A picture is worth a thousand hateful, ugly words

I’m sitting here dissociating like hell. I feel them right behind my eyes. Heaven help me. I hope this post makes sense.

When I was importing my photos to my computer, I saw some my husband, D. had taken of me before and after I went into residential treatment. I almost gagged. There is a marked difference and if anything in the world could make me feel even fatter, it’s those damn pictures. I didn’t erase them. D. didn’t want me to. He thought the pre-residential treatment photos would motivate me to stay on the right track and fight the eatng disorder. All it did was make me buy a scale and diet pills.

I journaled about it and would like to say it made me feel better, but it didn’t. I’ve always felt that being at an average weight made me fat, average, worthless and ugly, but it also made me feel dirty and unclean. Those feeling started at eleven when I developed my eating disorder. It also coincides with more trauma. Anything in my mouth became disgusting and invasive. I don’t know how to get over that or help the member who holds those feelings about food.

In addition, seeing the current photos of myself made me reel with disgust. I saw through the eyes of the camera lense how disfigured I look from self-harm. Disgust is the only word. I could see the fresh scars of twelve cigarette burns on my left arm as well as more recent second degree burns with a lighter on my writst. I didn’t realize it looked so bad.

The old me would try to hide my scars. I can see people staring at my arm and wrist when I’m out in public, but if I hide my scars that just perpetuates the shame. I don’t want to feel any worse about myself than I do.

I remember being at a water park and standing in line. There was a girl of about age 10 or eleven and she was with her father and they were staing in front of me. She turned around and looked at me and my scars and wouldn’t turn away. I made a flippant comment to D, my husband, about people minding their own business and not staring at people. Then she asked her father what was wrong with me, how did I get like this. I was so pissed off. I really wanted to say something to the father who didn’t raise his daughter to not stare at people with “deformities.” I wondered if she stared at people in wheel chairs or where missing limbs or had other things about them that were different. I will never, ever, ever forget that girl or how small and ugly she made me feel.

So pictures are worth a thousand words. They can reveal happy times or times you’d rather forget. They capture moments in time, some you want to embrace and some you want to never remember again. Unfortunately, this experience with my photos has made me camera shy, and I guess that means I’m ashamed of myself; one of the worst feelings in the world.

3 thoughts on “A picture is worth a thousand hateful, ugly words

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  1. I almost didn't finish reading when you started talking about self harm. I didn't think I could, not today, not this week.

    My T is out of town and I've had problems. If I cannot get to him to help me process things, I cut. Or…someone does. I can almost always feel when she is gearing up to slice me up. So, reading this was not somewhere I should have gone, BUT, I kept reading.

    It did me good, tho, it has made a small part of me angry to read this, hear your thots of disgust, and know the reality of what it does – only in that it opened eyes and maybe (hopefully) has spared me the shame.

    Thank you – soooo much for being brave enough to share this.


  2. Ivory,

    I'm sorry I didn't put a trigger warning on this post. I didn't even think about it.

    I'm glad, tho, you got something out of it. I hope you can be brave while your therapist is away. Self-harm is not worth it. You're worth more than the shame that follows self-harm.

    Thanks for reading.

    Stay strong and take care.

  3. In some ways it's good that the girl at the water park didn't know about self-injury scars – it probably means she's led a safe life. But it's also rather rude! By that age she should know about respecting those around her. Our niece will ask these sorts of questions because of her Asperger's, so maybe there were other issues with her that you couldn't see?

    I know it's easier said than done, but try to take it one day at a time. You're an amazing person…

    Take care…

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