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Not Recognising Yourself in the Mirror

an image of a kitten looking into a mirror and seeing a tiger staring back at them

There have been a few times in the past where I have looked in the mirror and not recognised the person staring back at me. Sounds ridiculous, right? But there are just some times where I happen to catch a glance at myself in the mirror and then end up staring at my reflection for ages because I just don't recognise the image I see in front of me. But why is that?

The majority of the time when I look in the mirror, I clearly recognise the person staring back at me. That person is the image I have of myself in my head and the reflection in the mirror only confirms to me that that is what I look like. But then there are some times when that person staring back at me doesn't look like me. I know it is me because I'm the only person looking in the mirror. I mean, if it's not me then who else can it be? It can't be anyone else but me. So why don't I look like me?

It can be really disheartening when you look in the mirror and don't recognise the person staring back at you. It's not that I really dislike how that person looks because it's never been about that. What it's more about is being confused on how there can be times where I look completely different to what I actually look like (or, at least, what the image of me in my head looks like). Is that actually what I look like? Is it because I'm still relatively young and so the way I look is continuing to change? Am I focusing more on a specific part of my face that I've never really paid attention to before and that's why I look different? What is the reason for me looking this way?

Luckily, I can't remember the last time I felt this way. But anytime I have felt like this, its' really affected me to the point where I feel like I've lost sense of who I am. Part of me thinks it may be due to the state of my mental health, but I've even felt like this on my good days where I've felt completely fine and it's just been a case of me suddenly looking at myself and not recognising the person I see standing in front of me and that has deeply affected my mood for at least the rest of the day and sometimes longer. So maybe it's not due to my mental health and it's something else?

Or maybe it is due to my mental health? I can't really remember the last time I felt completely like myself for a significant period of time without experiencing anxiety or depression or suicidal thoughts. Maybe it's due to a combination of those things that's caused me to feel this way every so often when I see me in the mirror? We all know that having issues with your mental health or having a mental illness causes you to act in a way that isn't like you. I certainly know when I've been going through a rough patch I have been really horrible to people, snapped at them and pushed them away when I really don't want to be doing that. So who's to say that if poor mental health/mental illnesses make us act in a way that's not like us, that they're not going to make us see ourselves physically in a different light too?

Does anyone else ever go through these periods? Where you don't recognise the person staring back at you in the mirror? How does that feel for you? Does it really affect you? Or does it not bother you in the slightest? Please let me know in the comments section if you feel able. Alternatively, if you would rather keep this quiet and confidential, you can always send me an email or a DM on Twitter or Instagram. My contact details are at the top of the page. No one should have to suffer in silence.

Love Beth xx

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