Body Image – Mental Health Awareness Week 2019 (1/7)

2019’s Mental Health Awareness week topic this year is Body Image. Today I’m going to talk to you about what ‘Body Image’ is and tell youΒ  ‘My Body Image Story’.

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So what is Body Image?

Body Image by definition is a person’s perception of the aesthetics of their physical appearance. It is basically the way a person views themselves, and most of the time how society has set a standard that an individual has to ‘live up to.’ It can be detrimental to your mental health as it has psychological effects and physical effects on a person.

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Body Image in Media

So how has the Media contributed to our body image expectations? Over the years the media has been highly criticized for creating false body expectations that cause body image problems in people of all ages. Massive companies such as Barbie and Disney Princesses have been slammed for showing unrealistic bodies on their female characters, many people have tried to create links between rises in Eating disorders and other body image complications in response to playing with Barbie dolls or watching Disney Princess movies as a child.

How Body Image affects people?

These amazing diagrams from the HereToHelp website are absolutely brilliant and very accurate on how our body image affects our mental health and self-esteem.

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My Body Image Story

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I’m well versed in using the phrase ‘uncomfortable in my own skin’. I think it was around the time I started high school that I became more aware of ‘body image’ and how I felt about the way that I look. Before that I can only recall one experience and it was in primary school around age 7.

I remember unchanging for a PE (Physical Education) lesson and another pupil asking me about the scar across my stomach. I’d never really noticed it until then, it had never occurred to me that nobody else had one. Obviously, this experience put that thought into my head and I spent the rest of my school education trying to hide it. Especially when I got to high school when ‘cropped tops’ became a trend, you wouldn’t catch me dead wearing one of those. Up until now, I’d spent the rest of my life unsure about this one scar, I haven’t known the full reason for it.

When I was born with duplicate bowel, which required surgery when I was a week old, I have to accept this and know that it is part of who I am, I can’t change that and I will learn to live it.

I’ve always been slim framed and short but that doesn’t mean that I’m not a victim of body shaming. In my lifetime, I’ve been told I’m ‘too skinny’, ‘too small’ or ‘too short’. I don’t diet or have any specific eating requirement as of now. (I would like to become vegan and I am taking steps to get there.) I do Yoga which you can read about here but besides that, I am fairly active and eat however and whatever I please. I’ve even had people ask me if I have an eating disorder before which really bugged me. Not because there is a problem with having one but I do not, I’ve not always had a healthy relationship with food, I don’t eat ‘healthy’ and I don’t stick to intended meal plans or times but I do not have an eating disorder and people shouldn’t assume that I do.

Other people’s assumptions and hurtful comments affect the way I view myself. It is not uncommon. I have alway’s been my worst critic when it comes to my appearance and I’m sure many of you understand what I mean by that. I always find that somebody else’s comments hurt much more than my own.

Stop judging. Be kind to others, be kind to yourself. You are beautiful inside and out.

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What is your Body Image story?

I really hope you’ve enjoyed this post and that you are feeling inspired to share your Body Image Story. I will be posting a new post every day for the next week for Mental Health Awareness Week! I hope you all are well and join me on raising awareness for Mental Health.

If anyone would like to chat about Mental Health I am always available. You can contact me via email at whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com or via any of my social media’s. I am not a professional and I cannot offer you professional advice. I can offer a listening ear and help you seek help if need be. All conversations will be 100% confidential and I will not judge you in any way. I would hate for anybody to feel alone, you are not alone. I am here for you.

Useful websites

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/campaigns/mental-health-awareness-week

https://www.mind.org.uk/

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/

https://mentalhealth-uk.org/

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/factsheet/body-image-self-esteem-and-mental-health

I have wrote a blog post for everyday of the week for Mental Health Awareness week, each day covering a different topic. Tommorow’s blog post is now available here.

The Topic is: Anxiety Crisis Kit

 

Confronting my feelings about Anxiety

So the other month I wrote a post about Mental Health, I’d like to elaborate more on the subject talking about Anxiety specifically.

There are a lot of advice pages about anxiety, on the internet. Some of them are fantastic, but I feel like there are not very many first-hand experiences written about it online. I’ve chosen to write about my own personal experience to attempt to help some people have the ability to talk about it more openly. And I also hope I can shed some light on the subject for people who are not experiencing it.

This post is very very hard for me to write and I’ve probably shed more tears than I would have liked to whilst I wrote this.

