Living With Body Dysmorphic Disorder

[TW: BDD, emotional abuse, low self-esteem]

I am obsessed with my appearance. 

Not in an overly narcissistic, ‘damn girl you look good’ kinda way, which would be infinitely preferable, but in an ‘I just can’t accept this is what I look like’ way. How I look and how I think I look and how that makes me feel has taken over my life. It’s what I spend the majority of my time thinking about and it sets the tone for my entire mood, as more often than not I am repulsed by what I see. 

I obsessively check my reflection in every mirror, shadow and reflective surface. I have studied the way I walk, talk and exist from all angles with greater fervour than I have applied to anything in life. I am hyper aware of my existence and the space I occupy, and it is exhausting. The hatred and paranoia run so deep, I am terrified to even consider the possibility of accepting myself as I am, because I can’t think of anything worse than settling for this. Just the thought of settling for this makes me panic. 

Body Dysmorphic Disorder often focuses on one perceived flaw but when I look at myself, I am unable to see anything but flaws, it’s exhausting and time consuming and only seems to be getting worse as so much of my time is spent looking at myself and others on social media. I dislike eye contact because I don’t like having people looking at me, I don’t like being hugged as I fear the repulsion from people having to touch me, I will repeatedly go over pictures other people have taken of me to pick apart how I look from all angles, I alternate between avoiding mirrors entirely to spending hours looking at myself and overanalysing every pore. I am frequently late because sometimes how I look is so distressing, I get too anxious to leave the house. From the size of my forehead to the shape of my feet, there is literally nothing I haven’t found an issue with. I haven’t been to a hairdresser in ten years for fear of offending someone with how awful my hair is.