Sunday, May 15, 2011

Body Image Collage

As I've mentioned, the purpose of this site is for me to document creative attempts to heal from drug addiction and the fallout from it, the stuff I found out about myself after rehab. Fun stuff, like a diagnosis of CPTSD. Dissociation. Aberrant eating (not officially qualifying as an eating disorder, apparently.)  Of course, drug addiction was the result of an underlying problem (crappy childhood I had totally supressed.) It seems that not having a body image or any sort of body awareness is another manifestation of this lovely childhood. I've been self unaware for so long, it only just occurred to me that this might be abnormal! I decided to try another collage since I found the first one so helpful. They take me a long time to do so I 'm able think a lot and process things, not a strong suit of mine. I'm not a great thinker but I'm an extraordinary avoider.

I remember standing in a dressing room with my mother. I was maybe 12 or 13. I was trying on a bathing suit. A competitive swimmer, I was always in the water and never thought about my body, certainly not negatively. On this day, all of this changed, and my ability to walk around in a swimsuit too. All she said was, in a loud voice to ensure that everyone could hear:


And from then on, that paradise that I called a swimming pool was tainted. I felt like people might literally die if they were to see me in a swimsuit, or they would see me and be unalterably damaged. This didn't result in me hating my body, however. Just last week, I realized that it resulted in my not even noticing that I had a body. Perhaps this was already going on since the woman was such a crazy freak to begin with. But this is the day, the moment, that I remember. I developed weird eating behaviors to punish myself and numb out in my teens. I still fight them today. See? There isn't one "thing" wrong with me. I hate saying "I'm a drug addict." (That was four years ago.) We are all so many things, to define ourselves with words misses so much of the picture.

All the aberrant self soothing activities are just ways I learned to cope. Drugs, dissociation, over achievement, eating issues. More on body image in another post. If anyone could share with me in the comments what their body image issues are, I would appreciate that. (All seven readers of Artistic Recovery!) Part of "recovery" is realizing that you aren't alone. You aren't that abnormal even if you feel crazy as shit, at least I think that's the point of sharing with safe people. 


  1. i am interested in reading issues are mostly about control. i want to feel good and everything said to me i somehow twist to seem critical. the criticism is within me now....but it stems from somewhere. thanks for writing. i will look forward to reading more and joining you on your journey of healing. hope.

  2. i think of my body as this thing that carries my head around, that's how disconnected i am from it. it definitely relates to my abuse. sometimes i got pleasure from the abuse and i've never forgiven myself for responding like that. i can safely say i hate my body.

  3. Thanks so much for commenting, you guys. I love your authenticity, and Catherine, I've incidentally come across your feeling on a number of other sites. It seems that this is perfectly normal and quite common. I know that doesn't make you feel better but to my mind, it is not a surprise. It's just physiology.


I like you!