I haven’t written much this week because I’ve been incredibly tired. My body doesn’t quite feel like my body at the moment; and, whilst I’m delighted that it’s clearly recovering, the whole hormonal re-start has caught me left wing. It has been a little scary, to be honest, which sounds pathetic now that I’m 30, rather than 13. (more…)
My attempts to reconcile me and my body have taken an interesting turn over the past few weeks. I have begun to realise that my response to my body does not derive from a vision; it begins, instead, at the pit of my gut. I am feeling my appearance, rather than seeing it – which might explain why I have been finding it so hard.
It is not the size of my leg or the shape of my arm that make the relationship difficult; it’s the emotional response that’s messy. The lack of differentiation between what I feel and what I see.
Instead of being objective and basing my body-perception on facts and realities, I have been building it on far more precarious grounds; and, by reinforcing these through my emotional responses, all sense of perspective has been covered up.
This means that when I am told to look in the mirror and focus on my ‘good points’, I zoom straight past “I have nice eyes” or “I like the colour of my hair” and nose-dive into the feeling instead. It has been interesting to observe what these are: (more…)
Since deciding that my eating disorder was about far more than body image (which I’ll stand by); and determining that the outside was a reflection of the struggles which were taking place within (yes, again), I seem to have cut off any consideration of my appearance and swung straight to the other extreme.
If I understand that my perception can get distorted; and I know that it’s all tied into how I feel about myself; and I have a whole bag full of CBT tricks to prove that no, I can’t possibly be fat with my BMI or yes, the reason I feel uncomfortable now is because I was used to being so unnaturally thin…
Well then, it’s all hunky-dory, really, isn’t it, and there’s clearly nothing to dwell on?
I have not had much success in my body befriending mission and I therefore decided, a few weeks ago, that it was time for a change in approach. If the visuals are still too much to handle and mirrors remain a little tough, exploring my body, from a new perspective, might possibly start to help.
So I decided to try something totally off the wall. (more…)
Earlier today, someone asked me what I liked to eat as a child. Hoping to access my pre-ED tastes, I decided that casting my mind back a little (lot) and exploring the things that I used to look forward to at mealtimes sounded like a good idea.
It was. I just didn’t find what I was expecting. (more…)
I know that taste is subjective; but there’s no other way to describe it. This dress totally rocks.
It might not be bang on trend as I couldn’t tell you what’s strutting along the catwalk and have never quite got into Vogue; but, it makes me feel a million dollars, and has reminded me of something that gets lost behind the catwalk debate and the size zero phenomenon –
In my recovery, fashion and fabrics were an unexpected friend; even when I wasn’t that comfortable in my own skin. (more…)
In all the hype, and indecision, and shall-I-shan’t-I-ing, I have forgotten that everything starts here.
And so, to connect the dots, I want to include this video, even though some readers may have stumbled across it on other mediums. And, because it’s part of the story, whether I am proud, or embarrassed, or just a little red-faced about my nervous twitching around, I feel that, albeit belatedly, it belongs here.
The whole size zero issue wasn’t something I anticipated exploring and only tinged my eating disorder experience; however, you can’t change the debate if you’re not part of the discussion; and, whilst I certainly never saw myself doing this kind of thing 6 months ago, I wouldn’t have realised how rewarding it would be if I hadn’t given it a go.
This is only part of a wider talk, including some really important information from Professor Janet Treasure, that can be accessed at Gresham College’s site. I have also spoken on ‘Moving Maintaining Factors’, although it wasn’t (to the best of my knowledge!) filmed; and hope to do many many more.
The questions and discussion time has been the most rewarding aspect and, unfortunately, these aren’t captured here; but they did inspire this post on the ‘How do I Help? Question’ and informed some of the issues I have blogged about. Most importantly for me, they have helped to salvage some value or meaning from my experiences, and made me feel that I might be able to start using the past more positively.
Let me set the scene. I am a thirty-something female. Educated, employed, relatively attractive, slightly neurotic – and recovering from a chronic eating disorder.
To help me along this bumpy journey, I started to try and understand myself and my relationship to the world; to gain some insight into what had happened and why it had happened. The pen was my probe and my head, the subject. Or so I thought. Somewhere along the way, my psychological exercise stumbled into a sociological debate and took on a life of its own – particularly in relation to being a woman. (more…)
In July, I had a nasty incident with a treadmill and some osteoperotic bones, and I learnt a thing or two about this piece of machinery that I have been walking around in –
The human body is pretty amazing; and it deserves a bit of respect.
As I have been struggling with befriending my body recently, I thought that re-visiting what I learnt on the physiotherapist’s bed might be a good idea – or at least plug in a few of the holes that the therapist’s couch has evidently left – so, here’s a run down of a few key bits of learning that might make me hesitate when I’m next tempted to give myself a good kicking.
The first thing that my physio did when I sat down for my consultation was to tap me, sharply, on the knee to see whether my foot shot up. It did. Lesson 1: we’re all joined up. (more…)
Last night, when I was busy flooding my flat, my ears woke me up to warn me of the impending danger. In the light of the abuse that I have thrown at this very body over the years, this was quite considerate. My body has been far more forgiving then I am. It’s not the first time it’s stepped in to divert a disaster.
This morning, as I surveyed the wreckage, and realised just how timely my ear’s intervention was, I have been struck by how successful my mind and body are as a double act. The eating disorder may have succeeded in driving a great big wedge between us; but, really, we should be fighting on the same side.
The X Factor and, more specifically, Danni and/or Cheryl, got me thinking.
Place two women side by side and the rivalry’s instinctive. Before the competition’s even started, the odds are against the female contestants, and the battle lines have been drawn between the female judges –
We are, by far, the less supportive more suspicious gender. We can’t help but think in terms of comparisons and competitions – (more…)
I’m anti size Zero. Not because it’s unhealthy (which it is). Or because it feeds into the whole messed up body image culture debate (which it does). Or even because it encourages anorexia (keep reading)…
But because it’s an easy answer and it stops people looking at the real problem.
Because it’s a dangerous mirage that makes anorexia all about vanity and fashion and superficial surface level things – when really it goes far deeper than that.
I’ve been resisting the whole ‘distorted body image’ debate. Trying to steer clear of clichés or over-simplifications. Trying not to replicate the patronising overtones that I used to hear in the references to my own distorted image.
They missed a crucial point: it wasn’t my body image that was distorted; it was my interpretation of my body image.