Disclaimer: Before I start blabbing, I must specify that I am not a doctor. If you believe that you are presenting Body Dysmorphia symptoms, similar to the ones I mention here, please consult a therapist. On this post, I will just state my personal experience.
Most of us have something we don’t like about our appearance – be it our hair, our nose, our teeth, you-name-it. However, you’re not likely to even think about it for the majority of your time. In my case, I obsess about it for hours every day.
During the first months of my weight loss journey, I started to notice my body changing for the better. Clothes felt nicer on me, I was in better shape and people even noticed that I was losing weight. Unfortunately, those good feelings did not last long.
When I got to my lightest weight as an adult, I started to see myself worse than before. It is normal for your mind to get confused when you undergo a big change in your appearance. What is not normal is seeing something that is not real and obsessing about it. Immediately, I sought medical help and my doctor recommended I tried medication to ease my mind into accepting my new body and relieving my newfound anxiety and stress. The medicines helped, but the side effects that came with them lead me to forgo them after months of taking them.
Battling Body Dysmorphia
When I stopped my medication, I was perfectly aware that this meant I was going to battle with my inner monster: Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Even if I have lost a considerable amount of weight, I feel like I weigh more than in the beginning of my journey. Before leaving my house, I change clothes multiple times. I am never happy with how I look and I continuously look at myself in every mirror or window where I always see a very disproportionate body. I know that my body is not perfect and it never will be but my mind overemphasizes its imperfections in an unhealthy way. I stress too much about my looks.
People with Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD imagine or exaggerate their flaws. My case being the latter. I am an obese woman and I am completely aware of that. The problem is that I see myself bigger in the mirror than I actually used to be when I started. Back then, I never felt like this, not even when I was at my highest weight. By seeing this distorted image of myself, I am filled with feelings of sadness, deception, and failure, which ultimately lead to actions that feed the disorder itself – like not wearing what I want to wear or thinking about exercising a lot.
Finding help and support
Although there is a lot of stigmas attached to mental issues like this one – the truth is that they affect a considerable amount of the population. We all have something wrong with us, we are not perfect.
Luckily, there are many treatments and tools you could look for if you’re experiencing BBD or any other body-image disorder.
The most helpful way I have found to control my BDD is by being open about it to my family and friends. Their support has been amazing even when many times I don’t agree with their positive feedback on my image. I also like to exercise and plan my healthy meals ahead of time so that my mind understands that I am working hard to better myself.
Note: A great option for people suffering for Body Dysmorphia is joining an online support group. However, if this disorder is affecting your daily life and you’re not able to deal with it – I strongly suggest you seek therapy. A therapist or psychologist will be able to help you and even decide if medication is a good route for you.
After recognizing and managing my disorder on my own, I have been able to take a step back whenever I feel like I can’t deal with my emotions of disgust towards myself and my body.
Recovery is a long journey, just like weight loss. There’s no quick fix, no diet, no “getting out of the rut”. It is an on-going process where I have to engage my whole mind and make a logical decision to prevent intrusive thoughts from taking over my life. I am learning that I am not perfect but also accepting that I don’t ever need to be.
It’s interesting to me when I think about it and analyze my past experiences. To be honest, I never thought I would have to deal with these things – but that’s just an example that this could happen to anyone and everyone. You never know what kind of battles people have in their lives – always be kind to others.
Thanks all for being there,