How Body Dysmorphic Disorder Consumes My Daily Life
Editor’s note: If you live with an eating disorder, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “NEDA” to 741-741.
Since I was young, I’ve considered myself unattractive. Apparently, so did my childhood bullies who would invite me to sleepovers, only to tell me I was ugly and to kill myself. I have always thought I am “disgustingly skinny.” Gangly, awkward, boyish. I longed for curves. After packing on the pounds after my divorce last year, I now think I’m too “fat.” Nobody tells me to “eat a cheeseburger” anymore. There is no happy medium. I can’t stop feeling guilty about eating. I can’t look down at my stomach or thighs without wanting to cry.
Mirrors incite severe disappointment, but I have a compulsive need to check my appearance in them constantly, because I live in fear of being “ugly.” I’m not vain, I’m tormented. My flaws are so noticeable to me and I have to compare myself to every woman I see. I lose every time. Seeing gorgeous women in the media or in real life literally gives me fleeting suicidal thoughts.
Most women care about their appearance, but I’m obsessed with trying to be as beautiful as I possibly can. I can’t leave the house without makeup because I think it improves my appearance. But after having makeup on my face all day, I think I look gross again. I scrutinize every selfie until it becomes too awful for me to look at. I believe that if I’m not pretty, I’m worth nothing.
The really sad thing is that I’m painfully aware these are completely irrational thoughts. I know I probably meet conventional beauty standards. I know my boyfriend finds me very attractive. I wish I could just enjoy my youth and looks while I still have them, but what I see in the mirror will never be good enough, and I’m physically unable to see what others do.
I’m a prisoner of this disorder, and the societal pressure I feel to have the perfect body is just the cherry on top of a shit sundae.
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Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash