My experience with body dysmorphia

Body dysmorphia, it is way more common than a lot of people realize it is. If you search for the definition of body dysmorphia this is what it will tell you: Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. People of any age can have BDD, but it’s most common in teenagers and young adults. It affects both men and women.

Now, I don’t want to make my story seem like it’s a bigger deal than it actually is. However, I do want to show that even though I work out a lot and train with my shirt off sometimes I still am affected by this to a certain extend. It has been worse in the past, but I feel like it will always be a small part of me. It’s easy to think that people who work out a lot and seem confident about their body don’t experience any of this. Myself and plenty of other people around me who work out on the regular are dealing with this issue one way or another.

For me, I see body dysmorphia more as a body confidence issue. I think this started for me when I was still very young. I wasn’t the skinniest kid in the class, I was scared to do any exercises or movements that involved using my own bodyweight, like: handstands, cartwheels and even forwards rolls. Now this is all related to physical activities but I guess it carried over into the confidence I had in my own body. Later on through life I have been bullied on multiple occasions which didn’t help either.

Ever since I started working out about 10 years ago, I thought my body confidence would grow but the first 5 years or so it actually did quite the opposite. I started working out with the idea that my muscles would show a lot faster than they did. In turn, I thought that bigger muscles would equal body confidence too. I was sadly mistaken; my body didn’t transform as fast as I expected and my confidence didn’t grow. I Would sometimes look into the mirror and think that I saw some sort of progress, only to be let down the next day by what I was seeing.

Over the past 5 years I have dismissed any and every compliment people gave me based on my physical appearance. This all comes back to what I just told you, it’s simply because I wasn’t/ still am not confident about what my body looks like. One day you look into the mirror and you like what you see, the next day it looks like you gained twice the amount of belly fat, but in reality, the difference is never that big of course. This is what made me dismiss any positive comments about my physical appearance, it’s what made me keep my shirt on when surrounded by other people and it’s what made me less confident in what I think of my body. The latter is probably the most important aspect of it all. It doesn’t really matter what other people say or think even if it’s positive, as long as you don’t see yourself in a positive light it doesn’t matter.

Over the past couple years, especially the last 2, I have come to appreciate my body a lot more. I can’t tell you the reason why, other than ”simply” accepting who I am, what I look like and the small changes you see on a daily or weekly basis. I still ”see” the daily differences in my physique and start questioning everything that I am doing. But I have gotten much better at silencing that voice and trust in what I am doing, while realizing my mind is also playing games with me.

It’s not a bad thing to not be confident about your body every second of every single day, but you have to realize it is your body after all. I have come to appreciate my body for what it is capable off and what it allows me to do every single day. I am not confident about what I look like every day, but I am happy with the body I have been given every single day.

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