What Body Dysmorphic Disorder Feels Like | Body Language


I remember in primary school,
the teacher asked us what we would all do
if we won the lottery. And my peers were saying,
you know, “Go on holiday, “give my mum some presents,” and all I could think about was,
I’d get my ears pinned back, a nose job, my forehead reduced.
I’d have a skin peel. I was so convinced that the way
I looked was horrific and abnormal. The only explanation
I could think of was that I was a scientific experiment
gone horribly wrong. When I was a teenager,
I discovered make-up but, for me, it’s more of
a camouflage so that I could put on a mask and hide what
I thought was this hideous face. It got to the point where
I couldn’t leave the house without three layers of make-up on, and that’s if I could
leave the house at all. I was housebound for most
of my adolescence, really. In my head, I would feel as though,
by me not going outside, by me not inflicting
my appearance on others, it was saving them from
the horror of having to see me. Because for me to go outside
and show the world my face, that’s really selfish. They don’t deserve that.
They didn’t ask for that. If I was to leave the house,
I’d inevitably get a panic attack. At this point, you’re really fed up
of staying indoors all the time, so you take a step outside. And, you know, the cold air
hits on your sweaty face. By this point, you’re sweating
profusely. Everywhere… Everywhere you can sweat,
even in your elbows. And every step, your heartbeat
gets quicker and quicker, and then everything goes blurry. You can’t even feel
the floor beneath you. It’s like you’re floating but,
at the same time, you’re so heavy. And then you just feel like
you’re going to throw up or go to the toilet,
or both at the same time. Sensations of clothes on my skin
just felt like burning. Intolerant to anything. Making me more sensitive to being alive in this body. I was just so debilitated
and I just could not function. I thought, “I must book
an appointment with my GP,” even though I had to cancel the
appointment so many times before cos I couldn’t leave the house. When I finally got there, I remember seeing this really
beautiful blonde woman as my doctor. I thought, “Great!” SHE LAUGHS I could only communicate
with her what was going on through writing it down,
so I wrote down some bullet points. “Can’t really leave the house. “Every time I do,
I have a panic attack. “Can barely leave my bed. “Panic attack if I get ready.” It just got too exhausting. I considered ending my life,
because I’m so ugly. And she comes back and says, “Yep, it sounds like you’ve got
anxiety and depression.” So, I thought,
great that I’m getting help, but it just felt like there was
something a bit more to it. I got a referral to a psychologist. It was like he was inside my mind. I was like, “What?” And he was like,
“Yep, there’s a name for it. “It’s called
body dysmorphic disorder, “and we can beat it.” Now, when I think about myself, I
have to immediately look internally. You know, I don’t want to
blow my own trumpet, but I can be quite funny. I can make people around me,
like my friends and family, smile, and that really makes me
warm inside. You know, I am motivated to
help others, and I’m motivated by kindness, and I think that’s actually a really
nice quality for anyone to have. So, I’m 25 now, and I’ve been in treatment for BDD for about six, seven years, I guess. It’s a work in progress. Every time I relapse, it’s always less worse
than the time before. I still battle every day
with these feelings of not being good enough,
and low self-worth, and just feeling like living is so much more difficult
than just calling it. I just carry on, because I’m going to win
the war, eventually.

90 comments

  1. The thing I hate about my self is I have giant elephant ears and have a really high hairline.so when I go out any were I always wear a hat and a hoodie and always walk with my face to the ground. and I feel so ugly

  2. can anyone reply and help me figure out if i have BDD? i'm scared to bring it up to my parents because i feel like they won't believe me.

  3. I used to hate my face because people always told me that I looked like a relative of mine. He was the same relative that abused me and hurted people that I loved. I looked at him and saw a monster. If I looked like him then I was a monster too. I started to hate myself for what he did to me and for sharing the same dna as this despicable human. I remember feeling so stupid in my teenage years for wanting to die just by looking at a mirror, wanting to peel my face off, to beat and scratch it. I was told that caring so much about your face to the point that you couldn't leave the house or wanted to destroy yourself for it was superficial, was vanity. This was until I started therapy to treat depression and trauma, and discovered that this obsession that I've had with my face was pathological. It's weird to thing that we live in an environment that cares so much about beauty and still if you get obssessed with it you're stigmatized as vain. I'm afraid that with media and this virtual persona that we need to develop these days the rate of bdd patients will increase.

