Body Image

When you suffer from depression, many things that might have been just a slight inconvenience in your life suddenly begin to define you.  As a child, I was always a bit overweight.  I was bullied constantly, sometimes even by my own family.  The older I got the worse it got, even though when I look back on those photos from those times, it occurs to me, I truly was not fat.  I would give a million dollars to be that “fat” now. 


So, as time goes on and you’re constantly subjected to name calling and abuse, the bad stuff starts to become easier to believe.  If someone were to pay you a compliment, your standard response becomes,

“Yeah right” and you walk away.  My self-esteem was always in the gutter.  From the days I had to shop in the “husky” department with my parents at Sears, while all of my friends were wearing Guess or Esprit.  The bullying got worse as people decided my eyes were too big, my forehead was too big….you name it. 


So, by the age of 18 when the depression was really taking over my life, these were the only things I could think of when I looked in the mirror.  I had long since been abusing laxatives and starving myself, and sometimes I actually lost weight.  However, the damage I did to my body still affects me to this day.

Some of us who deal with depression let it take over our thoughts, and it teaches us to hate ourselves, and our bodies.  Which is why some of us resort to self-injury.  I can remember not eating, taking laxatives, and doing sit ups incessantly.  I studied every inch of my body and believe me; I knew what self-loathing was at a very early age. 


Now that I am older, I can’t seem to get beyond those feelings.  If you fast forward to now you will see someone who is miserable, has no self-esteem, and is overweight for many, many reasons.  The primary reason, despite all of the other obstacles in my way, is that taking care of myself has always been too hard.  Too much of a burden.  Don’t get me wrong, I shower, do my hair, and will at times wear makeup…..try to look nice for events and for my husband.  But, what most people would consider just being lazy, I call depression. 


One medication in particular that I take causes weight gain, and I’ve been on it over 10 years.  You do the math.  Every day, I look in the mirror and I beat myself up.  Why haven’t you done this?  Why didn’t you do that?  You swore you would lose this weight by the time you turned 35, what is wrong with you? 


Oh, if only it were that simple.  Depression causes you physical pain, not just mental or emotional.  When you are hurt or injured, many times the depression amplifies it so that you feel more deeply than the average person.  This pain is what keeps me from doing whatever I can to exercise and get rid of some of this weight.  Now, I know there is just no way around it.  I am miserable.  I don’t leave my house anymore.  I don’t want anyone to see me like this.  Baby step #1 starts with trying to figure out my excruciating back pain, and once we come to terms with that, Baby step #2 will be determined. 


One day you will wake up and realize that every scar, every stretch mark, and every imperfection is what makes you beautiful.  Every day you fight what most would consider a losing battle, and you come out on top because you made it through. 


When the time comes, and you are ready to maybe drop a few pounds, start an exercise program, and change your eating habits, you will have the confidence to succeed because you are a fighter.


Just try.  As hard as it is, just try.  I KNOW it’s easier just to lie in that bed and cry.  I have resorted to that myself on many occasions.  Please…..for you, your family, and for me, just try.  I’ll be right there with you, trying as well.  You can do this.  You are not just a survivor, you are a warrior. 

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