So it is Mental health awareness week! Each year focuses on a specific subject and section of different mental health issues; This year is Body Image!
I’m so glad this year is focusing on “Body Image” – This subject is so close to my heart and is something I believe is becoming more of a common difficulty as the years go by.
I’m so grateful that Mental Health is becoming a real matter in our society more so now than ever. There have been far too many suicides and unnecessary suffering over the years due to lack of understanding from our society and it CAN change. We are proving day by day that together we can be stronger.
It has been a horrifying time seeing us become shaped mentally and physically by the negative image we are faced with. We are given a “Perfect” body image to work towards, and in most cases is an unhealthy and unrealistic goal. We all have different body types, and therefore our goals of appearance are different. As long as we are healthy, that is all that should matter. We can alter our bodies if that is what would help us, but we MUST remember to set realistic, healthy goals.
How boring would life be if we were all exactly the same? Keep it cheeky hehe.
The Sun "Social Anxiety in Summer"
Back in 2018 I worked with ‘The Sun’ – We focused on Social anxiety within the summer season and during warm weather.
I have experienced mental health difficulties all of my life and one thing that lingers and eats away at me, is body dysmorphia. It is often looked down upon and seen as something everyone goes through now and then. If you tell people, they shrug their shoulders and say ” Oh don’t be silly, you’re lovely looking” or ” Well we all aren’t keen on our weight so I know how you feel”. These comments are what make those suffering with body image disorders and eating disorders feel that they can’t be taken seriously.
During Summer months, we tend to wear less layers and are almost made to feel exposed to an extent, but then get criticised on whether we are too fat or thin.
Holidays and special occasions often bring on the good old ‘summer ready’ or ‘bikini ready’ challenges which makes people feel they aren’t good enough for the summer, events, outings and holidays.
This article with The Sun was focused on the Summer months for these very reasons. We get a little bit of sun and we get endless invitations to events, which we then pressure ourselves to dress up for and begin the judgement on our bodies. We need to work hard to prove to people that women and men of all shape and size are valid, beautiful and powerful! We can be bikini, summer ready just the way we bloody are! We shouldn’t adjust ourselves to fit the norm, but embrace our bodies wonders.
After suffering with eating disorders for almost 5 years, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been.
I dropped to 6 stone 3 years ago, and now I weigh just under double that. I’ve struggled immensely with my reflection but I have gathered my strength and embarked on a journey of acceptance, love and helping others see their pure, untouched bodies in a beautiful way.
We need to realise that everyone is unique and beautiful just the way they are. Whether that be naturally slim, big built, curvy, flat chested, short, tall.. and I could on and on and on! We often focus on one image we believe we have to look like, when in fact, we should all be focusing on and celebrating our individuality and quirks.
Yes, It’s cliche, but we are so much more than our appearance. We really deserve more than the neglect and criticism we throw upon our bodies. We must remember how much our bodies do for us; It keeps us going, our body protects us even if we beat it down. It’s like the best friend we all never knew was there. We wouldn’t criticise our friend the way we do ourselves. We would always support our friends and tell them how beautiful they are, how about we do that to our bodies? Imagine the change we could make by befriending our reflection!
I have fought and am still fighting a hard battle with my reflection but having the drive to help others feel beautiful has ignited a flame inside of me and I realise I need to learn to love myself too. We are stronger together!
In order to accept and love myself, I embraced my curves, stretch marks, cellulite and all of my insecurities and turned them into my quirks by beginning a journey of confidence shoots and occasional modelling! It was so empowering and I feel so liberated and proud. We can hold our power within ourselves as well as on our sleeves, and doing these shoots set off those beautiful fireworks I kept inside for so long. It was a beautiful revelation!
Keep your eyes peeled for more on ‘body Image’ over on here! I will be chatting everything Mental health and wellbeing with body image disorders in mind too!
Let’s come together and spread the love. You deserve to become your own friend. You’ll see how much more wonderful life can be when we work with our bodies instead of against them!