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Negative thoughts about myself after an eating problem

hey sam,

i used to struggle with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder but after getting diagnosed with juvenile arthritis i was prescribed steroids which made me gain a lot of weight to the point where i’m now overweight. it’s been a couple of years and now im more comfortable in my body but i feel like if i really had anorexia/bdd then i shouldnt be overweight now and it feels like maybe i was faking it. im proud that im comfortable in my body but i can still hear that voice telling me negative things about myself. do you have any advice? :) thanks

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Sam

Hi there,

Having an eating problem or other medical condition can affect how you feel about yourself and your confidence. It can take time to recover and build your self-esteem and feeling comfortable in your body is a big step towards being happy with who you are.

Your body and how you look are part of your identity. Your identity is made up of lots of things, like your race, ethnicity, gender, disability, how you look, your strengths and weaknesses and your likes and dislikes.

Everyone is individual and unique and there will be changes to how you see yourself as you grow. You might choose some of the changes but things outside of your control can be difficult to accept. It can help to remember that who you are as a person stays the same however your appearance or your health changes.

Negative thoughts about yourself can be difficult to change, especially when they’ve been around for a long time. Seeing areas to develop or improve in yourself can help to motivate you and it’s natural to notice things you’re unhappy with. Developing positive thoughts will help you to have a more balanced view of yourself so that you’re not being over critical.

It’s easier to think negative thoughts so it’s important to put more time and energy into finding positive ones. You can start by paying attention to your strengths and abilities. Focus on what you like about yourself and what friends tell you they value about you. Try to find 5 positives for every negative thought. You could write them down so you can read them last thing at night and first thing in the morning to help you to remember.

Taking care of yourself and staying healthy can also help with negative thinking as it’s hard to think badly about yourself when you’re looking after your wellbeing. Gentle exercise, eating well, drinking water to keep hydrated and taking time out to relax are important self-care tips that you can do every day.

Remember that it’s okay to be you and you can get support from our Childline counsellors about anything that’s worrying you.

Thanks for your letter.

Take care,

Sam

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