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My Journey With Body Dysmorphia: Part 1

I struggle all the time to recognize myself. My body has drastically changed over the past 5 years. And when I struggle with my mental health, my physical health starts to fail pretty rapidly.

I have gone from periods of my life where I have covered all the mirrors in my house, which is a far cry of what I used to do as a teenager.

Drug side effects caused me to struggle with my image

I’m sure I’ve had body issues all of my life. But when I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease and put on drugs that altered the shape of my face, among other bad side effects, something bad kicked on inside my brain. Had Prednisone not ever been introduced to me, I’m not sure I’d struggle with my image nearly as much.

I’ve started seeking mental health help around the age of 17. I struggled with anxiety and we worked on body image and just focusing on getting through puberty (stunted growth = delayed cycle).

Disordered eating with IBD

How could we not have some form of it when we live with a very active to severe type of IBD?! I personally eat about 4-6 small things throughout the day when I’m able to eat solid foods. When I’m not, and that’s often lately, I eat very sparingly. What I do eat doesn’t make much sense to many people – dry cereals, cheese, yogurts, V8 fruit juices. These things seem pretty standard to you & I (who have IBD), but a lot of people have opinions and boy do they often feel the need to use no filter at all when it comes to their opinions.

We’re seen as odd, anorexic, picky eaters, or whatever wandering eyes want to assume. I get comments from loved ones who mean no ill intent by offering their opinion about what I’m eating. I try my best to explain, in short, as to not make it a big deal. But sometimes it becomes one.

I don’t always recognize the reflection in the mirror

I still see a therapist to help with my dysmorphia, among other things. It seems to get worse as I get sicker. Most people would agree that after a lengthy illness, you might not always recognize that reflection in the mirror.

Disordered eating will likely always be a part of my life, due to illness and being unable to eat “normally” all the time. I’m aware of this now and have found several coping mechanisms through my care team.

How do you deal with the challenge of body image issues and eating?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The InflammatoryBowelDisease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Comments

  • thedancingcrohnie moderator
    4 months ago

    I too tend to shy away from mirrors. I had an athletic build prior to my diagnosis and now I am itty bitty. Sometimes, it works in my favor but for the most part, I feel strange having such a thin body. I miss my old one but it’s been so difficult to put on weight.

    Always dancing,
    Elizabeth (team member)

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