself, and c) all my clothes still seem to fit the same. And yet, because the thought is so deeply lodged in my head, whenever I notice a roll of fat or compare my body to that of an Instagram star, I immediately think that I’m ‘big’ and cover my belly in large t-shirts. Even fully-naked sex is off the menu because of how ‘big’ I feel.

I’ve come to realise that my anxieties over the way I look sometimes stop me from doing normal things, like seeing other human beings, and that’s gotta stop.

The only way I’m going to feel better about my body, face and hair, is if I accept them. I can change them if I want to; working out again, look after my skin better, not bleaching my hair on the spur of the moment; but ultimately, I should try to accept and love what my momma gave me.


 

I admire other women’s bodies and may always wish I could look like that, but realistically, I’m never going to have Miranda Kerr’s face, Iskra Lawrence’s hips or Amber Rose’s boobies. I’m stuck in my body so I better start liking it and accepting it for what it is.

By accepting myself I can begin to like myself and consequently love myself. The list of things I hate about my appearance will hopefully become shorter than the list of things I love about my appearance. I’ll look after it by keeping it as healthy as I can, and make it look awesome by dressing it in whatever the fuck I want.

As this body is the only one I’m going to have (probably, unless robot bodies become available, then I’m all over that), I should start loving it for what it is – even the stuff that I really don’t like, because then the confidence will flow. I’ll no longer want to hide myself away in moments of anxiety, neither will I feel ugly from losing control over my appearance.

I’ll be the confidence person that I deserve to be.

13 Comments

  1. Bo

    Just finished reading this. I can relate to every single thing you mentioned. I feel like I always have to force myself to act put together but inside I feel an overwhelming discomfort most of the time. I know exactly where it all stems from and want to speak about it but I don’t think I’m ready yet.
    Love your blog.
    Bo x

  2. Ksenia

    Had to leave you a comment Lauren – your writing here was so true to the bone I almost couldn’t finish reading it. Definitely something I can relate to, and people don’t realise how painful / limiting it is until they have too – which makes writing about it all the more important. Thank you for sharing, I know there are a lot of people who this will bring comfort to. The other thing to remember which has helped me is to give yourself time and not pressure yourself into stopping these thoughts – that only becomes counter productive; the more you tell yourself to stop, the harder it becomes.

    Keep writing as ever x x

    1. Lauren

      Thank you Ksenia! I struggle a lot with anxiety that often relates to my appearance, so thought it would help to try and make sense of it by writing about it!
      And yes that’s so true. It’s a slow process! x

  3. Freya Creech

    Thank you so much for posting this personal and emotional blog post, Lauren! Learning to love what we have, inside and out, is truly difficult. I really loved reading your thoughts x
    Freya – sashasnookblog.blogspot.com

    1. Lauren

      Thank you so much! Yes it’s definitely easier said than done, but I’m sure that even if I don’t love every single bit of me, at least trying to get to that level of self love will help me enormously!

  4. Sara

    We all have insecurities as you said. But our insecurities and imperfections make us beautiful and who we are !
    You’re beautiful . The number on the scale doesnt define who you are. Accept yourself and you’ll see yourself a beautiful person ☺️ you are beautiful, pretty and your body deserves some care. Your appearance deserve some respect and love☺️
    Love yourself girl !!
    Take care ❤️

  5. Gloria

    Lauren, I think you’re beautiful 🙂 Those magazines you mentioned are damaging to young people. What they say, in essence, is ‘you’re not good enough’. They’ve caused a lot of young people to feel inadequate in different ways. Chuck them in the bin, I say. Let’s schedule an EFT session when I’m home and get rid of those beliefs and replace them with something better.x

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