Body Dysmorphia – A silent battle, a real war

Good Evening lovely people, I hope your weekends are going well so far.

As an Anorexia sufferer, I also suffer with BDD (which is body dysmorphic disorder.) A description being: “An anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look and to spend a lot of time worrying about their appearance.” However, I must add that you do NOT have to be suffering from an eating disorder in order to have this condition. Also, you can suffer at any age, you can be any gender or any race prior to beliefs of this being a ‘girl’s condition.’

Body dysmorphia is a silent, real battle that not many people are aware of meaning it often gets mistaken for ‘attention seeking.’ However, a person with BDD (male or female) will see their body differently to how others see it. For example, a person with Anorexia may view themselves as ‘fat and obese’ when they are actually the opposite. When a person with this condition sees something, it becomes very difficult and almost impossible to change that thought process. Telling somebody with BDD that they are not fat, or that their nose isn’t too big will NOT change their thoughts and feelings surrounding this.

“A psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imaginary detects in their appearance.”

Symptoms of BDD: poor body image, low self-esteem, worrying excessively about appearance, developing compulsive behaviours to deal with worries, excessive body checking, frequent weighing, self harming and comparing ones self to others. (These are just a select few symptoms.)

Causes of BDD: Eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bullying, trauma, genes and the environment.

Describing body dysmorphia would be like telling somebody to look at the red curtains, when the curtains are quite clearly green. Both people see different things and neither can see what the other person does, no matter how much convincing is done. Similarly, no matter how much you tell a person with BDD that their thoughts aren’t true, it’ll just go over their head and they will continue to believe what they’ve already believed for such a long time. It’s like a mouse staring into a mirror and seeing an Elephant staring back. Although the facts highlight the fact that your visions aren’t correct, it becomes very difficult to see past it and to see and believe what the people around you do.

Most people will pick faults with their bodies and their appearances and I can safely say that I’m yet to meet one person who’s comfortable in their own skin. Self acceptance isn’t easy; it is possible and can be done with a combination of therapy and mindfulness, or so I believe. Having said this, change doesn’t happen overnight and body positivity isn’t an easy thing to achieve. I cannot speak on a person level about finding body acceptance, but hopefully I will one day. Unfortunately we live in a World where people believe their values and self worth will increase if they become a certain weight or size, if you own certain attributes or if you’ve travelled The World or not. It’s vital to remember that these things are not as important as love, health and happiness. Never put anybody down when they are on a journey to self love and acceptance.

Body dysmorphia is a real issue that people suffer from – please show love, support and understanding to those struggling. Do not become stressed if people are having a bad day or if they are seeing things that you cant. Try to change the topic from talking about bodies and appearances in order to lift the stress and focus off the individual. In addition to this, if you are struggling please speak up.

Lots of love,

Laur xxx

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