  4. I haven't looked in a mirror in years, I do however look only at my hair in the barber's mirror. How do you get to talking about these things I dont socialize at work I eat alone I haven't slept in two and a half days wide awake still. The only reason I'm here is for my Nan but when she goes, I go.

  5. I’m fat, I’m short, I have a bad head shape, I have half-closed eyes, I have an overbite, I have a chubby face, I have really bad hunchback posture, just a mess tbh.

  6. I always felt my smile was ugly, or my shoulders too wide, my height too short. I dreaded taking my clothes off to see myself. Stretch marks and scars everywhere. I spent a year inside my room, and in clothes too big for me.

  7. My face feels heavy, like around my mouth area and my eyebrows, so i put tape on them. Usually i use the tape to pull things "up" or in a way that i want them to be. Also it helps me feel covered up. Im only 18 and ive been doing this secretly for four years. I dont do it for too long because know it will damage my skin (im not sure if it actually has yet or if its my bdd making me think it has) but i feel okay when i do it. I can breath and my fave feels less over whelmed and heavy.

  8. Its frustrating because I dunno what I actually look like. I see pictures and they dont look like the mirror. I see my own videos and they dont look like those either. I dunno what I look like and it terrifies me. I constantly gain or lose weight because I think Im either too fat or too skinny. Right now I’m too fat 😂 I dunno what to do! I wish I didnt care but I do.

  9. I can spend up to 2-3 hours daily just looking at myself in the mirror. Looking at my stomach and sucking in the most o possibly can and then letting go. Chastising myself for being fat. I spend way too much time actually crying in the mirror at my appearance. Sometimes when I go out I look in the mirror or at windows in shops and I immediately get this feeling of dread that I’m obese and the only way to make myself feel better is to go home immediately. And hide. Sometimes I get mad at myself for eating more than 2 meals a day and liking food makes me feel like a pig. Idk if it is BDD bc I’ve never seen anyone about it but it sure as hell sounds like it and it sucks.

  10. I’m not fat but the natural healthy fat on my body makes me feel ugly and insecure. It’s very confusing

  11. When I was as little as three, I would do like a mental scan over my body. I would say to myself "normal, normal, normal" when looking over my head, chest, legs and feet, and then I would say "not normal" when I looked at my stomach. I just thought that was normal until around late last year when I first heard of bdd. It's horrible and I wouldnt wish it on my worst enemy.

  12. im so ugly I cant go out or let my family or anyone see me. im literally DISCUSTING. I look so deformed and ugly I want to die. the only thing making me feel a bit better is that im funny. but im so FRICKING UGLY. I want to peel my face off Im so gross.

  13. I just start crying and panicking and i don't think you'd call it a panic attack but I wouldn't beable to do anything without having tons of anxiety over my body

  14. It feels like everybody is staring at me. It makes me feel awful about my skin,lips,nose the list goes on. I feel like a monster.I have had is for 2.5 years and it sucks.

  15. Every reflection I come across, Be it, mirrors, car windows, shop windows, blank tv screens, etc, I always check my appearance to check if I look ok, but the next reflection would come along and I still need reassurance and I hate looking at myself from certain angles and on video and in some pictures

  16. I don't have BDD but I hate myself. So much. I can't even explain to someone how much I truly hate myself. Taking pictures instantly ruins my mood. I constantly say that I hate myself and that im ugly because its better to hear it from myself than others. Talking to other people makes me feel stupid because I feel like they think I'm really ugly or they're judging me. I feel as though I'm just some beggar talking to them and they're just trying to be nice to me because they have to. I like dressing up and doing my hair and makeup sometimes but at the end of the day I'm crushed because I have a mental breakdown and cry about how ugly I actually look. Part of the reason why I hate myself is because I compare myself to other people. Im realising more and more that I try to copy other pretty people so that I can also be like them and be liked by others. If there's a big day coming up I feel like I have to look nice and try to prove myself to others that I can also be good looking but I get insecure by how good other people look. I feel cheap and trashy and like I try too hard.

