Dysmorphic Disorder: A First Person Perspective
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Health and Wellness

My Fight With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

I am beautiful but sometimes the mirror says otherwise.

My Fight With Body Dysmorphic Disorder
Photo by kevin laminto on Unsplash

I have always been very active throughout my life, playing sports and staying in activities; keeping myself physically fit was never a concern of mine. It all stems from Faye Burns Dance Studio, the beginning of my athletic career.

In sixth grade, I realized I gain and lose weight relatively fast. I stopped dancing and within 2 months I gained probably 15 pounds. I was also in sixth grade, so you know what that means… school soccer began! I dropped those 15 pounds in a week. At least, that was what it felt like with our constant running.

Through middle school and high school, I stayed in soccer, so I maintained my weight very well.

College is a different story. Everyone talks about "Freshman 15," and I expected it because I have a weird love for pizza that I am not ashamed of. Being a freshman also meant alcoholic drinks all the time, so the extra weight gain wasn't a problem.

It's when my Dad passed away that things really started shifting.

I'm pretty sure I had an eating disorder. I'm not anorexic or bulimic, but I saw myself as bigger. It was like that picture where the skinny girl looks in the mirror, and her reflection is a huge version of herself.

This is Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Your reflection taunts you, whispers horrible things. I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy. I constantly put myself down and told myself I'd never be pretty because I was fat and would stay that way.

With Dad's loss still very fresh on my mind, my coping method was eating. Constant food. I mean I would go to Canes, Taco Bell and McDonald's in one go, then finish it off with a blizzard from DQ. I had a checkup with my doctor, and when the nurse said out loud "166 pounds" I almost broke down and cried.

I never realized how much weight I'd gained. I didn't realize I wore huge clothes because none of my clothes actually fit.

I dated this guy who became mentally and physically abusive - not a cry for help, just stating a fact that pertains to my journey. My anxiety about being good enough for him spiraled into me noticing one day that I hadn't eaten in four days—I had stopped eating completely.

I drank two cups of coffee a day and had a bowl of Ramen occasionally. I was constantly nauseous, constantly wondering what I was doing wrong and watched the weight melt off. I noticed when I started fitting into my clothes from high school—two years later—and realized it was becoming an issue because I was losing too much weight, too fast.

Today I weigh 136 pounds, and I feel beautiful.

I don't want anyone getting the wrong impression of this: 166 pounds is not fat, but when you weigh 135 pounds and under your entire life and all of a sudden you've gained 35 pounds in a matter of three months, you notice.

While still battering the mirror, I diagnosed myself with Nervous Stomach, which is where you have so much anxiety you feel nauseous all the time and have to force yourself to eat—but when you do, you almost throw up because you don't have an appetite and nothing tastes good.

This was, and is, an everyday battle that painkillers can't fix.

Instead of having anxiety about being good enough for a guy, now it's more focused on the worry of losing my mom. I know it's crazy to say out loud, but when you're hit with the phone call that someone's passed suddenly, you start to go into this panic mode of "what would you do if this happened," which is exactly what triggers my anxiety attacks.

For example, Mom and Gram hit a deer, totaling their car. When Mom called and gave me the news, she was fine and everything was taken care of, but my immediate reaction was hyperventilation. Questions like "What would you do if your Mom passed away right now?" are ones that cause snowballs in my brain, making my heart ache like I had lost another parent.

My relationship with mirrors has changed drastically. Not to be a narcissist or anything, but I love the way I look. I just wish I could feel as beautiful as that. My nervous stomach keeps me thin, there is no denying that. My weight loss story is not one to duplicate.

If you're going through a relationship thinking and feeling you're not good enough, please, get out of it.

No one is more important than you. I lose myself loving others, but when I realize this, I take myself out of the situation. Later is always better than never.

Relationships and I don't get along, but that's a whole other article in itself.

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