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When Getting Dressed Is a Struggle With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

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For the last few months the voice in my head has been stronger. “You’re gross,” “don’t wear that.” And this voice is one that’s overwhelmingly difficult to quiet.

I have this black crop top. I bought it in the hope it would help me magically accept and be OK with my body. I wore it but every time I walked out of the house I was constantly adjusting it. Pulling it down all day. Hoping people wouldn’t stare. I knew that people could tell I was uncomfortable.

My counselor says to put the crop top away — wearing something that makes me very uncomfortable won’t necessarily help me accept my body. I understand, but a small part of me also believes that wearing baggy shirts and hiding is only adding to the problem.

Being around people who find ways to insert diets and calories and waistlines into the conversation is hard. It makes you feel like the ultimate goal in life is to be thin, beautiful and never grow out of those jeans from high school.

I look in the mirror. I tell myself I am thankful for what my body does. I am not in love with what I see and to be honest, this is why I don’t like the whole body-love, body positivity movement. When you don’t feel that way, when saying “I love my body” feels like a lie, it feels like failure and another reason to blame yourself.

I have donated countless jeans over the last month. Jeans I used to wear that now wouldn’t even come close to zipping or buttoning. It may sound stupid, but seeing your body change and those old jeans piling up is hard. It is scary.

I just want to not focus on my body so much. I want to get dressed and just leave the house without overthinking it. I don’t see how it’s possible to do this when you’re focusing on accepting your body or loving it. It puts a laser focus on how your body looks and, from my experience, feels a little obsessive.

My main goal is to just live. Live without worry of my stomach or stretch marks on my legs showing or what people would think if they do. They say what others think of us is not our business and in a way, I agree. If someone judges me for wearing a certain shirt, that really says nothing about me and everything about society at large.

Maybe the first step is to stop hiding behind baggy clothes…

Getty image by Serghei Turcanu

Originally published: May 6, 2021
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