story

Hey guys, its been a while.

I thought I’d let you guys in on something I’ve always held back on writing about, through fear. Fear of the judgement, fear of the negative comments, fear of looking weak. But depression, depression I feel, does not make you weak at all. It shows you feel. It shows you feel things so deeply and that you’re feelings and emotions can be so strong and constantly take over not only you’re inner thoughts, but can take over your actions and how you present yourself as a person. People often refer to depression as weakness and attention seeking, what do I say to those people? Educate yourself. Do your research and excuse my language, get your fucking head, out of your fucking ass. The only thing that made me feel strong enough to write this is because I’m finally in a position in my life where I feel content, happy and that I’m beating depression with my best foot forward. Im lucky enough to have a supporting Mother, A boyfriend who I truly believe loves me for exactly who I am and constantly proves that to me, and friends who would go to the end of the earth for me. It wasn’t always this good for me though, so let me let you all in on a secret, a story Ive kept to myself for too long. Here we go.

Growing up wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies for me, and it usually isn’t for most of us. Like so many of my generations, my parents were constantly fighting, they broke up when I was young and I felt myself torn between two homes and having to choose where I wanted to live, and trust me when I say – disappointing either of my parents was the last thing I ever wanted to do, so living out of a country road bag travelling back and forth from both houses was my only choice to try and keep them both happy. Highschool was not ‘the best time of my life’ as so many people say – just quietly, I fucking hated it. The only thing that kept me there was my Fathers words. In 2012, when I was in year 12,my final year of highschool, My Dad became very ill. Its not my place to say what was going on, that place is his – but lets just say I had to deal with the daily thoughts of ‘every day i spend in this shitty school is a day less with him’ and ‘who’s going to walk me down the isle if my Dad isn’t going to be around to do so?’ My Dad sat me down one day and said ‘If you are going to do anything for me, please finish school. I never did and its one of my biggest regrets. I know its hard, I know you want to be with me, but i need you to do this. Make me proud, promise me?’ I cried, and i cried, and i cried some more – but I agreed and responded with ‘I promise’.

I graduated school and was offered a spot into a few universities – I know my Dad wanted me to go, but sitting at a desk and doing further study at that time wasn’t an option for me. I wanted to earn money, If something happened to him I wanted money to be able to help out. I wanted to help my Mum out – and thats all that mattered. Fast forward 2 and a half years and I found myself 2 years into a shitty, unloving relationship and stuck in the same call centre job, hating everything about myself, what I had achieved at the age of 20 and most of all, I found myself diagnosed with body dysmorphia (please look it up or suss out other posts to understand this disease). I was obsessed with my body image, I would cry myself to sleep almost nightly and I was slowly finding myself falling into depression. I remember sitting my Mum down and saying to her ‘I dont know whats wrong with me. I’m always sad, and even when I should be happy and every things going okay, I’m still sad. Am I ungrateful? Whats wrong with me?’ her response ‘This was one of my worst fears, Ive been thinking this for a while, we may need to see someone – I think you may have depression’ And right at that moment, my heart broke. Me? Depression? Why am I not strong enough? Whats wrong with me? These were just some of the questions I was asking myself. But I agreed with my Mum, and finally went and saw someone. I was given handfuls of documents and pamphlets labelled ‘SUFFERING DEPRESSION’ and a prescription for anti-depressions was written up and that was it, I was sent on my way. Like.. here you go Tegan, heres a fucking pamphlet, read it, heres a few drugs, you’ll be okay soon! I remember ripping them up when I got home and telling my Mum, i refuse to take tablets to make me happy. I knew if I wanted to change, I needed to make changes.

