Body Image Blues (ED TW- if youre trying to recover from an ED, please go carefully.)

Ok, I know I’m broaching a very controversial topic here, and I don’t do it to offend, but I am starting to wonder when the backlash against skinny people will tip over into mandatory weight checks. I feel like I don’t have the right to be the size I am a lot of the time. It’s getting to the point where I have panic attacks in bikinis and want to wear baggy clothes all the time. I guess this is the unintended consequence of the body positive movement- why can’t every body shape be ok? I guess it’s not cool to be skinny any more, and I feel guilty that I can’t put weight on. Jeans don’t fit and I feel like I walk into most shops and I’m immediately discriminated against for having a size 28 back. It’s upsetting and panic-inducing. It would be great to have a range of clothes to buy that genuinely cover all sizes, not just the sizes retailers think are ok. Body image issues come in all shapes and sizes, and I have them too.

Before some people out there tell me to stop whinging and get a grip, let me tell you that it has been difficult to buy clothes that fit well since being a teenager. Bras used to upset me because none of them fit round the back, and I thought that was because my boobs were too little, inducing a complex that’s lasted to this day and not helped by my ex. Shorts terrify my because my scars are on show- faded though they are, they can be seen on closer inspection. I hate dresses and skirts but like their colours and shapes- at one point, I bought loads I could never wear because of my terror of someone slipping a hand up them.

I have had problems being judged before because of how I look. In ballet school, I was called up twice before the head of contemporary dance and asked whether I had a problem. I eat well, and at that time I was permanently hungry as a side effect of my training. Of course, the weight loss that followed was seen as the start of anorexia or bulimia. I have never felt so ashamed of my size as I did then.

I used to like being slender and healthy, but after these experiences it feels like a crime to be the size I am. I feel like I’ve been shamed because of my weight and because I work out, dance, do Pilates and yoga and Zumba. I feel like people look at me when I go to the gym and think that I’m probably going to go home and throw all my food up, which I’m not.

I wonder if this is partly the paranoia that comes with PTSD or whether it’s society. On the one hand, I’m judged for my body and objectified. On the other, I’m praised and told I have no right to complain.

It’s an upsetting, crazy-making vicious circle.

Does anyone have any advice? I’m going to talk to Dr K about it, and hope that I can finally accept my body without upset or shame.

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6 comments on “Body Image Blues (ED TW- if youre trying to recover from an ED, please go carefully.)

  1. bdlheart says:

    I suffered with bulimia in my teens and early to mid twenties. I’m 36 now. Up until a few years ago it still sporadically made an appearance. I remember compulsively exercising-I was a competitive runner-and hating to look at my body in the mirror. In my early thirties I’d try to find clothes that fit and often left hating myself more. I’m naturally athletic and broad shouldered with boobs and the tops I wanted to wear wouldn’t fit. I also had a coach who told me I was running a bit slow because I’d “picked up weight” in my hips. I was 17. Looking back now I feel like telling him no shit sherlock! I was in a developing body. You are fine the way you are. If you eat healthy and exercise you are perfectly fine. I think clothes and the world’s image of beauty really messes with our heads. We are not made to conform to a size. Not to mention half the time I can fit three different sizes because different companies have different standards. I did feel quite paranoid that people would see the scaring on my wrist during the deepest of the PTSD. So it could be some of that too. Love yourself and have a beautiful day!

    • Thank you so much BDL. I was so upset a couple of days ago about the bra thing. I’ve not had a new one in three years. I hope that I can find some peace with all of this- it’s something that I didn’t have too much of before the onset of the PTSD, but know it rears its ugly head quite a lot. I’ll try thinking of what you said next time any of this comes up. X

  2. If anyone uses the body positivity movement to make you feel that way, tell them they’re doing it wrong! It’s BODY positivity, the whole point is that EVERY BODY is enough, is beautiful, and is worthy of respect.
    And to top all of that, you’re amazing. Just as you are

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