Body Image Struggles and Eating Disorders
( Guest Blog By Melissa Dejanude )
Body Image and Eating Disorders - I have always been self-conscious about my body. Growing up, I had developed eating disorders, both anorexia and bulimia. The symptoms of these disorders began back when I was a teenager. I believe I was in either eighth or ninth grade at the time. I was also involved in the sport of competitive gymnastics too, which really did nothing but provide fuel for the eating disorders. I had a very realistic goal of going to the Olympics and actually competed against Marylou Retton back in the 1980s. Involvement in such a sport makes you constantly obsessed about what you look like. What you weigh is an obsession you wake up with every morning. Needless to say, I ended up developing a distorted body image of myself and other people as well. The very idea of becoming fat or unpleasant looking was just not acceptable in my eyes. My father was also a violent alcoholic while I was growing up as well. He used to scare me half to death just about every day of my life and was always telling me how worthless and stupid I was, which of course also lead to the self-esteem issues. My self confidence went right out the window.
When I went to school, I used to try and cover my upper body up with a big sweater or I would wear double shirts to try to conceal my waist as I thought I was totally fat and disgusting. I did not want anyone to see any part of me let along let anyone to see me nude. In gym class, I refused to change my clothes in front of the other girls and would hide in the bathroom to get out of having to take a shower and be naked in front of anyone as I did not feel comfortable doing this in any way whatsoever. Keep in mind that at the time all of this was happening to me, I was at a weight of about 93 pounds. When I looked at myself in the mirror, all I could see was areas in need of improvement. Once reaching the age of 18, I suddenly had a boyfriend somehow, but that ended quickly since there were sexual issues on my part. These issues with distorted body image and low self-esteem went on for about 15 years until I reached the age of 30.
When I look back at it all now and look at pictures from back then of myself or others, I cannot believe how thin I looked. My mind was really messed up back then. No doubt about it.