I’ve done a hell of a lot of soul searching in the months since hope the black dog opened. I’ve done CBT and borrowed countless of self-help books from the library.
Ultimately, I’ve worked out that my anxiety stems from a deep-seated utter lack of self-esteem and self-worth.
Just realising that was incredibly liberating. Because rational me knows that I have something to be proud of, and that I am not worthless, but subconscious me acts like I am. Tells me I am. Makes me believe that I am and processes things as if I am.
During this process, I was asked to think of some of the labels that I give myself. So here are three.
The fat girl
I’ve always been bigger than my family, and bigger than my friends. It never used to bother me in truth, but comments from other people changed my mind, and I wasn’t strong enough to not let it shape my perception of myself.
Comments such as “she’s got puppy fat”, people singing “big girls are beautiful” in my direction. One person went up to my boyfriend at the time and said “you like a girl with a bit of weight on her don’t you”. And because he was a pig, he told me this, gleefully.
How I’m tackling it?
I’m embracing my size! I always thought that being overweight defined me. But it’s just one of a million things about me that affect my personality in not one tiny way. I always thought I had to pretend to be thin and would sit with cushions on my stomach, cinch in my waist with belts that left bruises, and buy clothes that were an acceptable size 12 rather than the 14 or 16 that I needed.
If you don’t already, I highly recommend following the beautiful @bodyposipanda on instagram. She’s been life changing for me!
The spotty girl
Once again. I never cared about my skin until other people told me I was supposed to. Now I spend hours each week trying to cover my spots, while also trying to keep my skin picking disorder in check.
Comments such as “oh I didn’t know you had freckles because of all your spots” and when taking off stage makeup at a school play, a teacher recoiled in horror at my skin and asked if I was allergic to the make up. Nope. I look like this every day!
How I’m tackling it.
I’m not giving up. I am taking two paths here. Number one is to try and care less about the odd spot. Go out without makeup now and again. And secondly, I’m trying to figure out what works for my skin and what makes it worse.
The boring girl
Maybe it’s a symptom of having an extroverted and beautiful best friend, but when boys always wanted to get to know her, it hurt but I knew I was spotty and fat so I could put it down to that, and I (incorrectly) rationalised that when my skin and my weight were under control then I’d get a man too. The hard thing was that when my FRIENDS preferred her too.
Further concrete to this belief was when I’d be told that maths (my chosen career and degree) was boring. And my toxic boyfriend as mentioned earlier, used to call me “boring Amy”… and he would know surely…. because he liked alternative music and did ket. Please hear the hindsited sarcasm.
How I’m tackling it?
I know I’m not fucking boring! Please!
If you ever need a reminder… check out these pants in my shop!