I decided to sign up to a diploma course, sign myself up for a new gym and focus on eating right for myself. Trust me, I had my days where I still felt like depression was overcoming me, But I didn’t give up. In those situations you need to teach your brain to push on through, keep your thoughts positive and tell yourself it will get better. In 2016 I was 4 months off graduating my diploma, and then – My dad was rushed to hospital for an emergency lung transplant, around the same time I was cheated on after a 5 year relationship and treated like utter shit during the break up period. I was embarrassed, hurt and negative towards everything. On top of that, I was rushed to hospital with agonising stomach pains, and admitted straight away. Now let me tell you, I was a much stronger person at 21, then i was when I was 20, but fuck –  being cheated on, having your father in ICU and yourself stuck in a hospital not being able to do a damn thing about it, it plays on your mind. The only person by my side? My Mum. And that is something I will always be so grateful for. Mum, if you read this – I love you so much and thank you for every little thing you do for me.

I ended up having surgery on my stomach and spent two weeks in hospital. When I was sent home, I was at my lowest point. I couldn’t walk properly, I couldn’t eat properly, I wanted to take all the pain medication and just sleep for hours on end. I avoided any contact with anyone and remember thinking ‘ not only have I lost my motivation for health and fitness, but I’ve lost all motivation to finish my diploma. I remember telling my Mum that, and i remember how angry and disappointed she was. Ill never forget the face she gave me. Now my Mum is straight forward and will tell you exactly how she feels. She sat me down and said ‘No fucking way are you throwing away almost 2 years of hard work, the pain you just went through in hospital because you’re depressed over a shitty fucking guy who doesn’t deserve you or your love, and because you’ve had a minor set back. Get your ass back there and finish your fucking diploma’

I remember being completely speechless, but I messaged my teachers and told them Id be back next week. And I did exactly what my Mother told me to do- hold my fucking head high, finish what I started and enjoy what I worked hard for. I remember crying at my graduation and saying ‘Mum, I fucking did it’. I spent the rest of 2016 on cloud nine and landed my dream job. I worked hard, I focused on myself for a year, I focused on changing myself for the better. I didn’t jump into anything, I kept to myself , focused on my future and focused on how lucky I was to even have the life I live. Fast forward to now – Im lucky enough to be in a relationship with someone who loves me for exactly the person I am, where I’m constantly reminded of ‘how beautiful I am’ how much I’m loved. Im basically in love with my best friend, and its the best feeling in the world.

Ive never been closer than I am now with my Mother and have the best group of friends and work friends anyone could ever ask for. Why am I happy now? I honestly break it down to never giving up. Pushing through, If i didn’t make a change, nothing would have changed.

Just know that no matter how hard it may get sometimes, There is help out there, You are so worth it, and you so deserve to live out your life and be the best person you can possibly be. Keep pushing, keep fighting, You will be okay.

 

Until next time,

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Body Dysmorphic Disorder, also known to some as ‘Body Dysmorphia’.

There are many people who will read the headline of this post and think nothing of it, many people who will be reading this just to learn about a different type of disorder, or some of you may just be intrigued to know what exactly it is and what it means, but there will be some readers who have this disorder, and these few will know how this disorder,  can seriously control many aspects of your life.

Medically, Body dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) is described as a ‘distinct mental disorder in which a person has symptoms of a medical illness, but the symptoms cannot be fully explained by an actual physical disorder. People with BDD are preoccupied with an imagined physical defect or a minor defect that others often cannot see’ (webmd quote/explanation of the disorder). To simplify this, BDD can be described as an individual who has a very negative view on their body, looks and self image, but to me and so many other BDD it is so, so much more.

For some, Body dysmorphia can start from bullying, for others, from their own insecurities, and some can even develop the disorder from growing up in an abusive family environment, and sadly these only name a couple of the reasons each individual can develop BDD. Every individual with this Disorder has their own story, their own struggles and their own thoughts on suffering with Body dysmorphia,

This is my story.

I didn’t always have BDD. Growing up, I was actually a pretty confident kid. I started Swimming at the age of 4, Gymnastics at the age of 5 and even gave Taekwondo a go at the age of 9. Swimming, however was always my favourite- and I stuck with it all the way into year 9 of highschool. Throughout Primary school I began to get bigger, yes. Was it something i noticed? Of course it was, but I was a kid, and I certainly didn’t let it bother me. The early years of Primary school, Kids weren’t cruel, everyone respected everyone and always played nice, however leading up to year 5 and 6- thats when the bullying began. Now looking back on it I laugh, because it was just young boys, being boys, trying to get a quick laugh from their mates, but back then being an 11-12 year old girl, it was something that definitely affected me, thats for sure.