  17. It’s like this people tell you ur pretty you look at yourself and find out how ugly you think you are I have issues I can’t speak for every person but I wanna die I’m ugly skinny need help I’m alone

  18. I’ve got a love hate relationship with my body, right now it’s a hate relationship every time I go to hospital I get weighed and I’ve seen them put down my BMI and I know what the number means. I even look at my clothes and think they are way too small for me. I put them on and they fit me, I hide underneath baggy clothes most of the time. I take photos of me and that’s me, I look in the mirror and I look so different to what it looks like on the screen. I’ve been doing this since like 10 I’m 25 now and I’m still not in a comfortable place. I don’t go out much in summer because it’s too hot & I don’t ‘do’ summer clothes because that means showing off some skin. Everyone says I’m tiny but I don’t see it. I have to take my boyfriend with me shopping because I think I’m way bigger than what I am but, to me I’m still big. It’s like an endless vicious cycle x

  19. Yeah, I discovered in the 4th grade I was fat and horrifically ugly. Saved up for a nose job since that point. Got it done when i was 18. I can finally wear shorts in public and have gotten a little better about accepting my appearence; I’m 23 now. but still suffer from every now and then.

  20. From the moment I woke up from the moment I fell asleep each and every single day was just non-stop bombardment with intrusive thoughts about my body. It takes your life.

  21. In my case. My parent admitted to me being a physiogmomic project. My father was a clown , completely ruined me. I hope he is rotting in a hospital with a terminal illness

  22. My best friends make me feel bad about my appearance. They’re really supportive of me and they tell me I’m pretty but when I compare myself to them it makes me feel hideous. They get constantly chatted up by boys and I just stand in the back, ignored. I’m able to convince myself sometimes it’s beacuse I look so young. But sometimes I just feel like it’s because I’m ugly. I know I’m not sometimes, but then again I know I am. I hate puberty

  23. I just look in the mirror and see fat, always have, even during anorexia. I hate it. I hate my face, my body, everything. I'm trying to accept myself now but still struggling.

  24. I have body dysmorphia, depression and social anxiety i wanna get bitter life but i can't. I can't make any friend , i can't not think about suicide , i can't love my body but worst part is that your parent doesnt understand you

  25. I had severe BDD which started 6 years ago and lasted about 4 years. But now i'm much much better and think i'm a normal looking person. You can get better

  26. Anyone else do the opposite of avoiding mirrors?
    Just looking at one all day thinking god I wish I could change the way I look.

  27. I have BDD BPD depression anxiety and anger issues. I just want to die but I am too afraid so I just stay here suffering. My parents believe I am getting better but I am not and I don't know what to do anymore .I am 18 and I am this way since 13 .Also I was bullied from my teacher when I was 5 years old and then from from my classmates till I was 15 so I guess it's the trauma and last year I quitted school and I can't believe I am still existing and every morning I wake up I wish I didn't….I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me the reason I am saying all of these is because I just want someone to hear it.I want someone to tell my story to cause ive never told anyone all these stuff except my therapist.If you read all of this thank you and also sorry for wasting your time I really hope you are doing well and taking care of your self♥️

  28. I'd kill to have rhinoplasty but I'm a student and can't afford it at all. I wish I could take out a loan but I haven't even got a job so it leaves me in really bad debt. I'm also in working-class so it sucks the idea of saving up that much just to spend it all on surgery that I don't even know will make me feel that much better because I want my face shape changed as well but I need to change my nose at the very least.

    Please message me if anyone got helpful advice on getting the surgery sooner in my situation.

  29. My nose literally looks like a bird beak
    I think my smile is crooked
    So is my chest
    My stomach is a bag of lard
    My thighs are a mountain
    And my stretch marks look like VERY visible scars

  30. i like it when i see myself in selfies but when people come and talk to me i imagine how huge are my pores and how disgusting my acne looks face to face AAAAAA

    also i have a thing with my smile wrinkles and im 19 soooo

  31. I hate my body image and the sadest thing is I don’t like seeing my own self in images it’s like Ew is that how ugly I am and fat I fully can relate to this i Isolate myself and I don’t like leaving the house

  32. These are amazing! You should do one on bipolar disorder. I wish more people understood it better and not this rubbish sensationalised version we currently have in the media.

