Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) can make you feel crazy, insecure, and scared. I know from experience, but it's really hard to understand when you have no clue what it feels and looks like. How could you look at yourself and see something else? Is it an illusion? Are you hallucinating? What's wrong with you? Why can't you just stop focusing on a "flaw"* that isn't there?
Due to this misunderstanding, many with BDD are left embarrassed, ashamed, self-conscious, and anxious as f*ck.
To clear some things up, BDD is a mental health disorder where one is overwhelmed with thoughts about a specific, perceived imperfection in their appearance. The hard part is, while people with BDD are preoccupied with a defect, others may not notice it at all. Hence, we sound crazy and maybe even self-obsessed.
Everyone has something they don't like about their appearance, yet people with BDD are so hyperfocused on these "flaws" that they can spend hours and hours a day fixating on it.
Looking one way and feeling like you look completely different is really hard to accept and recognize. Don't worry, you are not alone. Approximately 1 in 5 people have BDD, and it could be even more common because "people with this disorder are often reluctant to reveal their BDD symptoms to others."
BDD is an extremely common psychiatric disorder, but we don't talk about it enough. Society barely talks about it at all.
Everyone experiences body dysmorphia differently, but there are general signs that you can look out for.
1. Feeling ashamed of your body or certain body parts/features
2. Body checking every time you pass a mirror
3. You avoid having your picture taken
4. You constantly compare your body to others.
5. You feel emotional distress when it comes to your appearance
6. You are preoccupied with a specific body part and/or "flaw"
7. You tend to overexercise
8. You wear a ton of makeup to cover perceived "flaw"
9. You change your clothes throughout the day
10. You have one cosmetic procedure after another
11. You consciously choose to avoid social situations.
12. You constantly ask other people for validation about your appearance
13. You struggle with paying attention to school, work, or relationships because you can't stop focusing on the said "flaw"
14. You're nervous that others will notice and negatively judge the "flaw"
15. Repeatedly moving your clothes or accessories around to hide a "flaw"
16. You worry that other people are making fun of how you look
17. You have different rituals in the hopes of improving or removing the "flaw"
*Take note that the word flaw is in quotations because you are not defective nor flawed. Remember, you are lovable and there is no such thing as perfection. Nevertheless, imperfection is perfect.