Moving into Highschool and becoming a teenager, now thats where I would have to pin point the starting point of developing BDD. Highschool was tough. It can be for a lot of students, and not just females but males too. I feel like now looking back on it, everyone just wanted to get a laugh out of their friends, they wanted their friends to think they were cool or tough- but half the time It all was an act. I had a group of friends, A descent size too, I mean we were teenage girls and often our friendship groups changed. The worst thing about going to an all girls school? The amount of backstabbing. Every day it was something new. If you did something embarrassing, of course everyone knew about it but you would only have to wait a day and everyone would be talking about some new piece of gossip on someone else. Looking back on it, it was actually kind of sad. Looking back on it, I think a lot more discipline should have been taken on students who thought it was okay to put down others because they weren’t their definition of beautiful or perfect. If anything, now, It only reflects badly on the ones who did the bullying and the ‘body shaming’.

I was actually quite a big girl during the start of Highschool and leading into my last 3 years of Highschool. I knew it, I hated it, and I would cry over it every single night. I would come home from school and cry to my Mum and Dad about how I looked. Id constantly ask ‘Why?’. ‘Why me?’. I would often have a pity party for myself, and looking back at that now I shake my head. The turning point was going from an all girls School in year 9, to transitioning to the Co-Ed Boys and Girls Campus to complete year 10, 11 and 12. Luckily, for me I never got a crush on any boy from my Highschool, not one. I had boyfriends, yes – but none of them attended the same school as I did, and personally I was too ashamed in my body, my self image and the way I looked to fully be happy in any relationship I was in, so they all faded pretty quickly and were nothing too serious.  I was scribble my face out in photos, hide my face in photos, crop my photos – Anything that would stop me from having to look at myself any more than I had to.

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(As you can see from the above photos I found on my still existing myspace page that I uploaded from 2008-2010, I hid behind black and white photos, my side fringe and often covered my face in every single photo that was taken of me. Yes, I wasn’t a skinny girl but hating myself this much, wasn’t healthy)

 

In year 10, My Best friend dropped out of High-school, My Dad became extremely ill and my motivation to do anything was lost. My grades dropped, my happiness dropped and I honestly felt as if nothing was going right. I was depressed, I felt alone and I felt like i had nothing. Add a load of homework, bullying and a bunch of gossiping teenagers to that and It was a great mix of disaster for any teenage girl. Now, I’m not trying to throw a pity party for myself here again, As everything that happened through high-school has made me who I am today, but going through it, and knowing still what so many young woman and men go through throughout their High school experience breaks my heart. I hid behind baggy clothes and a hideous side fringe.

Towards the end of year 10, I wanted to make a change. I decided to start ‘eating healthier; and joined a local gym. I would starve myself by eating 400 calories a day then going and doing endless hours of cardio to burn off the calories I ate, then destroy all that work by binge eating on a weekend because I was always SO hungry. I knew it was the wrong way to go about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I wasn’t losing weight, But I was and I would cry about it every single day. I knew I was doing it the unhealthy way, and I think doing this to my body back then has ruined my metabolism now. I kept this up all through year 10 and all through year 11. Starving myself, then binge eating, then starving myself, then binge eating. It was a rotation that went around and around and around again. I lost a few kilograms, however every time I looked in the mirror i hated what was staring back at me. i hated my hair, my face, my teeth, but most of all- my body.

The extent and depth of my emotions and feelings were, and still are incredibly deep, which I do speak about in the novel I am currently writing, and will release to you all once completed,  however I still find it hard to explain the pain, hurt and hate I had for myself. When year 12 finally came around I was more body conscious then ever. I wouldn’t wear anything other then black leggings and clothes that would hide my weight. Year 12 was hard, especially the first half. I struggled to keep up with study, working out and eating healthy, and then I met my Boyfriend, Ryan. I was honestly amazed he even showed interest in me to be honest, Here was this fit, good looking football player.. then there was me, this chubby, shy, no confidence 17 year old who hated the way she looked – but he stuck by me, through it all, and honestly I cannot thank this incredible man for everything he has done for me over the last 4 years, that’s for sure.

