*Content warning: Post contains content regarding eating disorders and body dysmorphia. 

‘Eating Disorder/ Body Dysmorphia’. Those diagnoses sound kind of scary, hey? Odds are that if you are a young person existing in the internet age, in college, you have probably struggled with body image-related issues. However, determining whether these thoughts and concerns are simply an occasional product of your environment or a ‘real problem’ is a difficult task, especially when the difference between insecurities and dieting and a full-fledged diagnosis seems huge. Imposter syndrome is complicated to navigate too, especially when you feel like your issues aren’t ‘that bad’. My experience with imposter syndrome has been longstanding and having been through the absolute ringer in this department, I hope I can offer some clarity and support. 

If you think about how your body looks on a daily basis, consider getting mental health support.

If your body is causing you stress on a daily basis, consider getting mental health support. 

If you don’t diet, but fixate on the number of meals and snacks you eat, consider getting mental health support. 

If you are frequently ‘body checking’ (looking at yourself in the mirror and scrutinizing your problem areas), consider getting mental health support. 

If you are constantly analyzing your photos until they turn from ‘good’ to ‘bad’, consider getting mental health support

My experiences with body image and eating issues were a challenge because I always felt that my issues weren’t that bad. I felt guilty for getting support because I felt that I had manageable symptoms and that they weren’t really a real disorder. My prerogative has now changed, however, as I have been able to see that prevention is one of the most important parts of seeking support. Even if you feel that your problems are not as bad as they could be, does not mean you do not deserve a safe place to navigate these feelings and experiences more. In fact, despite my hesitation, after reaching out to mental health support I learned that my mental headspace was not normal and was in fact, really unhealthy. It can be really scary to talk about these problems with others, especially getting treatment, but I have found that as a student the resources are fairly available and free. When I was seeking help I reached out to the UVic Student Wellness Centre who got me in contact with psychiatry and eventually put me in touch with group therapy. While the psychiatric part can be difficult, the group therapy part (which I did not get to finish due to scheduling conflicts) seemed to be a really great resource. I say this as an introvert who literally hates the idea of any kind of group therapy. Everyone is looking to gain some healthy coping mechanisms and techniques, such as positive self-talk and mindfulness. The group sessions were not invasive and were very supportive. Due to my scheduling issues, I ended up seeing a private therapist, who is also helping me out. UVic has therapy available to students too, just make sure you book your appointments well in advance, otherwise, it might take a while. If you do find yourself reaching out and going through these avenues, try and have patience. I know I felt really frustrated and discouraged at what I felt was the slow pace of the UVic resources. Once you get through the initial waiting period, those resources will be well worth the while and you will have them much more accessible to you.

Whatever you choose to do, just know that you are awesome and that every day you wake up and go through the world, you deserve to be loved and should be proud of yourself. Everyone has their own mental health journey, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. My personal recommendation is to try and gain access to these supports as a current student because they are freely available on campus.

Take care and be kind to yourself.

<3 Eleni



https://www.uvic.ca/student-wellness/index.php or 250-721-8563

The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.