August 27, 2011

Afraid to like myself

Here I am again...ready to bare my soul publicly.  Either I'm really brave or just really stupid.  I haven't decided yet.
For as long as I can remember I have been particularly afraid of two things:  vomitting and getting fat.

Without going into too much detail and background, I can say that these particular fears have driven me to do and think some pretty irrational things.

Today topic of vulnerability is going to be on the latter (you can read the vomit story here).

At my last appointment with my counselor Rick, which was in January or February of this year, I asked to be referred to an associate of his who had more experience dealing with "body disorders".  While I have never been anorexic (can't say that I didn't try...I made it a whole 5 hours once) or bulimic (fear of vomiting remember) I have had other real body issues for a very long time.  I just don't know the name of them.

Fear of "getting fat" has caused me to do things like:  exercise incessantly (at one point 2+ hours a day/6 days a week), obsess over every speck of food placed in my mouth, step on a scale ever hour or two (when available),  look in the mirror one minute, staring at my very toned, yet semi-gaunt looking, upper body and then blink and focus on my lower body imperfections, which would lead me to recoil in disgust and vow to loose another 10 lbs (mind you, this was when I was at a lower than normal weight already), and have a general hatred of matter what size I wore.  It's tiring, and horrible, and no way to live, though many of us DO live with these kinds of issues.  It's not healthy...there's a better way.

I felt that I should probably start working through these issues while I was doing fairly well (aka medicated) so that when the time came (and I went off medication) I would have some tools in place to cope.Well...I never did it.  I never set up the appointment.  I got a few reminder calls...yet could never bring myself to do it.

When my husband questioned why, the answer was simple.

"I'm afraid to actually like myself.  If I like myself...I'll get fat."

People who really know me will most likely say, "bah...not you Melanie."  (yeah, you know you are saying it right now)...but I'm telling you, the fear is alive and real.

As of now...because I have been so "okay" with myself for the last 7-8 months (aka my anxiety is being controlled by drugs and methylfolate), I am several pounds over my "goal" weight and not showing any signs of decreasing.  It's because I'm just too "okay" and not beating myself up every minute of every day for it.  Don't get me wrong...I'm not happy about it....not at all...but I can't muster up enough "crazy" to do anything extreme or to constantly berate myself for it.  So I have just "let go".

I have settled into a "that's life" kind of thinking...and it is....this is real life.  I have 4 boys to keep up with, a house to clean, two blogs to write, church duties to perform, laundry to do (lots of laundry to do), errands to run, play dates to go to, etc.  I don't have several hours in a day to work out anymore and I certainly don't have the energy.  I get it...and yet, it's driving me crazy.

It's like I'm too "okay" with things...except that I'm not "okay" with it.  It doesn't make sense, I know.  But it is what it is. that I'm trying to come off anti-depressants, I am wondering if I really should have gone in and seen that counselor.  It's not too late, I know that.  Maybe I will.  I'll just have to wait and see.

If my anxiety really is under control...for real...than things should be fine.  In fact, maybe coming off the medication will help get rid of this pooch on the middle that I have NEVER had before (oh...and not eating 1/4 carton of ice cream almost every night might help too).  Maybe I'm fine.  Maybe I will be okay. 

As I said in my last post, I'm trying to think positively...instead of waiting for things to go bad.

In an attempt to take a hold of this current mindboggling issue, I have been thinking about things that have helped me cope with body image and self esteem issues in the past.

There's this:

Prayer---imagine that :)

Then I came across this:


It's a small sign I made several months ago on assignment from my "positive self talk coach" (aka my sister Jennifer).  The assignment was to hang these words on my mirror (I added the picture and fancy schmancy) and to repeat the words...out loud...three times a day until I BELIEVED them to the core.  I went a little further and hung them so that they covered the part of my body that I disliked most so that I would learn to focus on more important things.

I was completely skeptical and embarrassed at first.  Not that I don't talk to myself regularly, I just don't usually talk to myself regularly on purpose.  But I did it anyway.  I'm so glad I did.  Over time, the exercise completely changed my perspective on a lot of things (things my councilor had been trying to work with me on FOREVER). 

I was so happy at the changes I could feel in me, because of these beautiful words, that I made quite a few more little signs and give them away.  A few months ago I even gave away the one that was hanging on my mirror.  I decided this morning that it's time to print up another one and get it back where I can see it every day.

(AND...I published it in PDF form so that YOU can have one on your mirror too.  Go here to download and print one out.  (you can also go here or at the bottom of MMUW's home page to pick up the HTML code for this banner for your blog as a reminder to you and your readers that you are His and that He loves you).) currently experiencing technical difficulties with the buttons

This morning I also came across this song.  I had heard it before and really liked it.  But, in light of my recently rediscovered insecurities and fears, it holds special meaning right I thought I would share it.

I spent the morning in bitter sweet tears as I listened to this song over and over again, fighting between insecurities, spawned by Satan and his worldly influences, and a knowledge of a Father in Heaven that created me and loves me and is far more concerned with who I am and who I am becoming than whether or not I have two hours to waste in a day trying to be skinny instead of taking care of my family and doing his will.

Then I began thinking about those I love, and those I don't even know yet, who are struggling with their own self esteem and insecurities and I shed a few more tears for them.

My hope and prayer is that every woman in this world, comes to understand just how beautiful and "divine by nature" she is (no matter her shape or size) and where her TRUE worth comes from.

I challenge you, just as my sister challenged me, to post those words on your mirror and repeat them until you believe them deep down in your soul.  A wise woman once said that doing this will "comfort you, strenghten your faith, and influence your conduct." are His. And He LOVES you.  And what He thinks of you (in his perfect light of knowledge, understanding, truth, and mercy) is all that REALLY matters.


P.S. Leave a comment! I love to hear from you!


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DancingPrincessDesigns said...

Beautiful post today Mel! I need to take my own advice and start to crank out the positive self talk again :) ♥ ya! Jenn

Andrea said...

I just love you Mel! I wish you could see yourself like I see you, brave, super motivated and encouraging, I admire you so much, and am thankful for all of the kind things you have said to me. Be strong, and I pray that you continue to find peace on your journey. :)

Celeste said...

I've said this before but here it is again. You are so awesome!!! I feel special because I have heard a lot of this before :) Some of these "hardships" in your life that you've shared with me has made me stronger. I'm sorry it has been so hard for you, but I want you to know that if it weren't for you, I wouldn't be who I am today! I'm so glad we lived by each other when we did! You taught me so much and continue to! I can't wait to print out that quote! Thanks Melanie!

Ariane said...


I am so sorry to hear about your struggles with your body image. Although I personally have not dealt with that, I have a daughter who has. I understand from a moms perspective, the heartache and anxiety involved with those who carry that burden because I've lived through it with my daughter.

Over the past year she has made great improvements, but not without prayers, a good counselor, hard work, and earthly angles. My daughter was only 10 when her struggles began. Now being 12 years old, I can truly say that she has learned many of life's lessons of the most important ones being the understanding and belief in the reality of a loving Father in Heaven.

Thanks for sharing your message! We're cheering for you!

Kara said...

Heavy stuff, Mel. Heavy. I totally get parts of it, though. Liking parts of my body, working out tons, having/taking care of children, the cliche of no time/super tired from running a household "excuse" When is being a mother an "excuse" for something else? And who says that I have to workout every day, every other day anyway? There are more than just a few ways to be healthy and pounding the pavement at the expense of my family is not one of them. (Just me pumping my fist at the world here.) I'll email you a special experience I had the other day….

The Bailey's said...

Love you Mel! Thanks for always sharing what so many of us are embarrassed to say!

Miss MyLa J said...

First of all, Melanie, I want to thank you for taking the time to check out my blog and share your kind words with me and my readers. Secondly, I want to commend you on your perseverance. You have been sharing your life with the world and continue to be a blessing to everyone who reads your posts. God brought you through somethings so that you could help others. I love this post because it's powerful. You are so real and that's beautiful : )

Melanie said...

Thank you Miss MyLa J.

I feel the same way about you. You too are fantastic and real.

susan said...

Yes, God did make you beautiful. It's hard to always remember though...

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