"Changing your Perception"
In the words of a famous song “every day I fight a war against the mirror”……..
That phrase used to be very true of me, and in the space of a few years here I am now, bounding around in front of audiences, shouting on the radio and even sometimes seen having the occasional rant on television!
I suppose I should go back to the beginning, where this whole story started and which without the experience I would not be bounding around in front of people talking about what I do.
A far cry from the happy, bubbly outgoing person I am now my teenage years were not particularly fun. You can imagine the usual, you are different, you don’t quite fit in and others pick up on that and in turn pick on you. How does this leave you feeling? Deflated, self-conscious and wishing you would just disappear?
Believe me I tried to disappear, I almost let them win, the people that dictated that I was different, therefore I should be punished. It was a lot to do with appearance, how I carried myself, how I dressed and how I acted. I kept thinking “well maybe they are right, maybe I should just be the same” but that wasn’t enough for me.
As the time went on, the bullying got worse and the other things piled on top I can safely say I finally lost it, Food became my way of escape, and the result was far from emotional eating, I simply stopped. I decided one day I shouldn’t eat, and instead I would deprive myself of it.
This may have started as a way of coping, but in the end it became about how I looked, how skinny I could become, not for anyone else, but for me, to show myself the willpower I had and the strength I had to abstain from food. I slowly became paranoid about my body how I would look and how I would appear to others, spending ages getting ready, then deciding I couldn’t go out because this wasn’t right or that wasn’t right, it literally took over every waking moment of every single day.
Hours in front of a mirror, scrutinising every single part of my body, and picking at faults that looking back, simply were not there. I hated what stared back at me, I wanted it to go, I wanted to just disappear. It sounds weird, but it was almost like it wasn’t me staring back, but my worst enemy, never before have I despised someone so much, my own reflection!
So that was it, I had an eating disorder, congratulations, was this what I wanted to achieve?
I had a real problem coming to terms with it, trying to deal with the incredible self-loathing I felt, and finally I gave in and accepted it, broke down in tears and said to myself “I really need help”.
From that point I spent years trying to help myself, with professionals trying to help me at the same time with many up’s but far too many downs, not much changed, but strangely enough it took just one phrase to change it all.
One night I ended up in hospital for what must have been the umpteenth time, oh the glamorous world I lived in!
My friend came when he heard I was there and he simply said to me “Your being a silly dick, ain’t ya”
While that phrase wasn’t the one thing that cured me, I will admit it had a massive impact, what had I done to myself, my mind, my body? Why did I put myself through this?
From that point I was determined to make a change, I was better than this!
And so my four year recovery begun, learning many things along the way, about respect for what you have, respect for the one body I will ever get, and respect for the one mind I lost and found again. I found my body again, and I was happy with it, could even go as far to say I love it now, it’s not perfect, but what is!
I now work with a leading charity which works with eating disorders, talk at events and help others with my experience, something I never thought I would have the confidence to do and frankly something I could never see from where I was those few years ago.
I can now leave the house smiling, unashamed and proud of what I have achieved. So maybe it wasn’t the best way to learn a valuable lesson, to be broken down and shattered, but I got there in the end and came out the other side a better person, a happy one, even a successful one.
What was the one lesson I learnt?
This is who I am, I won’t change for anyone, so accept me for me, and most importantly no more wars against that mirror.
I suppose that was the quick tour through my life so far but I left one major thing out of this whole story, and I did it on purpose, the one fact about me that if I said at the beginning would change your whole perception of this story……..
I’m a 25 year old man.
"Dear Body - I love you."
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"The only body I have"