Tuesday, 2 May 2017

My body and mind | You're not alone (Part 1)

I wanted this to be one of my first posts as I know that there are many people that suffer/struggle with this, whether it be a lot or even just a little, this being weight/appearance.

I first became aware of the appearance of my body when I moved back in with my mum, to Northern Ireland, after having lived with my dad for two years, but in order for you to have a slight better understanding I'll go back a bit.

For the first 8 years of my life, I lived in Portugal and Portuguese cuisine tends to be a good amount healthier than British cuisine, also people don't or didn't tend to eat as much processed food (which is filled with all sorts of horrible stuff- "food"). So when I moved to England my diet completely changed which came as a shock to the system/body, but I was 8-10 years old then so how my body looked was the last thing on my mind.

Back to moving in with my mum and sister well, what can I say... not that my mum is judgmental or anything but she noticed that my body had changed and she mentioned it and how I'd put on weight, which made me in turn actually start looking at my body and how it had changed. I looked in the mirror and saw stretch marks which I was made to believe were wrong to have, something you needed to get rid of or I would be ugly, but again at such a young age and being busy with things in school I then "forgot" about it and went on ahead with my day. 

I hit puberty quite early and so all the changes that come along with it came out in me when I was still in primary school. Now,children seem to make fun of the different and one day the girls at school decided to make fun of me because I had boobs, boobs!! which is crazy to think of because it's super natural and later in life most of those girls would go on to wish they had bigger ones. That was the moment it all started, the insecurities, the wishing I looked aesthetically different, the whole lot. From then on, I began to look at myself even more, my face, body and hair and what was wrong with it. Where should we start, let's see... my nose was too big, eyebrows too crazy, legs too big with stretch marks on the back of them, hair not straight enough, boobs the wrong size, skin not clear enough, too much hair on legs, the list goes on. From this moment forwards my beauty or lack thereof became a big part of my life and I realised just how important it was to the rest of the world. 

Secondary school started and people made friends which then turned into "cliques" and I had no one. I hadn't made any friends at all, which was very hard for me to understand because a lot of us began not knowing each other yet everyone else was making friends but I wasn't, at which point I joined bridge but still as an outsider. 'Is it my looks', 'Am I too fat, or ugly?' these are the thoughts I'd have constantly going through my head which caused me to go do something which I should never have done, I began to make myself sick. I would eat whatever amount it was and then I would go to the toilet myself sick so that I could get skinnier and when that din't work, I decided to eat really small portions and guess what... that also didn't work. In first/second year I did a bit of netball and, having been encouraged by our sports teacher, I tried a bit of shot put. I also did some dancing and exercised at home with my mum and sister, and yet still, no change in my body. What I didn't realise then, was that I wasn't losing anything because there was nothing to lose and even if there were, I was going about it the wrong way. This feeling coupled with some other things, some of which I'm still not aware of, made me feel unworthy, it made me feel like nobody liked me, and it was all my fault. It made me feel like there was no place in this world for me and that I just wasn't for it, 'it will be much better without me', 'everyone hates me', 'I'm all alone'. I just wanted to leave, I wanted this feeling to end. I'm not saying that all of these feelings were all due to my extreme low body confidence and lack of friends and that the feeling of rejection was all due to this, there are other things which we'll not get on to at this moment, but it was definitely a contributing factor. I couldn't talk to anyone, not even my mum because I knew how she felt, that if you're feeling down you just have to toughen up and pray to God. I mean she had been through much worse than me and yet here she was giving up her life for ours and yet I had the audacity to feel this way, but I just couldn't help it. 

I somehow, and thankfully, became better both mentally and emotionally which in turn made me feel a lot more confident in my self, mind and body. You see what I've realised is that if you're not mentally and emotionally healthy, then you'll never be happy with what you have completely. You may appreciate it but that doesn't mean you'll be content with it. You'll change the thing that bothers you but then you'll find something else you don't like leading to a continuous cycle. 

Mental health; That is the key to self love, the key to being able to live your life to the full, the key to having the confidence to be able to not doubt yourself and everyone around you, and guess what? You don't need to be ashamed of feeling like this, no need to feel like there's something wrong with you, like you're alone, because guess what? You are not alone. there are so many people in the world who suffer from many mental health issues and there are also some extremely amazing people that realise this and would love to help you. Acknowledging that there is a problem is the first and most important step and the second is to seek help, this possibly being the hardest. 

Going back to weight and appearances, being healthy is, above anything else, the most important thing. I'm naturally, always, slightly overweight, but healthy or at least  I was then. Having a baby has changed my body dramatically and it's been quite challenging but not nearly as much as it would've been had I not been in a good state of mind. I gained weight, increase in stretch marks, change in body shape and I've to admit my body confidence has decreased. Having said all of this I am the happiest I've ever been with myself, but that's not to say that I don't realise that i need to loose weight because I do but this time, not for anyone else or because I don't look the way that society deems acceptable, but because it will make me healthier and in turn even happier than I am now. I am currently doing light exercises at home and trying to eat healthier but most mums will know that with a baby that's hard. I mean you make breakfast and then your baby cries and so you've to tend to him/her, 3 hours later and you then remember you still haven't had the breakfast you made and as you go back to it, baby wakes up and starts crying, perfect timing. I'm still trying to "perfect" our routine and it's nearly there. 

A healthy diet and regular exercise is all you need to maintain a healthy body, and it helps with mental health too but the latter requires a lot more work.

This post is mostly about my struggles with weight and how I overcame how unhappy I felt with it. It's about how I realised what's important and what not, and that irregardless of my size or weight you can still be unhappy and that a healthy mind is just as important if not more than a healthy body, it is the key to happiness which is what I think, essentially, we all crave.

I hope this post has helped someone and I'll be sure to quickly follow it up with a post about depression as I believe that with me they went hand in hand and so this story is only half told. Had I mentioned it here, this post would have been way too long.

So, until next time...

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