  33. The thing about this is so many of people go through this on a daily basis. It's hard. The world is actually just a better place for attractive people in general. Growing up unattractive will scar you forever, you can say stuff like "I have a great personality, I'm funny, etc" but the cold truth is that people like us just have to accept reality and find other ways to be happy/fulfilled instead of constantly trying to appease the people who make us feel pain in the first place. Sorry, this video is great and I have nothing against it … I just related and thought I should add my thoughts.

  34. Does anyone else get that feeling where you see other people and think "yes that is a human, their face is a pattern that by brain recognizes because they are humans" but when you look at yourself in the mirror its like looking at a plastic spoon or a some drywall. Theres just.. No stimulation in the brain. You dont see a human face or the facial pattern of a human, you just see.. A face. You feel like you know its supposed to be you but it doesn't feel like thats really you staring back at you or that the face is even human or alive

  35. Sometimes I wonder if I have this or am I just ugly……it’s gotten to the point where I carry a mirror in my bag everywhere I go to check I look alright, I feel insecure in makeup but ugly without it. my face looks wonky and puffy and ugly to me and I feel like people are talking about how ugly I am… I check my appearance all day…

  36. Okay I know I’m only 13 and I have a lot of Time ahead of me to figure out my self worth and realise “how beautiful I really am” but my issue is that being bullied at this age affects the future and how you feel about yourself, everyday people point out flaws about me that are easily noticeable, which makes me wonder if there are any more that they notice and I just feel exposed, that every bad thing about me is out for everyone to see, it makes me feel embarrassed and ashamed to be me, and I know there are people that have it worse than me, I do know that but if this carries on the way it does I could end up like them. Everyday now I never want to go to school or leave my house. I have panick attacks. Whenever I’m in class and someone looks at me I start picking the skin off my finger or my lip to make me feel better. It doesn’t help but I have to get through it somehow. I hate my nose, waist, shoulders, legs and most other things about me that I genuinely can’t help. It’s just genetics but I’m not happy with them. I compare myself to other girls in my school and wish I was them or wish I had their figure.

  37. I feel like the only reason people compliment me is because they feel bad for me , not because they actualy think i am pretty

  38. I thank my brother for helping me out in my teenagerhood, realizing I was having panick attacks and helping me recognize it, telling me it's ok to take a break to deal with the anxiety. Thank you.

  39. If I won the lottery:

    1. Buy a house in another country – fear, paranoia, safety
    2. Get small plastic surgery – I work with kids, they always ask why I wear makeup, even when I have hardly any on. They tell me I look older, but perhaps it's bc I'm tall.
    3. Save – because I'm afraid I won't earn enough money for a family in the future, I want a house in a location where I feel safe.
    4. Get a makeover, find out which makeup and skincare, is best for me – I can't ever find what I'm looking for, my hair is a mess, I just want to feel comfortable having a photograph

    5. Go to the gym – I'm so weak, it's bad, please are shocked and laugh at my inability to do stuff, I just want to feel comfortable with my posture and how I stand and walk
    6. Get speech help – held back my voice for years, even had a stutter for one year, I hate my voice
    7. Get singing and dancing lessons – because of my past regrets
    8. Go shopping – because alot of what I bought feels like I wasted my time and money

    9. Give to helping the world – there's so much help needed, I would focus on climate change (e.g. tree growth, green transport and eco kiosks) and overpopulation (birth control + education)
    10. Give to family – Sometimes you've got to give back, sometimes you also want to give

    11. The ability to travel – green transport + getting to places so I can actually have a chance at forfilling my dreams. Freedom.

    I would say, only one of these is completley healthy, and that's just horrible.

  40. It is ok if you actually look good but what if you are actually ugly…my nose is ugliest nose…and I am a woman… our society is more judgement about beauty of a woman…it was From school time…I can't see my face it's just horrible… you can't share your problem with anyone they can't understand how ugly feeling this is…

  41. I just hate it because I look at myself and it's like

    oh god
    But people always tell me otherwise. 'You're so pretty' 'You're not fat' and I always feel like they're lying to me simply because I'm not seeing what they do.

