It seems that when things appeared to be improving, it only takes a moment for it to begin spiralling back downwards again. I don’t know what I did, or if someone else did this, or whatever, but I can feel myself slipping back under.
It could be that I’ve got a big hen holiday coming up, where I have to look good because the other girls will look great.
It could be that I’ve got complacent and suddenly noticed how terrible I look all of a sudden.
It could be that I’m unable to see my hairdresser before I go away as she’s ill, and now I think I look absolutely vile and that there’s no way I’m going to look good when I’m on holiday.
I look in the mirror and I see something that perhaps others don’t. This morning I got showered, dressed, put my hair up and a light bit of make-up because I don’t plan on going out today. I went downstairs and my boyfriend told me I looked NICE – WHAT?! In my plain grey t-shirt and black jeans? With my greasy, un-washed hair scraped back in a messy pony tail, with the orangey streaky bits poking out, looking all dry and rank? With my light make-up? I didn’t even bother to do my eyebrows for goodness sake. How can he have thought I looked nice, or is it because he knew I was feeling low he thought he’d better compliment me?
I’d been feeling way more confident lately until last week, when I went to the hairdressers for a little trim and a toner to just freshen up my locks a little. I usually leave my appointment feeling happy and confident but literally the next day, I thought my hair had turned a gingery colour. (Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but it wasn’t the look I wanted and it certainly doesn’t suit my complexion.) She had done nothing to it that she didn’t usually do, so I thought oh, it’s just me. I went about my business as usual. But it was the trigger that my anxiety needed to send me back into that routine of checking every mirror, pulling at my hair to find a flaw and so on.
Now I see every flaw in every part of me.
I can’t begin to see anything else.
I find myself writing this post as a way of distracting myself from anxious feelings and obsessive thoughts that are creeping their way into my brain. I thought I’d managed to lock them in a box in the back of my mind, but they always find a way to pick through the lock and seep their way out.
It is known that if you have a disorder, or suffer from anxiety and depression, that it may always just be there and you have to learn to control it and live with it. I sometimes think it’s completely gone away, but it hasn’t. Sometimes a small trigger will bring it back out again with a bang.
Today I got up and went to the gym, feeling glad that I turned down the McDonald’s breakfast offered to me as I knew I’d only punish myself about it for the rest of the day if I had one. I felt strong because I used that willpower to NOT stuff myself with rubbish and instead enjoyed some eggs on toast at home. I felt good when I finished at the gym, feeling the ache of my muscles and knowing I’d given my body the exercise it needs.
Go home, wash my hair, then boom the anxiety suddenly rears its ugly head. “Hello,” it seems to say to me, “I’m back to remind you how ugly you are. Look at those eyebrows, why haven’t you been to get them done? Isn’t your hair due a trim or a toner? The ends look dry and I can see it needs refreshing. Are you seriously going to be wearing those old jeans to go to see your mum in? Surely you should make an effort to NOT look so disgusting?’
Yikes, could you imagine saying that to a friend? Or even someone you dislike? Why does my brain say it to ME?!
I took a few deep breaths and tried not to cave into my old habit of sitting in front of the mirror in different lighting, picking on every single flaw possible. I sat there a little longer than I should have, and I went and checked my reflection in the mirror downstairs, in the microwave door and then even on my front-facing camera on my phone. Then I decided that was as far as I was going to let it take me today – I put the phone down, I told myself NO, I am not going to keep finding the flaws and tell that little voice in my head it was right.
I’m going to my mum’s house in my old tattered jeans and I’m going to tell myself I am beautiful.
Recently my mind has been wandering towards a new worry, a worry that many of us share. That worry is surrounding money; trying to pay bills, trying to save, trying to have nice things, trying to have nice holidays… it makes the world go round, doesn’t it?
Money really is a huge issue for me. I’m almost 25 and am a recently new homeowner. I spent 4 years at university racking up huge amounts of student debt and I’m only in my third year of working in a full-time graduate job. I get a good salary, so does my partner.
But why is money still an issue?
I hope this post finds you well.
I haven’t found time to write in a while. Things have felt rather up and down for me, as I’m sure it may for a lot of people over Christmas and New Year. You build up to have a lovely, cheerful family time over Christmas and on the day you are left bewildered and unsure that all the stress, spending and slaving over the turkey was even worth it. You expected to turn up to your family’s house and everyone be laughing, singing and sharing joy but instead your mum is upstairs crying that nobody is helping her and IT’S HER CHRISTMAS TOO and the turkey is too dry and half of the presents you give are shrugged off without much of a thank you.
Anyway, that sounds completely depressing and really I like to write positive posts.
After Christmas, naturally the January blues kick in. You’re heading off back to work feeling tired and fatter than ever before due to the inhumane amount of food and alcohol you have consumed over the festive period. The mornings are dark, it’s freezing cold and you’re now having to eat salad instead of cheese and crackers for lunch.
However, all is not lost!
If you’ve been suffering with the January blues on top of whatever else you may be going through, here are some very small things that may help you when you’re feeling low. They may or may not work for you, but it’s good to give things a try.
The title to this blog post may sound boring or strange and you may choose to simply skip past it because you don’t fancy reading about my DIY skills. However, the title of this blog post is a milestone in my recovery that has taken me a very long time to reach.
For those of you that have read my blog before, you’ll know that I suffer from body dysmorphia disorder and I view my appearance in a distorted way, seeing something different to what is reality (and trust me, it took me a LONG time to admit that I was seeing a distorted view of myself because for years I truly believed myself to be ugly).
The black hole.
That is my representation of feeling depressed. It’s dark, deep and never-ending. It’s scary, cold and real. When I’m in the black hole, I can’t see anything or hear anything positive; it’s just a horrible place full of doom and gloom.
This post is a personal one for me because I feel I may need to open up a little about the reasons I feel the way I do. This post is more for me than it is for anyone else, because I think writing it out will help, but if it helps you too, then great!
I think what hides behind a lot of my anxieties and the lack of confidence in myself is that I’ve never really fit in anywhere.