Some may not see the connection in my post from yesterday, to my body image, dysmorphia, body unawareness type of issues, but it is connected. One of my loops I have identified as my “hypochondria loop” comes full force when body image comes into play. I had not connected the two myself until this morning after researching, rereading, re-watching, and dissecting information from past loops and gathered resources I have.
I have various types of loops.
My loops can consist of:
1) Information seeking/gathering/collecting
2) Emotional discovering/dismantling/understanding/feeling/expressing
3) Social dismantling/understanding
4) Emotional escape
5) Obsessive life puzzle solving
6) Number/word/color/nature/universe love
7) Music absorption
8) Constant questions about past/present/future events
Reliving, living, and creating future events in great detail – full sensory experience. (Or imagination. However, in the past I could not differentiate between reality and my imagination – I am better with this since writing out my thoughts more.)
These are several of my loops – many times, they blend and work together.
I have more, but I will leave it at that. They help me process sometimes they can be so all consuming that I can do nothing else, but focus on the loop. There are days when it is a good thing if I am looping in a positive spin. Then, there are days when I can loop in a direction of feeling as if I am all alone. I do not exist, no one would notice if I were gone. I have no real purpose, is this world real anyway? Am I a figment of someone else’s imagination? Silly things like that. However, they are not so silly when they feel incredibly true.
Another reason why I started this blog – to help remind me that I exist.
By the end of my post yesterday, I started to see the familiar trend. My mind was already processing the feelings of other people’s insecurities about body image. This subconsciously leads me into feeling it about own. No matter how good I feel about myself the fact of the matter is I have a birthmark for the world to see. As much as I try to hide “as to not offend”, it glares out there. Many times it is the second thing people notice about me. They see my eyes, they look down my face they see the red on my cheek, which causes their gaze to go down my neck.
I know this because I watch them.
I have seen it my whole life. I get in my moods where I do not care at all and I wear my hair up forgetting all about it… until I see the smile from a person’s face diminish as their eyes trickle down to my neck. This is where my hypochondria loop comes into play. It is triggered by feeling that I should not exist because of this horrible thing on the side of my neck that causes so many people disgust. Truthfully, I think that is a load of crap because otherwise I would have successfully “offed” myself years ago, when I tried to leave this planet.
However, the hopelessness that I felt about not having insurance triggered me into a spiral.
It leaped me right into a familiar circle of self-attack. In the back of my mind, I have felt that the universe deems it necessary to have these types of “unlucky” things happen to me as a payback for existing when I should not. Having the message pounded in my head since I was born that I was to be aborted, my grandparents didn’t want me, my mom didn’t know what to do, and my dad fighting to keep me – only to feel rejected, unwanted, and a nuisance for my life span planted seeds of doubt about my worth of living. The universe knows this and continues to mess with me to ensure I do not forget. To make matters worse I was given a lovely strawberry colored birthmark so everyone can remind me what a disgusting plague I am that walks in their presence. While we are at it let us add having a mind that others do not understand and considers strange as well.
I am playing on my irrational thought pattern here.
Please know that I am joking somewhat about me feeling like the universe is out to get it me. It is not a joke when these things feel real. However, I do know that they are not. This is why I go into familiar negative loops to help prepare me for attacks, for bad things, for hurt, so that it will not destroy me. I have a “friend losing loop” as well. It is triggered when I get confused by behaviors, do not understand sudden changes in the relationship, or feel like they have left me and I do not know why. I do not want to loop about it, but it happens – when my mind is trying NOT to deal with bigger issues. My familiar loops are about losing/feeling abandoned/forgotten by friends, or family. The other one that can take control is self-attack/seeking perfection/being invisible loop.
I have come a long way in this area, but I have also gone through some serious stress recently.
I caught it though. I stopped my loop yesterday. I was able to see it clearly and move away from wrong thinking patterns. I also, used it to help me dismantled other wrong thinking patterns. It did take most of the day for me to process, and then I needed to go over resources again this morning to help me. I can feel my brain changing. I see that I have choices and the ability to control certain patterns. I do not know if they will stop all together, I have loops they have been with me for a lifetime. I have obsessive thoughts that at times seem unbearable, but I am also finding ways to take positive detours and express these negative emotions in a balanced way creatively.
To my surprise it is working.
I have found many resources to process, in this journey helping me with understanding body image. In my way of thinking, I have to consume information. I have to “feel” emotions, filter these emotions, process them through writing, expressing them creativity helps me to understand what are really my emotions and embrace them. After I have embraced them, which can be quite painful and lead me down some deep dark roads, I am able to properly place them in my “understanding” category of my mind. Once that happens, I am able to take all of the resources I have consumed and implement helpful and proactive ways to help myself. As you can see this could take a while to process certain deep-rooted issues I have had.
When I am able to see them, I am able to go into my processing mode.
I am currently in the processing mode of body image and I am not sure how long I will be camped here. I am going to share some resources I have shared in the past as well as some new ones. One movie I had to re-watch because something triggered my memory about it this morning. It is called “America The Beautiful” (2007) Here is the link to Hulu (if you have an account or just sign up) for the full movie. Netflix has it and the other movie “America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments” on their instant watch section.
I have not watched the second movie yet.
I found this interesting Distorted Self-Image In Body Image Disorder Due To Visual Brain Glitch, Study Suggests.