Once year 12 was done, My happiness definitely boosted. Although I still hated the way I looked and how I presented myself. I was away from the negative High school environment. I got my license, a full time job and was enrolled in my Beauty Course however my Dysmorphia got worse. I started eating a lot healthier, however in 2013/14, I was over exercising – sometimes doing up to 4 workouts a day, spending thousands on products, plans, boot camps and anything I thought would help me lose weight and love my body, but nothing would work. I was 2 dress sizes smaller from high school, however to me – I still looked horrible, I still felt horrible, and I still had no confidence. I had Ryan telling me I looked great,  old High school peers messaging me asking for advise on how to lose weight and telling me how great I looked, however none of it sunk in. To me, It wasn’t good enough – and If I’m honest it still isn’t good enough.

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(Here is a photo I uploaded to my Facebook in late 2014- after starting a new fitness regime. I was getting comments telling me how great I looked, but to me, there was hardly any change. I hated my body so much in the first photos, And hated my body just as much in the second set)

Focusing in on the last year- I began my Beauty course and was suddenly surrounded by young, skinny, beautiful, fit girls my age and older who ate like shit, but still had incredible figures, who were confident and so happy with themselves.. then there was me. Who wasn’t shy, I had a great relationship with everyone in my class- however would never even think about showing my body to anyone in the class and would even struggle to contribute to some classes if it meant I had to take my top off or do anything like that. Even sitting here, writing about it now gives me major anxiety and worry. Towards the middle of 2015 I got doctors to run tests, body comparisons, anything I could to see If I had anything wrong with me – and that’s when I was diagnosed with BDD. I had no idea what it was, had no Idea why he was diagnosing me with it, and had no idea why he was asking me to see a therapist about ‘hating myself’. Luckily enough I accepted my disorder and didn’t have to go on to seeing a therapist for the issue but accepting the fact that I had BDD wasn’t easy for me. I always put up a front of a strong, independent girl and it was hard for me suck up my pride and just accept the fact that i had a mental disorder, but accepting it was the first step to what I know will be a long recovery. I went to 3 other weight loss specialists towards the end of 2015 trying to see if they could help me – and they were all disappointing, one place (Melbourne Weightloss Clinic) had the main specialist tell me to “Just drink weight loss shakes for 3 year and you will definitely see a change” but that I was “Overreacting because the clients she usually sees are 5 times as big as me”. And i think that is a major issue. Its not about being a certain size. Having BDD is an issue for girls, woman, men and boys of all ages, sizes and shapes. I personally know a beautiful, fit, thin young woman who has BDD but sees herself as chubby and unattractive. It comes down to your own perception and your own image of yourself.

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(Here is another image I uploaded to Facebook much more recently, In October of 2015 to be exact. I look at myself there in 2010, and had no confidence, unhappy and overweight. I look at the photo on the right that was taken recently and although I do look like a different person, the feeling inside it still much the same. I’m wearing black because wearing anything else for my boyfriends football presentation would have made me look ‘obese’ as I would say. It took me 4 weeks to decide on an outfit for the night and only chose this because to me it was the only thing that looked half decent and the only outfit that to me, didn’t make me look how I felt.)

Now I am by no means skinny or fit. I am being very honest and raw when I say this, but I still cry myself to sleep every night thinking about my body, how I look and how I present myself in clothes. I dread Summer for having to wear more revealing clothes, I dread bikinis and I dread anything that means my skin will be showing, but that’s me being real with all of you. I may not be skinny, fit or confident, but one thing I am – Is healthy. I began 2016 with a goal. A goal to be healthy, a goal to be strong and a goal to push myself and be the best version of myself, emotionally, physically and mentally. I look at my body still with disgust on a daily basis, but I nourish it correctly, I train it correctly and I am on the road to trying my hardest to change my perception of myself, my opinion of myself and I’m trying to learn to love the skin I am in, while I try to better it.

