Today’s word of the day is “perfect“, which is layered with so many extremely negative and troubling messages and views that we go on a journey of self-destruction in order to achieve this illusive state of perfection.

I will share a great guest post today that will help you see your true reflection and who you are inside: perfect.

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Krisca Te.

The Mirror Lies

Over and over again in the medical journals there are stories of attractive young women who have severely disfigured themselves with self-imposed dieting or purging. They see their emaciated faces and figures and think they are still flawed and unlovable; indeed, that they are still too fat to warrant any love. Though it is not unheard of in men, adolescent girls and young women are by far the greater number who fall victim to this disorder to the tune of about ten to one.

Impossible Examples

Though roots of the disorder can often be traced to causes transpiring in early childhood, today’s culture, that insists that one cannot be too rich or too thin, has a lot to do with the insurgency of the syndrome. Girls and young women who are constantly exposed to ultra-thin body examples of what are supposed to be the glory of feminine beauty, find themselves constantly at war with their bodies so they can emulate this “beauty” – even to the point of becoming rather grotesque.

Causes Versus Symptoms

Anorexia is a strange and self-fulfilling disease, driving otherwise attractive people to become quite ugly resulting from their attempts to be beautiful. Obviously those who suffer can’t see the truth that the mirror imparts. Untreated, victims can come to exhibit all the disease and discomfort common to people being starved to death in a gulag or a concentration camp. Obviously, the restricted diet or purging that ultimately ruins the body is a symptom of the affliction, not the cause.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Rib Removal

BDD is listed as a mental or emotional disorder that is characterised by excessive attention to an actual or imagined physical flaw. In a past edition of Academic Psychiatry (PsychiatryOnline), a brief historical account of women and body image was posted, abbreviated here:

In earlier times, the harsh environment required large families, so children could help tend the land and do chores. Fertile, physically strong, and able women were valued. In the 19th century, women with tiny waists and large bustles came to be valued. Men wanted to be able to span a woman’s waist with the hands. Emphasis was placed on female fragility. The ideal woman of the time was sickly, prone to headaches; the fine art of fainting was taught in most finishing schools. Women would go as far as having ribs removed to further decrease their waist size. Physically harmful corsets became the height of fashion.

Our Western culture seems to still operate under those constrictive “girdles” to a degree. We are probably fortunate that more women in our modern times don’t succumb to BDD, in spite of the bra-burning feminism that characterised the latter part of the 20th Century.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) as Important as Diet

Of course, restoring the patient’s weight is an important first step, but the best treatment includes encouraging and monitoring behavioural change. That is, getting down to why a person can really think that she, or he, is still too fat or too uncomely even when seeing a skeletal reflection in the mirror. The patient has to address the underlying issues of control, perfectionism, and most importantly, self-perception. And it can be a rough row to hoe. After all, treatment must involve body, mind, and, most importantly, spirit:

  • Medical Treatment
    Focuses on detecting and treating the many physical complications of the disorder.
  • Prescription Medicines
    Anti-depressants may help manage behaviour that threatens life or complicates therapy.
  • Nutritional Therapy
    Helps the patient improve the relationship with food, striving for nutritional ideals.
  • Botanical Therapy
    Teas, poultices, aromas, and even supplements to offset medical scrip side effects.
  • Psychological Monitoring
    Therapy to identify and treat mood and personality disorders.
  • Life-Skills Training
    Monitoring day-to-day activity to assist coping more realistically with life’s stresses.
  • Body Movement
    Light exercise to get back in touch with the physical self and tend to body care.

12-Step Programs Can Assist Toward Personal Growth

Anorexia is about anxiety, depression, and an obsessive, self-loathing belief that one is unlovable or somehow wrong. As such, it is often helpful for patients to listen to the travails of others like themselves and how they approach life’s problems. More often than not, the whole family or close circle of friends must be a involved with the therapy to make it effective. Many blogs and websites exist that encourage all sorts of activities – poetry or journal-keeping, for instance – so patients can eventually approach a mirror and see a healthy body and a happy soul that can once again be loved – rather than the dingy reflection they used to see.

Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and nutrition courses. When not working, you can find her actively participating in local dog show events – in support of her husband.

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 I recorded the video above in November 2011, so exactly half a year ago. As you saw, it says that someday I will love me for the way I am.

Since I recorded this video, I have made tremendous progress towards loving myself and looking in the mirror seeing a beautiful women. I don’t want to sound cocky, but that is what I am. That is what every women and every guy is. It has been an incredible journey since that moment. I encourage you to write down dreams and prepare a list of someday you will do this or that.

I haven’t seen the film yet, but I hope to get a chance to do that very soon. If you have the chance, if you live in the US, then don’t miss this opportunity and watch the Someday Melissa film. I am sure it is extremely inspiring and moving.

I still have a few things that I would like to do someday, so I am going to write them down here, even though I am far down the road of recovery. But still, we all have wishes beyond recovery, don’t we?

Someday I…

will have children.

will teach my children what it is like to love themselves and to feel beautiful no matter your shape or size.

will be a good cook.

will have a very successful business.

will make sure that my Body Image Revolution will reach women all around the world.

will do my best to help every single woman love her body.

will work hard to make the media will stop hating on women.

will publish a physical book.

will see my eating disorder as just another chapter of my life.

will be completely free.

Have you ever created a list like this?

Would you like to share with us what your list of dreams, wishes, hopes and possible actions for the future are? I am a curious person and would LOOOOOVE to read your comments!

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Recovery: This Is My Song

May 29, 2012

I had a hard time deciding which song to choose for this post. I was going back and forth between Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” or Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”. Both are songs that I relate a lot to and have helped me find perspective, strength, courage and a myriad of inspiration. But I ended up […]

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Recovery Toolbox

May 25, 2012

Sometimes pictures express more than a thousand words, which is why I chose to simply show you what helped me through the dark days of recovery. How about you? Which tips and tricks do you have for us? Can’t get enough? Here’s more:Don’t forget to browse the archives!

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Keep YOU and Kick ED

May 22, 2012

When I went into recovery, I thought I WAS my eating disorder. I thought that my identity was tied to my horrible illness. And yet, over time I learned that I was NOTHING like that beast that tortured me for such a long time. However, at the beginning it is almost impossible to differentiate between […]

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Attitude Makeover

May 17, 2012

Life with an eating disorder is frustrating, hopeless, irritating and full of fear. I never felt optimistic about anything. School scared the heck out of me. Graduation seemed terrifying. Youth was there for adults to humiliate you. Life seemed to be about suffering, worries and constant sadness. That was my attitude. Those were the effects […]

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May 12, 2012

In a few short minutes, I’ll head out the door and take a train to visit my sister. I haven’t seen her in a while and I am super excited to spend tonight and tomorrow morning with her. Why am I telling you this? Well, the thing is that this is a huge step for […]

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How To Resist the Longing to Not Eat

April 17, 2012

This is a guest post by Nikole of Stubbornly Delighted. The battle with an eating disorder is exactly that, a battle. I’ve been eating fairly normally for about a year-and-a-half now, but I often get mad at myself for no longer obsessing with food like I used to. Instead of being proud of the progress I’ve […]

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Hope Interview Series Part II with Arielle Lee Bair

April 11, 2012

Every week, I feature an inspiring person who has struggled with anorexia at one point in his or her life and has recovered. I am all about spreading the message of hope because this is something we so often lack. When we’re in such a deep relationship with our eating disorder and these sick thoughts […]

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A Tale Of Easters Past

April 7, 2012

My eyes are wide open. My thoughts are running in circles. I lay in bed anticipating this day. It’s Easter Sunday. A day where I would allow myself to eat. But not just that. I would eat everything, all day long, no big breaks in between. I’d have a huge breakfast, chocolate Easter eggs all […]

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