I’ve been pretty open on this blog about the fact that I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. Given how long it’s been and how many times I’ve had to “start over” in the recovery, it’s not something that I have a problem talking about. Hiding it and not talking about it for so many years was the reason everything spiraled out of control in the first place. Talking about mental health issues is one of the only way to break the stigma that is (sadly) often associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. If we don’t talk about these things the people suffering from them will continue to feel like they are alone in their struggles and the people who have no experience will never understand what we go through. Talking about mental health should be just as common as talking about physical health. People should never feel isolated or judged for their mental health.
…On that note, I feel like I should divulge more information. In addition to depression and anxiety, I’ve also struggled with an eating disorder for a long time. I’ve been in and out of therapy for it and used to say I was “recovered,” but I no longer feel like I can accurately say that. Truthfully, I don’t feel like I will ever truly be “recovered,” but will always be actively fighting the negative voices in my head. There are times in my life when I am doing much better and don’t need to work as hard at recovery. Then there are times where every day is a struggle and it requires a ton of effort for me to maintain a semblance of normalcy. This is one of those times.
I talked a little bit about some of the things that have happened this past year. I lost several friends that I thought I was close to, which caused me to plunge back into a pit of depression. What I didn’t mention was that I also started slipping back into my old disordered eating habits again. Even during periods when I am doing “better,” I have a hard time with body image. Naturally, when I get overly stressed or my depression comes creeping back in, my body image is the first thing that takes a major hit. On top of being depressed again, I gained a little bit of weight over the last 6 months. It’s not enough for others to notice or to be a health concern, but the fact that I have a little bit of extra weight on me period is enough to cause a major freak out. Le sigh.
I don’t want anyone to worry. I promise you that I am eating. I typically eat very healthy. The problem is more about my mentality surrounding food and my body, rather than whether or not I am actually eating. I have become a bit obsessive again over what I eat. While I’m obsessively eating healthy things, the fact that I spend so much time worrying, planning, and over thinking about food is not healthy.
Having said all that, I (finally) reach the point of this post. Are there any books that have helped you with your own body image struggles? As I am not a big fan of self-help books, I’ve been looking for some fiction books that might be helpful in this area. I’ve had lots of luck in finding books that focus on depression/anxiety that I can relate to, but I haven’t found many that deal with body image in a helpful manner. (Sadly, fiction about characters with eating disorders are very triggering and can be more harmful than helpful.)
Please let me know if you have any reading recommendations. (They do not have to be eating disorder specific.) And, as always, thank you for listening.