Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Living with Body Dysmorphia


If you read my previous post about anxiety, you'll be aware that it's something I have struggled with from a young age. Over the last few years, I have come to terms with recognising the symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder in myself - BDD for short. I believe this is something that has been with me since the age of around 7 years old, therefore I decided it was time to sit down and ramble to my hearts content about my story of living with BDD. 

I apologise in advance if there are any parts that don't make much sense. This post is more of a brain dump, somewhere that I feel comfortable sharing aspects of my life that I haven't really told anyone about.

For those of you who may not be familiar with what body dysmorphic disorder actually is, it's basically an anxiety disorder that leads you to view yourself in a very distorted way. Think of it as having low self esteem, but maximising that feeling by 100. 

I suppose I should start from where I feel this all stems from, my childhood. I think it's fair to say that my primary school was quite "clique-y". I know right, how ridiculous does that sound? But it was. That's probably when I started comparing myself to others. 

I was blessed with going through puberty at quite an early age, lucky me. This meant my body started going through all the changes towards the end of primary school. Again, lucky me. I wouldn't say I was bullied as a child, but having your body constantly subjected to teasing by other children wasn't exactly a great time, especially when you lived with one of them. Over the years during high school, my self esteem basically disappeared and it was almost as if I went into a shell of myself. Unless I was with my friends, I would just keep my head down and spend lessons daydreaming.

Non-uniform days were the ones I would dread the most. I was in no way overweight, but there was something in my brain that just wouldn't accept that. I would see everyone else in their cute outfits and I'd just be in my usual jeans and t-shirt, too self conscious to wear anything I felt good in because I felt like my peers would notice everything. One thing I will say though, is I am so proud of myself for going to prom. If it wasn't for my best friend, there would have been absolutely no way I would have turned up. 


Skip forward a couple of years to where I'm 17/18. This is where the realisation of my body dysmorphia became apparent. The only way to describe it is I hated my body, I could hardly even look at myself. Panic attacks before leaving the house became a regular occurrence, as well as changing my outfits approximately 4 times before each outing. My relationship with food became a struggle as I used it as a comfort but that's a whole other story.

I went ahead and made a little flowchart (putting my year 5 Microsoft Word skills to use) to somehow explain my mindset when I'm going through a tricky patch.
Since starting Slimming World and doing it on and off for over a year, my confidence (as well as my relationship with food) has improved enormously. Don't get me wrong, like most of us, I still have my down days but I'm getting there slowly. There are of course still days where I view myself in this horrible, warped way where I can barely even look in the mirror or step foot inside Topshop, but I'm getting there.

The aim of me writing this was to not only help myself, but hopefully it can help others too. Body dysmorphic disorder is not talked about enough so if me writing this could teach just one person about it, then that's good enough for me.

If you made it this far down the post, thank you for listening to my mindless babble. I've been needing to write this for a while, just to get it off my damn chest haha. If any of you are ever feeling low, then please know that you can always talk to me, just send me a tweet or a DM. We've got this guys. x

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34 comments

  1. I'm sorry to hear you've had to deal with this, but I think it is very brave to talk about it. School and children can be so cruel, so going through it at that time must have been extra tough.
    Glad to hear things are getting better for you and you are growing in confidence. xx

    www.bethanlikes.com

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  2. I haven't heard of this before, it must have been so difficult and I'm sorry you had to go through it. I am so proud of you and where you are now, your confidence seems to be growing and you're a flipping AMAZING person. Sending big loves to you.

    Hannah xx

    www.thatthoughtfulgirl.blogspot.co.uk

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  3. I think it's amazing that you plucked up the courage to write this. I'd heard of body dysmorphia before, but never from a person's first hand experience. It's so good that you've been able to improve your confidence and food relationship, here#s to things getting even better for you

    Emily x | emilyclairewrites.com

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  4. BDD is definitely something that need to be discussed much more so people are aware of it and can actually take action. Thank you for this post! x

    www.thelisasworld.com

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    1. I totally agree, it isn't talked about enough and it's a shame that many people are unaware of it. x

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  5. You're very brave for opening up about this. I'm sorry you had to go through that, but am so happy that your confidence is growing. I think it's great that you posted this – I'm sure many find it helpful and feel less alone. XO

    Nicole | explosive bagel

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    1. Thank you lovely. I hope others do find it helpful, that's my aim anyway! xx

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  6. This sounds like such a difficult condition to live with, so congratulations to you for managing it in your life. I know we all look in the mirror and aren't always too happy with what we see, but this has really opened my eyes to how much other people can suffer.

