Thursday, January 27, 2011

Body Dysmorphia

Lack of Control. Destruction of my sense of self. It all translates into a perceived physical manifestation. For me this is body dysmorphia. What you see, is not what I see. I’ve been told over and over what wonderful shape I’m in, how great my body is, how beautiful, how this, how that… and I smile politely and say ‘thank you’. If I’m having a particularly good day, I may even believe the compliment. Or I should say, I do believe that whomever is telling me these things believes it, I, however do not see it. If I’m not having a good day, the voice in the back of my head finds ulterior motives for such compliments. Especially if they come from men – as a means to get into my pants, or get something else from me. I know I don’t look so good, how could someone else really believe what they’re saying, they must want something. Maybe it’s a little paranoid.

You may see someone pretty. All I see are my flaws. I can’t see myself as a whole picture most days. I see pieces in a shattered mirror, amplified, multiplied until that’s all that is in focus. If everything isn’t perfect, the whole picture is flawed. And nothing is ever perfect unless I am in control. Control of my body, my body image, is key. If I can control what I eat, how good my work outs are, they manifest physically into a very lovely physical result. My hard work is rewarded with results I can see and I feel wonderful for the accomplishment. If I slip a little, indulge just a bit too much, I see it the next day, amplified grotesquely. All I can do is obsess over what I must do to correct what I’ve done to myself. All the while hiding from those around me so they won’t see my shame in what I’ve done as my anxiety rages out of control. How I’ve lost control.

Everything is about control.


5 comments:

  1. i relate to this completely. I've spoken to a couple others with BPD who are also BDD. Do you think there is a direct link? I wouldn't doubt it. They've studied the way BDD people process visual information and what they found, was that our brains are hyper-focused on details far more than the average person. I suspect it's why I'm a good representational artist too, and I'm hyper aware of the subtleties in everything.

    The way I put it is that I simply can't see myself properly. And as you say, I can't see myself as a whole. I'm forever dissecting myself into parts, obsessing over those parts. And it's contagious, it goes from one part of myself to another - all magnified flaws that become all-consuming preoccupations. I find this inability to see myself as a whole, to appreciate what others do daily, very sad, especially since i get lots of 'positive' attention. Why can't I do it? And it's not about what i know, it's about what I feel on a given day. If i get attention, i'm good, if i get less attention than i need, i'm suddenly just average, or worse. (btw, i don't like being average - it's very narcy of me).

    Sometimes I glimpse what others see in me, there are times I look back at photos and wonder how I questioned my looks so much. But in general, my confidence is shaky. It's kind of narcissistic, not vanity, just self-obsession.
    But yeah, i relate totally.

    Truth is, don't even listen to opinions, no matter how good, they aren't gonna give you that healthy self-image you need to get from yourself. Just think, in twenty years, you'll look back and wonder how crazy you were that you thought you were flawed and didn't see yourself for what you actually are. You'll regret not owning it.

    i don't trust my judgment, basically. I have to fake it till i convince my brain that I'm everything I want to feel I am. I know, it sounds like bullshit, but, it's about admitting that your brain is doing you a disservice, and basically you need to ignore it. (I have a mantra, i just say, 'It's my BPD talking, ignore it, it's silly'). Just a thought. :)

    Btw, i work in a bar, and i'm seen very much as an object. You mentioned misogyny in the workplace the other day, so, you can imagine what i deal with there from certain types.
    And I just hate to be scrutinised, told how to dress, how to wear my hair, etc. it's like being back at school. Yeah, i take these little things personally when I shouldn't. I get childish about it. It stems from the way my dad was with me.
    Sorry, i went off-topic. oops.

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  2. I was searching on google and found your page. I also have BPD. I was actually looking for body image and BPD, as my body image is probably totally distorted too. The thing is, its just not completely similar to Body Dysmorphic Disorder (I used to think that I maybe suffered from that). I mean, I sometimes even dare to think that I am pretty (is this just the unstable self view?) and I do get attention quite a lot when I go out.. its just what both of you are saying.. you cannot see yourself as a whole.. or maybe, it is more that when I add all the parts together it does not fit as a whole in the way I wish it to be. Which frustrates me really intensely.

    I also get obsessed about like almost everything: My hair, my skin, my nose, lips, eyes, body shape, the SIZE of my head (yes, really) etc.. sometimes its presence is not that clear, but its always there.. even when I go out and act arrogant and live in a short "delusion" of prettyness. A day later I will break again, because that delusion is over and I see the me in the mirror that I do not want to see at all. Everything is wrong again then. And also, when I go out and do not get as much attention as I feel I should get (maybe a bit narcissistic), my delusion crumbles as well.. its awful to go through all the time.

    I wish I could be satisfied with being just average. Like the comment above me states: I cannot live with the idea of being average either. My first boyfriend actually called me 'just average' and gave me a 7 on a scale that ranged from 0 to 10.. I will never forget that.. as well as many times I have been called ugly or just not good enough, or less pretty than a friend. All those things make me very depressed.

    I am "happy" (not the best word) to find that it is recognizable to others as well.. I mean, I wish you would not have to deal with this problem of course, but a piece of me feels a bit better knowing that other people have these things and can relate to it. I really hope one day you will be satisfied with your appearance. I bet you are both really pretty :)!

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  3. The thing about disorder diagnosis and checklists is that they’re all just a little different for each person. How each person manifests symptoms may be different than the obvious interpretation. Even I have days where I think I’m actually pretty, the problem is it never lasts. To me it does seem that BDD might be an option, but I’m no doctor.

    A big part of why I write this blog is to show others that they’re not alone. Or maybe it’s a kind of hope that I’m not alone and others will let me know, just like you have. I know I’m working to accept and appreciate myself even though it is hard. I hope the same for you too. ::hugs::

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  4. This is indeed how I feel very often, strange to read that someone else is having the same structure of thoughts...

    thank you for this website

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  5. You're quite welcome. It's my hope to provide some comfort if and where I can. Even if it's just letting people know they're not alone.

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Leave me a comment! It makes me feel good and less paranoid about talking to myself =)

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