As Becky bravely demonstrates through recounting her own story, recovery isn’t a linear process with a definite ‘end’. It’s most likely an ongoing development of self- awareness including needing to embrace self- love and self- acceptance over the opinions of others. Healthy body weight and shape / size is different for every individual, so learning to be happy in our own skin is the most important factor. As Becky says, finding your ‘tribe’; people with whom you can be yourself and who accept you as you are, can be a life – changing step to healing…
So here goes my story of recovery. I won’t go into everything and you know what, that’s OK. No matter who you tell your story to, you only tell as much as you feel comfortable.
So, I grew up feeling very different to others, I was bullied every day and couldn’t seem to do anything to fit in, so I started just doing what I enjoyed. Sadly, the bullying didn’t stop and continued throughout my childhood. This of course impacted my self-esteem and confidence and I tended to hide away. I focused on my art and music that I connected with. I was even isolated at home and would stay in my room. I struggled with the emotions I felt and could not find a way to express them, so I turned to self-harm as a way to cope. When this was discovered this was also met with hostility and mocking. I withdrew further and struggled to connect with others. As I grew older I focused a lot on what I ate as I could control this aspect of my life more than most others. As I went to college all the years of being called fat, ugly and worthless caught up. That’s all I could see. Looking back, I was about a size 8, which for my tall height isn’t ideal, but I would grab skin and be convinced it was fat. I ate barely anything. It wasn’t until I kept losing weight and people started to notice and comment on how unwell I looked I started to realise. I started to eat a bit more but still struggled with body image and my confidence was still so low. My friend suggested I try modelling, which helped a bit as I was getting positive feedback on my style. I enjoyed the outfits and getting made up. However, it could also be a point of conflict within myself as I compared myself to other others and how they looked. I still didn’t feel in control, so I became very fixated on getting top grades and this became my way of ‘being worthwhile’. This continued throughout uni and I felt I’d ‘failed’ if I didn’t get a first. I started counselling and later had CAT (Cognitive Analytical Therapy) and I slowly started to improve. I still really struggled with confidence, but it was improving.
As I grew older and found people with similar interests and those who didn’t judge me, I improved more. I wouldn’t say I’m the most confident or body confident individual, but I’ve come a long way and no longer hate myself, I accept myself for who I am and do my best to put love into the world. I support vulnerable adults as I want no-one to feel like I did growing up.
We are all always growing, but if we can recognise our negative past thought patterns and can learn from them, we can move forward. With support I’ve now not self-harmed in nearly 8 years, something I never thought possible. I’m not super happy with my weight, but I’m not ugly, I feel like I’m a healthy size for me, I wouldn’t say I love my body, but I appreciate it. I’ve used tattoos to make my scars into what I see as transformation, and I find this beautiful. I’m grateful for all I learned and those who have supported me on my journey. Where there are shadows, there is also light. We can use this knowledge to help others and help heal ourselves.
Thank you Becky, for sharing your story to give others HOPE ❤