Body Dysmorphic Disorder - One Year On

It’s been one year since I spoke about life with Body Dysmorphic Disorder on the blog. A lot can happen in a year and many things change and today I’m going to share where I’m at in my progress and the things I have learnt to live with day by day.

mental health blogger UK Body Dysmorphic Disorder story and advice. Mental health blog UK.

When I was eighteen I was diagnosed with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. It was during therapy for my OCD and I was in a bit of a state with how I looked. I had become obsessed with trying to make my skin super smooth and was spending hours a week scrubbing my face with random face washes trying to remove any raised skin and imperfections. I saw my skin as the enemy and looking back now there was nothing wrong with it but at the time all I could see was a disfigurement. I had become obsessed with the portions of my body and I would spend hours at a time looking at it trying to work out why one side wasn’t the same as the other. Then the fear of the mirror came and I would try to avoid looking in the mirror as I didn’t want to see anything.

Fast forward a year latter I have done a lot of self love and growing. I’m still not 100% with myself and I don’t think I ever will be fully but I’m content and I’m OK with how I look. To get to this point it took a lot of growing and education. One of the first things I started to tell myself was Instagram is edited and there are filters, lighting and makeup - which is fine but for someone with BDD you can’t see that when your right in the middle of it. I learnt that no ones skin looks how it looks on the internet and I stopped becoming obsessed with trying to make it look “air brushed” in real life and I’m so much happier with it. Yes I still get spots, I have a few right now which have become part of my family, but I’m not obsessed by them and scrubbing them hundred’s of times a day. I have learnt that images are just that and they are not real life and it was such a weight off my shoulders.

When BDD really takes hold of you it does with a strong grip. It’s in the same category as OCD, which I also have, and you can see that because it’s obsessive. I’m now a lot more educated in healthy food and exercise which before hand was I’d eat or not eat or I would just hit working out hard or not move. Both in the end made me look at my body and be sad and pissed off and that wasn’t healthy. Now I eat a balanced diet and I have my little treats each evening but I don’t comfort eat, which I did when I felt low about my body! I have slowly lost weight that I gained when I was ill with my pneumonia and I’m not obsessed by it which is a big deal for me.

When I look in the mirror now I don’t let myself become obsessed by the fact my skin isn’t great or my jeans are a little tighter than normal. I eat well and I work out but I put now pressure on myself to do so. I know that images on the internet are just that and they are edited and I don’t compare myself to them. At times I do still have low days with my BDD, don’t get me wrong I’m no where near cured, but it’s not as bad. I guess I now can see when BDD is taking over and making me see things in a bad light and I just need to take a step back and realise it’s not me, it’s it!

It’s taken a long time for me to get here and I think that comes with growing up and education. I addressed this issue a few times in therapy but most of the work has just been me teaching myself about this disorder and bad thinking habits. I’m in a better place with my body and self image and it’s a nice feeling.

If you have BDD and need advice please have a look at my last post here. I share some information on symptoms and places you can get help

Stacey Barber