Unstable Body Image: Am I Hot or…?

So here’s the thing. A lot of the factors that may trigger an eating disorder have nothing to do with weight, as I have stated numerous times before. But it is undeniable that people who have eating disorders more often than not suffer from some form and degree of body image issues when it comes to their physical appearance.

According to the DSM-V, “individuals with body dysmorphic disorder are preoccupied with one or more perceived defects or flaws in their physical appearance that are not observable or appear slight to others; this preoccupation often causes social anxiety and avoidance” (DSM-V, p. 207). What does that mean in layman terms?

So imagine you have a big nose. Everyone else tells you it’s a normal nose. But you know it, you know that it’s a beak. You hate your beak. You google ways to use makeup to hide the beak. You want to get rhinoplasty as soon as you have enough money to afford it.

When you’re a recovering eating disorder victim (gosh, I hate that word so much), and when you are in the later stages of coming to terms with the fact that having a healthy body weight is normal, it’s more like waking up with a normal-sized nose one day and then the next, fuck damn it, it’s a beak again.

It’s easy to see when a person is having a good body image day. At least, from where I’m sitting.

When I am having a good day, when I feel physically and emotionally attached to the vessel that carries me throughout my daily chores, I dress up. I put on make-up. When I go the gym, I wear short shorts and even if there’s a little flab here and there, it doesn’t bother me. I step onto the scale and fifty kilograms seems absolutely, perfectly fine. I might even go for that extra cookie.

Good body image day.

When it’s a bad day, I want to cry. Genuinely, I look at myself in the mirror and count the flaws. Tummy sticking out. My ass is too small and too saggy. Why would I even want breasts this big? Everything seems wrong. So I find solace in layers of clothing. Even if it’s hot as hell outside, I am all wrapped up in the greyest, baggiest hoodies imaginable. Just so nobody else sees what I see.

Best advice for dealing with days like these? Just survive them. More often than not, they are intermittent moments of dysphoria, and in a couple of days they will pass. It helps, of course, if the people around you see your discontent and try to help you through it. When your lover tells you you’re pretty. When your friends say you have nice thighs. Stuff like that helps.

Remember: positive thoughts –> positive perceptions, people!



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