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I realize now looking back that I have suffered from this condition a lot longer than I thought I have had. I do not remember my first ever experience but I do remember the moment I realized it had affected my day to day life.

I feel like a complete failure to my family and friends.

I can not explain how this feeling feels. I feel as if I am constantly letting down the people that I love. I don’t always get to visit them or go out with them and I’m constantly turning down opportunities.
I have FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. It is a real thing. I hate having to miss out on things because of this.

For a long time, I’ve just been surviving and not living.

By this I mean, I spend so much of my time just trying to survive my anxiety and not go out and face it. I don’t live a normal life like anyone else. I spend most of my time at home, and it’s a good day for me if I manage to leave my house at all. Even if it is just to the shop, park or local coffee shop.

I feel like people don’t understand what I am dealing with.

It’s so hard to try and explain how I feel. Every time I think my life has gotten significantly better someone has to remind me that I’m still not doing too well. ‘Well, you still haven’t done this’ and ‘You still haven’t come here.’ These are the word’s that haunt me and make me feel like I am failing them.

Nobody punishes me more than myself.

I am the one who has to live like this and whilst it might affect the other people around me, I am the sufferer. It is MY life. It may not be brilliant but I am glad I am alive. I love living.

Losing my dog really didn’t help.

Last month I lost my 10-year old Siberian Husky, she was one of the best things in my life. My family of four just became three. Some people don’t understand that she wasn’t just my dog, she was my best friend. The other day, I had my very first panic attack since losing her. The only thing I wanted, in that exact moment, was the cuddle of my best friend. That was the hardest.
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I still have hope.

I know that one day, I will be able to return to the life I had before this horrible condition consumed me and my life. It is going to be a long and hard journey. It will not be an easy fix, but when I do recover I owe the people who have stood by me. The ones that have supported me and not pushed me or made me feel bad for being this way. I love those people more than anything.
I hope this post helped some of you understand that it is okay to be suffering from anxiety and very important to remember that you are living, although your life may not be as fulfilling as other people’s it is about appreciating the small things no matter how insignificant they may be.
Until next time, have a fantastic day.
You can also read my Guest Blog post over at Gratisoul about my Inspiring woman here.

Let’s talk about Mental Health

I think it would fair to say that at some point in every person’s life they have a moment where they struggle with their mental health. There are so many different types of mental health issues that people face every single day of their lives, and it can be a long recovery for most.

I asked Instagram if they could send a message to people suffering a mental health problem, what would they say?

Here are some of the responses I received:

‘I know it’s hard but keep going’

‘This feeling won’t last forever! Take it one day at a time and you’ll get through anything.’

‘You are never alone, there are so many people out there who are just like you!’

‘There is more than one way to help, just because one thing doesn’t work, it doesn’t mean nothing will.’

‘We all have an issue with our mental health at some time in our lives but it’s only the strong ones who can admit it. And only a superhero can admit it and seek helve. p.’

‘You are worth more than you believe. If you aren’t seeing it, others are, don’t give up.’

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You’d be surprised at how many people understand exactly what you are going through. You are never alone and you are all warriors. You can fight it and you will survive it, don’t give up hope.

Surround yourself with positivity – Yellow Roses are a symbol of good cheer and optimism. They are known to lift spirits and promote general well-being.

For most, finding a hobby has become very useful, as it occupies the mind. A hobby can be anything you find enjoyment from, and there are so many to choose from. Don’t be afraid to start something new,Β  some of the most creative people I know all suffer from Mental Health issues and they are all fantastic.

Colouring always helps me as a way to de-stress and be creative at the same time. I love this new mindfulness colouring book by Emma Farrarons.

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If colouring isn’t your thing, you could try photography, it allows you to step outside your comfort zone and search for beauty within life.

I swear by reading, reading allows you to escape your life for a while and step into a world of complete fantasy. Get lost and fall in love with someone else’s imagination

Don’t be afraid to speak up about Mental Health, there is someone out there waiting for you to tell them. If someone confides in you to talk about their Mental Health, please try to be supportive and understanding and appreciate that they confided in you.

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Let’s work together to make that smile on your photo’s a genuine smile, learn to fall in love with being alive. Smile through the rain (or snow).

If anyone ever wants to chat about anything, I am always available at my email address – whatsinmywonderland@gmail.com. I check my email’s everday and they go straight to my phone so I promise you, you will get a response.