Body Dysmorphic Disorder
People who have Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) develop an obsession over some perceived or imaginary flaw in their physical appearance.
They mistakenly believe they are deformed and monstrous. This delusion can literally ruin their lives. Michael Jackson was a famous person who had it. After therapy a person may know that they are not disfigured and monstrous. In fact, they can actually know that they are very pretty from all the compliments that they get. Even then, they may sometimes avoid mirrors, worry about lighting, and even fall back into the thought that, “Oh my god, they see it, they all see it, and they’re disgusted.”
How does it feel to have body image issues?
Tanya Brooks 16 – High School Student
“To me it feels like I’m missing out on my own life. Like I’m missing quite a lot of what my peers are enjoying to the full; right in front of me and all around. Wherever I go, I see their slender, beautiful and fit bodies in their perfect coordinated outfits, with casual smiles all over their young and delighted faces and awfully perfect skin.”
Bart van Kippered 21 – Gamer
“Even though I stay in due to the pressure I feel when facing the world and its people, Facebook is there to remind me how all these constructed lives are cheerful and unconcerned, while I’m the exact opposite.
To me, it means I don’t go hang out with friends, I don’t go to the beach in the summer, and I never meet new people except through internet. I’m trapped in my own body. I simply cannot make myself do such things and let myself be exposed to the surroundings.”
Fiona Wild 28 –Volunteer Fire Fighter
“I get depressed every time I glance at my reflection in a mirror or walk by a shop window and get a glint of my own image. I simply don’t want to glance down at my body by accident. I can’t bear to look at myself and accept how awful I feel about my appearance.
When I am in intimate with my husband, it is never without having my self-hatred pound on me the entire time; every single time. I don’t get joy out of activities other people tend to enjoy. I therefore avoid them because I simply can’t handle them. I feel mortified and want no one else to see what I’m seeing when I look in a mirror.”
Do intelligent people worry about body image?
Intelligent people keenly understand the impact that their physical presentation can have on their lives. From an early age, we all realize that people who look a certain way tend to get treated differently in certain situations. You don’t believe this to be a fact? Read Teachers Give Better Grades to More Attractive Students: Study.
As one gets older, it becomes more apparent that, say, a boy looks athletic and strong will be less likely to be bullied. A girl with nice skin, straight teeth and a slender body is more likely to be popular amongst her peers. A teen with piercings and tattoos may not be taken seriously by the coach of the debate team.
Anyone who thinks the surface is an illusion is wrong. It’s true that we should strive to pay less attention to surface presentation, but we also cannot ignore its effects.
I am no Einstein, but yes, I would consider myself an intelligent person. I do loathe what the world has become: a place where image is considered more important than humanity. I do however realize that if I presented myself without concern to the way I appeared to others, I might not have an easy time getting a job, a life partner, or have my grievances heard in court.
How do I make my parents understand my body image issues?
The lack of support from parents is a complex issue. You should however consider involving your doctor too. He should be able to help you get through to them if you ask him to explain to them the impact and distress your condition is causing you.
It’s possible that you your body is perfectly OK. That doesn’t mean that you’re not unhappy about what you perceive about your body. If that’s the case, your doctor will certainly be able to help.
Sometimes the problem has practical aspects too. If you’re actually overweight for example, and you are still living with your parents, then you’re probably expected to eat whatever meals and snacks they provide, which may not be a healthy diet. Your doctor can advise them about improving their diet or at least be more conscious to your health needs.
Where can I get help for body image issues?
One may read 5 Ways to Deal With Body Image Issues or 10 Steps to Positive Body Image to better understand where they need to be to start recovery. Although helpful, you cannot just read these articles and switch off your Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) button. Go talk to a therapist. If you are still living with your parents, talk to them and help them understand what you are going through.
Here is a helpful organization that deals with body image issues; take action to today!
USA – Association and Depression Association of America