About Time: We Confronted Body DysmorphiaBy Megan Weal
Two years ago I was completely, totally concerned with the appearance of my body. I don’t mean the occasional down day that left me grunting into the mirror, I mean continuously invasive thoughts that stunted my everyday life. I passed out in the middle of lectures, suffered panic attacks, missed social events and worried about my appearance at least once an hour. I had Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD).
It was only a good day if I ate under 1000 calories and furiously burnt those off in the gym. The image that I had of myself was inflating what was in the mirror. I was overweight, but I wasn’t obese. The imperfections were there, but in my mind they were all that was there. The ugly features that I thought were there consumed everything.
I was 19 when my body dismorphia was at its worse; I am now 21 – if that makes any difference to anyone.
Body Dysmorphia: The Facts
BDD is a mental health disorder. It consumes your life, eats away at it day by day until your routine is entirely driven by finding away to improve your flaws. In the past two years, fitness and eating has taken a boom. With the interception of social media, the obsession with working out, eating clean and getting fit has become an incessant entity in people’s life. People are constantly being reminded that they can do better and push harder. It can be a motivator and a depressor.
The facts are hazy and the definition is incomplete, but what’s true is that BDD is a mental health disorder. Those who suffer from BDD constantly perceive their flaws as larger than they are; as if everything they see is through a magnifying glass. Imagine seeing your flaws projected every time you looked in the mirror. It consumes you – it’s an obsessive-compulsive related disorder. While my BDD affected my personality and my social life, factors for others can be genetic and developmental. Click on MyBiosource.com to know more about genes, editing, DNAs, and genetic engineering.
Body Dysmorphia: The Worst Days
When most people get carried out of a nightclub it’s by their friends after handfuls of drinks and in the early hours of the morning. For me, it was because the thought of going out in a skimpy outfit the night before had led to days and days of eating as little as I possibly could and tirelessly working out. It was the last day of term and in those 12 weeks I had lost over 2 stone. The dress finally fitted but it took all my determination to expose my arms to the uncaring student population that I’d be seeing that night.
So, I purposefully ate 5 pieces of pasta to deceive my housemates into thinking I was eating properly, swallowed my nerves and put the dress on – sans cardi.
I actually ended up seeing nothing but the toilet bowl. I had a few drinks and was doubled over, unable to walk or talk. I had taken my body to it’s lowest point. I was carried out before 11 by two bouncers who assumed I was another girl who had drank too much and cared too little.
I woke up covered in bandages and surrounded by bowls of bile.
I scared myself into eating properly that night. Realising that having the perfect hourglass shape wasn’t more important than pushing myself over the edge.
Body Dysmorphia: Overcoming Your Demons
I was lucky – I slowly overcame my body dysmorphia with the help of my friends and family. I eased myself out of it and now don’t feel like a total failure if I watch Made in Chelsea with a slice of cake and a cup of tea on a Monday evening. There are still pangs of guilt – but we’re getting there.
But, for many, BDD can lead to suicidal tendencies and can spiral into holes of depression and guilt. It needs to be recognised and it needs to be aided. BDD is only going to grow further is judgmental depictions of weight continue to circulate round social groups. And this isn’t gender specific – it’s universal.
You are not your weight. You’re something bigger. Something better.