The Fog

We all have a lot going on in our minds right now and not one person has more validation than another. Everyone is getting pandemic-fatigue, everyone is over not being able to see every single person they would like to, everyone is sick of masks, everyone has a better insight of who they are and what drives them crazy after this year. I would say the majority of the population was diagnosed or realized, just maybe, their mind is a bit more of an enemy than it was prior to this pandemic. I came out of this pandemic with the realization that my OCD was significantly worse than my previous thoughts, and that I did actually have an eating disorder for a very long time prior to the lock down. It did give me some awareness, and that I will actually forever cherish.

Although the lockdowns and distancing has been hard, I also would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it a bit. I actually am a homebody. I’d rather be here than anywhere else. To leave my home now more than 2 times a week feels overwhelming and unnecessary… and as someone who operates their finances on mostly freelance work I’d say that may hinder my ideas of my career in the future. I’ve shifted from wanting to only do freelance work, to freelance work and teaching at a university part time, to heavily considering teaching full time with a small amount of weddings and shoots on the side, to operating my own art gallery that operates along side of a non-profit. I’m not really sure where my future is going right now, and I’m okay with that. I know that whatever I set my mind to do, I will achieve it. I would say this is the only thing that I don’t have planned in my life – but it feels okay to not do so right now.

On a completely unrelated note these things have been on my mind in a loop:

  • When we were younger we really used to cry and elders would say to us, “I’ll give you something to cry about if you don’t stop,” like that was normal and healthy, wtf.
  • Every adult has always told me, “well we all have that,” when discussing depression or anxiety, but the fact is those people were really just undiagnosed.
  • After reading Brain Lock I wrote down and listed all of the compulsions and obsessions I have. It’s pretty crazy to me that we forget that the term ‘OCD’ stands for obsession compulsion disorder… and the general society links it to being organized [lol what a joke]. I realized I have more obsessive thoughts than compulsive actions, however those exist in my day to day life too. I went over mine in my last blog – but I really can’t stop thinking about the retraining of the brain and the fact that many people DO NOT have the same random thoughts that I do, especially when it comes to the ‘what ifs’ in self harm while driving.

So the main topic of my reflective week; brain fog, mental fog, I’m not sure what to label it, but the idea of not being able to see clearly for any particular reason. What’s hindering you?

Prior to therapy I would look into the mirror and see my size 6-8 self and think I looked 12-14. Again, there are nothing wrong with these sizes, but I am stating that I always felt I didn’t look my size. I would look at my friends who have the same pant in-seams and same sizes and never in my wildest dreams could compare their figure to mine. I always assumed they were much thinner than me – because to me sizes didn’t say much. I remember one time, one of my best friends gave me some of her yoga pants and said, “we’re pretty much the same size I think you would like these,” and I jumped off a cliff internally because I didn’t want to accept them for the fear of telling her I was much larger than her. I put them on and they fit. I was baffled.

People use the term Body Dysmorphia and link it to some general term of thinking you are bloated and ‘feel fat and uncomfortable’ while others would argue that statement. But this is… very incorrect. Body dysmorphia is physically not being able to see yourself for how you exist. Whether that be in a mirror, while you are with others, while you look at yourself without a mirror, and includes a range of “body checking” tactics that are constant and revolve around mirrors, touching specific body parts throughout the day, or mental checks in your head that keep you in line to achieve the body you don’t think you have – this also is systemic from eating disorders or in my case, caused mine. Body Dysmorphia can also work the other way, meaning you see yourself smaller than you are, in your eyes. Typically the only thing that can check these mental blocks are images – but like – true to us, real, tangible, images. Muscle dysmorphia in men is very common. In fact it was one of the largest contributors to suicide in Australia in the early 2000s – I’m not sure it still is, but a significant number of men were depressed do to the fact they didn’t think they were strong enough. So this really isn’t just a woman issue, or an issue of strictly women thinking they aren’t thin enough – it’s really just a societal issue… and it obviously is occurring on a global scale.

This is the reason I always grabbed onto photographs. As I was bodybuilding I never saw any change in my body. I relied on photographing myself the same time every monday to see the growth in myself and my body and enjoyed doing ‘side by side’ comparisons. I loved to watch the disappearance of my body and the change in composition. As we know that addiction got me to a severely bad place, but I am acknowledging it. Today my body dysmorphia is a bit different. Prior to the help I am receiving, the mirror was my enemy. I would look into it and see nothing but something that needed to be improved or fixed. Ironically, I have been working out less intensely, and I absolutely am aware my body is changing compositions due to how I am moving my body now, but when I look in the mirror I am surprised by how I look. I’d say, day to day I still feel uncomfortable. I fixate on the feeling in my back and how I can feel more skin there. I can feel a bit more skin on my sides and my legs aren’t as firm.. but when I look in the mirror, I don’t see someone I hate. I don’t necessarily love my reflection and I still say very unhealthy things to the woman in the mirror, but they are much more quiet whispers than screams. I’d still say my overall headspace needs to be improved but this is a big improvement. The mirror doesn’t scare me [only sometimes lol], and I’m starting to accept my body as it ages, or I am at least trying to.

I’ve never been able to see my true self ever. The fog has always been there, hindering my vision and never letting me see passed a certain distance. Always warped and out of my control. As I have gotten older this really has impacted why compliments are garbage to me. If you compliment someone and they don’t take it, odds are they don’t feel that way about themselves and literally anything you say will not matter to that person. There are no combination of words that will change their mind – they have to change it first. As much as rejection sucks, I am going to tell you to never give up complimenting that person. I literally despise when Josh calls me attractive or pretty. Physically it repulses me. However, it’s part of my practice and journey that I try to accept them at some point in my life. I like him to compliment things I have achieved because I am proud of those things too, but my looks I physically cannot control and that is where I have rejection as well.

As for the current events in my life – those have seemed to get harder and specifically will be harder for the next two weeks. My cousin who has been battling a brain tumor, brain surgery gone wrong, hospice, recovery, is back to the same situation we were in an exact year ago. So within the next two weeks, I will probably receive a hard phone call. This phone call I expected a year ago. I grieved, I created, I sat alone, I grieved more, I reflected, I regretted moments, I grieved again, but it never came. A temporary healing was apart of our journey with all of us aware that this may be the result we’d come back to – and sure enough it did. This time, there will be no more ups and downs, just a lot of down.

In terms of life and death, and those we love – these mental disorders feel like they should be smaller of a hindrance right? In the grand scheme of things its so easy to say, “its just weight,” or “its just ocd, everything is fine, we are still alive,” and god, I wish that our disorders had common sense, but they don’t. I’d love to say that looking at my family it doesn’t matter how much weight I gain or how my OCD makes me want to list create every moment of the day, It’s just another burden on top of a heartache – and that’s it.

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