The MirrorApril 26, 2019 9:51 am
This is me and my new Mirror. This Mirror is a big deal for me, a poignant moment in my healing, and I’ll share why.
For a long time, I had what I guess you could call a phobia of mirrors? Since 2010 I’ve only had very small ones in my house. One little one in the bathroom above the sink and a very small make up mirror on my bedroom windowsill.
2010, the year I got rid of mirrors, was a significant year for me.
It was the year in my life that is now a huge marker that I think will remain there forever to be honest. One of those years where there is a ‘before’ and ‘after’ to that part of your life. It was the year I relapsed severely with ME and life changed dramatically in a matter of seconds. The year my world fell apart completely, as in, I lost my business, my relationship, my ability to care for myself and the most painful part… my sense of self.
I remember during that period of time, if I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I felt terrified. Severe waves of intense anxiety rippled through my entire body. I looked nothing like myself. My eyes blackened and hollow. My face gaunt and waxy. A stranger. I couldn’t stand unaided so any glimpse of my reflection would be whilst I was clinging onto the side of the sink or being held up by my Mum as I tried to brush my teeth. I felt scared of my reflection. I felt lost. Like I wasn’t familiar with the person staring back at me. I didn’t recognise my self or the life I found myself trapped inside. The mirror shone back at me the hell I was being dragged through.
It was the most terrifying time of my life, for many reasons. And it was also where my anxiety around mirrors began.
Since then, it’s been a long 9 years. Gruelling. But life changing. The experience of severe M.E has forced me to go inwards and truly discover myself. To reveal a determination, grit and strength I didn’t even know existed inside of me, as I have repeatedly endured more setbacks and dark moments than I could even begin to try and count.
Over the last nine years of healing, I have dived into so much work around self love, self compassion and self acceptance. I’ve navigate learning to be in my body and actually openly facing where it is at, how it looks and how it feels in any given moment. This is something I found physically impossible, my discomfort with the physical symptoms in my body was so intense that for many years I suffered with severe depersonalisation and dissociation. I guess that was an unconscious way of trying to cut off from the intense pain of my daily reality.
It really hasn’t been an overnight thing getting to this point. No where near. But as I look into my mirror now, I realise how much progress I have made. Slowly, with hundreds of bumps and hurdles and setbacks, but surely.
So this, is my new Mirror. The Mirror my boyfriend said he thought it was time I bought. It’s been on my landing for around 2 months now, and I love it.
I see myself in it every single day. The woman I am in this moment. I have reacquainted myself with my body and my reflection. Including the extra stone and a half that I have gained since the thyroid stuff began four years ago. I look into the mirror now with a respect for myself and my body. With no feelings of anxiety. With a sense of calmly facing whatever is reflected back at me.
So to you my lovely reader, if you relate, or if you happen to find yourself finding it difficult (or even terrifying) to look in the mirror, know that I see you and that I understand. I really do. I know how uncomfortable that place is. But please know that things can get better.
Go gently. Send yourself love. Take little steps. One day at a time.
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