“Our discovery suggests that the BDD brain’s hardware is fine, but there’s a glitch in the operating software that prevents patients from seeing themselves as others do,” explained Dr. Jamie Feusner, principal investigator and assistant professor of psychiatry at UCLA’s Semel Institute. “Now that we’ve identified a possible physical cause, down the road we may be able to pinpoint ways that patients’ brains can be retrained to perceive faces more accurately.”
Personal opinion, sensory processing disorder could be a large factor.
I have yet to find a lot of information linking BDD, eating disorders, and sensory processing issues with this direct claim. If anyone has any information please send it my way! I have talked about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), but I have not gone into great detail about it. I had not been able to find a clear and accurate resource to share that I felt described it well. I did find this Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and this Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) Symptoms on a website this morning. I think they are great resources filled with information, some helps, and explanation about what it is, and how it affects people.
A friend sent me a link about Pure Obsessional OCD several months ago.
When she sent it to me I wanted to dive in and start consuming information and analyzing immediately. Time would not allow so I have been going back and forth reading and pondering about it for a while. Here is a website dedicated to it The Other OCD. Here is an excerpt from this Pure-O OCD (Pure Obsessional OCD): Hidden Rituals post that I found very helpful:
“Pure-O” OCD, or Pure Obsessional OCD, is a relatively less common form of OCD that seemingly differs from classic presentations of the illness. What distinguishes Pure Obsessional OCD from classic OCD is that in Pure-O OCD, symptoms are predominantly obsessive (rather than compulsive) in nature. Although individuals with Pure-O OCD frequently experience intense and distressing obsessions, they typically report few (if any) overt compulsive behaviors. However, in almost all cases, pure obsessionals do engage in a variety of rituals. These rituals just manifest as mental compulsions rather than behavioral compulsions.”
I do not have typical OCD, though I can have things that seem like OCD.
I have said that I felt like my brain had OCD thinking patterns, i.e., compulsive/obsessive looping. When I read “mental compulsions”, I was SO relieved to know that I was not making this stuff up! This post “Pure-O” OCD: Common Obsessions & Mental Rituals had many things that helped me see and process some of my behaviors without attacking my mental state, or feeling like a freak.
Here is an excerpt:
For some individuals, mental rituals also include complex cognitions. Complex mental rituals often begin simply with one of the following statements or questions and then take on a life of their own:
OCD Mental Rituals
- “I would never do that…but what if I do?…I don’t want to…but what if I secretly do?”
- “Why is this happening?”
- “When will this stop?”
- “I can’t live this way…”
- “I need to know…”
- “I’ll never be strong enough to face this…”
- “I wouldn’t be having these thoughts if I didn’t secretly want this…”
- “Maybe I need to act on these thoughts to finally be rid of them and feel closure…”
- “It’s always going to be this way…”
- “I can’t take the chance, because if I did…”
- “If I could just figure this out, I would be able to move past it and it wouldn’t bother me anymore…”
Such thoughts usually begin innocently enough, but in the case of mental rituals, they become repetitive, desperate, and counterproductive. The reason these thoughts are so seductive is because they have the semblance of being helpful. People often feel that by engaging with these thoughts, they are somehow making progress in solving their own mental puzzle. In some ways, this parallels the way that chronic worriers ruminate and prepare for every possible contingency (even remote ones that other people would consider unreasonable).
Things are starting to fall into place.
The more I understand about all of this the sooner my looping is recognized and deterred. I also read this The Obscure “Eating” Disorders Feeding Disorders and Picky Eating in Infants and Children. I am a picky eater; my kids are all “picky” eaters. The major reason for our pickiness is not to be a pain in the booty – it is sensory driven, or body intolerance. However, this type of thing could lead to eating disorders. My mom is an extremely picky eater, which limited my diet growing up, as well as lack of funds, but it also reiterated my rigid eating restrictions. Thankfully, my dad, and his side of the family forced me to try new things. Not always in the most positive of ways, but it challenged me to try different foods and that has helped me throughout my life.
My pickiness has to do with texture, look, and smell, what my senses are like on that day.
On the right day, I would try octopus. NOT! It smells horrible. I would try something like a Paw Paw… maybe. I read this too When Does Picky Eating Become Something To Worry About? Another good read Feeling Fat (or Thin) May Be a Trick of the Mind an excerpt:
Brain Creates a Map of the Body
A vibrating device placed on each study volunteer’s wrist served to stimulate the tendon and create the sensation that the joint was flexing, even though it remained stationary. When their hands touched their waists, the volunteers felt their wrists bending, creating the illusion that their waists were shrinking.
During the tendon exercise, all 17 participants felt that their waist had shrunk by up to 28 percent. The researchers found high levels of activity in the posterior parietal cortex, an area of the brain that integrates sensory information from different parts of the body. Volunteers who reported the strongest shrinking sensation also showed the strongest activity in this area of the brain.
“We process information about our body size every day, such as feeling thin or fat when we put our clothes on in the morning, or when walking through a narrow doorway or ducking under a low ceiling,” says Dr. Ehrsson.
“However — unlike more elementary bodily senses such as limb movement, touch and pain — there are no specialized receptors in the body that send information to the brain about the size and shape of body parts. Instead, the brain appears to create a map of the body by integrating signals from the relevant body parts, such as skin, joints and muscles, along with visual cues,” Dr. Ehrsson adds.
Hmm… Yes, I did find one speaking of sensory and body image, but I still would like to read more!
I know this post is packed with a lot. I hope you can dissect and read through it. This is part of me processing and sharing at the same time. I believe these are some wonderful resources and I found them very helpful and plan to read them more until my brain finally connects what it needs to help with my body image. I think I will stop here.