Some days are worse then others, but all have its challenges and the best piece of advise I can give is to surround yourself with people who make you smile, who are positive influences on you, who have goals, ambitions and are striving for a happy, successful future. Get rid of any negativity, any negative people or anything that can hold you back from bettering yourself.

How do I cope with it? Well.. that’s a hard question.. really. Some days I do, some days I don’t. Some days I can stand myself in clothes, and others I will cry my eyes out at every outfit I try on until I have no strength to even attempt to go out in public. There’s good days, and there is bad days but the road to recovery is there and you don’t need to battle your disorder alone. So many young woman and men keep so quiet about it to the point they feel like they have no one – I’ve done that, and its far from the truth. There are so many organisations and other beautiful woman in the communities surrounding you and close to you who are also suffering. The best thing I do when I’m feeling really negative about myself is I ensure to surround myself with the people I love and the ones who lift me up. My family, My parents, My incredible boyfriend, My close friends and my Pups. I surround myself with the people who love me and support me, I know I don’t have to go through it alone. Another way I cope is sticking to a healthy, nutritious diet and balanced exercise. I workout 6 days a week with a program that was written up for me and follow a MACRO diet, which is the right amount of carbs/proteins/fats for my body and have one cheat meal a week to keep my cravings satisfied. Its about balance and healthy living. If I know I’m treating my body right, then that’s one step in a positive direction. Have motivation. 4 years ago I would have told you my motivation and inspiration would have been a woman was sickly skinny, not that this isn’t beautiful, as all woman of all shapes and sizes is beautiful but for a woman like me who grew up swimming, who is tall and bigger built naturally it wasn’t practical nor healthy. My inspiration now is woman like Ronda Rousey (who as a fact also suffered weight issues and overcome this) and woman within female MMA/UFC as well as various strong, fit, healthy, fitness professionals.

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How can you get help? If you suffer from BDD you are not alone and I’m telling you, you do not have to suffer with it alone. I personally am here for you no matter what and you can reach me or direct message me at any of my social media’s listed on my ‘social media’ tab. When I turned 21, I wrote a list of 21 things I want to do while 21, and one thing on the list was to create a forum for anyone suffering from BDD, And I am well on my way on doing that and will post the link asap and make a blog post about it as soon as its available- It will be a forum for anyone- a support page for anyone and you will see you are NOT alone and that you don’t have to battle it alone.  I highly suggest speaking to a trusted GP and therapist if you feel like this outcome will help you also. I’ve also listed some incredible websites below which will give you information/support services:

http://www.bddfoundation.org, http://www.anxietyaustralia.com, eatingdisorders.org.au, http://www.betterhealth.vic,gov.

 

The truth is, some people overcome BDD, Some others don’t, but the reality is there is support, there is help and there is ways to improving your relationship with yourself and the view you have of yourself, and I’m here to do that with you. BDD is not something to laugh at or look at lightly, but you can get through it, you can live with it, and you can use it as a tool to be the best possible version of yourself. No matter where you are based, there is support, there is help, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Thankyou so much for reading the simplified version of my story and I am very excited/nervous to release my novel once its completed for everyone to read, If they wish. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to understand the struggle and if you are here simple to look at getting help or gain support, then I am so super proud of you. Please do not hesitate to take up my offer if you need someone to talk to/support you on your journey. Do not by any means feel embarrassed or nervous to speak to me regarding it, I am here to help- and totally understand how you are feeling.

You are not alone, We fight together.

 

Until next time,

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My Weightloss Story.

