Nothing In My Closet Fits: Body Confidence and Mental Health

Last night, I decided to go through my closet just to see what I had and what still fits (Hoping to throw things away so gives me an excuse to go shopping lol). I knew that there were going to be things that didn’t fit just because I’ve had them for 5 or 6 years. What I wasn’t expecting was to throw out a majority of my clothes because they were way too small. These were things that I bought in the past year as well. After not being able to zip up 3 or 4 dresses, I was so angry and mad at myself. To say I was a mess last night would be an understatement.

I’ve always had a complicated relationship with my body and confidence in it. In high school, it was never a big deal. I wore sweats and a t-shirt almost every day so it was never something I thought about. I also worked out more regularly because I played sports and “sometimes” went to the gym. And honestly, I just didn’t care. It wasn’t something that was commented on, and I just had the attitude that I was fine. There was also a lot of other things going on in my mind as well so my depression was so high, I didn’t have time to think about my body. When I got to college, I realized that it was more important what people thought about my body. I realized it is a quick way to judge people. However, I always just thought my body was fine just the way it is. I also was surrounded by a lot of friends who all had different body types and we were all beautiful in our own ways. I developed a digestive condition in my freshman year called visceral hypersensitivity. Basically, the nerves in my throat and stomach were connected to my anxiety, and therefor super sensitive. I couldn’t eat more than 3 bites of a meal before I had to stop and throw it up. So needless to say, I ended up loosing a lot of weight. I went home for the summer at 110 lbs, which I haven’t been since maybe middle school. People kept telling me how great I looked and college has done me well. My friends told me that they wished they could look like me. I hated this because to look like this, I didn’t eat full meals for 6 months. I was throwing up 2 to 3 times a day. I hated it. All I wanted to do was be able to enjoy food again, something I absolutely love. What society do we live in where not eating is what people want to look like? I was mortified. Any time any mentioned my weight to me, I explained why I lost all of it for them to understand that this isn’t necessarily a good thing. When I got the condition under control about 5 months after I went home, I went on a binge of food since I hadn’t been able to. I almost always had food in my hand. It got really bad and I ended up gaining weight back. However, I was fine because I felt healthy again just because I could eat. For the last few years of college, I was able to maintain a healthy weight and eat full meals again. And I became more confident in my body as I gained weight back. I knew that my health was first and my body showed that I was able to eat. Yeah, maybe I didn’t have the ideal body that is viewed as hot for people my age, but I was perfectly satisfied with my body. Yes, when I had flare ups of depression, I always questioned my body but I moved past it every time.

Fast forward 4 years later, I have been single for about 2 years and I stopped working out. I am at my highest weight I have been ever. Now I am by no means overweight or obese. I am just unhappy with the way I look. It has affected how I talk to people and how I view myself. I have been really good about hiding it from people and putting on a face that I am confident in myself and how I look. But I’m not. Far from it actually. I wish I had less fat around places. I wish that my clothes fit. When living with mental health problems, it seems that normal problems people deal with are heightened. I cry thinking no one will ever like me because of my body. I am ashamed to go outside because someone might see me. I stopped wearing tight fitting clothes because of it. I don’t go out to places where I would have to dress up because of it. It is very sad to look into the mirror and not like what is looking back at you. People keep telling me that it is no big deal and I look great. But I don’t believe them. Why would I when I can’t accept my body.

Last night was sort of wake up call. Now, I can’t say I’m going to start working out because I hate going to the gym. If I found an activity or something I actually enjoy, I would be more inclined to be more active. I can’t say I’m going to change my diet because that is not going to happen. Food is a security blanket and friend to me. It’s sad but I am almost always eating. I’m constantly hungry. Now, I have made an effort to eat healthier a few times a week but I love the food I do and I don’t want to give it up. However, I am going to spend time getting to know my body and learning to love it as it is. I’m going to do to feel good and confident again. I know that somewhere inside me is a confidence in myself. It was just lost for a minute and I’m hoping that little by little, it will come back as I take more control over my mental health. If you are dealing with body confidence issues, whether you have a mental health disorder or not, just know that do what makes you happy and healthy. In the long run, it doesn’t matter what other people think because it’s your body. You live in it. Relationships with your body are complicated but just know, you aren’t alone in this struggle.

 

PS: The picture was taken about a year ago and I was very self conscious about my body, which is crazy to think because I looked great.

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