Body Positivity in the face of depression [TW: eating disorder, self-harm, mental illnesses]
L O V E U F O R U
Mental health and body image are intertwined, and when one suffers, the other one can take a hit too. This instalment of our Body Positivity series covers more sensitive topics including talk of mental illness, eating disorders, and self-harm. One of our students agreed to share their experience and talk about recovery, why it is so important and difficult. If you're affected by the themes discussed, we've included links to helpful recourses at the bottom of the article to reach out to should you need them.
Body positivity is something which I have struggled with years. When I came to university, my mental health was a wreck, and only plummeted from there. I got diagnosed with depression, anxiety, and ultimately, Bulimia. That time was a rock bottom, but recovery was not as positive as I had wanted: I gained weight and had to face my issues head-on, which greatly diminished my confidence and self-love.
However, I am now in a position that I’m developing a love for my body, regardless of its size or state. I might not be a size 10, but that doesn’t mean that I am less valuable as a person. Part of this is valuing who I am through the things unrelated to my image- my academia, my personal connections, my values and passions. But also, learning to love my body the way it is, even with the scars of my past.
I will never be able to remove the harm which I did, but I can learn to reframe it. I might have scars from harming myself, but the fact that they are scars means I’m now kinder to my body. I might be on medication to stay healthy, but in taking it- I’m loving my body, caring for it, and making sure that I don’t hurt it anymore. Just because I was once in a horrific and self-destructive head-space, it doesn’t mean I can’t move forward and take my life and my self-love into my own hands.
Every day I wake up and remind myself. I am here. I am alive. I am worthy. I am exactly who I must be right now- regardless of how I might have seen myself in the past. And to me, that comfort and recognition drives my body positivity journey of today."
This blog covers some very serious and difficult topics which you might find triggering. If you feel affected in anyway, please get in touch with one of the following for support:
Student Wellbeing Services
Student Counselling Services
Riccarton Medical Centre
The Galashiels Health Centre (GP): Currie Road, Galashiels TD1 2UA, Phone: 01896 661366
Y-Talk Orkney (counselling services)