"Body dysmorphia disorder is a mental disorder in which you can't stop thinking about one or more perceived defects or flaws in your appearance — a flaw that, to others, is either minor or not observable. But you may feel so ashamed and anxious that you may avoid many social situations." - Mayo Clinic
Since a child, I have always been a chubby girl. Now I know we all have different definitions of what is fat and what is chubby and what is obese but that is for professionals to discuss. I never looked obese exactly. I am and always will be plump, and I have nothing wrong with that, to be honest. The problem lies within my head and my own perspective of myself. Around the age of ten I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, which for those of you who are not familiar, it meant that my thyroid was under active. In my case, it was practically dormant. Without a thyroid, you basically have no metabolism and so everything you eat becomes a love handle.
My doctors sent me to a million specialist because no matter what they prescribed or who I saw, I was not getting any thinner. They would categorize me under obese and simply tell me what to eat every visit. What they didn't understand, was that their methods were not working. Again, I was never too large of a child but everyone made me feel that way. Every time I tried to have a meal, someone would ask me "oh wait! Are you allowed to eat that?" They would sometimes whisper when they talked about me. They made me feel huge when in reality I was an overweight kid but I played sports and I was active. I was fat but not what they made me think I am. My father even made me watch TLC My 600 lbs Life once, warning me of my future. This is where my obsession roots.
Child and 5th grade
Like I said, I have no problem with being a chubby girl, I love myself. However, I am constantly reminding myself that I don't weigh or look like someone who weighs even 400 lbs. I have to constantly look at pictures of overweight people and remind myself that is not me. I don't struggle from this dysmorphia and I wouldn't consider it an actual disorder for me, but something is there. Some of the signs of BDD are often checking your appearance in reflections, comparing yourself to others in some way and camouflaging your defect somehow. All three I am guilty of.
When I look in the mirror, I say to myself " Wow, I am a pretty girl aren't I? I do have a pretty face." I'm constantly forgetting what I look like and imagining a much larger, unattractive version. I obsess over the fact that I look like a fat slob, though I don't. I can't help it.
My friends tell me how beautiful I am. My boyfriend adores me, but as long as I am not convinced I cannot shut the little voice in my head off that keeps telling me to check the mirror and make sure you have not turned into the fat slob my family always made me feel like. They made me feel like I was broken and like I was a medical mystery, but I was just a fat kid. I mean, how many of us were chubby when we were young? IT'S NORMAL. If I picture myself sitting in class or imagine how I look I cannot picture anything besides a 400 lbs mess.
Now, please do not perceive this as some kind of fat-shaming article because it is not. I am fat right now typing this, but the "fat slob" I refer to is an extremely large person that is a version of me, someone who I do not want to be. Someone who I am not but always feel like. Someone who is not healthy and should get help. I am not her. But on a daily basis when I think about myself that is who I see. When I look in the mirror there is a small sigh of relief because I see cute chubby ole' me, but when I look away I can no longer remember my true self. Instead, I see the person I never was but the person my family made me feel like. I cannot stop myself from constantly being afraid of what I look like. I do not have an obsession with being skinny, I do like my actual self and I do not want to be skinny, to be honest. My obsession is my constant outlook of myself and my looks.
The fact that I cannot actually remember what I look like when I am not looking at myself is a problem. The fact that I immediately see an overweight unattractive girl is a problem. The fact that I have to look at pictures of the people I do not want to look like to remind myself that I am not them is a problem. I do have a problem, but I am working on it. I love myself, but I keep forgetting that.
8th and 12th grade