Personal, mental health related, post coming up. People are always asking me how I became body positive and how long it took. As this post will show it’s a journey that’s ongoing. You don’t just wake up one morning having rejected all of society’s health and beauty standards feeling fantastic about yourself. (If that did happen to you email me because I need to know your secret.)
Some of you are probably already aware that I suffer from hypermobility. The worst joints for me are my knees and I recently suffered a very bad fall that resulted in me being referred for, very necessary, physiotherapy. Physio has always been triggering for me – the irrational side of my brain that associates “exercise” with weight loss, punishing myself etc takes over especially in a scenario where the exercise is prescribed and I feel forced into it.
Following my initial appointment with my new physio, which was traumatic in itself and I cried during most it, I really really struggled. Some of you may have noticed through my social media accounts that I was in a bad place. My self esteem and body image just took an absolute nosedive and I was having urges to engage in self destructive behaviour. A huge part of my recovery process has been focusing on only exercising when I really want to. If there is ever any doubt about why I’m doing it or whether or not I’m really in the mood for it, I don’t do it. Pushing myself to work out when I’m not feeling like it leads to the horrible feelings I was experiencing post-physio appointment.
Understandably the first few days were really tough. On a physical level the exercises are very easy and gentle but simply taking the time to do them was insanely triggering and upsetting. I was forcing myself to do at least some of the routine every day and my moods were getting worse. I reached out to a few of my friends and talked things over but I still felt caught between a rock and a hard place, physical health vs mental health. It wasn’t until someone who I really trust told me that this was simply far too triggering and I should stop that I realised this was on my terms and I was in control of this process.
That was such a huge step forward on my body positivity journey. Up until now my focus has been on feeling good about myself no matter what size/weight I am or what I eat etc and all of that is super important but the journey doesn’t stop there. The next stage for me is, with all of that in mind, being able to look after my physical and mental health simultaneously. I know it’s going to be very difficult but physio is a really good place to start. Like everything in life, with body positivity or recovery from an eating disorder/mental health problem, once you’ve reached a point where you’re relatively comfortable and can function relatively normally, it’s easy to become complacent and accept that this is as good as things will get. For some people in some scenarios that is the case, and everyone’s journey and recovery is different, but for me I know I’ve been coasting for a while and can definitely still work on a few areas.
A few days after the initial breakthrough I started finding one of the exercises getting a little easier, and I was more aware of my body (part of my issue is that I have no clue how to control the smaller muscles that we all take for granted) and that gave me a little boost. Unfortunately for the past few days I’ve had the flu (by the time you read this I will hopefully be much better) so I’ve not been doing the physio but a huge part of this process is listening to my body and I know that my body needs to rest at the moment.
Have any of you had a breakthrough on your body positivity/recovery journey recently? Leave a comment below.