The Truth Behind Body Dysmorphia

:: NOTE :: I am going to 'get real' in this post and make myself a bit vulnerable - which is scary - but this is my current struggle that I am working to overcome, and I want to let others know the truth behind body dysmorphia. If you suffer from body dysmorphia, know that you are not alone, and that it can get better. And without further adieu, blog post #25...

Body Dysmorphia...

What does that even mean? In short by definition, it means "obsessive preoccupation that some aspect of one's own appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix it."

So - what does a person with Body Dysmorphic Disorder look like?

Like this...

Or this...

Or even like this...

You see, contrary to what seems to be popular belief, those with Body Dysmprohic Disorder do not always hide from the world, avoid social media platforms, never take pictures of themselves, and never leave their house. I am sure that there are some cases where that is a reality, but that has never been my reality, and it certainly does not mean that I don't suffer greatly from body dysmorphia.
By looking at all three of these pictures that I have chosen to put on display, I could tell you the story behind those pictures. I could tell you the countless times I took them and the steps that I took to hide some part of myself. Having Body Dysmorphic Disorder does not mean that I don't take pictures; quite the contrary! It means I take pictures over and over and over again. It means I am always scrutinizing how I look in these pictures, and trying to hide some part of my body or face in the picture. It means that I use pictures as a means to "check" how I look. It means that when the rare occasion happens that I am feeling OKAY about how I look that day, I take a lot of pictures of myself and those are the ones that I post on social media. It means that I hide behind Snapchat filters in almost every picture on my Instagram because they conceal all of the things that I think are wrong with the way I look. Sometimes, I avoid the camera like the plague because I am so horrified by how I look that day and I do not want those pictures to confirm my reality. Other days, I spend hours taking pictures "just checking" or because I want to capture the rare moment when I am liking some part of my appearance. It takes up a lot of time. It wastes a lot of time. And don't even get me started on the mirror. Sometimes, I think the mirror is the worst invention of the history of inventions. The mirror and I have a love-hate relationship. I spend so much time in front of the mirror checking to see what I look like, doing and re-doing my hair, and examining my skin. It is like reflective surfaces are a magnet for me, and I cannot seem to pull myself away.

There are some days where I want to hide; where I cancel plans and avoid going places just because I do not want anyone to see me. There are some days where I change my outfit like crazy throughout the day trying to get it to look "just right." There are some days where I cry in bed after spending what seems like forever in front of the mirror because I cannot seem to get my hair right, my skin looks terrible, and I don't like my face for whatever reason. I dread other people taking pictures of me. It is one thing if I am taking a picture of myself, because I have control over the camera and how it is angled and what it shows, but when other people take my picture, I am filled with intense fear.

Another common myth about Body Dysmorphic Disorder debunked...
It is different than an eating disorder. Just because you have an eating disorder, it does not necessarily mean that you have BDD. And just because you have BDD, it does not necessarily mean you have an ED. In fact, for many people with BDD, it is not about weight. And that is the distinguishing feature between the two. Eating disorders primarily manifest through obsessions surrounding weight and body size. Body Dysmorphic Disorder manifests through being dissatisfied with a body part or parts (typically not weight related). As someone with an eating disorder AND body dysmorphia, I see the difference between the two. The eating disorder (though somewhat about looks) was for me, more about a sense of control. Body dysmorphia makes me despise parts of my body. It makes me feel ugly. It makes me feel alone and envious of the people around me; how can they all be so pretty while I look like THIS?

As you can see, there is overlap between BDD and ED's, but they present differently and sometimes look very different too.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is more than just a bad body image day. It is an illness that distorts how you see yourself. It is an illness that makes you forget what is really important in life. Because, I know that looks aren't everything. But when you are looking in the mirror and feel disgusted with what you see, it can easily become your world.

So - that is the truth. The reality behind body dysmorphia. Mirrors, cameras and beauty products become your best friend, and maybe even your worst enemy.

But there IS hope. You CAN get better from body dysmorphia. It takes a lot of hard work, and I am currently in the process of working on tackling my own issues with body dysmorphia. It is no easy task, but I know one can get better from BDD. And I hold onto the that hope because I am maintaining recovery from my eating disorder. If I can overcome my ED and get to a place that I never in a million years thought I would get to, I can do this too.


  1. Thank you for allowing your readers to read such an honest post and sharing what living with BDD is truly like. Stay strong beautiful!


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