Body Dysmorphic Disorder – Time to Talk Tuesdays

Part two of my “Time to Talk Tuesdays” is here and so this week is Body Dysmorphic Disorder or BDD for short; I have spoken about BDD and how it affected my pregnancy which you can read here. *possible trigger warning*

BDD is defined on the NHS website as as :

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), or body dysmorphia, is a mental health condition where a person spends a lot of time worrying about flaws in their appearance. These flaws are often unnoticeable to others.

I have had tendencies of it as long as I can remember it mainly has centred around my stomach, but has affected the left side of my face, legs and my upper arms. Thankfully those have lessened now which if I knew how I had done it I would be focusing on not hating my stomach!

It started to get worse just after having Button and I probably didn’t help myself with the excessive amounts of fizzy pop I drank! Usually I would just struggle with how I looked in clothes, or feeling my stomach pressing against my jeans (which is why you don’t often see me in them) but then one night I woke up with an overwhelming urge to cut my stomach off with a pair of scissors.

Now this seems extreme to many people and if I’m honest it should do, but to some they may understand the feeling of wanting to cut a part of themselves off. It felt so extreme to me that I cried; I have self harmed in the past before to deal with the way I look but never had an urge so overwhelming that if I stood up I knew I would have tried.

I have eating disorder issues a mix of Anorexia and Bulimia but not enough of one or the other to give it a name and having an impressionable little lady makes me aware of what I say in front of her. She is going to be bombarded by societies body image “ideals” that may not be healthy as she grows up and if I can give her a stable base on body positivity I will. But right now I can’t so I went to my GP and I just cried all over again; I was very lucky to see a GP who has fought for me not just with my mental health but my physical health too.

We came to the conclusion that I need to be referred to the community mental health team (CMHT) and get assessed to see what help I can be given. I have had my initial assessment and it took a couple of months to be seen by a psychologist what with people being off sick and Christmas. Although I did feel like I had been left somewhat high and dry for 5 weeks between quite a scary incident and hearing from them which I will talk about in another post.

I had weighed myself too which for me was a pretty horrific idea as I was heavier than I expected, logically I know I am not overweight for my height it is just personal preference. So I decided to cut down on my fizzy pop, eat better/healthier portions and start running (I would like the ice to naff off now please!) again. I am not on a diet or anything overly restrictive as I know for me that is incredibly counter productive as I obsess over calories or exercise and sets off my ED. I do however have an ideal weight in my head and as long as I am within half a stone of that weight I will be happy with the numbers on the sad step at least! It isn’t unattainable or excessive so to me it is a reasonable request of myself.

I have had some wobbles when it comes to food as I comfort eat when my mood hits rock bottom or I restrict when I feel like I have lost control of my life. The psychologist hasn’t really touched on treatments or therapies just yet on how best to move forward as in my life it doesn’t seem to rain but pours. Since it was the main reason I had been referred I would like it to be addressed for sure.

If you are interested in reading part one on the anxiety around having a smear test please click here.

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