the truth behind body dysmorphic disorder: my daily struggle

you post an instagram picture of you eating an ice cream cone.

it’s summer.

that’s a “normal” thing to do.

you feel guilty for eating it, but you decide to post it anyways.

you don’t feel confident about how you look in your white tank top, but the picture’s already out.

you don’t like how your arms look.

you don’t like how your cheeks look swollen from your smile.

you just don’t like how you look.

minutes later, you receive “likes” and comments from your friends praising you for how “perfect” you are and how “beautiful” you look.

you check the picture again, but only see flaws.

you try and see what they see, but you can’t.

no matter how hard you try, you just can’t.

you don't see what everyone else sees. all you want to do is cut away the imperfections.

you don’t see what everyone else sees. all you want to do is cut away the imperfections.

body dysmorphic disorder, more commonly known as b.d.d., makes everyday a struggle.

while we all have something we don’t like about our appearance, however, b.d.d. is disabling.

b.d.d. has made me cancel plans and literally hide from people.

b.d.d. has caused so many fights with my family.

b.d.d. has distroyed more relationships than i can count.

b.d.d. has caused me to relapse again and again.

but, my b.d.d. does not define me.

i was diagnosed with the disorder during the summer of 2012.

i was entering recovery for anorexia and my doctor noticed some of my behavior was compulsive and irrational.

i would check my stomach multiple times a day and pinch myself if i thought it looked “too fat.”

i would play with my cheeks because i thought they were “too big” and made me look fatter than i was.

i would pull the skin back on my arms because i thought they were flabby and avoided anything sleeveless, fearing i would repulse people.

sometimes i would start crying uncontrollably and claw at my “trouble spots” until i was covered in blood.

i hated my outward appearance and could not understand why people were “lying to my face” by telling me i was beautiful.

because i had an eating disorder, most of these thoughts were tied to my anorexia and self-harm tendencies.

but after looking into my thoughts a little further, i was diagnosed.

finally there was a name for the feelings i had.

finally there was an explanation for why i saw myself the way i did.

one of the common misconceptions about b.d.d. is that a person with the disorder sees herself like a person in a funhouse mirror.

a person with b.d.d. fixates on perceived body imperfections.

for me, this primarily includes my face, my arms and my stomach.

when i look in the mirror, i focus on these areas with an intense tunnel vision.

yes, i can see the rest of my body, but my eyes are drawn, and glued, to those three spots.

on a good day, i can cope and tell myself that the things i believe i see are all in my head.

on a good day, i can post a picture on instagram and not worry too much.

on a good day, i can walk past a mirror and not feel like i need to cry.

but, bad days happen.

and that’s okay.

i’d be lying if i said i never have days where i cry because of what i see in the mirror.

i’d be lying if i said therapy solved all my problems.

i’d be lying if i said i loved myself and what i look like.

i’d be lying if i said one day i’ll look in the mirror and see what everyone else sees when they glance my way.

b.d.d. is real.

b.d.d. affects roughly one percent of the americn population.

b.d.d. is not a death sentence, like i once believed it was.

no, i will never understand what my instagram followers saw in that picture i posted.

i’ve accepted that.

but, i will never give up on loving myself.

i will never give up on trying to see beauty in who i am.

i will never stop speaking out and fighting my disorders everyday.

i am more than my b.d.d.

you are more than your b.d.d.

you are beautiful.

you deserve to believe that.

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