I had a bit of interest when I posted Dysmorphic yesterday, and, after a busy day sorting out an A level Literature course for my student, I thought I would follow up on that.
Dysmorphia. I watched a TV programme about this condition, and I totally related to it – the way people described it, it felt like me. Some people dismiss it as linked to vanity, but I believe it is anything but. I also think it might be connected with my autistic brain, and the way I can sometimes think so deeply, over-analyse, or be hyper-critical.
I wrote the poem very quickly – as I do all of my poems – but more on that process in another blog. It felt like an outpouring of a bad day. If you suffer with body dysmorphia, you can’t help it when an ‘attack’ overtakes you. you look fine on the surface, attractive even, slim, not bad! You look just like anyone else; sometimes people tell you you look better. But when the beast that sits on your shoulder strikes- nothing is right. I can look in the mirror, and instead of the actual person standing there – I see someone enormous, or ‘ugly.’ I notice every flaw, or focus on one. I see every bump or bulge, real or (usually imagined). To put it in perspective, I wear an average to small dress size UK 10-12. And on a good day – that’s what I see, or I see nothing and just go about my business. But on a bad day – and god alone knows what triggers it off, I see a person in a warped hall of mirrors. There is nothing wrong with any body size, by the way. You should never let anyone body shame you. I have been bigger and smaller in my life. But it’s what is in my head that distorts ‘me’. On another day, I might hyper-focus on a perceived flaw – which my be tiny, or the hair, or try on 20 outfits and end up in pyjamas. Sounds mad? Vain? It isn’t. I am neither of those. But I have yet to explain it. I just know it can be debilitating. If I don’t feel ‘right,’ it is hard to interact. I promise I am not so hard on other people.
I suffer less these days. It’s because I have less stress – I don’t feel that way so much since becoming self-employed; since being with the right partner. So really , it is nothing to do with image or looks at all – it’s the way my state of mind processes stress – I attack myself.
One key to less stress too is exercise. I swim every day and I walk every day. Both of these activities usually bring forth poetry.