    Lisa | farawaylisamae.com

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  7. I'm so glad you wrote this <3 I'm going through the exact same thing, and I've tried to suppress it for years now, but it's become so bad now, I really can't. I punish myself for eating food, I count calories religiously, I panic when I eat sometimes.

    Even though it breaks my heart that anyone is going through this, it's such a relief to know I'm not alone.

    Same to you about DM'ing, emailing, twitter, etc - if you're struggling, or need to talk, I'm here!

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    1. I'm sorry you're going through this too but I promise, we will get through it. I can totally relate to your comment and was planning to talk about my relationship with food in another post.

      I agree with you, it's a horrible thing to go through but knowing you're not alone in this is a comfort. x

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  8. I can't even imagine how difficult this must be for you! But you're so brave and strong for being open with not only yourself, but others too :) I'm sure this post will help other people who may be going through similar things! All the best to you xx

    Lauren | itslaurenvictoria.blogspot.co.uk

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    1. Thank you, this was such a lovely comment to read! xx

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  9. This is such a beautiful post and I'm so proud that you managed to write this - I doubt it was easy. I'm also sorry you have to deal with this (I developed some symptoms during my time with Anorexia but luckily don't really suffer any more), it's always the best people who have to suffer xxx

    Sam // Samantha Betteridge

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    1. Oh thank you so much *wipes tear* haha!
      I hope you're well lovely. xxx

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  10. This was such a good read and I'm so glad you took the time to write this up. I think loads of people should read this because it is another thing no one "sees" so it must not "exist."

    S .x http://ramblingsofayoungprgirl.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you, that means a lot. I agree, as with all mental health disorders, it's an "invisible illness" meaning that unfortunately a lot of it goes undiagnosed as people aren't aware of the symptoms because they aren't physical. x

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  11. I am so proud of you for having the courage for writing this. You wrote it in such a powerful way, and I recommend this read to many xxx

    Jasmine || http://www.blogsallbeautyy.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. You are very brave to write this post! Well done lovely!!! I also have suffered with BDD and anorexia so I know what you have gone through lovely! Keep staying strong xx

    Thrifty vintage fashion

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    1. Aw thank you Nicole. I hope things are better for you now. xx

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  13. I really loved this post, Kat! I too suffered when I went through puberty early, and kids love to point out an alienate anyone that's different. I definitely did see my own eating patterns in your (very well designed) flow chart too - I definitely need to have a little think about my relationship with food too. All my love, girl! <3 xxxx

    Holly | www.thekittyluxe.com

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    1. It's so comforting knowing that I'm not the only one going through this and it's definitely reassuring as I was so scared to post this haha!
      You can talk to me anytime lovely, love you lots. xxx

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  14. Aw Kat I've heard of this and I can only imagine how tough it must be to struggle with this. It sounds like you had it tough growing up... But writing about it can definitely help.. And help others too! So glad you wrote this post ... It'll definitely help others !!! Stay strong my lovely ! You have all my love and support as always beautiful lady!
    Saira
    www.throughtheglitterglass.wordpress.com

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    1. Oh thank you lovely. You're such a wonderful friend to me, love you! xx

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  15. I've heard of BDD but didn't know too much about it. I'm so sorry you had to go through with it, but I think you're so brave for posting this and it's so well written. I suffer from mental health issues and I think it's so important for people to understand how much it can affect someone, so thank you for posting this!

    Hannah xx
    www.hannahemilylane.com

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    1. This was such a lovely comment, thank you so much. xx

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  16. Thank you for sharing your personal experience back from years ago, hon. BDD is something you have to learn to live with but at the same time I know you are winning. Every day. No matter what you might think yourself. You are the winner! Look how far you've come! Needless to say, you are a beautiful person, inside and out. I have gained quite a lot of extra weight due to stress/mild depression/feeling anxious since I moved countries (yet again). This is something I am working on as well as my mental well-being. I can relate to so many things you mentioned. Big hugs!
    xox Nadia
    http://www.mielandmint.com/

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  17. It's a horrible thing, and I'm sorry it's something you have to live with! It's good to share though, and I'm sure you've helped others with your mindless babble! ;)

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  18. I found this post very helpful and almost comforting. For a while now I have been thinking I may have BDD, and reading this has kinda confirmed it for me. Thank you for being so open about your experiences xo

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  19. I think it is brilliant that you talk about this because there is such a stigma around this type of thing and we need to get over it!

    Katie xx
    katieswaytohappy.blogspot.co.uk

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