I had some new biometric photographs taken yesterday.
It was a disaster, unsurprisingly, but I confirmed something I’d been suspecting for a while now – having my photograph taken affects me in a similar way as getting a haircut does.
I lapse into a terrifying spiral of obsessively criticising every tiny detail about myself and tearing down any confidence I may have built up since the last “incident”, thus opening the flood gates for the accumulated self-hatred I have stashed away somewhere in the dark recesses of my horrifying brain, drowning any remaining flickers of self-confidence.
There is nothing quite as scary as observing how something ordinary can smash through the firm hold I’ve painstakingly constructed to reign in those destructive thoughts. Nothing disgusts me quite as much as giving in to the urge to obsess over my appearance. And yet, there is nothing I can do to stop it.
Having someone to talk to about these thoughts – someone who offers to tell me about their own coping strategies, someone who simply listens or someone who pulls me back up from obsessive hell to planet earth – helps. It helps so much.
As I write this, it is Suicide Awareness Day. Remember, your support, your presence, can make a world of a difference to someone. Don’t abandon your friends when they are struggling with mental disorders. Encourage them to seek professional help, but stay close to them all the same.
Take five minutes to read this: metanoia.org/suicide
International suicide help lines: suicide.org/international-suicide-hotlines.html
Text-based suicide help line: imalive.org