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I Hated My Body Because of a Mental Illness Named ED

August 13, 2013 Patricia Lemoine

I hated my body. My eating disorder tole me I was ugly. Fat. Not what I should be. Even now, recovered from ED, I sometimes fall back. Here's my story.

All survivors have their war stories and I am no exception. In my case, the battlefield was my body and the enemy was the bully in my head, the mean girl who told me over the years I was unpretty, boring, fat, lazy and not smart. My eating disorder wasn’t a phase. It was a disease born in the corners of my mind that caused me to cycle through endless episodes of bingeing, purging and starvation. For the longest time, I thought I could talk to no one about this because the injurious words the bully in my head would cast upon myself were still better than the label I would be assigned if anyone knew my secret.

I Hated My Body and Sometimes Still Do

Now recovered from bulimia for nearly 5 years, I still sometimes scrutinize my body in the mirror. I can see that the scar from the emergency gall bladder surgery I had due to bulimia-related complications is gone. It has faded away as if that whole period of my life never happened. But I still have the pink measuring tape. The one I used to diligently track the size of my thighs, hips, arms and waistline.

My eating disorder was a mental illness. I suffered with body image problems. Even now, recovered from bulimia, I sometimes scrutinize my body in the mirror.

I keep it handy in a kitchen cupboard so that I can remind myself, on a difficult day, how far I have come. Sometimes I take it out and look at it, and remind myself of the choice between self-harm and self-love. I remember how in many ways, the pink measuring tape was not only the thread around my hips, but also the noose around my neck. But I escaped its grip on time. I chose to listen and trust myself and was able, over time, to conquer the voice in my mind which bullied me for years.

From Body Hate to Body Acceptance

As a part of my recovery process, I wrote a letter to my body in my journal a couple of years ago. I thought I’d share it with you, so that perhaps you could relate to the inner struggles I used to face while I battled my eating disorder. It was a very long road for me and this offers you a glimpse into my journey to body acceptance.

Dear Body,

It never felt like you were mine. I never felt that you and I were meant to be. I used to think of you endlessly and wonder why you weren’t the way I wanted you to be; the way I needed you to be in order to match what my mind wanted you to look like. In ballet class, you failed me every time I’d look at your hips in the studio’s full length mirror. Over the years, when I would be paid a compliment, I never believed you were worthy of it. I loved swimming because it meant I could hide you underwater, yet do something I loved in between getting in and out of the pool, ashamed of what you looked like in spandex.

You were a lot of things, but in my eyes, you were never enough. You were hit, bruised, scarred, hurt, kissed, loved, hated and given up on. You were merely a doll; a puppet, telling a tale of hate your mind was writing. But it wasn’t your fault. Your mind was sick. All along, you were perfect in every imperfect way. I just never saw it, until I almost lost you for good.

I look at you now and know that I’ve come to love you because above all, you’re still standing. You’re on your way to becoming stronger and free from your mind. You’re not exactly the way I want you to be; perhaps you never will, but right now, you’re exactly what I need you to be.

Love,

Patricia

Stay tuned for more on body acceptance later on this week when my co-author Jessica Hudgens shares her thoughts on her body! As usual, feel free to leave your comments below. I really enjoy getting your feedback and starting up a dialogue with you guys!

You can also connect with Patricia Lemoine on Google +, Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin

APA Reference
Lemoine, P. (2013, August 13). I Hated My Body Because of a Mental Illness Named ED, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, August 22 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/survivinged/2013/08/my-eating-disorder-was-a-mental-illness-i-hated-my-body



Author: Patricia Lemoine

natalia andreou
says:
April, 1 2014 at 7:03 pm
This letter almost had me in tears. Thank you so much for sharing it and inspiring me to write a letter to my own body. Thanks again and have a wonderful day!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Patricia Lemoine
says:
April, 2 2014 at 1:09 am
Thank you Natalia! I'm glad you came across it. Have a wonderful day too ;)
Susan
says:
August, 15 2013 at 12:42 pm
Thanks Patricia. I especially like the statemente:

All along, you were perfect in every imperfect way.

This is wonderful attitude to have:

I look at you now and know that I’ve come to love you because above all, you’re still standing. You’re on your way to becoming stronger and free from your mind. You’re not exactly the way I want you to be; perhaps you never will, but right now, you’re exactly what I need you to be.

I often ask myself: Why is my weight so important to me? Of much more importance is my life, to still be standing, living, and enjoying the fullness of God´s love - whatever size I might be.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Patricia Lemoine
says:
August, 15 2013 at 1:06 pm
Thank you for writing Susan! It is easier said than done, I agree, but yes, the point is to enjoy life. theo nly way I could see this happening for me was by choosing recovery!
I appreciate your kind words.
Greg
says:
August, 13 2013 at 10:57 am
Wow. I needed to read this today, because I've been venturing down that same path of body hatred. I'm not bulimic, but I do look at myself very critically and am often angry that I don't look the way I want to. Other times, it's like my head clears and I see myself and think I look fine. It's like a evil spirit invades my eyes and makes me see myself through a distorted mirror. It's very weird.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Patricia Lemoine
says:
August, 15 2013 at 1:08 pm
I can certainly relate Greg. We have our ups and downs, the important thing is the bigger picture. For sure an eating disorder doesn't develop overnight. And also for sure it takes a lot to realize there is a problem. The important thing is my opinion is to be aware of that inner dialogue you have and have compassion for yourself and acceptance as you go along the way. Thank you for connecting!

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