I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realised something wasn’t right, but I knew I had been struggling for a very long time. Getting diagnosed with Body Dysmorphia was like a lightbulb moment, it felt so surreal to know it wasn’t all in my head, that there was actually a name for my warped sense of view.
Body Dysmorphia is very real, and it can haunt your everyday life.
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance.
These flaws are often unnoticeable to others. When you have body dysmorphic disorder, you intensely obsess over your appearance and body image, repeatedly checking the mirror, grooming or seeking reassurance, sometimes for many hours each day. Your perceived flaw and the repetitive behaviours cause you significant distress and impact your ability to function in your daily life.
I believe my Body Dysmorphia started at an early age, I was always bullied at school and had traumatic experiences at home, including close family members who suffered from Eating Disorders. My BDD got more severe when I finally started losing weight, and I never realised how common it was with people who lost a significant amount of weight.
Ever since losing weight I have been a lot more focused on my body. Showing my body online, sharing before & after photos and having my weight loss the main focus of my Instagram made me focus more on everything wrong with it. I have huge difficulties trying to embrace my slimmer figure, and often detach myself from before & after photos that I post online.
I find it extremely hard to see any changes with my body, even when I compare my heaviest & lightest photos together. Another problem that has come along with the social media side is a huge sense of being a failure and being a hypocrite when I ‘eat unhealthily’. This then often leads to a cycle of binge eating and feeling the guilt, shame & failure all over again. It becomes a never-ending cycle.
I often have days where I want to cry as I can’t see any differences in my before & afters. I sometimes could look for hours at my body, and only point out and focus on all the flaws. it’s like having intense tunnel vision, zooming in on my bum and tummy, all the problem areas on my body.
I always wanted to try and be a positive influence on people, to share my journey to show others that it is doable, but most days I feel like a failure and a fraud. I feel like I am back at the beginning again, and often question why people look to me for inspiration when I only feel like a fraud.
On a good day I can cope better and can convince myself it is all in my head, but those days are far and few between. Most days I don’t have the energy to fight the intrusive thoughts, as I am so exhausted from the battles the day before. The mental war seems like it will never end, but I try, I keep fighting. It’s extremely hard to share the bad days with friends and family sometimes, when I try to explain how I feel too fat to wear shorts or that I feel like I look like my before photos, it ends in a battle where they are screaming at me telling me how beautiful I am but I just feel worse because to me it feels so real, yet they cannot even come close to seeing my perspective.
I believe that one day my BDD won’t feel like a death sentence, that I will be able to feel good about myself without intrusive thoughts straight after telling me how disgusting I am. Deep down I am optimistic that if I can’t conquer my demons, I can at least make peace with them and get a truce in this mental battle that I am fighting.
I want you to know that if you suffer from Body Dysmorphia, you’re not alone. It doesn’t discriminate and the invisible battles you fight are still valid, even if it takes place in the mind.
You are beautiful,
and you deserve to believe that.
& So do I.
Lots of love, S x