This is a story I find it hard to tell, just because it’s so personal and it really hits home. Weightloss. Being only 20 years old now, you may think it’s hard for me to have a Weightloss story for the fact of being so young, but I do. At the age of 12, I was pretty chubby for a kid. I was extremely lazy, ate at all hours of the night and hardly did any activity. As I was younger 5-10 I was swimming, doing exercise and being active, but after this, I did let myself go as I became a little older and ate what I wanted, stayed up all night, ate way to much and of course, stacked on so much weight. As I hit high school and became a teenager, I became very self conscious, as you guys know kids can be very cruel. Sadly, at this stage I became to starve myself which only ruined my body more as my metabolism slowed down. I guess I was trying to do whatever I could to change the way I looked. I began to eat hardly anything daily for over 3 years, then would binge and then starve myself, It was a never ending cycle. Once I hit year ten and became interested in boys (as us girls do) I realised I would really have to change the way I looked as no boy would be interested in a girl as ‘ugly and fat as me’ is what I used to say. I however still continued to starve then binge even knowing it was bad for me, and it ended up stuffing my metabolism up for he long run. I regret that the most. In year 12, I met Ryan, , my current boyfriend still to this day and decided if is as lucky enough to be with him he deserved to be with someone who was more fit ( he never ever told me I had to lose weight, I took this on myself) I joined a proper gym as my previous gym had hardly any equipment and no qualified trainers, and got a program written for me and learnt to incorporate weights. I did this for a good year. Ate a lot healthier, however admittedly ate way too many cheats In between, began weight training and 3 days of cardio a week. I lost a little bit of writ but with the effort I was putting in it was not enough compared to what every other person I knew was getting, doing less work then is as! So sadly, I began to become depressed. Cried every single night, wouldn’t let my boyfriend touch my skin, wouldn’t wear jeans as I hated my legs, everything I could do to hide my body as it literally made me sick. I knew deep down my mind set was not good but I couldn’t help it. In 2013 I signed up to ashy bines bikini body challenge, as well as still continuing at my gym, on top of that started going to the gym in the morning. I was doing 3 workouts a day. Fasted cardio, gym weights and cardio, and then going and doing an hour of ashy bines bikini body challenge boot camp. It was horrible. I was tired, exhausted and on top of that NOT LOSING WEIGHT! I would cry and cry and cry, it was really affecting my relationship as I hated he way I looked and I could tell it was frustrating my boyfriend. I became extremely tired of spending so much money on diet books, boot camps, workout plans and getting absolutely nowhere. No word of a lie, I spent 5 thousand dollars on programs that claimed to work. At the start of 2014 I decided to go the doctor to find if I legit had anything wrong with me! I had my thyroid checked, blood tests and everything came back normal, my doctor told me that I didn’t need to lose weight, however being depressed and constantly stressed was not helping, so I decided to try my hardest to change my mindset, change the way I looked at the situation and try my hardest to be happy within myself. I cut back my training, ate well during the week and gave myself ONE proper treats on the weekends (of course I slipped up time and time again but not as much as previously) I lost a few kilos but then added some of them back on with muscle building, through a weights program written by a New Zealand trainer. I still slipped up with how I looked at myself though. From being young and being called fat by everyone it sticks with you and really hurts your self esteem. My boyfriend was incredible though, always telling me he loved me and that I didn’t need to lose weight, but I did. I cut out the crap I was told by everyone else and listened to my own body. I ate healthy, incorporated carbs back into my diet, gave myself treats so I wouldn’t binge eat, worked out 5 days a week and didn’t over to it and finally lost a chunk of what I needed too. I will say this though, I am nowhere near happy still with the body I have and of course I have reached another platue, but I know not to let it get to me, to push through, everyone’s different, progress is different for everyone. I’ve gone through a constant struggle for years hating the way I looked, over working my body and constantly crying ( which I can still do when I look at my body, I’m only human) but I’m learning and focusing on trying to change that. I’m not happy with my current body, but I know that I need to be proud of my progress and keep pushing through. I guess my advice from this post is that do not listen to what everyone else is telling you about your body. No one knows your body like you do. Everyone has their own opinions on how to lose weight. There are also SO many frauds out there who try to sell you products, teas that say they ‘burn fat and make you skinny’ a load of bullshit if I do day so myself as they only work as a laxative. The way to weightloss is simple and something you don’t need fakes to tell you. Healthy eating, exercise and a very happy mindset. Be happy in yourself. Weightloss takes time and consistently, for you to be happy with yourself and don’t let it consume you. If you are happy with yourself, that’s really all that matters. Be happy, be healthy and do what makes you happy.

Tegan Audrey X