When it comes to a full recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) or an eating disorder (which commonly co-occur), how you view yourself is often just as important as the type of treatment you receive.
Many people who struggle with BPD and an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or Binge Eating Disorder have a very negative view of themselves, which can often worsen their symptoms and lead to depression, substance abuse, and self-harmful behaviors.
That is why most treatment centers for BPD or eating disorders incorporate body image groups as part of treatment. These groups can help you learn to have a positive self-image and a healthy relationship with your body.
In honor of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, recognized during the last week in February, here are some things you can do to boost your body image and start to create a better relationship with yourself:
1. Focus on what you like about yourself. Stop the negative self-talk about everything that you believe is wrong with you. Instead, make a list of things you do like – whether that’s the color of your eyes or the pattern of freckles on your leg – and put your focus on those. Keep the list handy whenever you feel the negativity starting to creep in to remind yourself that there are, in fact, things you like about yourself.
2. Be healthy. Part of how you feel about yourself has to do with what you put into your body. Stay away from empty calories, sugar, and snack foods and make a point to only eat foods with high nutritional value and drink plenty of water. You should start to notice an improvement in your mood pretty immediately, as long as you are not depriving yourself of foods completely.
3. Avoid mirrors. If you find yourself looking into mirrors and windows to find fault with yourself instead of just checking to see if your sweater is buttoned properly, it may be a good idea to avoid reflective surfaces as much as possible. This may not be easy to do, but hopefully, along with treatment for Borderline Personality Disorder or an eating disorder, you will one day be able to look into a mirror and actually be comfortable with what you see.
4. Treat yourself right. Be sure to take some time for you and pamper yourself by doing whatever is most enjoyable to you. Go for a long walk at the beach every morning, get a monthly massage, sit at a local coffee shop and read, or spend Saturday morning catching up with your DVR. Taking care of yourself will help you take care of your body.
5. Get your body moving. Familiarize yourself with how you feel in your body, not just how you feel about your body. Through stretching, yoga, meditation, and various forms of exercise, you can learn to feel more connected to your body. Doing any of these activities regularly can help you feel more grounded, centered, and in tune with your body.
Of course, if you are struggling with Borderline Personality Disorder or an eating disorder, you will likely need professional treatment to help you address the symptoms of your disorder and get to the root of your body image issues.
Your body is the only one you will have – take the time you need to learn to feel comfortable in it so that you treat it right.