  42. oof i remember at 8, and still now, id spend hours just staring the mirror. looking at my gross face, and especially my fat stomach. i never felt like i belonged – what i would give to look normal like my friends. maybe it’s bc im a halfie with the worst traits of both races, maybe it’s just bc im fat but i used to think about just taking a knife and just… cutting it all off. all the fat off my stomach, my thighs – anywhere i didn’t feel good about. I spend too much time in the mirror but avoid selfies. snapchat makes me feel disgusting, and i only ever feel comfortable with makeup on – and then, i still feel like it’s too much makeup.

    i used to feel so different as a kid. like an abomination. i used to think i looked too much like a boy and then i thought i didn’t look like anything. being half doesn’t help, especially half chinese. there are so many combinations – nobody seems to look like me.

    i play sports, i go to the gym, and while I try to wear form-fitting clothes bc otherwise ill look fatter, you won’t catch me dead in a crop top or showing off my stomach. i never understood why people wore baggy clothes – it’s always made me feel so much larger. i also have very big thighs and calves which make me seem much larger whenever i wear a hoodie. sometimes i look at my tagged photos on Instagram and wonder why i can’t look like everybody else, why im so ugly. i don’t participate in anything that could make me look uglier, and i often opt out of fun activities because of it. because im not pretty – not average – i don’t deserve to be with everybody else, y’know?

    i don’t think i have a disorder. i think that ive just gotten so used to not being used to my face and body so much that ive conditioned myself to think this way. conditioned myself to call myself ugly every time I pass a mirror, and when I feel pretty, to tear myself down. maybe it’s a defence mechanism to prevent my pride from going out of control, i dont know. but it hurts. it sucks so bad. ive never felt pretty, even when i was five. ive always freaked out at the possibility of changing in front of another person, ive always hated my skin. i don’t cry often, not anymore, but i do feel such a disgust and hatred for my body so often, but I think im learning to live with it. “you’re ugly, it’s fine, you’ll never find love, that’s fine, you’ll never be pretty, that’s fine.” y’know? but, i mean, it’s a start.

  43. Wait.. If there r days where I can't start to even look at myself in the mirror cause I feel so ugly – would that be depression of BDD??

  44. Its so painful to deal with. Its just, suffering. You can be the prettiest girl in the world, and truly believe you are the ugliest person to have ever lived. Its awful. The depression, anxiety, the self hate, its awful. Its been a struggle to deal with it. Ive skipped school because my aunt sent me a picture of me. Of course she sees a normal girl, i see an ugly, hideous, almost ogre. I plan to get some type of teeth straightener, eyebrows to be small, a perm for curly hair, lip fillers, and possibly a jaw symmetry surgery if the teeth straightener doesnt work. I plan to absolutely kill myself with workouts to be skinny and have a small waist, small arms (even though i have very smalls arms) big legs even though they’re already big. Just, a lot.

  45. I think I have this but I don’t wanna self diagnose. I wish I could talk to my psychiatrist and psychologist but I’m kinda scared to do so 🙁

  46. I don't have bdd because I dont think I am ugly at all, I know I am ugly, Ill start a load of freckles, pale skin, ginger dark and baggy eyes, gosh I would love to end it all

  47. Im fighting not to feel ugly . I do yoga . Im go on diet but at i can’t sleep cause im scared
    I used to starved my self to have a right weight until my period did’nt come for 6months i relived that something wrong
    Right now im still fighting evryday to think positive but sometime i fail

  48. I’m alright taking selfies because I feel in control but when other people take pictures of me I feel out of control seeing how I look in the photo about every aspect of my face/body

  49. Sometimes I just cry in front of a mirror wanting to die so bad knowing how disgusting my body looks, knowing how ugly I am.

  50. Sometimes I just stay in my room all day and dont let anyone see me and it sucks I'm only 14 I shouldn't have to deal with this and I've dealt with it since I was 12

  51. I basicly stayed up all night cause I didnt wanted to sleep in and have to wake up and have to go to scool. It was cinda unreal to me

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