What I Learned Wednesday: “You Look Good!”

Hello loves. I hope you all had a good day!

Today was a long day for me. I woke up, ate breakfast, and drove to my naturpath to have IV fluids, which took about 2 1/2 hours. Between the drive and having the IV, it took up my entire morning. I was on edge today while I was at the doctor’s office, and experienced a lot of anxiety to the point where it made me want to take the IV out of my arm myself and leave. What caused this anxiety? The simple three words: you look good said to me by both of the doctors there. Now, some of you may be thinking, why would THAT cause anxiety? Isn’t that a good thing? A compliment? Sure, if I took it that way. But me and my distorted way of thinking always finds a way to turn what is meant to be a compliment into something terrible. To my eating disorder friends, I know that you understand this way of thinking all too well, but why do we think that way? Well, here is my take on all of this.

Today’s comment really had nothing to do with my eating disorder. However, this is a common comment that I hear from time to time in regards to my eating disorder, and it sends me through the roof. People with eating disorders have a distorted way of thinking, and to them, telling them that they look “good”, in their minds, translates to I look “fat” or “bigger” or even “healthy”, which ultimately means fat. Are you following? Because I am actually starting to confuse myself here. For the life of me I cannot understand how or why we think like this, but we do. I think the best thing you can do for yourself when you hear comments like that is to have prepared answers ready to play over in your mind. Just think for a minute about WHY a person might tell you that you look good, and do not let your eating disordered thinking sneak in. For example, it may be that they genuinely  think that you look good, which according to the Dictionary, does not mean fat. It could be that they simply mean well, and want to give you a compliment. Those with eating disorders tend to be highly sensitive to comments such as these, and pick them apart and try to analyze exactly what the true meaning could be. The fact is, though, that we are often looking too hard for something that isn’t there. We are looking at the tiny details and missing the bigger picture. Those who know that we are struggling just want to help, want to say SOMETHING that they think can make us feel better.

Today’s comments made me feel a lot of anxiety, but for a different reason. As many of you know, I have been suffering from chronic illnesses, and for the meantime they have remained undiagnosed. When I heard the words “you’re looking good” I felt a pit in my stomach, because the truth is, I really don’t feel good. My brain immediately went to the thought “Oh no, this is all in your head, maybe your actually crazy and there is nothing wrong with you! What are you even doing here?” I felt like ripping that IV right out and running to the car. Looking back now, I can see that I let that comment drastically influence how I view myself and my illness. The doctors had nothing but good intentions, and here I am twisting their words to make it sound like they do not need or want to help. I was so wrong. I know now that my thinking was distorted, and that I was letting my OCD thoughts get the best of me. When I am in the middle of having an OCD thought, it is very hard for me to snap out of it. After some time, though, and distracting myself with reading for school, I was able to calm down and not think so much about the comments that were said to me.

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The lesson here is this: We need to be careful about taking what other people have to say out of context. It is hard, especially when you are used to distorted ways of thinking! I know I immediately go to my OCD thoughts or eating disorder thoughts when I hear the phrase “you look good”, but the person giving you the compliment most likely does not think you are fat, or in my case, think that you are “cured.” I encourage everyone to just take a minute and step in the other person’s shoes when they say something that is triggering, because they most likely do not even know it! And instead of taking our frustrations and anxiety out on ourselves, we should use it to educate others.

Tell Me: How do you react when you hear the words “you look good” or “you look healthy” ? What are your thoughts on this topic? I would love to hear from you!

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4 thoughts on “What I Learned Wednesday: “You Look Good!”

  1. AS always, a lovely thought-provoking post. I do hope you are feeling better.

    I find that my struggle is the opposite. I don’t fall into any category of eating disorder – I fall into OSFED. So, you don’t look at me and think that I have an eating disorder because my body is average (even though I see it as enormous) but my eating disorder is alive and strong. So people will say to me, oh you like fine! What? You’re not fat! It’s all in your head, you’re fine!

    I hate the word fine. Don’t tell me I’m fine! Of COURSE it’s all in my head. I look ‘fine’ to you because you’re not ill. I am, and so by definition I most certainly do not feel like I look ‘fine’. I’m trying to learn how to cope, and recognize that they’re trying to put my fears and insecurities to rest, and that maybe if they tell me enough I’ll believe it. Lately I’ve just been saying thank you and then journaling later. I’m not sure what else to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That must be very frustrating. I know that word really gets to me, as well. I think it’s good that you journal afterwards! That’s a great way to get any emotions about the subject out. It’s such a hard thing to deal with, because people mean well for the most part, but have no clue that their comment is actually hurting you. Keep up the good work and stay strong! I know you can fight this! 💜

    Like

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